The fertile, largely treeless island of ISLAY is famous for one thing – single malt whisky. The smoky, peaty, pungent quality of Islay whisky is unique, recognizable even to the untutored palate, and most of the island’s distilleries offer fascinating guided tours, ending with the customary complimentary dram. In medieval times, Islay was the political centre of the Hebrides, with Finlaggan, near Port Askaig, the seat of the MacDonalds, lords of the Isles. The picturesque, whitewashed villages you see on Islay today, however, date from the planned settlements founded by the Campbells in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Apart from whisky and solitude, the other great draw is the bird life – there’s a real possibility of spotting a golden eagle, or the rare, crow-like chough, and no possibility at all of missing the scores of white-fronted and barnacle geese who winter here in their thousands.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Scotland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

8 great alternative UK city breaks

8 great alternative UK city breaks

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff… These are the usual suspects when visitors are thinking about UK city breaks. But there are actually 66 other cities to be explore…

22 Feb 2017 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
The most romantic places in the UK

The most romantic places in the UK

Whether your idea of romance is a stroll in the countryside or a sunset cocktail over one of the world's greatest cities, the United Kingdom isn't short of roma…

24 Jan 2017 • Phoebe Lowndes camera_alt Gallery
8 alternative UK winter breaks

8 alternative UK winter breaks

The UK gets pretty grim during the winter, with its dark, early nights and splutteringly cold weather. But if you can’t wait until spring to start having fun …

07 Nov 2016 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month