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Reviews of Garrison Campsite

Campsite Search > UK > South West England > Isles Of Scilly > St Marys > Garrison Campsite > Reviews

Garrison Campsite
St Marys
Isles Of Scilly   (Browse area)
TR21 0LS
Tel: 01720 422670
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Pitches: 129
Open: 01/03/2024 to 31/10/2024

Rating: Average Review Score: 8/10 from 23 Reviews
                8/10 from 23 Reviews

 Tent Pitches   No Caravans   No Motorhomes   No Campervans 
 Glamping Units   No Statics for Hire   No Statics for Sale   No Seasonal Pitches 
 Electric Hookups   No Hardstandings   No Fully Serviced Pitches   Show Full Facilities
Who's it for
 Families Welcome   Not Members Only   Rallies Welcome   Not Naturist Site 
 Dogs Welcome   No Dogs Allowed   Groups Welcome 
 Toilet Facilities   Hot Showers   Washing Up   No Bathroom 
 Baby Changing Facilities   Laundry On Site   Drinking Water   Disabled Friendly 
 No Chemical Disposal   Battery Charging   Gas Exchange   Recycling Facilities 
 No Kitchen Facilities   No Freezer / Fridge   No Motorhome Point   No Wifi Access 
 Shop On Site   Bar <1 mile   Restaurant or Cafe or Takeaway <1 mile 
 Kids Playground   No TV Room   No Games Room   No Evening Ents 
 Fishing <1 mile   Wild Swimming <1 mile   No Indoor Pool   Outdoor Pool <5 miles 
 Horse Riding <5 miles   Cycle Hire <1 mile   Golf <5 miles   Tennis <1 mile 
 Beach <1 mile   Watersports <1 mile   Boat Launch / Mooring <1 mile 
Other Features
 Sea Views   Not Working Farm   No Campfires Allowed 
 Coastside Pitches   Public Transport <1 mile  Offroad Dog Walk On Site or Direct Access 

Reviews:  23 in total, now showing 1 to 10                 Previous 10          Next 10
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Date of Visit: October 2021 Unit:  Tent
Nights stayed: 5 Travelling as:  Family with young children
Reviewer: TrippLoso 8 reviews from this member

 Review of camping in the Scilly Isles (St Marys by Boat).

You can fly and helicopter to St Marys, but this writeup is via the boat. We stayed during October half term. This isnít a review of the Scilly isles or the Garrison campsite as such, just a write of the logistics in getting there and back.

The first thing to know is that you cannot take your car to the Isles of Scilly, therefore you need to bag everything up. I purchased 2 large heavy duty 150 Litre bags from Amazon for this purpose.

Four of the islands have campsites, but we stayed on the main island - St Marys, at the Garrison Campsite.

The boat leaves Penzance harbour at 9:15 am, I believe that during peak season there is an earlier boat with an afternoon boat on some days. When we booked for October, there were only 5 sailings a week, all leaving at 9:15. This meant we had to stay overnight in Penzance as we live just south of London.

You need to be at the quayside at about 8am. You cannot driove onto the quay, so you need to drop your equipment and family off just up the road a little. I then drove the car to the long stay car park where they minibus transfer you back to the quay.

There was quite a long queue forming now, and they do not let passengers on until they have finished loading all the goods for the islands onto the boats.

When they started to allow passengers with hold baggage on, I needed to move 5 x 20kg bags in the queue. I would suggest you get a trolley or 2 if you have a lot of equipment! I didnít and had a few trips back and forth to get the equipment down the quayside.

When booking for the Garrison they say to make sure you get your equipment into their container, but as it was low season mine went into the general self-pickup container. Once all my bags were in the container we queued again and got my boarding passes. It is just under 3 hours sailing from Penzance.

At the other end I had paid for my bags to be transferred to the Garrison campsite. I highly recommend this as it is at least a 20-minute walk up the hill. I watched as my bags were loaded onto the Garrison vehicle and then walked up to the campsite. As we were the only people going to the campsite that day they drove us straight down to our pitch, but trolleys are available outside reception to move your stuff.

We did not take any kitchen equipment with us, opting to eat out, but I did take an electric under-blanket and electric heater for the tent (it was October !).

The Garrison is a great campsite, multiple fields, one fields with 10 EHU and there are 2 facility blocks catering for the campsite. It is the only campsite on St Marys. It turns out apart from one sole camping we were the only other people there! October half term is the end of the tourist season in the Islands. Itís nice to walk down from the campsite looking out at the view across the bay and other islands.

For the return journey (sailing 4pm) I dropped the bags off by reception then did not see them again until we got to Penzance quay. I went to get the car and by the time I got back we were allowed to drive onto the quayside to load it (again I would recommend a trolley).

Then the long drive home (back home 1am)

If you like coastal walking, amazing beaches, and eating Crab and Lobster then I can highly recommend. All the islands are a little different (St Martins for beaches, Bryher for coastal walking, Tresco for the Gardens). It is also really dog friendly, although a lot of the main beaches do not allow dogs April to September. The boat over was full of dogs, you can also take your dog on the plane and helicopter.

I would highly recommend a visit to the Scilly Isles camping. It is a bit of a mission to get there, but well worth it, just maybe not at the end of the season!

FYI Ė if you have every fancied owning a campsite the Garrison Campsite is up for sale (30 year lease). 
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Date of Visit: May 2021 Unit:  Tent
Nights stayed: 5 Travelling as:  Mature couple
Reviewer: Fudge59 35 reviews from this member

 The site is located close to Hugh Town up a hill on the old Garrison, and there are gorgeous views and walks not far from the site. The walk back to the site in the evening from town was one of the highlights of our trip.

The baggage transfer was money well spent, on the return journey we just dropped it off and didn't see it again until disembarking in Penzance.

There are no vehicles on the site which makes a nice change. There are very nice pitches, each with a wooden bench and table. The pitches are large, though the pre-erected tents for hire were a lot closer together. The showers were nice and warm, though you had to save you £1 coins for them.

There is a small shop open in the morning and evening, it didn't have very long hours so could get busy. They had useful camping equipment, food, etc. It is worth trying the local Ales of Scilly on sale there.

The staff were very helpful and friendly, whilst the shop/office wasn't always open you could nearly always find someone around on site. There was very little night time noise when we were there, though some take-off/landing noise from the airport during the day. The night-time skies were gorgeous, it would be great to visit during a time of year when there is less daylight for this alone.

For eating out, it is definitely worth booking as a lot of the pubs and restaurants were quite busy. There are some take-aways as well, if you'd rather just sit by the tent.

All in all, a lovely spot, and one I'd like to return to one day.  

Date of Visit: May 2017 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: Estherfinch 1 review from this member

 The site is lovely, but some hooks in the ladies' showers in block A would make such a difference! Also the shop opening hours were quite limited which made it hard to get back to the site in time to pick up charged phones etc. 

Date of Visit: August 2016 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: Woodya10 8 reviews from this member

 This was our first visit to the Scilly Isles and certainly not our last. The campsite is very good with flat large pitches in very good condition. The location is fantastic, 5 minutes walk to the town, 5 minutes walk to the sea. We had an electric hook-up which was very good. The only down side was the shower/toilet block which tended to be dirty all week long. We only saw it being cleaned once. It costs £1 for a 5 minute shower, which I thought was fine and once you've sorted out a routine for putting the pound in and running into the correct shower, it was all fine. Basically one of the best laid out sites we've been to in a fantastic location (the sunsets are amazing when viewed from the gun emplacements). We would recommend this site to anyone, but beware of the shower/toilet block. We liked it so much we're booking it up for next year. 

Date of Visit: April 2015 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: RIMMER 203 reviews from this member

 Have to agree with all aspects of previous review so really just an additional update. This is an unspoilt, natural site with breath-taking views, however don't expect 5 star toilets, they are functional and clean and yes there is that dreaded £1 charge for a shower-ok if a single traveller. Luggage transferred to and from the quay to site and back again for a small fee. Lovely site to introduce children to nature if you can drag them away from the modern age. A steep climb back to the site from Hugh town is a nuisance but there are taxis. Paid £9/night for a single traveller in April. And the shop was shut during my visit as it was out of season but no problem as there was a supermarket and pubs down the hill. 


Date of Visit: September 2013 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: SmallB 12 reviews from this member

 Stayed here Sept 2013 for a week in a tent without hookup. The site is very large with two main areas each of which has its own toilet block. Within these two areas however the fields are split up into smaller areas by hedges and trees which makes the site very private and cosy.

The owners are helpful and friendly and there is a shop selling most of the basics including trangia meths, gas, eggs (sold individually), bread, wine etc. The shop did have some restrictions in opening times although it was very quiet when I was there so probably not much point in staying open all hours.

One of the toilet blocks was shut when I was there as the site was so quiet so I camped near the one furthest from the shop. Facilities are perfectly in order for camping and I'm not sure why other reviewers have mentioned cleanliness as they were fine when I was there. Also there are hairdyers (20p), laundry (£5), iron (20p), clothes dryers (50p for 15 mins).

The washing area was large and clean and there was also a stock of items that previous campers had left which was a really lovely touch, items left included cooking oil, pasta, sun cream, bowls, washing up liquid - all manner of useful bits and pieces. I've seen this only on one other site in Iceland and always wished sites here would do it more. I did my bit and left some unused trangia meths, a lighter and a nearly full tub of shower gel.

The only downsides I had of the site were the showers which were £1 each for 5 mins. The water was plentiful and hot when you were in but you have no control over when the shower comes on or the temperature or power of the water. All you can do is put in your pound (in a machine outside of the shower) and it comes on and there's a mad dash to get in for as long as poss. You really do need a strategy and plan to use these showers! Tip: roll up your trouser legs before you put the money in as they will get soaked.

The only other downside for me was the sheer amount of signs everywhere saying you can't do this or that or you should put this there or not put that there etc. Seemed a bit of an overkill.

Overall I would definitely recommend the site to others and would definitely use it again if on Scilly. It's well run, peaceful and a pleasure to stay in.

Ps: the birds on the site are an absolute joy, very tame and will eat out of your hand and perch on your feet. 

Date of Visit: July 2013 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: RIMMER 203 reviews from this member

 Third time to this large, very sheltered site on top of the Garrison and as mentioned previously your luggage is efficiently transferred to and from the quay. Yes the toilet block is a little basic but clean and functional and as to the showers the £1 cost probably relates to the delicate water supply of the islands and 5 mins is adequate for myself but perhaps not for a family. Very quiet at night with plenty of tame birds to feed, some out of the hand. The site shop sells most basics including some interesting local bottled beers otherwise most things are available from the town at the bottom of the hill, for those not wanting the walk back a taxi is £4. The nearest bar is the Dungeon bar in the Star Castle hotel which is open to non residents and saves the walk down the hill. 

Date of Visit: June 2012 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: CornishGazza 1 review from this member

 Thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. No complaints whatsoever, we had a great five days based here. The service from the owners and their staff was excellent, courteous and professional. Thoroughly recommend the collection / delivery service for bags to and from the Scillonian that the campsite offer. It's worth every penny of the small fee that is charged.

We found the facilities to all be functional and clean and what we expect from a campsite. The grounds are well maintained and there's wildlife aplenty if your up and about early enough. The location is simply stunning with beautiful walks and some great history right on the doorstep.

The showers have come in for some negative reviews but we had no problems during our stay with hot water throughout. Five minutes is more than enough for a decent wash!

Overall a great experience that my wife and I will look to repeat next year. 

Date of Visit: August 2011 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: LovedayLorelei 1 review from this member

 This is a beautiful campsite because of its postion and the views that surround it but we are a family of 5 and we have camped many times in England, France and Italy and never had to pay full price for the children. It's a whopping £11 per person per night, adult or child, for the summer holidays 2012 and as others have mentioned, charging £1 for showers just adds insult to injury. I can't believe there are no concessions for the children, I'm afraid it just adds to the general feeling you get everywhere on the islands that they don't really want to encourage families but well-off retired people. 

Date of Visit: August 2011 Unit:  Tent
Reviewer: CAMPTASTIC1234 1 review from this member


Fabulous position

Level pitches

Electric hook up

Sheltered site

Large but well carved up fields so each area feels intimate

Playing field and play park next door

Shop on site

Kit transported to and from quay to site (for a fee)


Only campsite on St Mary's so no motivation for owners of site to offer competitive rates or facilities

Everything costs and costs a lot. The pitches are expensive, it costs to freeze your freezer blocks, it costs to charge your phone, it costs to have a shower and it costs (a lot) to do your washing.

The showers are the campers major cause for complaint; £1 for 5 minutes and the facilities are poor and outdated. The coin operated boxes into which you feed your quid are outside the shower cubicle meaning you lose at least 30 seconds of your valuable 5 minutes rushing back into the cubicle and stripping off for your shower.

If you're showering kids, it's even more chaotic. There are no shelves in the showers and the floors are filthy. For the prices campers are paying, the showers should (in our opinion) be free but at the very least, a couple of suction shelves for shampoo etc and a wooden shower mat to stand on while

You only have to spend 5 minutes in the shower block to hear someone complaining about the facilities. There is no denying that this is a wonderfully positioned site and given the cost of SC and hotel accommodation on the Scillys, the best value for money for many holiday makers.

It's a shame because as seasoned campers, we know that its the little things that make somewhere special and equally, the little things that can cloud a memory of wonderful holiday. 

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Common Questions

Is Garrison Campsite child friendly?  YES, it accepts children & has a playground  View all facilities

Where is the nearest shop to Garrison Campsite?  There is a shop on site  View all facilities

Is Garrison Campsite dog friendly?  YES  View all facilities

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