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Ideal for a relaxing twin island getaway - with or without the whisky!
Just how wonderful is it to spend a few days relaxing in two lovely seafront hotels surrounded by heather-clad hills, deserted sandy beaches and numerous historical reminders of days gone by? The answer is, ‘very’. Return flights from Glasgow, car hire and two delightful hotels, each serving menus of outstanding local produce, make this a marvellous double island getaway. Add to this time to explore the isle of Jura, with an exhilarating boat trip included too.
Jura is dominated by the wilderness of the Paps, its distinctive mountain range, and boasts many more deer than people. Neighbouring Islay offers a more rolling landscape, with deep coastal inlets and historical ruins, including the ancient seat of the Lords of the Isles. And did we mention that Islay has more whisky distilleries than any other Scottish island?
Much of the romance has been removed from modern air travel, especially on short-haul flights. Flying to Islay couldn’t be more different. In a turboprop craft with 34 seats, cruising at just 8,000 feet over some of the world’s most breath-taking scenery, this is a flight to remember, leaving the bustling city behind and in around 40 minutes landing amidst the tranquillity and beauty of the Isle of Islay (pronounced eye-lah). Collect your hire car at the airport and make for your hotel just beyond the ‘capital’ village of Bowmore.
Your hotel on Islay
Situated near the 18th-century ‘island capital’ of Bowmore, this family-owned hotel is in a most peaceful location and has recently been brought up to date with a full refurb of its neat en-suite bedrooms. Downstairs, the timber-lined bar/ restaurant features a cosy log fire, a fine home-cooked menu of local treats and a superb selection of malts, expertly curated by the family themselves.
Once the ancestral seat of the Lords of the Isles, Islay is a fertile island of low heather-clad hills, attractive beaches, numerous historical sites and more whisky distilleries than any other Scottish island! (We can help and advise on arranging tours of any which are of interest.)
A haven for hill-walkers and bird-watchers, it is home to the huge Loch Gruinart bird sanctuary and its vast numbers of migrating geese. In the island capital, Bowmore you can visit the unusual Round Church (no corners for the devil to hide in!) or, if history is your thing, the Museum of Island Life in Port Charlotte is well worth a visit, as are the ruins of Finlaggan Castle, home of the Macdonald chiefs, and Kildalton Chapel with its early Christian cross.
Take the short ferry crossing from Port Askaig on Islay to Feolin on Jura and you’ll be immediately struck by the contrasts between these neighbouring islands. Where Islay is fertile and relatively populous, Jura is mountainous, at times visually intimidating and seemingly deserted – and these are Jura’s USPs.
A 30-minute drive from Feolin along an often-empty single-track road brings you to the village of Craighouse, the island’s main settlement, where you’ll find your accommodation for the next two days.
During your stay you will enjoy an exhilarating RiB boat trip with our local guide, giving the chance to see some of the island from a very different perspective.
With just 200-or-so inhabitants sharing the island with over 6,000 deer, it’s pretty easy to get away from it all on Jura. George Orwell lived here in the 1940s in a remote farmhouse while he finished Nineteen Eighty-Four, and a four-mile trek from the end of the road north of your hotel is what’s required to visit the house today. Not for the casual walker!
Jura is teeming with wildlife, with 100 or more species of bird, including golden and sea eagles, hen harriers, buzzards and various owls. Seals can easily be spotted on the shore, basking on the rocks, and if you’re really lucky you might spot an otter or two. Simply walk or drive the road around the island to catch a glimpse of any number of species. There’s fabulous walking on Jura for the novice and expert alike; your hotel hosts will be only too happy to advise you of the best routes at whatever level you prefer. There is bike hire just a short walk from your hotel, and on calmer days this is a great way to see more of the island.
You may have time to do a little more exploring today, or just relax and watch the world go by for a couple of hours, before making your way back to the ferry to Islay, and your return flight to Glasgow.
Fly from Glasgow or Edinburgh to Islay, then ferry to Jura.
£995 per person for March & November, £1025 per person for April & October and £1075 per person for May to September.
Prices based on two people sharing a room for five nights on a bed & breakfast basis. The holiday also includes return flights from Glasgow, the hire of an economy size car during your stay, and a boat trip while on Jura.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
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This holiday can be arranged from March until October, starting any day of the week apart from Saturdays.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
Clear understanding of the detail. Created a sense of personal commitment to the success of the tour.Andrew & Elizabeth, Sydney, Australia