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Hotels in Islay

Known as the ‘Queen of the Hebrides' and famous for rich history, breathtaking scenery and malt whisky, Islay is a gem in Scotland's crown. Islay Hotels offer excellent access to this unique and spectacular destination.

History

Islay boasts some of the country's most far-reaching historical sites. Human activity on the island can be traced as far back as the Mesolithic period, and an impressive example of this prehistorical lineage is Dun Nosebridge, an Iron Age fort located to the southeast of Bridgend on the right bank of the River Laggan. The arrival of Scandinavian settlers in the 9th century led to Islay becoming part of the Norse Kingdom of the Isles, and remnants of this period can be found throughout the island. A standing stone at Carragh Bhan is said to mark the grave of the Norse-Gaelic ruler, Godred Crovan.

Walks

The dramatic landscape of Islay is best experienced on foot, and there are a number of excellent walks to enjoy that take in a range of landmarks. The routes can range in size from one to six miles, making them perfect for both family trips and romantic ambles through the Scottish countryside. The landmarks include Soldiers Rock; an impressive sea stack on the Oa peninsula, Machir Bay and Granny's Rock; an area with stunning views of the sea, and the Singing Sands, with a uniquely designed lighthouse commissioned in 1832 by Walter Frederick Campbell.

Whisky

Most people associate Islay with high-quality whisky, and the island has at least 11 different distilleries spread across it. Irish monks are believed to have introduced the process of making whisky to the Islay in the 14th century and, due to the abundance of peat, a ready fresh water supply and fertile ground for growing barley, the island proved to be the ideal place to making the drink. The southern distilleries produce whisky with a strong, peaty flavour, while the northern distilleries produce much milder flavours. Kilchoman is a charming distillery, the second smallest in Scotland, and features an informative talk and liberal tastings.

Birdwatching

Islay boasts a variety of habitats for wildlife and is home to over 100 different species of bird. Whether you're an experienced bird watcher or just curious about the local wildlife, the birdwatching community on the island is very helpful and holds regular trips. Don't let the stereotype fool you, birdwatching on Islay can include everything from climbing cliff faces to paddling through the water on a kayak or canoe.

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