Flying Boat Cottages - Colossus

Tresco, Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
Book from GBP Book from £705 per night

Flying Boat Cottages - Colossus

Tresco, Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom

A clutch of luxury beach houses (each sleeping 6-10) with indoor and outdoor pools, spa and restaurant on the stunning island of Tresco

A clutch of luxury beach houses (each sleeping 6-10) with indoor and outdoor pools, spa and restaurant on the stunning island of Tresco

Deserted white beaches, turquoise waters and exotic plants suggest the Caribbean. Better still, it's the island of Tresco in the Scilly Isles and you don't need to travel half way round the world to get here. The Flying Boat Cottages hark back to the days when seaplanes were stationed here a century ago. Far from old fashioned today, the 12 New England-style beachfront houses are seriously well kitted out with all mod cons. Better yet, they have wonderful views west across to Bryher island and the Atlantic beyond. From your terrace garden you can step down onto the sand. Indoors, island owner Robert Dorien-Smith's passion for local art is showcased throughout.

Stay and you get access to the spa, swimming pools, tennis courts, restaurant, deli and the world-famous Tresco Abbey Gardens. Tresco has no real roads, just a few well-maintained trackways. So you pootle around all day on bicycles past deserted beaches, forests, moors and flower fields. Impossibly romantic for two, utterly magical for children. Easy to understate its charm; difficult to share with the world.


  • The Isles of Scilly are breathtakingly beautiful and unspoilt, plus they get more sunshine and less rain than the rest of the UK
  • Stylish cottages with top-notch kitchens, fabulous sea views and the best location on the island for sundowners
  • Great for kids: almost traffic-free, no crime, direct beach access, a magical sense of freedom
  • Everything is moments from the cottages: beach, cafe, deli, pub, bike hire and spa with fab indoor heated pool
  • Loads to do from beach picnics and refreshing swims to cycling, tennis, island hopping, kayaking, sailing and yoga
  • Owned by the same family since 1834, Tresco island has a unique sense of community


  • If you want the hustle and bustle of frantic modern life, the Isles of Scilly may not be for you
  • Food on the island is pricey and there's only one general store, but it's very well stocked with specialist and local produce
  • Getting there and back by helicopter, twin-prop or ferry is part of the fun but travel plans can be scuppered by fog
  • Be aware that there are no flights or ferry crossings to the islands on Sundays
  • High demand means getting a slot for school holidays is a challenge but Colossus (the largest house sleeping up to 8+2) has rare last minute availability for May half term and June 2024
World Favourite Family Hideaway

    Best rooms for families

    Take your pick - they're all good. Most houses have 3 double/twin bedrooms, some also have a sofabed in a small TV room which would be good for children. Larger families opt for Colossus (sleeps 8-10) or Endeavour (sleeps 8-9), each with 4 double/twin rooms and a sofa bed. See Rooms.

    Parents should know...

    Children under 14 years must be supervised in the swimming pool. Houses don't have washing machines but service washes are available at an extra cost
  • Cots
  • High chairs
  • Bath mats
  • Stair gates
  • Children\'s plates, bowls and cutlery (on request)
  • Pushchairs can be hired from Tresco\'s Estates Office

Some equipment may need to be requested in advance

Available with prior notice

Kids love the pizzas at the Ruin Beach Cafe and ice creams at the New Inn. The kitchens are well stocked and have microwaves; you\'ll find everything you need at the local store

  • Heated indoor swimming pool with wide steps (good for toddlers) and two heated outdoor pools
  • Sandy beach on your doorstep, others to discover, some with pretty shells and rockpools
  • Crabbing off the jetties (lines available in the shop)
  • Sailing Centre on Tresco (July and August) offers sailing lessons, plus kayaks, SUPs and dinghies for hire
  • Bike hire (for all ages, including stabilizers, tag alongs and toddler seats)
  • Tennis (2 astro-turf courts, racquets of all sizes and balls provided)
  • Hidden treehouses and swinging ropes (no clues, you\'ll have to find them yourself!)
  • Children\'s playground up at the island\'s school
  • Walking, including long pushchair-friendly walks from your door around most of the island (bring a baby carrier if you want to walk up to the castles)
  • Wildlife boat trips to spot puffins and seals
  • For rainy days, there\'s cake-baking equipment and plenty of jigsaws and board games in each of the houses

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Beach houses
  • 12 houses (each with 3-4 bedrooms)
  • Self-Catering with 2 restaurants and pub nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 22 May 2024
  • Pools
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Babysitting
  • Creche / Kids Club
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service


The Flying Boat Cottages comprise 12 contemporary beachfront houses (sleeping 6-10); most with 3 bedrooms. Colossus is the largest with 4 double/twin bedrooms (3 on the first floor and 1 on the second floor) plus a downstairs snug with 2 sofabeds. It's ideal for multi-generational families and groups of friends but cosy enough for a smaller family. All are fabulous and we think calling them cottages is a bit mean: they're far from cramped with large open plan living areas. All face west to the bay and neighbouring island of Bryher. We were completely sold on being able to step down directly from our terrace to an unspoilt beach.

Inside they're all of similar style: extremely well-equipped kitchens and oak floors downstairs. Furnishings are regularly updated with high-end designer fabrics so everything looks fresh and bright. Original paintings are showcased throughout courtesy of the Dorrien-Smith collection and many are by acclaimed contemporary artists renowned for capturing Cornwall and the Islands. The Master Bedrooms have floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening to a balcony with stunning sea views. The third and fourth smaller bedrooms face inland; each has twin beds that can be zipped together to make a double.

For summer there's a dining terrace and a small patch of lawn with a couple of loungers. In cooler months there's a log burning stove to keep you warm and snug. If you want to keep connected, each house has large flat screen satellite televisions and Smart TV, a bluetooth Robert's radio and free WiFi.

Bathrooms are more functional than designer: spotless bathtubs, strong showers, lots of fluffy white towels and divine smelling 100 Acres shampoo and body wash. Bathrobes and pool towels are also provided.

Note: changeover day for Colossus is Thursday.

Features include:

  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • WiFi


Self-catering: your kitchen is amazingly well equipped with a range-style cooker, microwave, big fridge-freezer, dishwasher, stylish Sophie Conran Portmerion crockery and lots of pots and pans, as well as cleaning pack and barbecue. The array of baking equipment might just bring out the 'Mary Berry' in you. Order fresh lobster or crab from the local fishermen and you'll even find special stick forks for eating them. For evening cocktails we found the fridge's crushed ice maker invaluable. And there's plenty of room to eat with dining and terrace tables for 10.

Food shopping: Don't worry about not being able to carry enough provisions with you, the Tresco Stores has an excellent selection of essentials as well as a deli, lots of local produce (including Tresco beef), a wide range of Cook readymade meals and a decent selection of wines and beers. Think mini "Wholefoods Market" rather than your local Spar. Being so cut off, prices will be a little dearer than the mainland, but not excessively so. Ring up before and they'll stock your fridge prior to your arrival.

Eating out: it may be self-catering, but you don't have to do any cooking: the laid-back and comfortable Flying Boat Cafe and Deli is next door, open Tuesday-Saturday for coffee, brunch and light lunches. Sit out on the terrace with a bacon brioche bap or a Cornish Yarg and truffle toastie, gazing out to Bryher. Packed with locals and nautical memorabilia, The New Inn (5-minute walk, open all year round) serves fine ales and good pub grub. On the other side of the island (15-minute walk or 5-minute cycle ride), the Ruin Beach Cafe has more of a Mediterranean focus, including delicious wood-fired pizzas, sharing platters and cocktails inspired by the Abbey Gardens, plus a stunning seaside location.

Further afield: Take a 5-10 minute boat ride to neighbouring Bryher island. The hotel restaurant at Hell Bay (open late-March to October) is great for a light lunch or evening fine dining (special dinner boats go across a couple of evenings a week). A trip to their Crab Shack is always a highlight for us - grab an apron and tuck into freshly caught crab steamed in copper pans with garlic butter. All are under the same ownership as Tresco.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Barbecue
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Kids' meals
  • Meal delivery service
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster


  • Hire a bike and cycle around the island (there's a hire shop just behind the cottages). No need to fret about locking your bike up - no-one will steal it here
  • Picnic on some of the UK's best beaches - there's half a dozen to choose from with white sand, pretty shells, crystal clear water and barely another soul. Our favourites are Appletree Bay and the beach just below the Blockhouse
  • Visit the famous Tresco Abbey Garden (free to Flying Boat Cottage guests). Created in 1834, it features a unique collection of sub-tropical plants from around the world, a shell grotto and a collection of centuries-old ship’ figureheads.
  • Walk the rugged coastal path north to Cromwell's 17th-century castle (built to guard anchorage between Bryher and Tresco). Further up the hill, you’ll find King Charles Castle and fabulous views
  • Unwind at the Tresco Island Spa: enjoy the indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and gym (free of charge) or book a spa treatment by organic brand Ila
  • Take some sailing lessons at the Tresco Sailing Centre on the other side of the island. Dinghies, kayaks, paddleboards and small motorboats can also be hired. The main local spectator sport is gig-racing.
  • Play tennis at the astro-turf courts beside the spa (balls and rackets can be provided), check out who's exhibiting at Gallery Tresco, pop into the Lucy Tania boutique or birdwatch from the hide overlooking the Great Pool (in October, migratory birds visit the islands)
  • Explore the 5 other inhabited Scilly islands: St Mary's (the main island), Bryher, St Martin's and St Agnes. There are also over 100 uninhabited islands (many are just small rocks) - some are home to seal and seabird sanctuaries. Wildlife and regular boat trips run daily.
  • All guests of the Flying Boat Cottages are entitled to play golf at The Isles of Scilly Golf Club on St Mary's for free
  • Finally, don't miss sunset from your terrace

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing

Best Time to go

Any time of year - though it gets very booked up in the school holidays. The best of the weather is in the spring and summer months but you can have beautiful weather at any time of year (as you can storms!).

Changeover days
Thursday: Colossus

Our Top Tips

Car-free Tresco is just 1.15 square miles but it has an extremely diverse landscape, with rugged cliffs and wild moorland in the north and lush farmland, manicured gardens and palms in the south. Bring your hiking boots, these islands are built for walking. In summer, don't miss an evening at the Crab Shack on Bryher - it's just a short boat ride away.
Kid Friendly:


The Isles of Scilly are located 28 miles south west off the tip of Cornwall. Getting here is part of the fun! The most popular route is by air (from Exeter, Newquay or Lands End) or ferry from Penzance, which is about 5 1/2 hours by train from London. Please note there are no flights or ferry crossings to the islands on Sundays.

Tresco is car-free and most people get around the island on foot or by bicycle. Tractors and trailers transport luggage and the less mobile can hire a golf cart for the duration of their stay.

By Air - Fixed-wing or helicopter:
There are regular fixed-wing Skybus flights from Newquay, Exeter and Land's End. It's a fun flight with great views over the Cornish coastline (unless you get bad weather) but as the planes only seat 8 or 16 take note that baggage space is limited (eg. hand luggage is limited to a small handbag/camera etc). A 15-minute helicopter service also operates between Penzance and St Mary's or to Tresco. See Penzance Helicopters for all flight times and online booking. From St Mary's airport there's a taxi-bus shuttle service down to the quay, where Tresco Estate will arrange a boat transfer to the island of Tresco which takes 15-20 minutes. Once on Tresco, a tractor with trailer will take your luggage to your cottage. At every stage of the journey on the islands, guests will be assisted by Tresco Estate staff or contractors.

Note flights can be delayed or cancelled due to fog or high winds. If all flights are cancelled on one day you can either spend an extra night on the islands and fly the next day (subject to availability) or they can transfer your ticket to the ferry for the same day. We recommend that you keep your travel times flexible (ie. don't arrange an important meeting on the day of your return!).

By Ferry
Sailings on the Scillionian III depart Penzance mostly in the mornings to the main island of St Mary's - it usually takes 2 hrs 40 minutes. See Isles of Scilly Travel for sail times and online booking. Tresco Estate can arrange a boat transfer from St Mary's to the island of Tresco which takes 15-20 minutes. Once on Tresco, a tractor with trailer will take your luggage to your cottage.

More on getting to the UK and getting around


  • St Marys 4.0 km ISC


  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

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