Away from the larger town of Hugh Town on the Isle of St Mary’s, lies the oldest settlement on the island, the village of Old Town…
Status: Isles of Scilly Unitary Authority, Cornwall, Village, England
Eating & Sleeping: Old Town Cafe
Attractions: Isles of Scilly Airport, Old Town Harbour, St Mary’s Old Church etc
Old Town is approximately a 14 minute walk away from the centre of Hugh Town, down suburban country lanes. As you walk, you get a commanding view of St Mary’s Airport, sat high on a hill overlooking the village.
The first ever flights to the island began in 1937, direct from Land’s End Airport in mainland Cornwall. The was however no airstrip for them to land on, so they made use of the local Golf Course. To facilitate the flights, a new Airport was built in 1939, on the site of an old farm. Later additions include a small Terminal and Control Tower in 1949, and a new service to Penzance by Helicopter in 1964 to replace the Land’s End route.
A brand new runway was added in 1991, and today the only flights available are once more to Land’s End Airport by plane.
Old Town itself was once the most important settlement on the island of St Mary’s, until the rise of Hugh Town in recent centuries. A garrison called “Ennor Castle” once overlooked the village, whilst a small port handles local fishing boats.
Old Town has a stunning beach located in a natural harbour, and the village itself also contains a small Church, which sadly we didn’t have time to visit.
The village is a lovely peaceful area, a hidden gem for tourists who may otherwise stick to Hugh Town. We had no idea what we would find here, but noted on a map of the Island that it said “Old Town” which of course sounded like it was worth a look.
The Church is located back on the road to Hugh Town, and the Churchyard is home to the grave of the late British Prime Minister Harold Wilson (1916 – 1995, Labour PM who served two terms). The village centre has a few shops, a pub and a number of cafe’s, everything you really need.
After enjoying the quiet surroundings, and the old stone houses, we had to head off back to Hugh Town to catch our ferry back to the mainland, but the village is a great place to unwind during a trip to the Isles of Scilly…