Tresco is the second largest of the islands, with an amazing variety of scenery, from the wild and wind-swept north of the island, to the sub-tropical Abbey Gardens and sandy beaches of the South. Cromwell’s Castle and King Charles’s Castle on Tresco are examples of the several fortifications built in the islands from the Middle Ages onwards.
A wealthy merchant banker, Augustus Smith purchased the Isles from the Duchy of Cornwall in the 1830’s. The other islands have since been ceded back to the Duchy, but Tresco remains in the ownership of the family, with the present owners being Robert and Lucy Dorrien-Smith. Augustus Smith was a plant collector and botanist, who recognised the climatic advantages of the islands, and began the creation of Tresco Abbey Garden. The garden contains sub-tropical and temperate climate plants from around the world. Today the garden is a major attraction of the islands.
Tresco is a small community of around 150 residents, who work mainly for the tourist industry. In November 1999, Robert Dorrien-Smith purchased Hell Bay on Bryher, to complement the estate on Tresco. The island has a shop, restaurant and gallery and some holiday accommodation.