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Any opinions on the Scilly Isles? Penzance? Need a car?

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I am seriously considering taking the night train from London to Penzance (http://www.seat61.com/Cornwall-sleeper.htm ) and then the ferry to the Scilly Isles. Then I'd spend a few nights in Penzance. However, for a number of reasons I won't drive. Lonely Planet says I need a car on the islands, my (English) sister says I don't.

Has anyone been to the islands, and if so, what's your opinion on the car question? Also, did you think it was worth the trip? Of course, I plan to see the gardens at Tresco, anything else to see? Are the gardens worth seeing in September?

I know that annhig has posted previously that I don't need a car for a visit to Penzance, but I'd like to confirm that I can get to St. Michael's Mount and St. Ives by public transport. Is the Lizard possible?

I will take the (day) train to Portsmouth (via Exeter) after Penzance, unless anyone can suggest a worthwhile stop-off on the way. Recommendations for places to stay or eat are always welcome...

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