Lonely Planet Writer

Take a new helicopter service to these islands off the coast of Cornwall

A new helicopter service will give travellers a new way to get to a beautiful collection of islands off the coast of England.

Herd of Shetland Ponies that reside on island of Bryher, which is part of the Scilly Isles, Cornwall, England. Image by Verity E. Milligan/Getty Images

The Isles of Scilly are a collection of about 140 small islands located 28 miles southwest of Land’s End, Cornwall. The islands are usually reached by a seasonal passenger ferry from Penzance, or onboard small aircraft flights from Land’s End, Newquay and Exeter Airports. Together, planes and ferries took about 214,000 passengers to the islands last year, but starting this year, travellers can jump on a new helicopter flight that will operate year-round.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s new Island Helicopters service will launch in May of this year. The 15-minute flights will leave from Land’s End Airport with fares starting from £215 (US$315) for a return ticket. The islands were previously served by helicopter, but that ended in 2012.

Cromwells Castle on the Isle of Tresco. Image by Peter Groenendijk/Getty Images

Andrew May, chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said in a statement that the service gives “visitors and islanders more choice over how they travel and makes the transport network more resilient, which is exactly what our customers say they want.”

It may be an option that intrigues prospective travellers looking for an island vacation without straying too far from the English mainland. While they are located only miles away from shore, the Isles of Scilly boast a micro-climate, turquoise waters and white beaches. Tickets will go on sale in April, but passengers can register their interest now on the website, or by calling the Isles of Scilly Travel Centre at  (44) 1736 334240.

Learn more about exploring the different Isles of Scilly here.