Your Holiday starts here
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 9 world famous whisky distilleries, with another distillery on the neighbouring Isle of Jura. If whisky is not to your taste the island also produces the Botanist Gin at Bruichladdich Distillery, Nerabus Gin on the Rhinns of Islay and Lussa gin on the neighbouring Isle of Jura.
There are nine whisky distilleries
to visit on Islay ( for information on opening times and visits during 2021 follow the link Distillery Opening Times | Homepage | Persabus), wildlife and beautiful scenery.
On the Farm
we have Highland cows and Hebridean sheep as well as horses, dogs and cats. You will get the opportunity to see many varieties of birds at Persabus. 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
Pop along to our studio where you will see pottery being painted by hand with Islay inspired designs. Enjoy browsing our unique and original pieces on sale. Feeling creative? Enjoy one of our Persabus ‘Takeaway Pottery Painting’ kits. We will glaze and fire the finished items for you at the pottery for collection a day or so later. No time to pop in? Do visit our online pottery shop. We post out to addresses within the UK.
Walks close to Persabus
Lily Loch and Loch Ballygrant
Enjoy walking along a beautiful track which takes you through woodland past Lily Loch and Loch Ballygrant. Simply walk down the single track road from the farm towards the main road. Cross the main road to the lifeboat houses. To the left of the houses is a track which follows the main road heading for Port Askaig. Stay on this track, it will lead you to the gate, opposite Caol ila road end. Go through the gate and follow the track to the right. Walk down to Lilly Loch where you will see beautiful lillies in flower in late June and early July. At Lily Loch you can take a right and follow the track all the way to Ballygrant, just head right along the single track road at the end of the woods and right again and you will come to the main road. A track follows this main road and takes you eventually back to the lifeboat houses opposite Persabus road end.
You can also take a left at Lily Loch, follow the track up a slight hill and then take the first left. This track will eventually lead you through woodland to a small pebble bay on the Sound of Islay, or on your way along the track look out for a track to your left up the hillside. You will come to slate bench. Here there are panoramic views of the Sound of Islay. Sit back and watch the ferry sail down the Sound of Islay.
Walks at Bunnahabhain
If you drive along the single track road towards Bunnahabhain Distillery, just before the final bend down to the distillery you will see a track on your left. Park on the grass here. You can follow the track, crossing at the bridge, all the way through the forest to Balulive Farm, and walk on along the road to Finlaggan.
Alternatively at the gate follow the track just past the old stone sheep fank. Turn right and go through the deer gate. Follow the track over the bridge and enjoy a hike out along this spectacular coastline. Watch seals, oystercatchers, eagles and deer in this stunning wilderness. For a long hike, take a few hours and follow the track to Rhuvaal lighthouse on Islay’s north coast.
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
Islay Sea Adventures
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.
Enjoy guided walks, wildlife walks, fishing trips and bird watching expeditions with former gamekeeper and local man Donald James MacPhee. Please visit the website for more information Islay Outdoors – Guided Tours on the Scottish Isle of Islay
Kayak Wild Islay and Fat-Bike Islay
Choose from sea kayaking or fat bike tours to explore these beautiful islands – operating from May 3 2021. Please call to book on Mondays (please note there are no trips on Tuesdays or Wednesdays) See website for more details Kayak Wild Islay – Explore Islay & Jura (islayjura.com)
Play on golf on the famous Machrie Links Golf Course. A half hour drive away from Persabus Farm. You can also book a golf lesson with the in-house Pro at the Machrie.
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. Enjoy watching a variety of birds from the hide or go on one of the guided walks at the RSPB Nature Reserve at Loch Gruinart. The Visitor Information Centre is currently closed in 2021.
Finlaggan 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.
The Museum of Islay Life
Step back in time and delve into 12,000 years of Islay’s history. Situated in the fishing village of Port Charlotte. In 2021 the Museum of Islay Life is open April – October, Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 4.30pm (max of 12-15 persons at a time, depending on configuration). More information can be found on the website
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
The Kildalton Cross
Along the road from Ardbeg, is a monolithic high cross and was erected more than 1,200 years ago and still stands in its original location. A definite must see when exploring Islay’s history.
With beautiful beaches,cycle hire and plenty of walks. These are just some of the exciting things on offer on Islay.
The Whisky Distilleries
Persabus is the gateway to the north Islay distilleries. For information on Distillery Opening Times and visiting times for spring and summer 2021 please click here
Ardnahoe Distillery is a fifteen-minute walk from Persabus along the single-track road. It is Islay’s latest distillery. Our eldest daughter worked with the team at Ardnahoe Distillery in the early days when the distillery was at the very early stages of being developed. Ardnahoe Distillery has a visitor centre with a gift shop and a café offering breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas. 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
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
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
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/
isitor Centre is currently closed but you can still visit this ancient site. For more information on Finlaggan visit the website here.
The MacTaggart Leisure Centre
In 2021 currently only open for pre-booked swimming lessons. Under review Home Page (mactaggartleisurecentre.co.uk)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. Children’s programmes, with inflatables and fun sessions as well as swimming lessons are on offer.
Islay Woollen Mill
Visit Islay’s working tweed mill at Bridgend for traditional Islay tweeds and gifts. Opening times in 2021 are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm. Face masks must be worn when visiting the mill. Hand sanitiser is provided and we request this to be used when entering the shop. Gloves can be requested to help protect you and our staff. Islay Woollen Mill, Online Shop, Tweed, Braveheart, Souvenirs, Country Clothing Islay
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.
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.
Jura Water Activities
Boat tours start from May 22. Watersports including Canadian Canoes and paddleboards will be available from either Criaghuse or Corran and are planned for later in the year. Visit the website for more details. Jura Boat Tours