From the moment that we glimpsed them from the Skybus window, a scattering of green and gold islands in the middle of a jewel-bright sea, I knew that the Isles of Scilly were going to be magical. An unexpectedly exotic archipelago just a few miles West of the Cornish coast, the Isles of Scilly are like nowhere else that I have ever been.
Arriving on the islands is like stepping into a long-forgotten childhood dream. Endless sparkling golden beaches, deserted but for the seals and sea gulls; ruined castles; wrecks and tales of historical adventure. Moors to explore; long coastal hills to freewheel down on bicycles; boats to sail and treasure to dig for. Gardens like jungles; deserted cottages; turquoise waters in which to bathe. The spellbinding charms of the Isles of Scilly captured the heart of each and every one of our family.
A summer evening on a village green. The sun glitters through the trees, its glow illuminating the white big top tent that nestles amongst dozens of liveried circus wagons. From inside the tent, children’s laughter peals out into the evening. A crowd gasps… then applauds wildly. The air is balmy, candy floss scented. It is a scene that feels at once centuries old and freshly thrilling. This is Giffords Circus.
‘A green thought in a green shade’. It’s a phrase from Marvell’s poem, The Garden, that has stayed with me since my English student days: to my mind a perfect distillation of the calming effect of spending time immersed in nature. This weekend, we stayed in a Yorkshire wood, at Jollydays with Canopy & Stars: a weekend of exploring, sleeping and eating under a canopy of soothing green shade.
At a time when the news veers from the depressing to the downright terrifying, it’s more cheering than ever to hear about people making their dreams become reality. My amazing friend Emma Bradshaw has done just that. read more