The Isle of Colonsay
Reached by CalMac Ferries in just over an hour, the Isle of Colonsay has so much to offer visitors. Walking, cycling, wildlife spotting, and festivals, to name but a few. Read on to find out more . . .
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Things to do on the Isle of Colonsay
Although the wee isle of Colonsay is just 10 miles long and 2 miles wide, it really is worth a visit. As the saying goes, good things come in small packages and Colonsay proves that to be true! You may need more than just a day trip to explore everything the island has to offer. A visit to the isle offers an escape from the hustle and bustle in our normal lives. A chance to slow down and rebalance yourself in the natural beauty of Colonsay. CalMac Ferries offer two trips a week to the island, taking just over an hour to get there.Book Now
Relax and unwind
North of the island are two beautiful beaches – Kiloran Bay and Balnahard Bay. Perfect for relaxing and listening to the ebb and flow of the sea. Towards the south, there is Cable Bay which is a great place to while away the time walking and collecting shells. Or, there is the Southwestern Beaches that boast fabulous views of Jura. All of the beaches have wonderful white sand, perfect for building sandcastles. And the water is clear and inviting.
Walking and cycling
If you prefer to be a little more active, this diminutive island doesn’t disappoint. There are some wonderful walking and cycling routes, offering the opportunity to spot some of the 240 species of birds that live there.
If you visit the southwest coast of the island, the seal colonies will delight. While whales, dolphins and porpoises are also regularly spotted off the coast. If you are lucky and have a little patience, you may spot an otter or two. These shy creatures are worth the wait though!
Colonsay is home to 22 MacPhies – the island’s equivalent to a Munro. You could try Colonsay’s walking challenge which is around 20 miles, taking in each McPhie. Although there is no official route, you must start and finish at a point below the high water mark. Ask in the Island bookshop for walking and cycling guides.
History and heritage
Humans have been on the Isle of Colonsay since 7000 BC and there is so much for history lovers to see. from an Iron Age Fort to an abandoned village, remains of Cill Chatriona to cruciform stones. Be sure to pop into the Colonsay Heritage Centre for more information.
Why not visit Colonsay House Gardens? Planted mostly during the 1930s, the gardens offer an exceptional variety of plants over 20 acres, including a formal walled garden.
You can even pop over to the neighbouring Oronsay, accessible at low tide, to explore the priory there. You have around 2 hours, on either side of low tide, to walk to and from Oronsay.
Isle of Colonsay Distillery
Colonsay is home to a multi-award-winning gin made by Wild Thyme Spirits. The gin is hand-crafted using traditional methods and using a copper pot still. You can browse the shop to choose a bottle to take home. (Or enjoy when you are relaxing back in your luxury cottage on Islay!) Wild Thyme Spirits also offer a distillery tour and tasting.
You could coincide your visit to the Isle of Colonsay for one of the many festivals held there. During late April, early May, there is a book festival. At the same time, there is the Colonsay Spring Festival where you can learn about the rich natural heritage of the island with guided walks, activities and events.
The Ceòl Cholasa Folk Festival is a traditional music festival held in September. A true feast of folk music. And the Autumn sees a food and drink festival on Colonsay. This is a true celebration of the delicious food and drink produced on Colonsay and in Scotland.
So much to offer
The Isle of Colonsay has so much going on that a trip over the water from Islay is well worth it. And when you’re done exploring, you’ll have a comfortable place to relax and relive your adventures when you stay with us. Take a look at our special offers and come and enjoy some time in a truly beautiful, unspoilt part of Scotland.Book Now