A panoramic shot of the Karma St Martin's resort, featuring the hotel itself and its pathway down towards the sea.

Spring is starting to appear, and with it, people want to start planning their summer getaways now we’re aware that there may be a little more freedom on the horizon. Like most people, we here at Ultimate Library want some sea, sun and sand, but with possible restrictions on global travel continuing for the foreseeable future, we are looking a little closer to home.

The Isles of Scilly are the UK’s answer to this, being the most southerly point of the British Isles. As the largest archipelago in the UK, the Isles of Scilly are provided warmth from the North Atlantic current, meaning that it is warm enough to border on a sub-tropical climate. The climate, plus the clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, make the Isles of Scilly the perfect summer vacation destination. The Isles of Scilly are full of opportunities for outdoor activities, heritage exploration, and relaxation. There are five inhabited islands on which to stay, although we suggest that visitors check out the hotel Karma St Martin’s.

An aerial photo of the Isles of Scilly archipelago.

Karma St Martin’s is the only hotel on St Martin’s island but provides a luxury experience to guests wanting to immerse themselves in the archipelago’s beauty. Just a stone’s throw from the beach, Karma is perfect to escape from everyday life. As with the islands, the hotel provides something for every kind of person, there is a spa combining the islands natural resources with Karma’s holistic approach to restoring the body, mind, and spirit. Ultimate Library also provided the hotel with a curated library as another place for guests to relax and get to know the history and allure of the wilderness surrounding the hotel.

St Martin’s Island

St Martin’s Island is closest to the mainland, and while it is only two miles long, it features some of the best beaches in the British Isles. Whether guests want to go rock pooling or relax on the white sand there is plenty of wilderness to explore in such a small area. For the more active guests, there is the opportunity to swim with grey seals that make their home around the islands. Karma St Martin’s allow guests to book scuba diving sessions with seals, Karma resorts offer awe-inspiring experiences in some of the most beautiful areas of the world. Ultimate Library provided titles exploring the unique wildlife of the islands, helping guests identify the species they come across such as basking sharks, dolphins and a multitude of different birds.

St Martin’s Island is also home to one of the smallest vineyards in the country, St Martin’s Vineyard, covering just under a hectare, the vineyard provides wines to the rest of the islands and Karma St Martin’s. Taking advantage of the islands southerly position, the vineyard produces around 3000 bottles a year of four different grapes. The vineyard is also highly involved with ensuring biodiversity, with wildflowers growing around the base of the vines.  Working towards being organic, the owners of the vineyard focus on natural pest control such as the work of the native Scilly shrew found only on the islands. Ultimate Library provided Karma St Martin’s with titles on food and drinks to celebrate the local produce served across the islands. The Cloudesley Shovell Restaurant within Karma St Martin’s has been awarded two AA acclaimed two-Rosette’s serving freshly caught local seafood and West country favourites such as the Cornish Pasty. Most exciting is the wine card given to guests upon arrival allowing them access to over one hundred varieties of wine including locally grown grapes.

A photograph os two wine glasses, a wine bottle, and a candle on a small table in front of a blurred bookcase.

Things To Do Around the Archipelago

The other islands in the archipelago provide lots of entertainment opportunities, with the prospect for historical sightseeing. St Mary’s is the largest island in the archipelago and excellent for budding archaeologists as there are over 300 burial chamber and pre-historic sites spread across the island. The largest of these is Port Hellick Down Burial Chamber on the south-east side of St Mary’s dating from around 1500BC. Across the whole archipelago, there are plenty of shipwrecks to explore, guests can see over 1000 shipwrecks, even diving to see those still in the waters. Within the Karma St Martin’s library, there are many titles on the history of the islands, starting from the Bronze Age up until more recently.

One of the gems of the archipelago is the world-famous Tresco Abbey Garden described to be like Kew without the glasshouses. Due to the mild climate on the island of Tresco, plants from around the world can be grown here that would not usually survive on the mainland. There is also the Valhalla Collection featuring thirty colourful figureheads from merchant sailing vessels. Guests can find more information and background on the unique sub-tropical climate and its flora in the Karma St Martin’s library. There are also titles on the maritime history of the Isles of Scilly due to its exceptional placement at the intersection of five international shipping routes.

If guests head over to Bryher island they will find one of the wilder inhabited islands. With rocky coves and granite hills to explore, Bryher gives a real sense of freedom and wilderness to guests. It is on this island, that guests can explore the real-life setting of Michael Morpurgo’s book Why the Whales Came. Many of Michael Morpurgo’s books are set on the Isles of Scilly, taking in its wild geography alongside the merciless sea. Guests at Karma St Martin’s can access a full children’s collection suitable for all ages, including titles by Michael Morpurgo – a West country legend.

No matter what you might want from a UK holiday, the Isles of Scilly can provide it all and more. Perfect for relaxing or exploring there is something for every member of the family on these tiny islands.