Travel by boat

Let the adventure begin at sea

There is something magical about taking a boat to a remote island destination. It generates a frisson of excitement at the prospect of the adventure that lies ahead but this is no ordinary journey.


The distance from the tip of the Cornish mainland to the Isles of Scilly is actually further than the nearest crossing from England to France so it really does feel as if you are travelling abroad.


RMV Scillonian III is the passenger ferry serving the Isles of Scilly.


The vessel was purpose built for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company and was christened by H.R.H. Prince Charles on May 17, 1977. Two days later she made her first trip to the islands. She is the third passenger ship to carry the Scillonian name. The first ship was launched in 1926 and was replaced by Scillonian II in 1956.


The journey takes two hours and forty-five minutes and as with all things Scilly, you can do as much or as little as you wish while on board.


The open deck provides excellent opportunities for wildlife watching or simply taking in the sun on a warm day while the reclining seats in the interior decks are ideal for those who just want to read a book in comfort or catch up on their sleep.


The ship also has two cafés so if you missed breakfast on the way to catching the boat you won’t have to remain hungry for long.


Further information on luggage allowances, details of how to book and information for those who wish to take pets on board is available from the Isles of Scilly Travel website.



The ship leaves Penzance quay in the mornings so for many of our visitors it means an overnight stay in Penzance.


Similarly, the ship returns most days at around 7:15pm and so once again an overnight stay is necessary for some visitors.


Whether it is actually necessary or not, it is often more comfortable and convenient to allow yourself the luxury of an overnight stay on the return leg as it extends your holiday and for many it is better to set off on the road home first thing in the morning rather than into the night.


If you are driving to Penzance then you will need to find somewhere safe to park and we recommend Scilly Parking. They provide secure parking facilities just six minutes from Penzance and will take you on to the ship and pick you up on your return so there is no waiting around for a taxi or a long walk ahead.

You can also sail to the islands in your own boat and St Mary’s Harbour provides 38 large yellow visitor mooring buoys, 10 of which are suitable for vessels 40ft to 60ft. The remaining buoys are suitable for vessels up to 40ft in length. There is also 1 mooring available for vessels up to 80ft.

St Mary’s Harbour can also provide a number of moorings for people wishing to bring small craft to the islands for the duration of their stay. These moorings should be booked in advance with the harbourmaster.

Facilities include toilets and showers, water and electricity, fuel, waste disposal, and internet access. The harbour is also within easy reach of marine engineers, sail makers, banks, shops and a launderette.

For further information visit the St Mary's Harbour website.

Places to stay overnight on your journey to and from Scilly

Mount View Shepherd Huts

Stay in our luxury shepherd hut accommodation located, at Scilly Parking, near Penzance in West Cornwall. Located in a secluded spot, we’re an ideal place to explore the Cornish coastline. We overlook the beautiful Mount’s Bay & St Michael’s Mount.


Overnight accommodation is available before and after your visit to the Isles of Scilly. You will have your own private heated bathroom with shower & toilet and access to a private kitchen.

01736 740277  or  07855 739060

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