The Hugh Town Tourist Office is on Hugh Street. On the Strand is a bicycle hire outlet, Saint Mary Bike Hire. Although there may not be any rooms available in high season, the town is fairly well-stocked with hotels and B&Bs. On the Strand is Lyonesse Guest House (no credit cards accepted; closed November-March). The Boathouse (closed November to mid-April) on Thoroughfare also has a great view of the harbour. If you have a lot of luggage, you can go to the Star Castle Hotel (closed six weeks in January-February) on Garrison.

There's also the more modest Veronica Lodge (no credit cards accepted), a comfortable and solid house with a spacious garden and great views. We recommend accommodation outside Hugh Town, such as Atlantic View in the centre of the island on High Lanes, where you can also hire a bike. Garrison Campside is close to the sports field on Hugh Town's Cape of the same name. Camping elsewhere is not permitted.

There are plenty of places to eat in Hugh Town. Pilot Gig restaurant is in the basement under Garrison Gate at the end of Hugh Street. It specialises in fish, but it also serves simple snacks at lunchtime (closed October - Easter). In the middle of the main street is Karovna Bakery, and the Star Castle Hotel on Garrison has two good restaurants, both fairly formal: the modern Conservatory with its fish menu and the more traditional Castle Dining Room. Outside town, Juliets offers light meals and reasonably priced diners indoors or in the garden between Porthmellon and Portlou Beach (closed December-February).

Recommendations for visiting St Mary's Island

St. Marys Island

The Isles of Scilly are a compact archipelago of about a hundred islands 28 miles southwest of Cape Land's End. None are more than three miles across and only five are inhabited: St Marys, Tresco, Bryher, St Martins and St Agnes. In popular folklore, the Sillies are seen as the peaks of the fertile Lionesse valley, which stretched westwards from the Penuit peninsula before the ocean swallowed it up, leaving only one man alive to tell the tale. In fact they form part of the same granite ridge as Land's End, Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor, and although they rarely rise more than 30 metres, their landscape is extremely varied.

St Marys Island in England

Saint Marys is home to the majority of the archipelago's population and the majority of its hotels. There are buses from the airport to Hugh Town, which sits on the isthmus at the southwest tip of the island. Ferries from Penzance dock at the north end of town, where the eight-pointed Star Castle, built during the reign of Elizabeth I, was converted into a hotel. The path along the rampart is a good place to admire all the islands and myriad rocky cliffs scattered out to sea.

Hugh Town itself isn't particularly appealing, and once you've cleared the pubs and shops there's not much else to do but spend an hour or two visiting the Silli Islands Museum on Church Street. Most of the exhibits are relics salvaged from shipwrecks nearby, including a mixture of items found after the Cita sank close to Hellick port in March 1997, en route from Southampton to Belfast. Most of its cargo, from trainers to tobacco, settled in the homes of islanders.