The world famous sub-tropical Tresco Abbey Gardens lie to the South West of the island.
In 1834, Augustus Smith left Hertfordshire and took up residence on the Isles of Scilly as Lord Proprietor and leaseholder of all the islands. He chose to live on Tresco and selected a site adjacent to St Nicholas Priory - which had fallen into disrepair in the sixteenth century - to build his home.
On a rocky outcrop above these ruins Augustus Smith built his house, which he named Tresco Abbey. In addition to constructing the house, he started almost immediately creating a garden based around the priory ruins.
The gardens are are often described as a perennial Kew without the glass, it shrugs off salt spray and Atlantic gales to host myriad exotic plants, many of which would stand no chance of survival even on the Cornish mainland less than 30 miles away. Even at the winter solstice, there are more than 300 plants in flower. All in all, the tropical garden is home to more than 20,000 species of plants from 80 countries, ranging from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa
The Gardens also house the Valhalla Museum which features the Valhalla Collection containing some 30 figureheads, as well as name-boards and other decorative carvings from the days of sail.