Isles of Scilly Intermediate Paddling Week

New dates for 2024:

7th – 14th July 2024
14th – 21st July 2024
28th July – 4th August 2024
4th – 11th August 2024

The Isles of Scilly are an archipelago off the Cornish coast, in southwest England. This sub-tropical archipelago is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK. Its crystal clear waters, sparkling white beaches are breath-taking and magical. A true Atlantic ocean paddling paradise with years of diverse history and legendary pirate tales.

The islands are covered in heathland, and fringed by sandy beaches such as Great Bay on St. Martin’s. Tresco Abbey Garden located on Tresco, one of the 5 inhabited islands, is home to subtropical plants and the Valhalla Museum, displaying shipwrecked figureheads. The tower of 17th-century Cromwell’s Castle stands at the north of Tresco. A bird watchers paradise known for its diverse climate, coastline and colourful inhabitants.

Major islands: St Mary’s; Tresco; St Martin’s; Bryher; St Agnes.

Total islands: 5 inhabited, 140 others.

Population: 2,203 (2011) ONS UK.

Sea Kayaking Cornwall have been running trips to the islands for over 10 years and have a strong working relationship with the island community.

We are very privileged to have a local working partnership and support team with The Sailing Centre – Isles of Scilly, who work alongside us, store our kit, kayaks and offer us a full “shore party” safety backup service with their two centres located on St Mary’s and Tresco, numerous safety ribs and a dedicated VHF channel.

We launch from The Sailing Centre which is located at

Porthmellon beach, St Marys, Isles of Scilly, TR21 0NE

Our base camp for the summer weeks is on the island of St Mary’s at the Garrison Holidays campsite:

If you wish to stay in a B&B, hotel or self-catering accommodation, simply let us know when you book with us, so we can take you off the camping list. Options:

Each day is planned as a day trip to explore the islands, it’s many beaches and features. We aim for a week of diversity, beauty and fun. The Isles of Scilly truly are a sea kayakers paradise!


Looking forward to sharing our
with you!
 – Sea Kayaking Cornwall Team

What's included?

Sea Kayaking Cornwall’s experienced guide with area knowledge offering advice, assistance, planning and safety throughout the trip.

Kayak. We can supply suitable kayaks but you are welcome to bring your own kayak. If you choose to bring your own kayak, please make sure to book kayak transport in advance when you book your ferry tickets for the Scillonian.

Buoyancy aids /PFD.

Spray decks.


Paddling kit. We can also supply windproof jackets, thermal rash vests, wetsuits.

What's not included?

Not Included

Transport to start location St Mary’s Island – Isles of Scilly.

Food and beverages during the trip.

Camping fees and camping equipment.


You don’t need to book the campsite yourself. We hold a reserved area for the duration of the expeditions. Once you’ve booked your space on the expedition, we will forward your name to the Garrison campsite for your chosen dates. Your invoices are ready for you for payment on arrival.

Prices for 2024: TBC

Luggage transport: Price TBC – collection and delivery to and from St Mary’s quay on arrival and departure day.

Showers: £1 for 5 minutes.

Please contact the campsite if you intend arriving early or staying longer. Don’t forget to mention you are kayaking with Sea Kayaking Cornwall, so they can cross-reference you with us.

Time and Location

St Mary’s Island – Isles of Scilly.

Scillonian ferry from Penzance to St Mary’s or flights from Land’s End, Newquay, Exeter to St Mary’s. Booking via Isles of Scilly travel:

Trains from London airports to Penzance, including an overnight sleeper train from London Paddington.

You will need to book your ferry / flights to arrive on the Sunday at the start of your week and depart the afternoon on the Sunday of the following week.

There is normally only one passenger ferry per day. However, they have introduced double sailing days during peak season, so please check this option when booking.

A Sea Kayaking Cornwall guide will welcome you on St Mary’s quay when the ferry arrives on the Sunday at the start of your week. Look out for a paddle and a sea kayak guide wearing a Sea Kayaking Cornwall T-shirt! If you miss the guide or are flying to the island, please make your way up to the Garrison Holidays campsite.

If travelling by ferry, please make sure you label your bags “St Mary: Garrison Holidays campsite” and they will be taken to the campsite for you.

You will have time to set up camp / check in to accommodation before we have the first briefing.

After the briefing we go to the Sailing Centre to get boats and kit organised. We then head out onto the water for a “shake-down” paddle.

Your last day on the water will be the Saturday. Departure is on the Sunday. This will be a land based free day should you wish to explore the islands on your own.

 Parking in Penzance – Cornwall:

For Parking in Penzance, please book with – or They transport to and from the car park to the ferry terminal is included in the price.

Food Shopping

The Co-op on St Mary’s has a good range of groceries. There is no need to bring food over with you.

The Co-op is open from 8am till 10pm except Sunday 10am to 4pm.

The islands offer a variety of restaurants, cafes, deli shops, bakeries and a butcher. You will have more than enough choice if you are up for a “cooking free” holiday.

The campsite has a small shop that sells all of the basics including camping gas and milk. You can also buy fresh croissants from 8am at the campsite

We sometimes book a table at a restaurant for the first and last nights. Attendance is optional and at individual expense.

What to bring


  • Travel insurance.
  • Prepare for 5 breakfasts – 6 lunches – 5 dinners – plus snacks, hot drinks and soups for the time we are out.
  • Dry bags – various sizes.
  • Camping kit: Tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag (3-4 season).
  • Stove, pans and fuel/gas, plus a reliable means of lighting.
  • Water bottle
  • Thermos or “Jet boil” style cooker for keeping or heating liquids.
  • Paddling kit – suitable for cold-water paddling. Please contact us if you are uncertain that you have the correct gear.
  • Suitable paddling footwear: neoprene booties / water shoes / sandals.
  • Safety kit. We carry adequate safety kit. However, we suggest you bring the safety kit that you would normally paddle with. A group can never have enough safety equipment on a trip.
  • Sponge.
  • Sun cream.
  • Sunglasses and hat.
  • Insect repellent, tick removers and midge spray.
  • Camera.
  • Headlamp/torch
  • Personal medication and first aid kit.
  • Reading material if the elements keep us off the water.
  • Suitable bags to carry your kit in up the beach (IKEA bag).
  • At least two changes of warm clothes, warm hats, gloves and water-proofs.
  • Suitable footwear and change of clothes for walking in the conditions and changing into at the end of the day.
  • Phone and power banks. There is a possibility to charge phones at the campsite for a fee.
  • Money, as there are cafes and restaurants to visit. Most will accept card payment.
  • Swimming kit and towel.
  • Fishing kit. There will be the opportunity to fish, so bring a hand line or fishing rod.

If you have kit that you prefer e.g. left hand paddle, please bring it with you. We always travel with our personal paddles, PFD and clothing.

At a Glance..

  • Price: £675 per person
  • Dates: July/August 2024

Download the expedition PDF

We have put all the information on this page and more into a handy reference document for you to download.

What experience do I need?

The main focus of the paddling week is on exploring and experiencing the islands, their diverse beauty and ocean conditions. You will, of course, have the opportunity to work on your skills, rescues and basic trip planning and theory “on the move”. Guided and instructional “trips with tips”!

We offer three different levels in order to share the islands with a varied ability of sea kayakers: Intro-mediate, Intermediate and Intermediate/Advanced. Please make sure you choose the right level to suit your paddling standard.

If you have any questions regarding the required ability please feel free to get in touch with us at


To get the most out of the week you should be around Paddle UK “sea kayak award” skills ability or a regular “Intermediate paddler” who is comfortable and has some experience in conditions associated with force 4 winds. We would hope to cover around 20-25km in a day.

Read our guide on levels of sea kayaking ability

Contact Us

Please give us a call if you have any queries or wish to discuss any of our courses or expeditions:

0044 (0)1326 250889 (office)
0044 (0) 7555 763695 (Shaun Rodgers)
0044 (0) 7455 884482 (James Roberts)

Sea Kayaking Cornwall, Tregedna Farm, Maenporth, TR11 5HL
28 July 2024 – 4 August 2024 all-day