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New! Swallows and Amazons Family Escape

July and August 2017

If ever there was a book that inspired children to take to the great outdoors, it was Arthur Ransome’s ‘Swallows and Amazons’, a classic tale of island adventures, on and off the water.  This year (2016), the book was brought to life on the big screen for a second time, encouraging a whole new generation of youngsters to head outside into a thrilling world of make believe.  For 2017, the Star Castle Hotel on the Isles of Scilly has created a Swallows and Amazons Family Escape that combines snorkelling with seals, sailing, horseriding and cycling in a six day package of pure adventure. The whole archipelago on the tip of Cornwall has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it an idyllic playground for boating, island hopping and walks across the scores of white sand beaches.

Staying at the Star Castle is an adventure in itself – built in the sixteenth century in the shape of an eight-pointed star, it has a moat, dungeon and canons that were strategically placed long ago in the defence of Scilly and mainland Britain.   The restaurant was once the officer’s mess, but now serves the freshest seafood and locally sourced menus, cooked to perfection by the hotel’s award-winning chefs.  There’s even an indoor heated pool, free tennis and a pirate’s playground just a stroll away.

The Swallows and Amazons Family Escape is available throughout July and August 2017 and costs from £1975.00 for a family of four sharing a Garden Suite for five nights. The price includes daily breakfast, a day return boat trip with Tim aboard Calypso II, a full day bicycle hire for the whole family and either a 1 hour horse ride for two people or snorkeling with seals for two people.

T&C’s: The hotel will provide you with vouchers and it is your responsibility to book the activities in advance of your arrival. The vouchers are non refundable. The package price includes a maximum of four on both the boat trip and the bicycle hire and a maximum of two for either the horse-riding or seal snorkelling. Should you wish more family members to take part in these activities their will be a supplementary charge.

To enquire call 01720 422317 or email our reception team

New! The Long Summer Weekender

Available throughout July and August

A special 10% discount is applicable to any three-night Dinner, Bed & Breakfast booking on any weekend when you stay Friday to Monday during July and August.

New Year package – Only a few rooms left!

28th December – 2nd January

Your New Years stay includes; dinner, lunch, afternoon tea and bed and breakfast everyday as well as a boat trip to one of the other islands. Celebrate the incoming year with out very own exclusive party, sumptuous seafood buffet, live music and fireworks. To make your life easier our reception team can also organise return flights for you from Lands End or Newquay.

Our New Years package is from £135.00 per person per night based on two guests sharing a garden room and this price includes all the extras noted above. We welcome you to stay with us for four nights from the 29th December or for five nights from the 28th December.

To book just contact our reception team on 01720 422317 or email them at

Award for Star Castle Hotel



(From left to right: Star Castle Chefs Steve Hart and Brad Trethewey with General Manager, Gary Hodge, events co-ordinator Angie Brown and owners, Theresa & Robert Francis)

The Star Castle Hotel on St Mary’s did the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall proud at the 2016 Taste of the West Awards on Tuesday 5th October. Not only was the sixteenth century star-shaped castle selected to receive a Gold award for 2016, it was also one of just two Cornish contenders to go through to the finals for the best restaurant award. Feedback from the judges was glowing, with equal praise for the Star Castle’s staff and quality of food.

Said the judges : “The staff were polite, attentive and knowledgeable and we were made to feel very special. The meal was beautifully presented with fresh ingredients and excellent flavours” .

The Awards, now in their 23rd year, were held in the majestic setting of Exeter Cathedral as a celebration of the best food and drink across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, setting a benchmark for excellence across the region. In 2016, 1,200 products and over 300 hospitality and retail establishments entered the awards, with the highest standard ever being set for judges to select winners and finalists from.

The ceremony was attended by over 400 people, with representatives from award winning producers, hospitality establishments, retailers, top chefs, food writers and others involved with and supporting the industry. John Sheaves, Chief Executive of Taste of the West, announced the winners who were presented with their awards by BBC Spotlight presenter – Victoria Graham.

Says Robert Francis, owner of the Star Castle Hotel “It was a huge privilege for us to be part of this event, which really did celebrate the very best of what the West has to offer. To win a gold award and to be selected for the finals within the best restaurant category is testament to the talent and dedication of every member of our team”.

The four star family-run hotel is located on the garrison of St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly where guests can choose to dine in one of two award-winning restaurants offering a choice of locally caught fish and meat sourced from around the South West, as well as fresh lobster caught daily by Robert Francis, who is now able to serve fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, produced at his Holy Vale Vineyard just a stone’s throw from the castle.

Summer Diary 2016

Warm greetings from us all at the Star Castle for summer 2016. With July, August and September now upon us we enclose details of our summer treats, autumn breaks and packages for the festive season. There is also some detail on our forthcoming themed breaks, such as the wine weekends, the autumn Walk Scilly festival, and a taster of offers for spring 2017 incase any of you are thinking well ahead!

[otw_shortcode_button href=”” size=”medium” icon_position=”left” shape=”square”]Read the summer diary[/otw_shortcode_button]

The Royal Visit

The first wines from HolyVale Vineyard presented to their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess  of Cornwall 

The Duchess of Cornwall had an opportunity to try some of the finest wines from the Isles of Scilly’s newest vineyard during the Royal visit of The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall on Tuesday 21st July. The visit to the Star Castle’s HolyVale Vineyard also provided an opportunity for proud wine maker, Robert Francis, to present five bottles from his very first harvest to The Duchess, fulfilling a promise made at Highgrove to HRH The Duke of Cornwall several years ago, when the 7,000 Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris vines were newly planted.

Mr Francis was thrilled to have an opportunity to present the new wines to Their Royal Highnesses, saying “The first bottle of each wine was set aside for this very occasion and I am delighted that we have been able to present it so soon, just a month after the first bottling.  It was such a pleasure to welcome Her Royal Highness to the vineyard. She genuinely appeared delighted with the setting of the winery and was very complimentary about all the wines, too, which was wonderful”.

The vineyard has been described by world-renowned wine expert, Michael Broadbent, as “one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in the world” and, as such, it made a fitting setting for the visit by The Duchess of Cornwall, who is also patron of the United Kingdom Vineyards Association.  Planted in the spring of 2009, the vineyard is made up of parcels of land situated across St Mary’s.  The grape varieties, which are more often grown in warmer climes,  were chosen over the normal, mostly German varieties that have traditionally been grown in the UK.   Robert Francis, owner of the vineyard and of the Star Castle Hotel on St Mary’s, is committed to producing the most special wines, even though working with Pinot Noir is especially challenging.  Five fine wines have been produced this year – Pinot Noir Classic, Pinot Noir Reserve, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir Rose.

Also present was renowned Austrian wine maker, Willi Opitz, who has provided support from the early stages of the wine making process and has helped to ensure that the wines are of the finest quality.

Staff Profile

Graham Drew

Graham was born in Lamorna in 1961. His early life saw him working on the Mount; much of his stonework still adorns the quayside. Graham has many interests and a multitude of capabilities; he spent some years on trawlers and other fishing boats and is a qualified Tree Surgeon. In search of something and somewhere different but not too far from his native Lamorna, he took the short leap over to Scilly in 2001 and joined the Star Castle as its driver, proving an immediate personality with the guests often delivering his mischievous chuckle.

Graham’s duties as the driver did involve ‘some maintenance work’ when the taxi was not required, however it soon became apparent that he could fix almost anything, be it electrical, plumbing, machinery, computers, TV’s, the list is endless including rebuilding the Vineyard tractor last week!

At this stage it was becoming very clear that Graham would play a pivotal role in keeping, what is mechanically a very complicated estate, running on a daily basis. If keeping the Castle functioning in every department is not enough, the driving soon made way for helping Robert on the hotel’s lobster boat going to sea often during the summer bringing in the catch for the hotel’s restaurants.

It is no exaggeration to say that Graham with his jolly character is a huge contributor to the life of the Castle.