Islay & the Whisky Coast
4 day tour

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Savour the distilled essence of Scotland’s fine landscapes and exquisite whisky on this delectable tour.

Highlights

Distilleries
Ferry
Gaelic Culture
Lochs
Prehistoric Sites
Mountains
Beaches

Places you explore

 

Oban - This Victorian harbour town offers excellent seafood and a charming intimacy.

Kilmartin Glen - Return to the past at one of the richest areas in the UK for Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland.

Bowmore - Journey to the home of Islay’s oldest distillery, this charming place lies on the shores of the picturesque Loch Indaal.

The Islay Single Malt Whiskies - There is a regal quality to the distinctly peaty style of single malt whiskies on this island known as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’

Sandy beaches of Islay - Stroll some of the most beautiful and rugged beaches in the UK along Islay’s West Atlantic coast.

Inveraray - Explore the fabulous home town of the Duke of Argyll and the stunning ancestral castle.

Loch Lomond National Park - Enjoy the dramatic splendour of one of Scotland’s most famous lochs and the beautiful national park that surrounds it.


Your journey


You may know a thing or two about whisky.

Like how taxes forced distillers to produce whisky at night, or how the Scots once called it the ‘water of life’.

But even if you’re knowledgeable about whisky, you’re going to learn a lot more on this four day whisky tour.

You discover the smoky flavours of Islay’s single malt whiskies, explore the historic sights of Islay, and spend your time trading notes with fellow whisky lovers.

So join this tour, explore distilleries without having to drive, and enhance your knowledge of whisky, Scotland, and Islay, ‘Queen of the Hebrides’.


Tour Details

Starts
Check-in closes at 08:15 (tour departs at 08:30) - Edinburgh Bus Station Pick Up, Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Finishes (approx.)
19:00 - Edinburgh Bus Station Drop Off, Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Luggage
You're restricted to 14kg (31lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items.
Discounts

Students, and seniors over 60

Important information
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
  • Unfortunately we don't carry anyone under 18 years old on this tour
  • Access to distillery production areas may not be possible
  • Some distilleries offer tutored tastings instead of tours
  • Distilleries may be substituted
  • Attraction tickets may need to be purchased in advance. More information is provided in your booking confirmation e-mail
Tour inclusions
  • All ferry and bridge crossings
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
Tour exclusions
  • Entry and tasting fees at the distilleries. Allow approximately £50 - £60 for the tours and tastings.
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • Tour accommodation

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Sample the sights and seafood of Oban
  • Venture through the legends and landmarks of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park
  • Explore Scotland’s ancient past in Kilmartin Glen

You escape the city of Edinburgh and head straight for the Highlands. Your first stop of the day is in the Trossachs national park. Here, you can admire Scotland’s scenic beauty and enjoy some local delicacies.

Your driver-guide may regale you with tales from Scottish folklore as you travel through the mountainous landscapes of the Western Highlands to Oban.

This port town was once the strategic heartland of great feuding clans. But today, Oban is famous for seafood sourced fresh off the boats. It also boasts its own distillery where you can sample whisky that’s been perfected for 200 years. Here, you will have time to enjoy a dram and indulge in delicious local seafood for lunch.

You then venture through the Kilmartin Glen where you see standing stones and strongholds that are over 1,500 years old.

At Kennacraig, you catch the evening ferry to Islay. The sail is around two hours; and if you peek out to the ocean, you may see the Paps of Jura. These mountains mark the way to Islay, Queen of the Hebrides.

Once you’ve arrived on the island, you settle into your accommodation in Bowmore.

DAY 2

  • Sample Scotland’s most heavily-peated whiskies
  • Admire Islay’s rugged coastline
  • Explore the town of Bowmore

We know whisky tasting can be hard work, so you begin the day with a little sleep in.

After you’ve had an ample amount of breakfast, you enjoy a tour of Kilchoman Distillery. This is a proud and independent whisky-maker whose tastes are as bold as their environmental ethos. You have time for a tour and a whisky tasting here before you continue exploring the island.

Next, your driver-guide takes you to Ardnahoe Distillery for a tour and a lunch of local treats. This modern distillery is the passion project of the Laings, a family who have loved whisky for generations. Today, you can admire their vision, craftsmanship, and unique spirit.

After trying local larder, you travel through the beautiful countryside to the third distillery of the day. On Friday and Saturday, you visit Bruichladdich, the progressive distillery specialising in unpeated whisky. On Tuesday, you taste the unpeated and salty notes of Bunnahabhain in the most remote distillery on Islay.

You head back to Bowmore where you can either stumble back to your room for the night or relax and explore the village.

 

DAY 3

  • Discover the Island’s ancient religious past
  • Taste the most famous whiskies of the island

Today you explore the southern side of the island, home to a few of the most famous whiskies in all of Scotland: Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg.

After you’ve made it out of bed and eaten your breakfast, you visit Ardbeg. You stay here for a tour, tasting, and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy fine Scottish produce as you sip upon delightful drams.

You then visit Laphroaig. This 200-year-old whisky distiller is a favourite with the British royal family and bears the seal of the Prince of Wales to prove it.

Throughout the day, your driver-guide takes you to historical spots such as the ruins of Kildalton church and Dunyvaig Castle. And you can also stop at Lagavulin for some intensively flavoured, rich and smoky whisky.

You return to Bowmore for your last evening of the trip.

 

 

DAY 4

  • Get a sense of the old history of Inveraray
  • Wander along the banks of Loch Lomond

This morning, you take the ferry back to the mainland and replace the intoxicating fumes of whisky with the replenishing fresh air of Scotland’s West Highlands.

You travel through coastal scenery to the beautiful village of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne. The town is adorned with historic buildings, old boats, and a great whisky shop.

Your trip continues to Loch Lomond where you have a chance to admire Great Britain’s largest body of water by surface area.

You arrive in Edinburgh in the early evening. 

 

*Itinerary and distillery visits are subject to change.

 

Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

On the tour departing on Monday and Friday, we reserve rooms in the beautiful Bowmore Distillery Cottages.

The cottages have between three and six twin bedrooms. Due to the shared nature of the accommodation, individual bedrooms don't have lockable doors.

The kitchen and lounge facilities are shared with other passengers, and basic self-service breakfast ingredients are provided. Full Scottish breakfasts are available at the nearby hotels if you prefer, payable locally.

Prices are £55 per person per night for twin share or £97 per night for a single. Family Rooms are unavailable at Bowmore Cottages. Groups of 3 or more will need to stay in 2 or more rooms. Please budget accordingly. For this option, please select 'B&B en-suite' as your first choice when booking the tour online. When these rooms are full, we book you into a nearby B&B. Rooms at the cottages are limited and are reserved on a first come first served basis. Local B&B charges are £45 - £65 per person per night based on shared accommodation.

On the tours departing on Wednesdays, we reserve rooms in the 3* Lochside Hotel. Prices are £70 - £90 per person per night in a twin or double room or £120 per night for a single. For this option, please select three star hotel as your first choice when booking.

We contact you afterwards to arrange payment for the accommodation.

 

How does the accommodation work?

Your tour excludes accommodation; but when you book, you can ask us to reserve local accommodation for you, or you can choose to reserve your own accommodation in the overnight locations.

 

I want Rabbie’s to book my accommodation, what happens now?

Once you've booked your tour, we'll reserve all your accommodation, and your driver will drop you off with your hosts. 

We'll reserve your room(s) with one of our preferred accommodation suppliers and you'll pay them directly when you check-in. Most accommodation hosts don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.

You won't be able to choose which Hotel/B&B you stay in, but we will confirm the named property and exact prices on your first day of tour. If it's important for you to know where you're going to be staying in advance, or if you want to stay in a specific Hotel/B&B, we recommend that you select the option to book your own accommodation.  

 

What if I want to change my accommodation booking with Rabbie’s?

Plans can change, so we let you alter your accommodation choices for free within the first 48 hours of booking. After this time, amendments aren't guaranteed and carry a surcharge. Please contact rooms@rabbies.com if you have any questions.

 

I booked my own accommodation is there anything I need to do?

You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central.

 

What if I cancel my tour at short notice?

You may be liable for the cost of your first nights’ accommodation for each separate accommodation booked. If you cancel less than three days before departure, you may be liable for all your accommodation costs.

 

What are the accommodation types?

We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre. We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard.

 

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, you can read our FAQs, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, or email rooms@rabbies.com.

 

FAQs

Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

The UK and Ireland's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure, we only pick up from our central meeting points. What's more is leaving the city using the most direct route also reduces the carbon footprint of our tours.

Is there parking close to the departure point?

We don't recommend bringing your car into the centre of our departure cities. It can be hard to find parking, and there are excellent public transportation services.

When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.

What happens if I'm late or miss the tour?

If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies.

What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of 48 hours for our one day tours, 15 days for two to nine day tours, and 21 days for 10+ day tours. If cancelled outside this period, we'll give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this period, refunds are at our discretion. Click here to view full terms and conditions.

Can Itineraries change?

Your tour will always follow the itinerary as closely as possible. While there are ongoing coronavirus restrictions throughout the UK and Ireland, itineraries are more likely to change than usual as opening hours and capacities at many visitor attractions are reduced and subject to change. Your driver-guide will keep you up to up to date on the road, and we'll try to get in touch about any large changes prior to your departure.

Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable 16-seat mini-coaches have huge windows. So, you'll always get a good view.

Are there toilets on the bus?

Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.

How do you cater for people with accessibility needs?

We aim to accommodate everyone. To read more information on how we do this, click here to go to our accessibility guide.

Do you take children on your tours?

We regret we don't carry children under the age of five on our scheduled tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.

How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy Britain and Ireland. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of time to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.

Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.

Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to. We stop in small towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.

Should I tip the driver-guide?

Let's be honest, our driver-guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.

What about travel insurance?

We advise you take out travel insurance.

What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you chose to let us reserve your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we become bankrupt. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com , or check out our full FAQs .

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: We’ll never cancel your tour because of minimum numbers

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities


Customer reviews



BTA_2018.png Green Tourism Award Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 TC_2021_LL_TRANSPARENT_BG_RGB-01.png Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars
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