Just visited the Scilly Isles. Idyllic little place. It's 28 miles from Lands End but feels so cut off from the outside world (I couldn't even get a phone signal). Two thousand people live there - but leave the main island of St Mary's and people-spotting becomes a bit of a joke. And (the best part) it's even got its own microclimate, so while London was being lashed by rain, my cheeks acquired a rosy glow on a boat trip round the islands.

We stayed at Hell Bay (www.hellbay.co.uk) on rugged Bryher island. Hell, though, it ain't; the hotel's a delicious slice of island heaven with a three AA Rosette restaurant (modern dishes; local ingredients) and cool New England-meets-Cornwall décor. It was a cosy base for exploring the other islands, including Tresco (www.tresco.co.uk), home to world-famous botanical gardens; St Agnes with its crystal-clear waters; and St Martins, which has some of the best white-sand beaches.

On the flight back, a couple mentioned they had honeymooned in the Scillies the previous year. I wasn't surprised: the islands are close to home (one-and-a-half hours by tiny propeller plane from Southampton; I watched us land through the windscreen!) but feel remote enough to let you really unwind - there's nothing to do other than walk, eat and sleep. Bliss.

When to go: the season runs from April to late October.