The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have whisked their children Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince Louis off on a summer holiday to the Isles of Scilly.
SEE: 10 stunning photos of the royals at the beach
But what do we know about the beautiful island of Tresco, where the royal couple have chosen to holiday? We explore why Prince William and Harry's childhood favourite destination is the perfect summer staycation spot for families. Read on to find out what makes Tresco so special…
WATCH: Where the royals holiday
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The Isles of Scilly is the kind of place that you have to keep coming back to. Its staggeringly beautiful beaches and thrilling walking trails are some of the finest in the UK, and the promise of ultra-fresh, hand-picked crab and local lobster is all too much to resist. I’ve been twice in the last few years and I’m already desperate to get back. And so it’s no surprise to me that the Duke of Cambridge has returned to these isles with his family for a summer staycation.
William and Princess Diana went cycling in the island of Tresco back in 1989
This week, the family of five were spotted cycling around the island of Tresco, one of the five inhabited islands in the Scillies. But this isn’t William’s first visit. He first explored these wild islands in June 1989 with his brother, Prince Harry, and his parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana. A magical place to make memories as a family, he’s now brought his own children to enjoy these spectacular islands.
Where is the Tresco and the Isles of Scilly?
This remote archipelago, sitting around 30 miles west of Land’s End in Cornwall, is made up of five inhabited islands and a host of uninhabited, wild isles with pristine, white-sand beaches and hidden coves.
There are plenty of beaches for the royals to enjoy during their trip
Thanks to their remote location out in the Atlantic Ocean, the islands enjoy a microclimate that’s different to the mainland UK. So while it’s chilly and overcast in Cornwall, the Scillies will be a good few degrees warmer and blue skies make the beaches look positively paradisiacal.
Why did William and Kate choose to take their kids to the Isles of Scilly?
There’s no doubt that William’s previous visits encouraged him to take his family to these islands – he has explored these beaches and cycled these footpaths as a child himself. But the allure of Tresco’s breathtaking landscapes was probably the deal-breaker. The island has a manicured beauty and never feels busy, even when its hotels are at full capacity.
There’s plenty to do here, too. Tresco is most famous for its Abbey Gardens – a botanical marvel with more than 4,000 species of trees, plants and flowers – and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be remiss to overlook its stunning landscaping.
Kids can enjoy watersports such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding
Engulfed in all the greenery is the ruins of a 12th century priory, once inhabited by monks before being left to crumble in the 1500s, and nearby is the brilliant Valhalla Museum showcasing some 30 carved wooden figureheads from wrecked ships that have washed up on the shores here.
The island’s walking trails hug the coast, offering constant, mesmerising views of the azure ocean beyond, and morning yoga classes on the beach make for a perfect start to the day.
Ruin Beach Cafe features some stunning sea views
The Cambridges have been seen cycling across the island this week, and it’s ideal terrain for an adventure on two wheels with very little road traffic. Two tudor forts and a ruined castle make exciting places stop off for a picnic or photo opportunity.
There’s exciting birdlife too, with puffins, cormorants, razorbills and even American eagles being spotted through the summer months.
What can kids do on Tresco?
For families, Tresco is all about wholesome fun and getting back to nature. Its bright white beaches call out for sandcastles to be built, while the turquoise ocean is often beautifully calm and makes for the perfect place to learn open water swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and more.
For the days when it’s just a little too chilly for sea swimming, there are indoor and outdoor heated pools at the Spa and Sea Garden cottages.
What about the other islands?
Getting between the Scilly Isles is easy, as boats connect the main five with a timetable according to the tides. St Mary's is the most populous island, and has some of the best restaurants on the archipelago (Juliet’s Garden is an essential stop), while St Martin’s and St Agnes are both gloriously untamed.
Hell Bay Hotel is one of the popular accommodation spots
Bryher, home to the Hell Bay Hotel – one of the finest accommodation options – is wind and wave-battered on one side, with idyllic sandy beaches on the other. A few times a year, when the tides are right, you can walk along a sandbar between Bryher and Tresco, and locals set up a party with fresh seafood and a gin bar on the seafloor.
How do you get to the Isles of Scilly?
It’s thought the Cambridges would have flown by helicopter to the island of Tresco – a brand new service launched this year carrying passengers from Penzance – but there’s also a flat-bottomed (notoriously rocky) ferry crossing that takes two to three hours to reach the main island of St Mary’s. Small planes also land at the islands’ only airport, connecting with Newquay, Exeter and Land’s End.
READ: Picnics, BBQs and bracing walks: how the Queen spends her summer in Balmoral
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