Isle Develop CIC

Isle of Islay

Queen of the Hebrides and whisky capital of the world


With nine whisky distilleries in an island no bigger than Anglesey, it’s fair to say whisky pulses through Islay’s veins and is a pilgrimage destination for whisky lovers.

Port Charlotte 1 - Richard Grant

It’s the ideal place for bird watchers keen to see the beautiful hen harriers, majestic golden eagles and rare choughs.

Best known for their peaty smoky taste, Islay has definitely nailed the process of whisky making. Using peat gives 'Islay malts' their distinct flavours, some might say they’re the best in the world. Sláinte!


It doesn’t stop at whisky production, there are now three gin distilleries in Islay too. 

Whatever your tipple, there’s no shortage of choices. One thing’s for sure the expertise is undisputed and the emphasis is most certainly on quality.


Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, just forty kilometres north of Northern Ireland’s coastline. It’s said to have been inhabited since the Mesolithic era (about 6000 years ago) and like many of the islands, it has an extremely rich tapestry of natural and human history.


It’s home to bustling communities and plays host to festivals and events, including Fѐis Ìle, or the Islay Festival of Malt and Music. Happening the last week of May, the festival is a delightful celebration of local heritage and culture, showcasing music, dance, and fantastic local produce. Expect ceilidhs and community events, and a dram or two.


In the month of June Islay hosts an annual beach rugby tournament; the only one of its kind in the UK. Best described as a barefoot grapple across White Hart beach, with as many as 30 teams competing to be ‘beach rugby champions’. Great fun!


The island is also renowned for its spectacular seascapes and landscapes. It’s the ideal place for bird watchers keen to see the beautiful hen harriers, majestic golden eagles and rare choughs.


We recommend a visit to: 

  • Museum of Islay Life. Home to a collection of two thousand fascinating artefacts, offering glimpses of island life over the millennia.
  • Kildalton. An incredible Celtic cross that has stood for more than 1,200 years.
  • Dun Nosebridge. The remains of an ancient Iron Age fort.
  • The MacTaggart Leisure Centre: This state-of-the-art facility, opened in 1991, provides plenty of relaxation options after a full day of exploration.
  • Bowmore Distillery: Not only the first distillery recorded on Islay but also one of the first in Scotland, Bowmore Distillery offers tours of the building for whiskey enthusiasts. There are nine more distilleries to choose from, all exceptional. Ardbeg is 203 years old!
  • Islay Sea Adventures: As the sole boat tour company on Islay, Islay Sea Adventures adds a sense of adventure to your visit as you sail around the island, spotting its many beautiful animal inhabitants.
Islay ferry  - Richard Grant

For more information, visit the Islay Info website or download their app.

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