Perched on the shores of Loch Indaal, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and spectacular wildlife, Bowmore is a town unlike any other. Vibrant, friendly and with a rich history, Bowmore is the capital of Islay and home to almost one-third of the island’s population.
Islay has a distinctive atmosphere that is as unique as the whisky it produces. It’s a rugged and remote island, with a wild beauty and at times even wilder weather!
Rain or shine, you’ll always find a cheery welcome on Islay. Known as Ileachs, the islanders here will greet you with warmness, as keen to know about you as they are to share their stories of life on an island dedicated to producing the highest quality single malt Scotch whisky.
Islay is home to eight whisky distilleries, with a ninth on the eve of opening. A visit to Islay must be high on the list for whisky lovers across the world!
Yet if whisky isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty to see and do. Hire bikes to explore ancient ruins and the 130 miles of stunning coastline, including gorgeous and unspoilt sandy beaches. Join a boat tour and go on a sea safari to meet the local seal colony, and maybe catch a glimpse of dolphins, porpoises or basking sharks. Golfing, pony-trekking, fishing and bird-watching are also popular among visitors, as are the island’s craft shops and museums. And with about half of Islay’s population speaking Gaelic, you can even enjoy a few language lessons!
The picturesque town of Bowmore is the capital of Islay, known for its pretty whitewashed houses, tiny stone-built harbour and the famous Bowmore Round Church. Sitting at the top of Main Street, this iconic building commands impressive views over the village, Loch Indaal and beyond. Definitely worth a visit.
Surrounded by plentiful waters, you’ll find delicious seafood in many of Islay’s local restaurants, freshly caught by Islay’s fishermen.
We recommend a visit to The Harbour Inn to enjoy a mouthwatering dinner with a magnificent view and fresh Islay oysters. Don’t forget to try the famous Bowmore Oyster Luge while you are there!
As well as The Harbour Inn, you can also find delightful accommodation at the Bowmore Cottages, located at the Bowmore Distillery. Dating from the 1840s, these unique cottages are luxurious and highly soughtafter! From the Distillery House, once home to the Distillery Cooper, to the old Maltman’s Cottage, you’ll be able to have a glimpse at what life was like for the Bowmore’s distillery workers and their families.
Getting to Islay
By Road and Ferry
If you plan to drive to Islay, Calmac operates a two-hour ferry crossing from Kennacraig on the Kintyre Peninsula, seven days a week. Kennacraig is 100 miles from Glasgow, but the scenic drive takes you past beautiful Loch Lomond and Loch Fyne – a treat in itself! There’s also a regular bus service from Glasgow.
For further information on ferry timetables, visit www.calmac.co.uk.
Loganair operates twice daily flights from Glasgow to Islay, taking just 35 minutes. Islay’s airport is just a few miles south of Bowmore. For further information, visit www.loganair.co.uk.
The pace of life is much slower on Islay, so you’re unlikely to find yourself in a rush to get anywhere.
Though not essential, you might want to rent a car during your stay. Islay Car Hire offer great service. With single-track roads and not a single traffic light, you should find driving an enjoyable and stress-free experience, with plenty of passing places and friendly smiles from fellow travellers. Local buses and taxis are also available if you plan to leave the car and enjoy our single malt Scotch whisky.
You can find our distillery in the centre of the town of Bowmore. But ask anyone and they will point you in the right direction!