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At a glance

  • You'll love

    Tresco’s time-warp pace

    Beachside dining

    Complete privacy

  • Kids will love

    Racing to the beach

    Exploring by bike

    Sailing and boating

  • Don’t expect

    Buzzing nightlife

    Caribbean climate

    Organised kids' fun


Just off the Cornish coast, Tresco Sea Garden Cottages on the Isles of Scilly are ideal for families seeking sunshine, sea air and a sea-breezy beach-based break from the daily grind. If you have trouble luring your little ones outdoors, car-free Tresco offers oodles of activities, and a safe haven from modern-day stresses.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Tresco Sea Garden Cottages with us:

Cream tea (with local Scilly jams) on arrival for each member of the family


Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Tresco Sea Garden Cottages – has been selected and approved by parents.


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Tresco Sea Garden Cottages hotel – Scilly Isles – United Kingdom

Need To Know


Nine split-level cottages.


For the One-Bedroom Cottages: 10.30am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. See the room descriptions for check-in times for specific properties.


Double rooms from £350.00, including tax at 20 per cent.

More details

The nine one-bedroom cottages are charged on a daily basis and the rate usually includes breakfast and a two-course dinner at the Ruin Beach Café. The seven larger cottages are available on a weekly, self-catering basis.

At the hotel

Indoor swimming pools, restaurant, beach, gardens, sauna, Jacuzzi, gym, tennis court (with rackets and balls), croquet lawn, sailing centre, DVD library, free WiFi throughout. There's a golf club close by, on the island of St Mary's.

In your room

Flatscreen TV, DVD player, iPod dock, board games, and Ren bath products. Each cottage has a full kitchen with microwave, oven, hob, extractor fan, dishwasher, kettle, toaster and fridge.  

Our favourite rooms

The cottages are dotted among the gardens – they’re pretty little stone houses with turquoise window- and doorframes, screened by the foliage for maximum privacy. If your little ones are little enough, any of the nine one-bedroom cottages is fine – there’s a sofa bed in the living room which will sleep two (the bedrooms upstairs aren't really big enough for an extra bed). For the best views of the sea, lighthouse and rocks, go for one-bedroom Gimble. But if you need more space, Lobster, Oyster, Samphire, Seapink and Starfish have three bedrooms apiece. All are sold on a self-catering basis but breakfast and dinner can be booked and taken at the Ruin Beach Cafe close by. Style-wise, solid oak flooring and white walls are brought to life with lots of soft prints, colourful wicker and hand-painted tiles. Bedspreads and blinds are made exclusively by a friend of the owner, who also designs fabrics for Liberty.


On the island, there are two family-friendly indoor pools – one at the hotel, the other at the Flying Boat Club a short walk away – both of which are gated. One has a shallow end with Roman steps. Floats and inflatables are available to borrow.


The Sea Garden Cottages also have access to their own, sauna, Jacuzzi and gym. And you're welcome at the exclusive Flying Boat Club spa (over-3s welcome), where treatments by Ila focus on purifying, relaxing and wellbeing, in keeping with the island’s earthy ethos. There are only two treatment rooms, so book ahead.


Don't forget comfy walking shoes for getting the most out of Scilly's sea air and car-free paths.

Book ahead

If you're visiting in the school holidays and want to hire bikes/tagalongs during your stay, it's a good idea to reserve these ahead of arrival. Book babysitting at least 24 hours in advance.

Food and drink

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Tresco Sea Garden Cottages hotel – Scilly Isles – United Kingdom


Guests on a dinner, bed and breakfast tariff are served meals at the Ruin Beach Café, arranged across a row of old gig sheds, on the sand of Old Grimsby Quay – it’s a very Scilly setting, and it's laid-back enough for fresh-from-the-beach families. Teak furniture is assembled out on the patio. Indoors, a bright, casual, all-wood space sits beneath sloping beamed ceilings. Light lunches and dinners include wood-fired pizzas topped with deli delights and a brilliant sharing plate (meats, cheeses, roasted vegetables, stone baked bread, anchovies). A two-course dinner is included in the rate; the menu features lovely local stars such as Cornish silver mullet, Falmouth Bay scallops and organic leaves from the neighbouring island of St Martin’s. For your other meals, see the local guide to Tresco.

Family fare

Kids with sandy, flip-flopped feet are welcome. A simple kids’ menu is available (pasta, pizza, fresh fish, that sort of thing), or you can downsize any adult dish. There are baby-changing facilities in the restaurant.

Hotel Bar

There’s no dedicated bar, but the Ruin Beach Café has a dinky one which will serve most of your needs.

Last orders

Ruin Beach Café is open for lunch until 2.30pm and for dinner until 9.30pm, with cakes and snacks in between.

Smith Insider

  • Top table

    Get cosy with the kids in the special dining spaces to the side of the sheds, within the ruins of an old boat shed; the tables are adorned with blankets, candles and storm lanterns.

  • Room service

    There’s no room service but Tresco Stores – the island’s grocery shop – offers a little menu of comforting dishes that can go directly into your oven, including a mighty pie of Tresco steak, Tribute Ale and Cornish blue cheese. If you order before 10am, your meal will be delivered by 5pm – ring 01720 422806.


    Freshly baked cookies, tea and coffee will be waiting in your cottage. If you want more, you can complete an online form the day before and the nice people at Tresco Stores will stock your cupboards with bottles of wine for you and holiday treats for the kids. Or, pop in when you arrive – your shopping can be delivered within the hour. You only ever pay for what you buy; there’s no delivery charge.


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Tresco Sea Garden Cottages hotel – Scilly Isles – United Kingdom

Parent approved

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Tresco Sea Garden Cottages – has been selected and approved by parents.


Babysitters are available for £10 an hour; book at least 24 hours in advance through the hotel.


Baby monitors are available to borrow for use in your cottage/on its terrace or balcony, but the estate’s extensive gardens mean you can’t really stray very far.

Other Services

The local deli, bakery and mini-supermarket Tresco Stores can arrange food deliveries as well as home-cooked ready meals (perfect for your first night). 

What's there already?

For babies

• Highchairs • Steriliser • Bottles • Weaning spoons • Bibs • Beakers/sippy cups • Travel cot • Cot bedlinen • Black-out blinds • Baby monitors • Changing mat • Baby baths • Bath thermometer • Picture books • Sand pit • Bike seats • CBeebies

For toddlers

• Highchairs • Cutlery • Beakers/sippy cups • Cot beds • Cot bedlinen • Potties • Bathroom step • Changing mat • Stair gates • Socket covers • Swimming aids • Sand pit • Bicycles with training wheels • Bike helmets • Bike seats • Tag-along bikes • Crayons/pens • Picture books • U-rated DVDs

For older children

• DVD library • Bikes to hire • Board games • Tennis court


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Tresco Sea Garden Cottages hotel – Scilly Isles – United Kingdom

Things to do

Your cottage is right on Porth beach and your bit of ocean is clear and hospitable, with no currents. But when you get bored of paddling, get moving. Hire a bike, charter a boat or just pull on your walking boots and go exploring – nothing is more than a short wander away.

Hotel activities

Tresco estate staff know everything there is to know about the island. They can help you hire bikes, book boat trips, charter boats, go horse riding, or join fishing trips, and they can organise grown-up tours too if you’re interested in the island’s archaeology or birdlife, for instance. Ravens Porth sailing club is on the hotel grounds. Bike hire costs from £50 a person a week (£42.50 for children), including helmets. Children’s bike seats cost £7 a week; a tag-along bike attachment is £32.50 a week. You can also request stabilisers for your little Wiggos.

And there's more…

The entire island is your playground; it’s small (about two and a half miles long by a mile wide at its broadest point) and entirely family-owned.

Local Guide

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Tresco Sea Garden Cottages hotel – Scilly Isles – United Kingdom
Smith tip

Just outside the entrance to the gardens, the Abbey Garden Café (+44 (0)1720 424108) serves, tea, coffee, wine, cider, light lunches and cakes. Little kids can admire (but not chase) the kaleidoscopic golden headed pheasants that roam the lawn.

Don't miss…

Before 1860, the New Inn was just ‘The Inn’. Its lobster and crab meat comes from Bryher island; the children’s menu has filled rolls, grilled salmon, a little 6oz steak and jelly; and the ice-cream counter bears tantalising rewards (+44 (0)1720 423006).

Tiny, time-warp Tresco is an endearingly old-fashioned patch of perfection. With a mild climate, gorgeous white-sand bays and fresh cloud-scudded skies, it offers a Best of British getaway in a so-good-it-feels-staged setting. Nothing is more than 30 minutes’ walk away.

Sub-tropical Tresco Abbey Garden (+44 (0)1720 424108) showcases the flora and fauna of this sunny southwestern corner of the British Isles; despite the occasional Atlantic gale midwinter and salty sea spray, lots of exotic plants thrive. Beneath palm, fern and flame trees, there is aloe, agave, eucalyptus and more. Under-16s go free. The Valhalla Trail challenges under-11s to survive 'shipwreck' and find life-saving plants in the garden. Trail packs cost £1, including a guide for adults, a compass, clue sheets and a crayon.

Pop over to St Mary's, the hub of the Isles of Scilly. The ‘capital’ is Hugh Town, which has a nice collection of shops, restaurants and galleries – this is also where the main quay is located. Boats sail between the islands several times a day (the hotel will have a timetable). Watch the boats come and go with an ice cream on Holgate’s Green, where there’s also a play area. Alternatively, from the St Mary’s quay in the Old Town, Mark and Susie Groves of Island Sea Safaris (+44 (0)1720 422732) run day trips on their Firebrand IV, a big inflatable boat with an on-board underwater camera; they carry binoculars and waterproofs. A one-hour Island Taster tour will help you find your bearings within the Scillies; a two-hour trip called ‘Shipwrecks, Seals and Seabirds’ is great for little Smiths – look out for puffins, razorbills and guillemots. In September and October, you might even be lucky enough to spot seal pups.

Guests of Sea Garden Cottages are made temporary members of the nearby Flying Boat Club. As a member, you have access to the gorgeous restaurant and spa. There are treatments aplenty, plus a sauna, pool, Jacuzzi and steam room. Children over three are welcome.

On the same site, you’ll find a stylish dining experience in the old seaplane repair shed, with views across the harbour to Bryher. The Flying Boat Restaurant (+44 (0)1720 424068) has chic rugs and artworks, with lobsters and champagne on the menu. Book a table on the terrace to make the most of your time alone. Despite being Tresco’s smartest spot, dapper guests of all ages are very welcome. There are highchairs, children’s menus and games.

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Tresco Sea Garden Cottages
Tresco Estate, Tresco, Isles of Scilly TR24 0QQ, United Kingdom
Hotel setting

Shore to please

Getting There

The Isles of Scilly form a little archipelago, 28 miles off the southwestern tip of the Cornish peninsula. Tiny Tresco is one of five inhabited Scilly Isles, and the second biggest; the hotel sits right on the coast.


You can fly with Skybus from Land’s End Airport, Newquay Cornwall Airport or Exeter International Airport to Tresco’s neighbouring island, St Mary’s. Then, to get to Tresco (referred to as an ‘off-island’), you take the waiting boat from the main quay; the onward boat rides take about 20 minutes. Newquay receives lots of regional flights with Flybe, so you could get there from Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Norwich. Exeter International is the hub for international connections.


For Land’s End Airport, the nearest train station is Penzance. First Great Western can whizz you there from London Paddington in five and a half hours; a sleeper train makes the same journey. The Skybus shuttle will meet you outside Penzance train station and take you straight to the airport if you call 0845 710 5555 to pre-book. Or, you can get to Exeter International in two to three hours from Paddington.


If you want to drive to either Newquay or Exeter airport, both have ample long-stay parking – Land’s End, not so much. Since the island of Tresco is car-free, the Scillonian III (below) is a passenger ferry only. Tractors, golf buggies and a small fleet of vans serve businesses on the island itself, and the Tresco Estate (of which the cottages are one part) is trialling its first electric vehicle, but bicycle and foot are your best bets for now – hardly a problem when Tresco is only 2.5 miles wide. The hotel can organise bike hire for £50 a person a week (£42.50 for children), including helmets. Children’s bike seat costs £7 a week; a tag-along bike attachment is £32.50.


Scillonian III sails from Penzance, Mondays to Saturdays; it takes around two hours 40 minutes to get to St Mary's. A boat waits at the main quay to take you on to Tresco (

Parent travel tip

Doesn’t a ‘car-to-cottage’ ticket sound relaxing? The hotel can work with Skybus to sort out your whole journey, including transfers within Scilly (taxi-bus to the quay and boat to Tresco). At every stage, you’ll be assisted by Tresco Estate staff. Book through the Island Office on +44 (0)1720 422849 or at


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Tresco Sea Garden Cottages hotel – Scilly Isles – United Kingdom

Smith & Family  Parent Panel reviews

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Tresco Sea Garden Cottages – has been selected and approved by parents.

This pretty patch of properties offers a chance to truly explore the Best of British: the best weather, the best views and the best sense of community pride you're likely to encounter on a family holiday. Being beach-based on a family-owned island is a good start, but if your brood fancies more than a paddle, Tresco has activities aplenty. Charter boats and spot seals, go for gentle family bike rides, introduce your little ones to horses – this island idyll makes getting active together a breeze. Your bright but cosy cottage is a joy to return to, and you’re never restricted by a meal plan. The Ruin Beach Café has healthy mini-Smiths’ interests at heart – there’s fresh seafood and salad, as well as pizza and ice-cream – but with your own kitchen to hand, and plenty of local produce on offer in Tresco Stores deli, you could also cook. Or you could have the laziest, loungiest, loveliest family night in, by having a great big home-made pie delivered to your cottage door.

Smith & Family

Our adventure to the island of Tresco began with an exciting journey of planes, waves and tractormobiles. Mini Smith could hardly believe his little eyes when all his favourite vehicles whisked us one after the other to this beautiful British paradise. The sun glaring down on sandy beaches when we arrived, had us sitting for a moment, just to comprehend the sight before us. Before we knew it, we were all on the beach with our shoes off, paddling in the water, drawing in the sand with sticks and finding seashells. We were very much led by our children on this holiday, which is perhaps what made it so special and important. With no phone signal and (deliberately) patchy WiFi, you are immediately excluded from your busy tech-infused lives and you remember what it is to have good old-fashioned family fun.

Days were spent meandering along without any sense of time and where we were our own source of amusement. Nothing in this world can replace lying on beaches and making sand angels or sandcastles with your little ones. Everywhere you go on this Scilly isle, you either have fantastic green fields, wildflowers, sandy beaches or sea at your disposal. If you’re not in it, you can see it. Although we only had three days on Tresco, it felt like two weeks. It’s amazing what a real break away from everything – having been stripped back to nothing but the bare bones of your little family – can do.

Anonymously reviewed by Sam Summerskill

The Guestbook  Smith member reviews

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith & Family hotel, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what real-life family guests had to say about Tresco Sea Garden Cottages in the Guestbook below.

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