How do I get to Islay? You can fly to Islay with Flybe from Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Glasgow, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Kirkwall, Manchester and Southampton. However, most of these flights are via Glasgow. Hebridean Air run a Tuesday and Thursday day return flight from Oban and Colonsay. To get to Islay on the Caledonian Macbrayne Car Ferry, you need to drive to Kennacriag on the Kintyre peninsula. From here there is a ferry to Port Ellen and to Port Askaig (depending on the sailing you require). It is also possible to get to Islay from Oban, via Colonsay on Wednesdays, with the Summer timetable. To travel throughout Scotland and the UK, you can book your tickets through The Trainline.
How do I get around Islay? There is a Bus service that can take you to Ardbeg, Port Ellen, Bowmore, Bridgend, Port Askaig and Portnahaven - all the main villages on Islay. There is Taxi hire available at Rhinns, Lamonts and Fiona's taxis. Car hire is available at Islay Car Hire and D & N Mackenzie's.
What's worth visiting on Islay? There are eight distilleries on Islay. They are Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin and Laphroaig. Most of the distilleries have tours where visitors are welcome to watch the production process or better still, sample a ‘dram’ or two. Definitely worth a visit is the Museum of Islay Life, which is located in Port Charlotte. It is located in the former Free Church of Port Charlotte and
includes collections reflecting the history of the island. Finlaggan in the North East of the island, is a small island in the middle of Loch Finlaggan. It was the headquarters of the Lords of the Isles, former rulers of the Hebrides and Kintyre.
Where can I stay on Islay? There are several hotels on Islay including the Port Charlotte Hotel, Bridgend Hotel and Lochside Hotel. There are numerous Bed and Breakfasts including the excellent Samchair near Port Ellen, The Monachs in Nerabus and Glenegedale Guest House, located near the airport.
There is self catering accommodation available at Lagmore House in Portnahaven, Arichalloch Cottages in Ballimony and Ballivicar Apartments in Port Ellen. Also, there are Campsites at Kintra Farm in Kintra and at the Port Mor Centre in Port Charlotte. There is also a Hostel in Port Charlotte, housed in an old whisky warehouse!
Are there any books/DVD's about Islay?
- Peat Smoke and Spirit: A Portrait of Islay and its Whiskies by Andrew Jefford,
- Islay: The Land of the Lordship by David Caldwell,
- Walking on Jura, Islay and Colonsay (British Mountains) by Peter Edwards,
- Old Islay by Gilbert Carmichael,
- Islay and Jura (Images of Scotland) by George Robertson,
- Islay: Biography of an Island by Margaret C. Storrie.
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