About Islay

Islay is known as the Queen of the Hebrides...

...and is famous for its whisky distilleries, deer stalking and bird life. The island offers something for everyone and attracts thousands of visitors each year. Read more about our activities below:

 

Things to Do on Islay

 

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Islay Outdoors // Guided Tours

Donald MacPhee is a ‘Regional Affiliated Guide’ of the Scottish Tourists Guide Association (Green Badge) and can offer half and whole day or a series of days. The walks cover all parts of Islay, Jura & Colonsay’s beautiful landscapes.

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Bird Watching //

Islay boasts a wide variety of wonderful scenery and habitats offering amazing birding, with over 100 species being present on the island all year round. RSPB nature reserves on Islay are well worth a visit.

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Walking //

There are some beautiful walking routes on Islay, whether you fancy a nice woodland stroll, a beach walk or a more challenging climb. Have a word with your host to organise a guided walk with him.

 

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Golf //

Machrie Golf Links is now in the top 100 best courses in the world - an eighteen hole links course right along the shores of Laggan Bay.  The course is open to visitors and members.

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Beaches //

Islay has a diverse coastline and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. With rarely more than a couple of people on the beaches at any one time they are perfect to relax and get away from it all.

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Cycling //

Islay is perfect for cycling and there are several cycle hire places on the island. There are routes for beginners and season cyclists’ to explore the island. Find out more on Islay Info.

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Bowls //

There is a bowling green at Bridgend just opposite the Bridgend Hotel which is open throughout the summer season and welcomes visitors. Another bowling green is situated at Port Ellen Playing Fields.

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Fishing //

There is plenty of loch and river fishing for salmon and brown trout, as well as coastal sea fishing. Your host, Donald, can also organise fishing trips and fishing instruction. Have a word with him.

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Exploring //

Islay has a rich history and there are many interesting historical and archaeological sites on Islay to visit including Finlaggan; the centre of the Lordship of the Isles and the Kildalton Church and Cross dating back to around 800 A.D.

 

Distilleries

Islay is famous for its whisky and there are 9 distilleries on the Island (plus one on Jura) that each have their own character and charm.

 

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Ardbeg // Port Ellen

The ULTIMATE Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Rescued from ruin in 1997, the distillery now produces one of the most peaty whiskies in the world, beautifully balanced, complex and deep.
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Ardnahoe // Port Askaig

Ardnahoe prides itself on being a modern distillery, set beautifully in a stunning location, that employs rigorously traditional methods and values. The spirit being produced is sweet, smoky and smooth yet peaty and spicy – unique and dynamic to its very core.
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Bruichladdich // Islay

Our neighbours! Bruichladdich distillery produces artisanal Single Malt Whisky as it was in 1881. A sophisticated, complex, multilayered whisky - the ideal wine-drinkers dram.
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Bunnahabhain // Port Askaig

Situated in the north east of the island, the Bunnahabhain distillery is resemblant of a Bordeaux Chateaux. Known for its gentle, unique taste derived from the low peating levels of the fine malted barley.
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Bowmore // Bowmore

Located on the shores of Loch Indaal. A combination of peat, barley, sea breeze, water, wood, people and tradition that together creates the subtle, warm, smoky character of Bowmore Single Malt Whisky.
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Caol Ila // Port Askaig

Known as the “Sound of Islay”, in reference to its location overlooking the strait between Islay and Jura. A lighter Islay Malt, medium bodied with a rounder flavour. Peaty nose, floral notes, seaweed, iodine, medicinal, smoky salty and sweet with a dry peppery finish.
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Kilchoman // Rockside Farm

The first new distillery to be built on the island in 124 years. This boutique farm-based operation started production in 2005. In location it is unlike any of the other 7 distilleries which a re all by the sea.
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Laphroaig // Port Ellen

At the head of Loch Laphroiag on the south coast of Islay. They tell us there are 3 main ingredients for making Laphroaig, barley, water and yeast. But the secret ingredient is the people!
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Lagavulin // Port Ellen

One of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, described as an Aristocrat of Islay. Unmistakably powerful, peat smoke aroma. A classic Single Malt Whisky.
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