Islay is the most southerly island of the Inner Hebrides known as The Queen of the Hebrides with a population of approximately 3500, boasting an abundance of interesting flora & fauna. In particular, Islay is well known for its birdlife with well over one hundred species frequenting its shores.The climate on Islay is mild, being warmed by the Gulf Stream and in the Summer the many golden unspoilt beaches are very inviting. The famous Islay sunsets can be particularly spectacular!! There is plenty to do and visit on Islay:
A visit to Islay would not be complete without a visit to one of the eight working world famous distilleries. Daily tours are available and both Ardbeg and Kilchoman have lovely cafes where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch or coffee often accompanied by a local dram. Links to the distillery websites are as follows: Ardbeg Distillery Port Ellen Bruichladdich Distillery Caol Ila Distillery Lagavulin Distillery Bowmore Distillery Bunnahabhain Distillery Kilchoman Distillery Laphroaig Distillery
Golf is well catered for on Islay at the Machrie. It is a challenging 18 hole championship links course which is ranked among the top 100 courses in the UK.
Bowmore is the administrative centre of Islay, with shops, bars and resturants and also the Mactaggart Leisure Centre which has a 25m pool,sauna and gym if you feel the need to burn off a few calories.
Islay is home to several site of historic interest, including the Kildalton Cross, standing stones at Kilbride, ruins at Dunyvaig and the American Monument which commemorates a shipwreck of WW1. There is also a Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte, where artifacts found on Islay dating back as early as 8000 BC can be viewed.
Cycling, walking and hiking are also very popular persuits on Islay with many great routes all surrounded by unspoilt scenery and wildlife
Many Annual events and festivals are held on Islay, such as Feis Ile, Islay Festival of the Sea, Walk Islay, Islay Beach Rugby, Islay Half Marathon, Islay Agricultural Show, Islay Book Festival, Islay Jazz Festival and the Ride of the Falling Rain.
Information about all events on Islay can be found at islayinfo.com