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Looking for an island paradise close to home?

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National Geographic rates the Isles of Scilly in world’s top 10 islands to visit

National Geographic asked Island travel expert Leslie Thomas to name his Top 10 Islands of the World, and the Isles of Scilly – which lie 28 miles off the Western tip of Lands End – came in at number 2 – ahead of destinations such as Tahiti, Capri, the Canary Islands and Saba in the West Indies.

With scores of stunning white sand beaches, a range of accommodation from luxury hotels and self-catering properties to delightful B&Bs, pubs, cafés and restaurants with stunning seascapes, the Islands make a perfect destination for everything from a romantic weekend getaway to a family holiday.

The 5 inhabited and scores of uninhabited Islands offer a wealth of opportunities to explore and a wide range of things to do and see, revolved around the great outdoors including activities such as swimming with seals, sailing, kayaking and diving – thanks to the clarity of the water.

For those who want to visit the Islands, the good news is that getting to Scilly – which is a key part of the holiday experience – is going to be significantly improved.

Ready for the start of the 2013 season, the number of scheduled flights to the Islands will be increased as will the number of planes operating on the routes to the Islands. Lands End Airport is also undergoing a major refurbishment and improvement programme to include brand new terminal building, baggage handling facilities and upgraded car parking facilities. The Scillonian III foot passenger ferry will also be undergoing a major refurbishment and passenger improvement works ready for the start of the 2013 season.

On the Islands a £4.5 million improvement plan for St Mary’s Airport is being progressed whilst it has just been announced that the Government has given the green light for a formal bid of £8 million of Government and European funding for the development of the Quay on St Mary’s.

Average prices for flights from Land’s End and Newquay have been held at 2012 prices, ranging from £70 – £80 per person each way from Land’s End and £85 – £95 per person each way from Newquay. The average price from Exeter will be lower than in 2012 due to the expected increased popularity of this route, with prices on Scillonian III starting from £75 per person return.

For more information on the Isles of Scilly visit www.simplyscilly.co.uk and for information on travel to the Islands visit www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk.

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