Information about Islay
Port Charlotte is an ideal base from which to explore Islay - there is plenty to do in the village itself! Why not pay a visit to The Museum of Islay Life or the Islay Wildlife Information Centre, there are also safe sandy beaches down by the pier and near the Croft Kitchen. The village has a small shop and petrol station, with two hotels - the Lochindaal Hotel and the Port Charlotte Hotel and also the Cafe at the Port Mor Centre if you prefer to eat out. There is an excellent childrens playpark beside the Centre and you can access the Internet or 'hire' a laptop in the Centre while having a coffee & a snack or a meal.
The island of Islay is 25 miles (40km) in length and around 20 miles (32km) wide at most. Thanks largely to the Gulf Stream, it has a fairly temperate climate. Islay is well known for its wildlife, beautiful scenery, golden sandy beaches but of course Islay is particularly famous for its malt whiskies! There are currently eight working distilleries on the island, Ardbeg, Bowmore,Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, & Kilchoman. Guided tours with a free dram are available at most of the distilleries - it is advised to contact the distilleries to arrange tour times.
Bowmore is only about a 15 minute drive away and has various shops, a swimming pool/leisure centre near to the Bowmore distillery & the Round Church, which is open to visitors is worth a visit! Islay also boasts an excellent golf course at the Machrie Hotel, other activities available are horse riding, cycling, shooting, bird watching, fishing, clay pigeon shooting - to name but a few of the things you can do during your visit to Islay! The Tourist Office also provides information about places of interest to visit but check out the windows in the local shops as they advertise anything that's happening!
There are also many interesting historical and archaeological sites on Islay to visit. Kildalton Church and the famous Kildalton Cross, Finlaggan, (the administrative capital of the Lord of the Isles from the 12th to the 16th century) has a visitor centre which displays a number of archaeological finds and a model of how the site would have looked during its lifetime. Also worth a visit are the standing stones at Ballinaby, the stone circle at Coultoon and the Iron Age fort at Dun Nosebridge.