Islay has woken up to the fact that its whisky distilleries are a major tourist attraction. Nowadays, just about every distillery offers guided tours, traditionally ending with a generous dram, and a refund (or discount) for your entrance fee if you buy a bottle in the shop. Phone ahead to make sure there’s a tour running, as times do change.

Ardbeg

Ardbeg is traditionally considered the saltiest, peatiest malt on Islay (and that’s saying something). The distillery has been thoroughly restored, yet it still has bags of character inside. The Old Kiln Café is excellent. Guided tours regularly.

Bowmore

Bowmore is the most touristy of the Islay distilleries, and by far the most central (with unrivalled disabled access). Daily guided tours.

Bruichladdich

Rescued in 2001 by a group of whisky fanatics, this independent distillery is building a new distillery in Port Charlotte. Guided tours.

Bunnahabhainn

A visit to Bunnahabhain (pronounced “Bunna-have-in”) is really only for whisky obsessives. The whisky is the least characteristically Islay and the distillery is only in production for a few months each year. Guided tours.

Kilchoman

Established in 2005, Kilchoman is a very welcoming, tiny, farm-based enterprise that grows its own barley, as well as distilling, maturing and bottling its whisky on site. The café serves good coffee, plus home-made soup and baking. Guided tours.

Lagavulin

Lagavulin is the classic, all-round Islay malt, with lots of smoke and peat and the distillery enjoys a fabulous setting. Guided tours.

Laphroaig

Another classic smoky, peaty Islay malt, and another great setting – you also get to see the malting and see and smell the peat kilns. Guided tours.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Scotland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
7 must-visit places in Scotland you've probably never heard of

7 must-visit places in Scotland you've probably never heard of

Scotland sports such a strong selection of tourist attractions – from castles and cabers to kilts and whisky – it’s easy to forget that there is much mor…

01 Mar 2017 • Robin McKelvie insert_drive_file Article
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
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