Things to See and Do

With nine whisky distilleries to visit on Islay , wildlife and beautiful scenery, your holiday starts here.

On the Farm you will see many varieties of birds. Our visitors include Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles, Choughs, Swallows, Corncrakes, Sparrow Hawks and Hen Harriers. Deer roam freely on the hillside.

Persabus Pottery and Ceramic Café, offers painting workshops, delicious home baking, sandwiches, great coffee and a variety of loose leaf teas. Pottery gifts on sale are all exclusive to Islay and the designs are hand-painted on the premises before each piece is glazed and fired.

There are distillery visits, sea adventures, bird watching, pony trekking and walking. Wild Islay Birding, Sanaigmore and Ballivicar pony trekking centres, Islay Sea Adventures and the RSPB all offer organised activities.

Visit Finlaggan, Ancient Seat of the Lords of the Isles, The Museum of Islay Life and the Kildalton Cross.

With beautiful beaches,cycle hire and plenty of walks. These are just some of the exciting things on offer on Islay.

About

Islay is also known as the Queen of the Hebrides. It is the most southerly island in the Inner Hebrides. It is well known for its wildlife and birdlife. There are well over one hundred species of wild birds frequenting its shores. Surrounded by rugged coastline with miles of unspoilt beaches it boasts spectacular sunrises and sunsets. It has a world famous 18 hole Links golf course at the Machrie and 8 world famous whisky distilleries, with Ardnahoe Distillery opening late this year.

Whisky Distilleries

Persabus is the gateway to the north Islay distilleries.

Ardnahoe Distillery is a fifteen-minute walk from Persabus along the single-track road. It is Islay’s latest distillery. Our eldest daughter has worked with the team at Ardnahoe Distillery in the early days when the distillery was the very early stages of being developed. Tours and tastings can be booked via Ardnahoe Distillery’s website https://ardnahoedistillery.com/

Caol ila Distillery  shares a boundary with Persabus Farm. It is a fifteen-minute walk along the farm track from Persabus. Caol ila and Lagavullin Distilleries are owned by Diageo.

Lagavullin Distillery is in the south of Islay. A bus service operates between Port Askaig and Lagavullin.The bus stop is a five-minute walk from Persabus.

Tours and tastings for Caol ila Distillery and Lagavullin Distillery can be booked via their website

https://www.malts.com/en-row/distilleries/caol-ila/

https://www.malts.com/en-row/distilleries/lagavulin/

Bunnahabhain Distillery is a 45-minute walk from Persabus. Bunnahabhain Distillery can trace its origins back to 1873. Our children have worked as tour guides at Bunnahabhain Distillery for several summers. We are on hand to help with any questions you may have. Tours and tastings at Bunnahabhain Distillery can be booked via their website

https://bunnahabhain.com/

Laphroaig Distillery is in the south of Islay. It is a forty-minute drive from Persabus. Buses also operate between Port Askaig and Laphroaig. Our son has in the past worked as a tour guide at Laphroaig Distillery. He took visitors on water to whisky tours as well as warehouse tours. We are on hand to help with any questions you may have. Tours and tastings at Laphroaig Distillery can be booked via their website

https://www.laphroaig.com/

Bruichladdich Distillery is located on the south western tip of Islay. Our son has worked in the bottling hall at Bruichladdich Distillery and our eldest daughter was a tour guide there for several summers. Bruichladdich Distillery is also home of the Botanist Gin. At Persabus Farm we grow barley for Bruichladdich Distillery. Tours and tastings at Bruichladdich Distillery can be booked via their website https://www.bruichladdich.com/

Kilchoman Distillery is Islay’s Farm Distillery. It is the smallest distillery on the island. It grows its own barley at Kilchoman. It has a fantastic restaurant and shop which is open during the daytime. It is also close to Machir Bay one of Islay’s most spectacular beaches. Tours and tastings at Kilchoman Distillery can be booked via their website https://kilchomandistillery.com/

Bowmore Distillery is situated in the heart of Bowmore. Bowmore is the main village on Islay. It is a 20-minute drive from Persabus. Buses also operate between Port Askaig and Bowmore.

Tours and tastings at Bowmore Distillery can be booked via their website https://www.bowmore.com/

Jura Distillery On the neighbouring Isle of Jura we have Jura Distillery. The ferry to Jura runs from Port Askaig which is a five-minute drive away. The ferry does not have to be booked. It operates regularly on a daily basis. Tours and tastings can be booked via their website https://jurawhisky.com/

Jura is also home to Lussa gin https://www.lussagin.com/

RSPB Nature Reserve

Visit the RSPB Nature Reserve at Loch Gruinart and see one of the top wildlife sites in Scotland. The reserve has various habitats. These include mudflats, saltmarsh, wet grassland, moorland, blanket bog and broadleaved woodland. These habitats encourage and support a huge variety of birdlife and wildlife. 

Wild Islay Birding

At Wild Islay Birding Gary Turnball offers bespoke wildlife and bird tours. You can book tours with Gary taking in not just the bird life but also get a chance to see deer and otters in their natural environment.

  www.wildislaybirding.co.uk

Golf

Play on golf on the famous Machrie Links Golf Course. A half hour drive away from Persabus Farm.

Fishing

On Islay there are plenty of varied fishing opportunities. Sea fishing from the coastline or book a fishing adventure and go out on a boat with Islay Sea Adventures.

Fly fishing tuition or guided fly fishing experiences can be booked with John McCallum. John McCallum has represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and many international and national competitions. He is the director at Fly Fish Islay, offering fishing trips to suit your needs. All equipment can be provided by John.

Islay offers the opportunity for both Loch and river fishing. Boats can be hired for a days fishing on a local Loch. Persabus is located close to Loch Ballygrant, Loch Aline and Loch Ardnahoe. Salmon or trout fishing can be arranged with the local estates by contacting their offices, and  Loch Permits can be bought there also Dunlossit Estate Office and Islay Estate Office

Book an adventure with Islay Sea Adventures. The boat tours on offer allow you to experience a wealth of Islay’s wildlife. Seals, porpoises, otters and many varieties of seabirds are among the wildlife you may get to experience on your trip. Picnics and feasts of freshly cooked seafood can also be arranged on your trip.

Clay Pigeon Shooting

Fancy trying out clay pigeon shooting? Islay Clay Pigeons offer group and individual instruction from a clay pigeon qualified instructor. All levels of clay pigeon shooters are welcome from beginners to the advanced. Just give Mark Piper a call on 01496840120 or make an enquiry via their website

Finlaggan

Finalggan is the ancient seat of the Lords of the Isles. It is just over the hill from Persabus. A short drive away, or  a 45 minute walk. At Loch Finlaggan you can access the island of Eilean Mòr (the Large Island) via a wooden walkway. Eilean na Comhairle (the Council Island) is just across the water. The islands have the old ruins buildings from the days when the Lords of the Isles ruled from Loch Finlaggan. It was on these islands the inauguration of the MacDonalds, Lord of the Isles took place. The Lords of the Isles were descended from Somerled.  The lords, the chiefs of Clan Donald, lived at Finlaggan.  This was the centre of their Lordship. Islay is often referred to as the Cradle of Clan Donald.

You can visit the historical site and the visitor centre at Finlaggan.

The Museum of Islay Life

Visit the Museum of Islay Life and step back in time. The museum offers a wonderful insight into the history of the island and its shores. Step back in time as you can see exhibits of all sorts of pieces from yesteryear and beyond. It is well worth a visit.

www.islaymuseum.org

The MacTaggart Leisure Centre

based in the heart of Bowmore the MacTaggart Leisure centre has a heated swimming pool, sauna and gym. The perfect place to relax and unwind or work on your fitness.

Childrens programmes, with inflatables and fun sessions as well as swimming lessons are on offer.

Islay Woollen Mill

visit the working mill and shop at Bridgend for traditional Islay tweed and gifts.

Islay House Square

for shopping and brewery and Community Garden. You can visit the Islay Quilters and see their beautiful sewing and quilting work.

At the brewery, Islay Ales, you can sample and buy craft produced ales.

Pony Trekking

is available at Ballivicar Farm and Sanaigmore.

Cycle hire

from Jim Lutomski in Port Ellen www.lutomskiart.co.uk

Beaches and walks

Islay has a dramatic and beautiful coastline and landscape. here are so many beautiful walks. Close by you can walk through Dunlossit woods to Ballygrant, or down through the woods to the pebble beaches of the Sound of Islay.

Along the coastline out past Bunnahabhain Distillery to Rhuval lighthouse. Or along the forestry track back to Balulive, towards Finlaggan.

Through the woods at Bridgend. Here there are a variety of tracks along the River Sorn.

Annual events and festivals:

Walk Islay, Islay Beach Rugby, Islay Half Marathon, Islay Agricultural Show, Islay Book FestivalIslay Jazz Festival and the Ride of the Falling Rain.