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Whale-watching from Mull

Enjoy the delights of Mull and the thrill of a memorable wildlife experience

*As featured in the Guardian Travel  from 13th June 2015*

“You never forget spotting your first whale!” Emma Cook – The Guardian

Spotting a whale in the wild is still one of the greatest thrills in nature.  Join our full day whale watch accompanied throughout by knowledgeable and enthusiastic marine biologists who will help you spot minke whales, basking sharks, dolphins and porpoise as well as a diverse range of native seabirds.  You can even do your bit by helping out with data collection.  A simply unforgettable experience – and all easily accessible from the central belt of Scotland and therefore from any of the main airports or other travel routes.

We have arranged this unique holiday in co-operation with one of the most experienced whale watch companies in the UK.  Your holiday will include a full day’s whale watching and you’ll also have plenty of time to explore the rest of the island, which boasts a highly diverse eco-system.

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Late April to late Sept

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Day One – Journey to the Isle of Mull

Your journey starts as you take a 45 minute ferry ride from Oban to Mull and make your way to your base for the next three nights.  We offer a choice of hotels both around half an hour’s drive from the ferry port.

Day Two – Whale-watching trip

Your whale -watching trip departs from Tobermory this morning. The trip lasts up to seven hours, visiting the whale and dolphin grounds. After a short introduction by the skipper, marine experts will be on-hand to guide you through the day and answer your questions. Hot and cold beverages are available on board, but you will need to bring any food required – as well as a camera of course!

Day Three – Free day to explore

Today you’ll be able to explore more of the island which is also a haven for bird watchers, and has several stunning sandy beaches including Calgary beach – one of the most famous in Scotland.  Perhaps take another ferry to the peaceful island of Iona, the birthplace of Scottish Christianity and the final resting place of the former Labour leader, John Smith.

Day Four – Return home

Today you will make your return journey home.

Hotel Option A – Dervaig

This cosy 17th century droving inn is ideally situated between Tobermory and Calgary in the pretty Victorian village of Dervaig.  Popular with the locals, who come from far and wide to soak up its convivial atmosphere, this is a place where visitors can enjoy traditional island hospitality, regular live music and wholesome highland fayre.  Hearty meals and lighter bar snacks both feature fresh seafood and the finest Mull beef and venison.  Accommodation (including family rooms) is quietly situated away from the hustle and bustle of the bar and residents can escape to a private lounge/TV room with glorious views over the village and glen.

Hotel option B – Tobermory

Basking in the picture-postcard charm of Tobermory’s stunning waterfront, your hotel has been cleverly converted from a row of fisherman’s cottages into a delightful family-run establishment.  Comfortable lounges and bedrooms offer a warm welcome just a stone’s throw from one of the world’s prettiest working harbours.  Tobermory itself is a lively little town with several friendly bars and other places to eat and a real night-time buzz.

Hotel Option C – Glengorm

Do you dream of staying in a romantic Scottish castle, far from the cares of the world, with nooks and crannies and turrets and sweeping sea views? Make that dream reality, but without the stuffiness and airs and graces you might expect. Here, you will receive a very warm welcome – you are not just a visitor, but a special guest in a family home. The owners are passionate about the whole estate, and take great pride in introducing you to its many delights – from the café and coffee shop secluded in the grounds, to the wonderful wildlife (a private guided walk is included in your stay), from the Victorian bathing pools by the seashore to the distinctive volcano on the ridge.

Public transport

This holiday is also perfectly feasible for those who prefer to travel by public transport. Oban can be reached by train from Glasgow and ferries are met by regular bus services to Tobermory, from where the whale-watching trip departs.

Note: if using public transport you will need to stay in Tobermory.

If you would like to explore more of the island, we would recommend having access to a car, and we can arrange car hire locally on request.


Map Mull Wildlife

This holiday is based on the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland.  It is possible as a self-drive holiday, or you could opt for public transport.


Dervaig – first hotel option, £315 per person for April and £345 per person for May to SeptemberAdd £70 per person if you prefer to stay in Tobermory, and £125 per person if you would like to stay in Glengorm Castle. This latter option also includes a guided wildlife walk in the castle estate.

Prices are based on 2 people sharing an ensuite room for 3 nights on a bed & breakfast basis. Price includes return ferry crossing for a car and 2 adult passengers, and a full day whale watch. There is a £10 per person peak ferry supplement for Saturday ferry crossings from May to August.

Note for families: We do not recommend this full day trip for children under the age of 12.

A shorter more general marine wildlife-watching trip with 4 hours at sea – more suitable for children under 12 and for those who are hesitant about longer trips on boats – is also available for a reduction of £35 per adult.   Children sharing a family room with 2 adults cost from £140 with this shorter trip.

Public transport

Although if you would like to explore very much of the island we would recommend having access to a car for this holiday (and we can arrange car hire locally) – it is also perfectly feasible for those who prefer to travel by public transport. Oban can be reached by train from Glasgow and ferries are connected by regular bus services to Tobermory, from where the whale-watching trip departs.

If using public transport you will need to stay in Tobermory.  Ask us for more details.

Note for wildlife trips:

We cannot of course guarantee that you will see any of the wildlife described – these are wild animals and as such cannot be called to order and no refund will be made if you are unlucky enough not to see any of the animals described, despite the very best efforts of the guides.

All our touring holidays include a map of Scotland with recommended routes from your specified starting point, suggestions on places to see and visit depending on your personal interests and our expertise to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

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.

Check availability for Whale-watching from Mull

This holiday is available from late April until late September.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest-houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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