The third largest of the islands, St Martin's is approximately 2½ miles long, and boasts some of the finest beaches and clearest seas in the British Isles. It is the first island you see when visiting from mainland England. It has a character similar to Tresco, with the rugged cliffs and purple heather of the north shore contrasting the more sheltered southern shore with its array of sandy beaches, clear blue sea and flower fields.
When approaching St Martin's, you can't fail to notice the red and white striped circular granite tower, known as the "Daymark" standing prominently on the Northeast corner of the Island. Built in 1683, it is one of the earliest surviving examples of a Beacon (a navigational aid used by sailors).
St Martin's has one Post Office/General Stores, two cafes, a bakery and two quays. There are still the remains of many ancient burial chambers that can be found hidden amongst the rocks and bracken.
St Martin's is made up of three settlements, Higher Town, Middle Town and Lower Town. Lowertown quay is used at low tide. St Martin's Campsite is situated between Lower Town and Middletown. Higher Town has the high water landing quay, bakery, tea rooms and general stores/post office. It is approximately a mile from Lower Town Quay to Higher Town Quay.
The three main beaches on St Martin's are:
Lawrence's Bay - this is a favourite for families who enjoy exploring the rock pools at low tide, picnicking in the dunes or just relaxing on the gently shelving sand that gives way to the shallows over St Martin's Flats. The long sandy beach stretches from Lower Town to Higher Town.
Par Beach - the first beach you see if you land at Higher Town, ideal for a family day out at the beach, with safe swimming and spectacular views.
Great Bay - situated on the north side of St Martin's, and is popular for its raw beauty and remoteness, it is one long stretch of creamy sand and blue sea. This beach was recently voted Best Beach in the UK, and is listed in the Rough Guide's Top Ten Beaches in England.
For views of St.Martin's see our St.Martin's photo gallery
St Martin's General Stores/Post Office
Visitors coming to St Martin's for their holiday can send a shopping list in advance for a grocery order to be ready for their arrival.
We stock a wide range of groceries, including frozen and chilled goods and an off-licence, tourist guides maps and gifts. Catering for all your needs whilst enjoying your holiday on St Martin's.
St Martin's Store summer opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 9am - 5.30pm
Post Office summer opening hours:
St Martin's Vineyard and Winery
Val and Graham Thomas started their vineyard project during holiday stays on the Island from 1996. As the only vineyard on the Scillies it was necessary for them to trial different varieties to ascertain those most suited to the environment. Plantings were made on land that had been run as a flower farm by Val's father and grandfather. With the success of the trials they continued to plant more vines over the years until the year 2000 when they were finally up and running. At first the wine was made at a winery in Cornwall, but in 2003 they produced their first vintage in their own winery. They now make three white wines, a rose and a red, which they offer for tasting at the shop, open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the holiday season from 10.45 until 4 pm. (and at other times by arrangement). Entertaining and informative conducted tours of the vineyard and winery are provided, as well as self conducted tours with notes. The stroll around the vineyard is supported by interpretation boards that provide information on procedures that take place over the vineyard year. The vineyard shop provides the opportunity for customers to purchase wine and to buy a range of souvenirs and gifts including home grown lavender products.
Polreath Tea Room, Higher Town
Open 6 days a week for morning coffee and delicious home-made cakes all baked on the premises by 3 generations of the family, speciality lunches freshly prepared to order (served 12midday to 2pm), afternoon cream teas (from 2.30pm) and Roskilly's ice-creams.
Open 10.30am – 4.30pm Sunday to Friday, April to mid October. Closed Saturday.
St Martin's Diving Services
St Martin's Diving Services offers snorkelling with seals - this three hour trip allows you to have a close encounter with a seal! All the equipment is provided and an instructor will be in the water with you. The minimum age is 8 and all children need to be accompanied by an adult. For those who would like to snorkel from the shore we offer a snorkelling safari where you can explore the wonderful underwater world of St Martins. Fish, anemones, crabs and starfish can all be seen just metres from the shore. The trips are lead by a marine biologist, also qualified as an advanced diving instructor, who will provide full instruction on how to snorkel.
We also offer try dives for people who would like to have a go at scuba diving. This involves on-shore training with a qualified British Sub-Aqua Club advanced diving instructor, before moving into shallow water off a sheltered beach. The dive will reach only 2 metres but a wide variety of colourful marine life can be seen in the clear waters. No experience is needed, but a certain level of health is required.
As a premier British Sub Aqua Club school, St Martin's Diving Services offers Ocean Diver and Sports Diver courses. The Ocean Diver course lasts for five days and takes you from complete beginner to a safe and confident diver able to dive in open water up to 20m anywhere in the world. For those that have a diving qualification, dives can be arranged to suit all levels of experience. We are not however, able to offer guided dives.
St Martin's Campsite
A family run 4 star campsite nestled behind one of the many tropical beaches for which St. Martin's is so famous. A spacious; sheltered site, offering freedom and privacy accompanied by comprehensive and spotlessly clean facilities. At St Martin's Campsite there is free WiFi access, full laundry facilities, gas exchange/sale, free phone/laptop charging points, freezers, basic camping supplies, and transport of your luggage to and from the site,. St Martin's campsite is only moments away from local fresh produce stalls and numerous local eateries. St Martin's Campsite is the perfect base from which to enjoy St. Martin's and explore the rest of Scilly.
North Farm Gallery
North Farm Gallery; based in a converted granite barn in Higher Town next to the St Martin's Bakery, sells original artwork by local and visiting artists along with a wide selection of prints, art cards, books, locally made crafts and jewellery.
Open every day except Saturday from 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.
Fay Page Jewellery
Contemporary jewellery from Scilly. Husband and wife team Fay & Rob Davis work from a workshop in their back garden on St. Martin's. Solid silver shells, shoals of fish that hang on handmade charm chains all reflect that bit of Scilly sparkle. Commissions and wedding rings undertaken too. Scilly stockists: - The Foredeck St. Mary's; The Bulb Shop, St. Agnes; Ashvale Gallery, St. Martin's.
Visitors who stay at Churchtown are very welcome to visit our working flower farm just next door to the cottages to see the pinks and narcissi being picked, sorted, packed and dispatched. Hilary and Andrew Julian turned around the fortunes of Churchtown Farm in 1993 when after trying to make a living sending flowers to the wholesale markets they hit upon the idea of selling their flowers direct to the public by post and "Scent from the Islands" was born. The business grew rapidly beyond their wildest dreams and soon they were employing several staff, buying scented narcissi from other farmers on the islands and thinking about expanding. New buildings followed, there were new cold stores, more staff and still the business kept growing. It was at this time that Ben and Zoë, Hilary and Andrew's son and daughter-in-law, offered to come back to Scilly to help in the business. They now run the business with just a little interference from their parents! This is a family business and an island business and we believe we owe a large part of our success to these two factors. We hope that our future lies in the family - Rosie and Piran - our children/grandchildren and in the wonderful island of St Martin's.
Watercolour paintings by Patrick Ley-Greaves, Lower Town, St Martin's. Open hours: 10 am to 5 pm, or by appointment.
Adam's Fish and Chips
Adam's Fish and Chips started up in July 2003, at Little Arthur Café, at first opening the café for fish and chips for just a couple of nights a week. It turned into a great success, regularly serving seventy people a night! The menu is simple, fish, chips and peas, or lobster “scampi” chips and peas. At the heart of Adam's Fish and Chips is sustainable fishing, carried out in local waters. The lobster comes from one of Adam's 250 lobster pots, the fish, usually pollock, is line caught from Adam's boat “Resolution”, the potatoes are grown on Little Arthur Farm and are hand-peeled. You can take away or eat in. The café is appealingly unfussy with six or seven wooden tables with benches, in an attractive conservatory which over looks Higher Town Bay. The beautiful simplicity and high quality have not gone unnoticed, in 2004 Adam's Fish and Chips was a finalist in the “Best Take-Away” category of the Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards. In 2008 they were the winners.
Opening hours: Tuesday and Thursdays only 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm. (Booking recommended).
Little Arthur Farm
Situated at Higher Town; Little Arthur is a family run, mixed farm - set in 12 acres of farmland, growing organic fruit, vegetables and herbs, used in their own Wholefood Café which sells freshly baked homemade food. There is also a wide range of animals on the farm, including, pigs, goats, cows, sheep, ducks, geese and chickens.
Little Arthur Homemade Shoes
Made-to-measure shoes, using natural fibres, are produced in the wind powered workshop on Little Arthur Farm; most of the footwear is unisex.
Situated at Lower Town, the Sevenstones is the only pub on the island, serving coffees/teas and light lunches during the day, and bar snacks in the evenings, with fantastic views from the terrace of the other islands.
St Martin's Bakery
This small traditionally run bakery, which can be found at Higher Town, was the winner of the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards, “Best UK Food Retailer 2002”. Producing a wide range of English and continental breads; pastries; tarts; pies; filled rolls and salads.
During November and between January to April St Martin's Bakery run holiday baking courses for those who wish to enjoy the pleasures of making breads, pastries and pies in this beautifully unspoiled and tranquil setting.
St Martin's Boat Services
St Martin's Boat Services have a large passenger ferry, the Voyager and a 12 seater jet RIB, Lightning. Voyager offers daily trips from St Martin's to the other islands and circular trips around the islands. Fares are paid in cash, on board; there is no need to book trips in advance unless specified. Usually there is an advertised boat to Tresco and St Mary's everyday (except Sunday), trips to Bryher and St Agnes on alternate days and on a Sunday to Tresco only. Return boat fares are £8.00 per person for a return trip.
A circular trip to the Eastern Isles lasting approximately 2 hours is advertised once a week and costs £14 per person person. The 12 seater jet Rib "Lightning" is also available for private hire.
Fresh fruit and vegetables organically grown over three acres of land spread around Lower Town and Lawrence's. Jonathan Smith has been producing first class fruit and vegetables since 2003, after finishing his horticultural degree at Reading University and moving to the Islands full time. Beginning with just three-quarters of an acre, Scilly Organics is slowly increasing. The organic fresh fruit and vegetables are sold on a roadside stall in Middletown with just an honesty box to put your money in. From Easter until the end of October the stall is filled daily with the very freshest of goods, all picked that very morning. Everything is transported from the fields to the stall by foot.