Back in 1834 Augustus Smith styled himself the "Lord Proprietor of Scilly" having taken a lease on the islands from the Duchy of Cornwall. He made his home near the site of the medieval Tresco Abbey and his descendants, the Dorrien-Smith family, still live there.
Whilst the rest of the Scillies have reverted to the Duchy, the family still retain a lease on Tresco which they run as a time-share holiday resort.
As a result Tresco has a very different atmosphere to the other islands. The middle section, between Old and New Grimsby has a highly manicured look which, if you ignore the stunning coastal scenery, looks more like Surrey than Cornwall.
The pub and café are both very 'tasteful' (or 'pretentious and expensive', if you prefer) and cater for the better of class of visitor. Back in 2012, they also seemed to be largely staffed by Eastern Europeans as far as I could make out. No bad thing, but they are definitely 'staff' rather than locals.
Day visitors, whilst not unwelcome are not really catered for. Indeed, when you land a New Grimsby there is no sign for the Abbey Gardens until you get south of the resort complex.
The southern part of the island is largely taken up with the Abbey Gardens and is thus more geared up for day trippers. The café in the Abbey Gardens itself is comparatively reasonably priced, even if the admission fees are exorbitant.
Also south of the Grimsbies, there are some fine beaches and the Old Blockhouse to visit.
To the north, the island gets much more rugged with the twin attractions of King Charlesʼs Castle and Cromwellʼs Castle, both of which are owned by English Heritage and free. Whilst the coast is not a spectacular as the neighbouring islands of St Martinʼs and Bryher, the views are just as stunning.