Louisa Durrell's life is a mess with her four unruly children going off the rails. It is 1935 and she finds her options limited and much to her son Larry's bemusement she takes his advice and makes a radical change by whisking her family away to the island of Corfu.
With no money to pay the landlord to fix their house and fed up with living on kumquats, Louisa demands the children look for anything they can sell but they have little success.
Leslie in love and Larry is trying to finis his first novel. Gerry finds a father figure in Kosti Panapoulos who is a convict out on weekend release and the two bond over wildlife. Kosti takes a keen interest in Gerry and gives him his huge gull, 'Alecko' to look after. The family find out that Kosti allegedly cuddled his wife and lost his son as a result and Louisa wonders what his agenda is.
Leslie falls in with a bad crowd and ends up being falsely accused of armed robbery, prompting Louisa to take desperate measures to save him. Margo takes a shine to a gardener at the Villa Mavrodaki, Captain Creech returns, and the family realises the extent of Gerry's passion for animals when he turns his bedroom into a centre for scientific learning. Guest starring Leslie Caron.
Louisa domineering Aunt Hermione, Cousin Prue and Prue's husband, Geoffrey decide to pay a visit. They complain about the primitive nature of the island and view what the family are achieving with a lot of distaste.
Louisa tells her children that she is to marry Sven and they decide to vet him. They end up feeling that something is not quite right and Louisa can't help but agree with them. A shock discovery is made by Louisa which leads to a dark night of the soul with Larry.