Royal holidays tend to involve either stag-stalking in the wilds of Scotland with high tea at chilly Balmoral afterwards, or enormous trips to Africa featuring lengthy safaris and myriad clothing options.
Generally, private British staycations have not been a traditionally royal style of trip. But the Cambridges are determined to raise their children their way, and ditch holiday protocol in favour of making memories – whether it’s Kate’s sweet instagram picture of Princess Charlotte reverently cradling a red admiral butterfly, or Prince George cycling confidently along by the sea with his Dad.
Rather than hide away in one of Granny’s many holiday homes, this summer, the Cambridges have already taken their vacay in the most ordinary way – by staycationing for a week on the Isles of Scilly.
Watch: Insider: Prince William and Duchess Kate’s ‘low-key’ summer getaway
After visiting Tresco last year, Kate and William were obviously charmed enough to book a return visit – and their end-of-July holiday saw them having old-school British fun, whilst staying very much under the radar on the beautiful, unspoilt archipelago where according to its tourism website, everything ‘looks and feels quite different …simpler, kinder, more innocent.’ It’s certainly more peaceful than Rock, the fashionable Cornish surf town where William and Harry spent teenage holidays with friends.
So what’s the appeal of the Isles of Scilly – and what might the royals have got up to there?
The Duchy of Cornwall – overseen by the Duke of Cornwall, AKA Prince Charles – owns most of the land of these islands off the coast of Cornwall, so it’s unlikely many places were inaccessible to the Cambridges.
Low tides also allow visitors to walk between some of the islands, and there are even pop-up festivals on the exposed sand in summer. As it;’s so far South, the islands also enjoy a temperate climate which borders on ‘humid, subtropical’, meaning the temperature never dips below freezing.
Most visitors stay on the largest islands, St Mary’s, or Tresco, which has plenty of accommodation options, while smaller islands Bryher and St Martin’s are less overrun with tourists, and may have appealed to the private royals.
The 35 beaches across the islands are pure white sand, lapped by Caribbean- blue sea perfect for paddling – Pentle Bay, resco, has been named Britain’s most beautiful beach in several surveys. Par Beach, where boats land, is a dog-friendly stretch of sand, and shallow Apple Tree Bay, on Tresco, is perfect for swimming and snorkelling – the ideal place for three year old Prince Louis to spread his water-wings.
Porthcressa Beach on St Mary’s is family-friendly and close to restaurants and cafes, while if William was feeling adventurous, he may have taken the family out sailing, to spot the seals that bob around the sheltered bays.
Meanwhile Kate, a keen gardener, will have thoroughly enjoyed the subtropical gardens that flourish on the island, including Tresco Abbey Gardens which grows over 20,000 plants and has a Viking Valhalla Museum with figureheads and carvings to admire.
Harry and William holidayed on Tresco back in 1989, so the family may have visited a few of Dad’s old haunts, too – and after being spotted cycling in Tresco last summer, it’s highly likely the family will have headed out on two wheels once more (or perhaps three, in Louis’ case.)
Each island is home to several artists’ galleries, which will have pleased Kate, who studied History of Art at St Andrew’s where she met William- and is also a competent landscape painter herself.
We hope they stopped for an ice cream – perhaps at Troytown Farm, which offers 30 different flavours of ice cream. Enough for any royal palate.
Watch: Experts urge vessels in Cornwall not to approach wandering walrus