The Isle of Islay offers the visitor a peaceful and relaxing holiday with miles of beautiful beaches, magnificent bays on Islay’s Atlantic west coast and stunning views.
Islay boasts some very fine hand craft shops which are worth a visit, such as the Persabus Pottery in Port Askaig, the Islay Woollen Mill near Bridgend and Tormisdale between Kilchiaran and Portnahaven. Islay House Square in Bridgend, located in the centre of Islay, is home to Islay Ales, the Islay Quilters and several other interesting shops.
In the centre of Bowmore, the administrative capital of Islay, is Bowmore Distillery which also warms the neighbouring Swimming Pool. Bowmore is also known for the Round Church which stands at the top of Main Street, overlooking the village. Further afield from Bowmore are Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Caol Ila, Ardnhoe and Bunnahabhain Distilleries. Nerar Port Ellen are the Southern distilleries of Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig, connected with a newly built pathway which runs to the pretty village of Port Ellen. All distilleries on Islay are welcoming visitors for a tour and dram.
There is the famous golf links at Machrie, where visitors are welcome. Islay is renowned for its huge variety of birds and wildlife and is home to the RSPB at Loch Gruinart which includes a worthy visitors centre. There are many rare winged visitors to Islay including barnacle geese in the winter time, chough and corncrake.
The historical significance of Islay cannot be over emphasised. It is from Finlaggan, the cradle of the Clan Donald, that much of Argyll was ruled by the Lords of the Isles. Here, in the ancient burial ground is the grave of Robert the Bruce’s grand-daughter, and there is a seasonal visitors’ cottage on-site.
More info and pictures can be found on the Ultimate Islay Guide which offers a wealth of information, history, accommodation, maps and photos. For useful info and practical tips please also read the Islay Holiday FAQ