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How to get to the islands

There are essentially three forms of public transport to the Isles of Scilly and they are flying on a plane, flying on a helicopter or by ship. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of these options:

Scillonian Ferry

Operated by: Isles of Scilly Travel
Runs between: Penzance & St Mary’s
  • Cheapest
  • Most reliable
  • Largest luggage allowance
  • Best chance of seeing a dolphin
  • Longest journey time
  • Greatest scope for travel sickness *

Skybus Plane

Operated by: Isles of Scilly Travel
Runs between: Land’s End, Newquay or
Exeter & St Mary’s
  • Cheaper than the Helicopter with a similar journey time
  • Choice of three mainland departure points
  • Most likely to be delayed or cancelled by the weather


Operated by: Penzance Helicopters
Runs between: Penzance & St Mary’s /
Penzance & Tresco
  • Choice of two destinations
  • Most expensive
  • Most likely to be delayed or cancelled by a technical issue
* Scillonian has a somewhat undeserved reputation for making its passengers sick. Only somewhat undeserved as undoubtedly passengers do become unwell, and some crossings are thoroughly unpleasant. Perhaps understandably, these crossings tend to be the ones which stick in the mind but there are also sailings where the sea shimmers like a sheet of glass and the dolphins come out to play in the sun. In truth most sailings are somewhere in between. The ship will normally roll a bit and if you are worried about sea-sickness take a tablet (unless there is a medical reason not to do so), find a seat to your liking and you will most likely find it far more pleasant than the naysayers would have you expect.