What to Expect
This tour takes you away to a Scottish island paradise. Stunning scenery, ancient history, traditional culture and 8 of Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries… what more can you ask for?
Tour departs from Edinburgh at 0800 and from Glasgow at 0900. If you wish to book the Glasgow departure, please let us know at time of booking.
Today you will spend the day travelling to the “Queen of the Hebrides” – Islay. From Scotland’s capital you head west to our largest city; Glasgow. You will make a brief stop to pick up the last of our guests, before continuing on to Loch Lomond; Scotland’s largest loch.
As you continue your tour, breathtaking views unfold as you turn north along Loch Lomond’s western shore and, if you are lucky, you will see the slopes of Ben Lomond rising above the water. This is Rob Roy Country and, as you leave the loch side and wind your way up into The Highlands, you guide will fill your ears with tales of cattle rustling and ancient Highland Clans.
After a stop for coffee you will head into the high mountains of Crianlarich and on towards the longest loch in Scotland; Loch Awe. The picturesque, Victorian fishing-harbour of Oban awaits you for lunch. There is time to visit the Oban Distillery, enjoy a fresh seafood lunch or just wander along the harbour.
After lunch you will turn south to Kilmartin Glen, where over 5000 years of history are waiting to be discovered. See standing stones, ancient burial mounds and stone carvings before continuing down the Campbeltown Peninsula to Kennacriag, to catch the evening ferry to Islay. It is then just a short drive to get to your accommodation for the next 3 nights, and enjoy a well-earned whisky.
Day Two and Three
With two full days to explore the island, you are spoilt for choice of things to do. The exact itinerary on each day will be dictated by the weather and your guide. This allows for as much flexibility as possible, in order to get the most from your Islay experience.
To find out more about what makes Islay whiskies so special, you will visit a number of the island’s distilleries and take a guided tour. There will, of course, be an opportunity to sample the whisky during these visits, as well as tastings at some distilleries we don’t have time to take a full tour at.
Islay is home to some of the world’s most famous whiskies: the smoky and peaty Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin, on the south coast; the lighter Bruichladdich, near Port Charlotte; Bowmore, the oldest working distillery on Islay; Kilchoman, the newest and smallest and the biggest producer on the island; Caol Ila.
Along the way, you will discover why Islay is famous for so much more than whisky. A visit to the Kildalton Cross will transport you back in time more than 1200 years and you will discover the ancient seat of the Lords of the Isles at Finlaggan. Wildlife abounds on Islay so keep your eyes open for golden eagles, seals, otters, whales, dolphins, wild geese, red deer and much more.
You will discover traditional villages clinging to the rough Atlantic Coastline, ruined castles, golden beaches and a proud Gaelic culture as you explore the most amazing of Hebridean Islands.
Leaving Islay on the morning ferry, you say farewell to paradise as you pass the 3 distilleries clinging to the rocky south coast. Arriving back on the mainland, the journey begins back to Edinburgh and Glasgow. On the way home, you will drive along Loch Fyne to the beautiful village of Inveraray , the home of the infamous Clan Campbell. Stopping here will give you the chance to visit the castle, enjoy a traditional lunch in a local pub or restaurant or stock up on whisky at the world-famous Loch Fyne Whisky Shop.
Leaving the coast, you now turn inland and over the high mountain pass of The Rest and be Thankful. As the road twists and turns through the Trossachs, you will be rewarded with some exceptional scenery. It is now just a short drive Glasgow and Edinburgh where you will leave the tour feeling relaxed and refreshed after discovering one of Scotland’s best kept secrets – the secret that is the Isle of Islay.
What is included in the tour price?
· Minibus transport with a maximum of 16 guests
· Return ferries to Islay
· 3 nights accommodation on Islay*
· Services of a professional driver/guide
· Distillery tours of Oban, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Kilchoman**
· Tastings at Ardbeg and Bruichladdich
· A unique warehouse experience and cask tasting at Lagavulin
· A sample of Islay Ale and a taste of local seafood
· Tea and coffee
· A few surprises…
Meals and refreshments (other than breakfast) and entrance fees to extra attractions not listed above not included. Lunches will either be taken at locally owned eateries or will be picnic style.
* accommodation is on a B&B basis in the beautifully restored Bowmore distillery cottage or 3/4 star en-suite B&B with breakfast included.. Whenever possible, this will be in Bowmore. However, due to the nature of the island, occasionally some accommodation may be in a different area. The price is based on 2 sharing a twin or double room. There is an additional supplement of £75 based on single occupancy. Due to the nature of the Bowmore Cottages, please be aware that not all of the bedrooms have lockable doors and not everyone will receive a key.
**Due to various reasons (weather, closures and special events) it may not always be possible to visit all distilleries mentioned. Please be aware that, if this is the case, we will ensure that suitable alternatives are found.