Bruichladdich is living proof that the traditional whisky regions of Scotland make no sense. Built in 1881 when puffer-supplied coal was available as an alternative fuel to local peat, it is likely that Bruichladdich was specifically designed to produce the purest unpeated spirit possible. The great Alfred Barnard supports this view with a tantalising clue – the Laddie is the only distillery on Islay that he does not describe as drying its malt using peat in his fascinating exploration of the island’s distilleries in 1885
A Standing Stone above Finlaggan. This structure and other standing stones on Islay probably pre-date the medieval ruins on the Council Isle by around two or three thousand years. Someone on Islay raised a question about whether any of Islay's standing stone groups have solar alignments, as can be read in an article about the Winter Solstice. I know of several sites on Islay which have been linked to various astronomical events. These include the stone circle at Cultoon, the standing stones at Ballinaby and the standing stone at Finlaggan.
The Islay Museums Trust was formed in 1976 by the Islay Historic Works Group and the Natural History and Antiquarian Society of Islay. A Management Committee was formed of Trustees resident on the island and other interested islanders. The Museum building, the former Free Church of Port Charlotte, was purchased for a nominal sum in the same year and work was started on converting what was a dilapidated ruin.
The aims of the Museum: To hold in trust collections reflecting the history of the island of Islay, for the advancement of the education of the general public, and to maintain and enhance those collections. The Museum holds around 2,000 objects over a wide range of subject areas. The Museum has developed a policy for the display of the collection, allowing the rotation of existing items in and out of storage, as well as providing space for short term displays linked to a particular theme, for example, the shipwrecks, the wee museum of childhood and Islay House upstairs and downstairs.
The Round Church stands in a magnificent location at the head of the village of Bowmore's Main Street. From here it dominates the village and offers views down the centre of Main Street to Loch Indaal and beyond. It has been described as Islay's best known building, and, give or take a few distilleries, that is very probably true.
The Round Church is the commonly used name for what is formally know as Kilarrow Parish Church. It was built between 1767 and 1769 by Daniel Campbell of Shawfield and Islay, who at the time owned Islay in its entirety. The following year work began on a planned village which greatly expanded the existing settlement of Bowmore. Campbell's development of Bowmore was not driven solely by altruistic motives. The new settlement was intended to generate increased rental income, and to allow the clearance of the area's main settlement of Kilarrow, near Bridgend. This in turn was intended to remove development from the area around Campbell's hereditary home, Islay House, and allow its gardens and grounds to be extended. A cynic might suggest that the development of the church was intended to help gain the acceptance of those being moved from Kilarrow to new planned village at Bowmore.
Nine Kilometres south of Sanaigmore Bay is Islay's most beautiful bay, according to many, called Saligo Bay. The bay is accessible through a gate halfway between Machir and Ballinaby farm west of Loch Gorm. For access cross the dunes with numerous rabbits and descend to reach the breathtaking beach. Saligo Bay offers one of the most beautiful light conditions according to some photographers and is a favourite spot for people to watch and photograph an Atlantic Sunset. North of Saligo Bay is a distinctive rock formation, locally known as the "Sleeping Giant".
Cross the gate and from here it is only a short walk over the dunes directly west towards the sea to get access to Saligo Bay. Here wonderful sunsets and stunning light awaits you or just a memorable beach walk. The light on this part of Islay is exceptional and by some considered to be the best in the whole of Scotland! This beach is not safe for swimming due to strong currents!
This is a very sheltered part of Islay's east coast. The road towards Claggain Bay is wonderful and offers a wide variety of landscapes, views and great distilleries to visit. Here 3 major distilleries offer tours and a dram and are not to be missed when visiting Islay. After you pass the distillery of Ardbeg the road becomes smaller and passes some sheltered bays on the right where lots of seals bask in the sun. I have counted as much as 27 seals one time. A little further down the road, one of the most interesting historical sites on Islay can be visited. Kildalton church and Cross. The Kildalton cross is well preserved and of great detail and is one of the few remaining in Scotland. Built in the Iona tradition with Pictish, Irish, Northumbrian and Celtic motives. The cross is 2.7 metres tall and can be dated back as far as 800AD. A few miles down the road the most beautiful bay on Islay reveals itself: Claggain Bay. An idyllic and totally unspoilt sandy beach with colourful pebbles waits to be discovered. Lovely birds seek shelter here and the views towards Kintyre are stunning. Claggain Bay is probably one of the most beautiful bays in the whole of Scotland, at least in my opinion. If you park the car on a sunny day without wind and just sit around and watch the views and enjoy the wildlife in this quiet and remote part of islay you never want to leave Islay.
Loch Gruinart is perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of Islay offering stunning views combined with unique wildlife, rare birds and thousands of geese in the wintertime. From the parking close to the bird hide a track takes the visitor through some sheltered woodland offering nice views over the loch, good birding opportunities and viewing platform.
RSPB Loch Gruinart Nature Reserve lies to the north-west of Islay and covers some 1600ha. It is a special kind of nature reserve because it includes a working farm - in fact, the biggest in-hand farming operation on a nature reserve anywhere in the UK, and possibly in Europe.
There is something to see year-round at the reserve. Some say the most spectacular time to visit is in October when internationally important numbers of barnacle and white-fronted geese return from Greenland for the winter. At the same time, brent geese and whooper swans fly in from Iceland and stop for a day or two's rest before heading onwards to Ireland. This is also a good time to see birds of prey - hen harriers, sparrow-hawks, merlin, peregrine and golden eagles. Redwings strip bare the berries on the rowan trees, flocks of small birds feed in the autumn stubbles, and choughs pull apart cowpats for dung-beetle larvae.
Riverside Museum is Glasgow's award-winning transport museum. With over 3,000 objects on display there's everything from skateboards to locomotives, paintings to prams and cars to a Stormtrooper.
Get hands on with our interactive displays. Walk through Glasgow streets and visit the shops, bar and subway. Climb aboard a train, tram or bus and get a real feel for old public transport. Discover Glasgow's rich shipbuilding history, explore the car and motorbike walls and help put out a fire with our interactive fire engine.
There are over 90 large touch screens panels full of images, memories and films that tell the fascinating stories behind the objects. There really is something for all ages to enjoy at the Riverside Museum.
Fun, excitement and intrigue with free interactive science shows, fun workshops like 'Flame On' and 'Hand's On DNA', the amazing BodyWorks exhibition and three floors of fascinating displays showcasing science and life. Glasgow Science Centre is a world of wonder beside the Clyde where you can.
The City of Glasgow owns one of the richest collections in Europe, displayed in 8* museums and galleries across the city.
From paintings by Degas and Cezanne to Sir Roger the Elephant, Charles Rennie Mackintosh furniture to a real Spitfire, fabulous arms and armour to cutting edge contemporary art, Glasgow Museums have objects and exhibits to fire your imagination.
Kelvingrove Museum opened in 1901 and is a firm favourite with local people and visitors. It has stunning architecture and a family friendly atmosphere.
xplore our 22 galleries and discover everything from art to animals, Ancient Egypt to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and so much more. We also have a changing programme of temporary exhibitions and displays.
Enjoy an organ recital, a free tour or at weekends and holidays take part in one of our family activities.
If you only have one day in Glasgow, Kelvingrove is a must see!
Glasgow Botanic Gardens is located in the heart of the city’s West End by the River Kelvin and contains a variety of plant collections, woodland copses and riverside walks as well as the famous Kibble Palace.
Kibble Palace is a magnificent glasshouse designed by John Kibble and houses the national collection of tree ferns. Plants from tropical rainforests grow in the palm house.
Scotland's most visited art gallery and the centre for Glasgow's extensive modern and contemporary art collection.
The gallery provides a thought-provoking programme including displays of local and international artworks from the City’s collection alongside temporary exhibitions and events with artists. There is also a permanent display that charts the history of the building. GoMA is part of Glasgow's civic museum service and has a changing programme of museums' collection and loaned-in exhibitions and associated public programme.
The heart of the city, nestled between Glasgow City Chambers and Queen Street train station, is a sprawling square sporting a baker's dozen worth of statues.
Ironically, the only statue missing is the titular George himself, King George III. Although one was originally planned, the planning and building of the Square itself coincided with the War of American Independence in the late 1700s. This caused many problems for the so called “Tobacco Lords,” Glaswegian merchants who made their fortunes in trade with the American colonies. This animosity was compounded by loss of the war in 1783, coupled with the fact that the monarch was gripped by insanity leading to his nickname, “The Mad King.” As a result, the powers in Glasgow decided instead to erect the first ever memorial commemorating Sir Walter Scott, the famous Scottish novelist. He is in good company, joined by fellow poets Robert Burns and Thomas Campbell, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Prime Ministers Robert Peel and William Ewart Gladstone along with MP James Oswald, army commanders Lord Clyde and Sir John Moore, with engineer James Watt and chemist Thomas Graham.
The People’s Palace is set in historic Glasgow Green. It is home to a collection of objects, photographs, prints and film which give a unique view into how Glaswegians lived, worked and played in years gone by to the present day.
“A fantastic way to travel back in time”. That’s how one visitor recently described this superb medieval cathedral. Just 10 minutes walk from the city centre, it’s the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to have survived the 1560 Reformation almost entirely intact.
Belfast Zoological Gardens is home to more than 140 species of animal, many of which are in danger in their natural habitat.
As one of the oldest visitor attractions in Northern Ireland, many visitors have fond memories of visiting the gardens, which have been home to the animals since 1934. Belfast Zoo is now a leading and award-winning visitor attraction in Northern Ireland, with more than 200,000 visitors each year.
Popular attractions include the Asian elephants, Barbary lions, Rothschild's giraffes, California sea lions, penguins, apes, Malayan tapirs, giant anteater, Malayan sun bears, Visayan warty pigs, Goodfellow's tree kangaroo, red-backed bearded sakis, crowned sifaka, ring-tailed lemurs and reptiles.
Belfast Castle is located in the Cave Hill area of north Belfast. It was built in the 1860s and is one of the city's most famous landmarks.
For generations, Cave Hill has been synonymous with Belfast, with its imposing outline visible throughout the city. The landmark, named for the five caves located on the side of the cliffs, contains a wealth of natural, archaeological and historical features, including Belfast Castle.
Its most famous feature, known locally as Napoleon's Nose, is believed to have been the inspiration for Jonathan Swift's novel, Gulliver's Travels.
The park is home to the Cave Hill Adventurous Playground, archaeological sites, Visitor Information Area in Belfast Castle, eco trails, walking and orienteering routes.
The estate contains landscaped gardens and mature mixed woodland and offers superb views of the city from a variety of vantage points. It is home to many different species of wildlife, including long-eared owls, sparrowhawks and Belfast's rarest plant; the town hall clock.
Explore thatched cottages, farms, schools and shops as you experience life from over 100 years ago. Set in over 170 acres of rolling countryside overlooking Belfast Lough, chat to a costumed visitor guide, admire traditional crafts and meet farm animals.
This impressive building was built for the Hon Robert Edward Ward and his family in 1852. The building is situated in the grounds of Castle Park alongside the North Down Museum and is just a short walk from Bangor Castle Walled Garden.
The Crumlin Road Gaol is a 19th century Grade A listed jail, open to the public for tours, concerts and events.
Take a tour to experience all aspects of the Gaol from the tunnel linking the courthouse on the other side of the Crumlin Road to the hanging cell, Governor's office, hospital and graveyard.
Crumlin Road Gaol first opened its gates to prisoners in 1846 and for 150 years was a fully operational prison. On March 31, 1996, the Governor of Belfast's Crumlin Road Gaol walked out of the fortified prison and the heavy air-lock gates slammed shut for the final time.
During those 150 years, the Gaol has housed murderers, suffragettes and loyalist and republican prisoners. It has witnessed births, deaths and marriages and has been the home to executions, escapes, hunger-strikes and riots.
Titanic Belfast is the world's largest Titanic visitor experience and a must-see on any visit to Belfast and Northern Ireland.
Titanic Belfast, named the World's Leading Tourist Attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards in 2016, is located beside the Titanic Slipways, the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices and Hamilton Graving Dock, the very place where Titanic was designed, built and launched in 1912.
Titanic Belfast tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to its maiden voyage and subsequent place in history.
The self-guided Titanic Experience extends over nine interpretive and interactive galleries, which explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of RMS Titanic, as well as the city and people who made her.
Golden Thread Gallery is Northern Ireland's leading international contemporary visual arts organisation.
The gallery is actively committed to enhancing and widening the cultural experience for those living in, working in and visiting the region. Golden Thread Gallery prides itself on offering a friendly, open space where everyone is welcome. For those who have never visited the gallery before, why not pay a visit and get a taste of what's available?
From its beginnings in a former linen mill on a contested ‘peace line' in North Belfast, Golden Thread Gallery has delivered annual programmes of exhibitions and activities designed to make a real contribution to the visual arts and wider communities in Northern Ireland. Golden Thread Gallery has developed a reputation for its engagement with recent histories and re-imagined futures.
Golden Thread Gallery publishes and sells a wide variety of art books, periodicals and journals. Artworks are also available for sale through the gallery's dedicated sales area for all art lovers and collectors to enjoy. The gallery also offers a unique artistic encounter and is located on Great Patrick Street between Belfast's Cathedral Quarter and the historic Sailor Town area of the city.
W5 is Belfast’s award-winning science and discovery centre and provides a unique experience as well as fantastic fun for visitors of all ages.
Visitors can immerse themselves in W5’s new technological space ‘AMAZE’, scale the heights on the multi-storey climbing structure ‘Climbit’, meet W5’s humanoid robot ‘Robothespian, plus so much more.
In addition to permanent exhibits, W5 also presents a changing programme of temporary exhibitions and events. Visitors can also enjoy a daily programme of live science demonstrations and shows throughout the day. W5’s seasonal events are FREE with admission and tickets are valid all day.
The building itself is Romanesque, giving it a lofty grandeur associated with that style; semi-circular arches and massive pillars, vast and high single windows, and possessing an uncluttered spaciousness. The Cathedral contains mosaics designed by Sir Charles Nicholson, as well as sculptures by Rosamund Praegar and Maurice Harding.
rected in 1865 in Gothic style to commemorate Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert, the Albert Memorial Clock was built on reclaimed land from the River Lagan on wooden piles, causing the characteristic list.
One of Belfast's most iconic buildings, Belfast City Hall first opened its doors in August 1906 and is Belfast's civic building.
Free public tours of Belfast City Hall are available. Led by an experienced guide, they last around one hour and uncover the history of Belfast City Hall, while exploring some of its finest features. You can also visit the Titanic Memorial Garden and a number of monuments and memorials in the grounds.
Look out for the Belfast City Hall illuminations as they light up the building in a variety of colours and combinations at night, showing off the building's beautiful architectural features.
Come face to face with dinosaurs, meet an ancient Egyptian mummy and see modern masterpieces with a visit to the Ulster Museum.
As Northern Ireland's treasure house of the past and the present, the Ulster Museum is home to a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences and is free to all visitors. The museum tells the story of the people of the north of Ireland from earliest times to the present day. Impressive galleries and interactive discovery zones bring history, science and art collections to life for visitors of all ages. Enjoy a bite to eat in the cafe, then get face to face with dinosaurs and up close Takabuti, the famous ancient Egyptian mummy, who experts believe suffered a violent death by a knife attack. Learn about who she was and how she came to arrive in Belfast in 1834.
The Ulster Museum is part of National Museums Northern Ireland, which also includes the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Ulster American Folk Park, the W5 Science Centre and Armagh County Museum. And best of all, admission is free.
Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast's Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists.
Botanic Gardens was established in 1828 by the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society, in response to the public interest in horticulture and botany.
Originally known as the Belfast Botanic Garden, the site contained exotic tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere, many of which can still be seen in the park.
Today, the park is popular with residents, students and visitors and is an important venue for concerts, festivals and other events. It is home to the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine.
Late 18th-century tower mill in use until 1915 and still in working order.
Ballycopeland Windmill is the only remaining working windmill in East Down. It was built in the late 18th or early 19th century and was worked until the First World War when it fell into disrepair. It was gradually restored between 1950 and 1978 to full working order.
A small visitor centre is located inside the Millers house.
Disabled access is not possible within the windmill. This is a group of traditional buildings on a sloping site with changes of level. Wheelchair users can gain access to the exhibition but may find this difficult. Some parts of the complex are inaccessible for wheelchairs.
At the top of Scrabo Hill, overlooking Strangford Lough and the whole of North Down, is Scrabo Tower. The tower, which was built in 1857, is one of Northern Ireland’s best known landmarks and the views from the top are spectacular.
Strathclyde Country Park is an iconic North Lanarkshire Country park which lies in 400 hectares of countryside in the valley of the River Clyde. Set within beautiful surroundings the park is one of the most popular family attractions in the central belt of Scotland, with thousands of visitors coming each year to the park in order to enjoy the vast range of activities and events on offer.
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in south Belfast is one of the city's most popular parks.
The park is home to the City of Belfast International Rose Garden, which attracts thousands of visitors to Rose Week celebrations which take place in July each year. Covering more than 128 acres, the park is made up of rolling meadows, copses, woodland and gardens and is home to a wide range of plants and animals.
An ideal base for exploring nearby Lagan Valley Regional Park, it contains international camellia trials, a walled garden, a Japanese-style garden with water features for quiet contemplation, children's playground and orienteering and eco trails. There is also a bottle bank, barbecue area, picnic tables and full car parking facilities.
Mount Stewart, located on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down, is Northern Ireland’s much-loved family home. Following a three year £8 million restoration programme, this 19th- century house has been significantly transformed, making it a must-see attraction on the island of Ireland.
Voted as one of the top ten gardens in the world, Mount Stewart reflects a rich tapestry of design and planting artistry bearing the hallmark of its creator. Edith, Lady Londonderry’s passion for bold planting schemes coupled with the mild climate of Strangford Lough allows rare and tender plants from across the globe to thrive in this celebrated garden. Each of the formal gardens exudes a distinct character and appeal.
Mount Stewart is a delight for the senses with a series of formal themed garden compartments around the house including The Italian, Spanish, Mairi and Shamrock Garden.
With its calm, tranquil atmosphere, and stunning views across the Firth of Forth, Lauriston is the perfect place to escape from the bustle of the city centre.
Enjoy a woodland walk, a visit to award-winning Japanese garden, or step back in time and experience what life was like in an Edinburgh middle-class home at the beginning of the 20th century.
The wildest visitor attraction in Scotland. Edinburgh Zoo is home to over 1,000 rare and beautiful animals from around the world and home to the UK's only giant pandas and koalas.
RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is packed with fun and un-zoo-sual things to do. Why not watch zoo's famous penguin parade and visit the world’s only Knighted penguin, Sir Nils Olav. Or spend your day learning about brilliant birds, mischievous meerkats, super strong sun bears and more with daily keeper talks!
Get closer than ever to monkeys, lemurs, wallabies and pelicans in a walkthrough habitats or at a daily animal-handling sessions. Watch a Sumatran tiger walk right over your head in Tiger Tracks, an amazing glass viewing tunnel. And if you prefer smaller critters, you’ll enjoy Wee Beasties where you can find reptiles, amphibians and insects.
Edinburgh Zoo is unlike any other visitor attraction in Scotland. As part of RZSS, one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, the Park acts as a gateway to our wider work, both here in Scotland and in over 20 countries around the world.
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most exciting historic sites in Western Europe, Set in the heart of Scotland's dynamic capital city it is sure to capture your imagination. The scenery will take your breath away.