There is much to see and do on Islay and we have listed here, in no particular order, some of the sites worth seeing and activities worth doing.
The Round Church, Bowmore
Situated at the top of Main Street in Bowmore, this is one of only two round churches in Scotland. Said to be designed this way so that the devil wouldn’t be able to hide in the corners. Open most days with souvenir items on sale to help the church funds.
The Ancient Seat of the Lords of the Isles, Finlaggan consists of two islands in Loch Finlaggan which is situated a mile or two past Ballygrant village on the road to Port Askaig. There is a vistor centre at the head of the loch and visitors may reach the main island by means of a walkway. The ruins are augmented by visitor information boards.
The Kildalton Cross
Situated a few miles past Ardbeg Distillery in the grounds of Kildalton Chapel ruin, this is believed to be the finest example of a High Cross still in situ. Carved by a craftsman monk from Iona, the Cross still stands as a monument both to the Christian beliefs and the skill of carving.
Sun Sea & Sand
Being an island, Islay is blessed with many beaches, the nearest being the Big Strand reached by farm track about two miles outside Bowmore (signposted). This stretch of beach reaches all the way to Kintra near Port Ellen. There are lovely sandy beaches on Islay’s west coast, though due to the strong currents on this Atlantic coast, these are NOT recommended for bathing.
The Mactaggart Leisure Centre, Bowmore
Situated next to Bowmore Distillery from where the swimming pool receives a portion of its heat, this community owned and run venture consists of a large, heated swimming pool, a fitness room, sauna and sunbed facilities. It is open daily from Tuesday to Sunday but closed on Mondays.
The Museum of Islay Life, Port Charlotte
Placed on the right side of the road as you enter Port Charlotte from the north, this award winning musum is housed in an old church and contains much devoted to Islay’s past, from recent to distant. Opening times can be obtained from reception.
Islay Woollen Mill, Bridgend
This working mill, which has produced fabrics for both Mel Gibson’s ‘Braveheart’ movie and Tom Hanks’ ‘Forrest Gump’ is situated just off the Bridgend – Ballygrant road and open every day. Owner Gordon Covell will be happy to show you the mill and there is an excellent Mill Shop selling articles produced at the Mill as well as Islay souvenirs
Islay Natural History Trust
Occupying the lower floor of the Islay Youth Hostel, this building is devoted to displaying and explaining Islay’s rich natural history and wildlife. The building belonged to the former Port Chrlotte Distillery. Opening times can be gained from reception.
The main reason many people visit Islay and Jura is the large concentration of malt whisky distilleries in a very small area. There are distilleries at Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Caol Ila, and Bunnahabhain as well as Jura Distillery in Craighouse.
We hope you’ll choose to stay with us soon and that you enjoy your visit.