Make a Day of It
Open Daily All Year Round from 10am
Daily 10:00 – 16:00 all year round
Garden Visitor Centre open March – October
About Tresco Abbey Gardens
Founded by Augustus Smith in 1834 around the ruins of a Benedictine Abbey, Tresco Abbey Garden is home to thousands of plants from across the globe, flourishing in the sub-tropical climate of the Isles of Scilly. Mediterranean and South American species are extensively represented as well as those from California, New Zealand and the Canary Islands. Plants are laid out geographically, with the hotter, drier terraces at the top of the garden housing South African and Australian species, and those lower down providing humidity for those from New Zealand and South America.
There are over 4,000 different specimens that enjoy exceptional hours of sunshine and the warmth of the Gulf Stream and include an abundance of Palms, Bamboo, Cacti, Echium, Agapnthus, Flame-Trees and King Proteas. Even non-gardeners cannot fail but wonder at the array of scents, sights and sounds that await around every corner. Tresco Abbey Garden is also home to golden pheasants and a small population of red squirrels.
The face of the Abbey Garden changes throughout the year. In spring flowers bloom weeks ahead of those on the mainland, while in the autumn the reds, golds and ambers of the seasonal foliage contrast with the magnificent proteas, aloes and camellias. Even at the winter solstice there are usually more than 300 species of plant in flower.
In addition to the array of plant life on show, Tresco Abbey Garden houses Valhalla Museum, a collection of figureheads and relics from shipwrecks that have taken place around the islands. Most of the figureheads date from the middle to end of the 19th century, from merchant sailing vessels or early steamships. Valhalla is simultaneously eerie and fascinating, and well worth a visit while exploring the Abbey Garden.
How do I get to Tresco?
Tresco is one of five inhabited islands in the Isles of Scilly archipelago. You can fly to neighbouring St. Mary’s via fixed wing aircraft from Lands End, Newquay or Exeter, or can travel via ferry from Penzance. There is a short boat journey to Tresco from St. Mary’s.
A direct helicopter link between Penzance and Tresco is due to commence in spring 2020.
Can I bring my dog into the garden?
Dogs on leads are welcome for day trips to Tresco, however at present there is no dog-friendly accommodation on the island. Hell Bay Hotel on the neighbouring island of Bryher has excellent dog-friendly facilities, and there are daily boat trips between Bryher & Tresco.
Is there anywhere to stay on Tresco?
From luxurious, larger cottages perfect for families, to smaller one-bedroom cottages bookable by the night, to cosy rooms at the New Inn, the island’s pub with rooms, there are plenty of accommodation options to suit those wanting to visit the Abbey Garden.
Visit the Tresco Island website to browse accommodation types, or contact the Tresco Island Office on 01720 422849 to make an enquiry.
Are there any job opportunities at the garden?
Job vacancies in the garden are rare, however we are always pleased to receive CV’s that we can keep for consideration when a vacancy arises. We also run a yearly Scholarship in partnership with the Studley College Trust, please write in for details. Seasonal positions are also available in the Garden Visitor Centre – email firstname.lastname@example.org to make enquiries.
What is the best time of year to visit the garden?
Due to the islands’ temperate climate, the Abbey Garden is quite a spectacle throughout the year. During spring, flowers bloom earlier than they would on the mainland. Late spring, summer and early autumn are colourful times to visit, and you’ll even find flowers in bloom throughout winter.
Do you accept school groups?
We are always happy to encourage school groups and no charge is made to children under 16. Please contact us to let us know of any special requirements.
Tresco Abbey Gardens
Tresco Abbey Gardens