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Our top 10 things to do on Islay

See the very best of Islay

We’ve curated a list of our favourite things to do on Islay, from walking routes, swimming spots, golf lessons, boat trips, distilleries and wildlife tours. Discover the very best of Islay.

1. Take a tour of a whisky distillery

And there are nine to choose from…!

Our favourites include Ardbeg on the east side of the Island and Caol Ila to the north, but each has a unique character, views and history.

2. Discover the island on foot

Choose from our selection of walking routes, or take your pick from your copy of Islay, Jura, Colonsay by Paul and Helen Webster

3. Spot wildlife at the RSPB Reserves

There are two on the island, The Oa along the south coast is where you will see Golden Eagles , seals and wild goats. Loch Gruinart is where David Attenborough filmed the Greenland Barnacle Geese for the BBC’s recent Wild Isles series.

The RSPB take guided tours on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Chough photographed by David Dinsley

Photo credit: David Dinsley

4. Oyster Shack, Loch Gruinart

Dine on the largest oysters overlooking the oyster farm in the Loch.

5. Tunnocks by the fire

Skewer a Tunnocks Teacake (or giant marshmallow) and roast it over an open fire on the beach.

Tunnock teacake on the fire

6. Swim in the sea

Take at dip in the sea at Kilnaughton Bay and Singing Sands as you wander up to Carraig Fhada lighthouse.

Kilnaughton Bay

7. Visit the sandy shores of the western side of Islay

A short drive from the hotel, the west side of the island has several sandy beaches to explore.

Sandy beach on Islay

8. Pizza on the beach at Port Ellen

Sea Salt Bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and take-away pizza.

Peat-zeria in Bowmore is also worth a visit for pizza-with-a-view.

9. Three Distilleries walkway

If you cant decide which distillery to visit, take in three in an afternoon, by walking or cycling the three mile pathway from Port Ellen, to Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

Bike hire in Port Ellen with Islay Wheels.

10. Take a lesson with The Machrie’s golf pro, David Foley

Learn to swing, drive and putt on one of the best golf courses in the UK.

Golf lessons on Islay at The Machrie

Don’t miss… Exploring Islay’s coastline by boat

A 2.5 hour wildlife trip with Islay Sea Adventures around the eastern shores including Islay’s Special Area of Conservation which can only be seen from the sea. Spot seals, rare birds, red deer and dolphins.

Stay on Islay

Come on a Scottish island adventure with us to The Machrie this August and discover all there is to do and more…