WHISKY TRAIL

Beach Cottage is well placed for anyone drawn to Islay by the attractions of the island’s increasing number of distilleries and their peaty produce.


The house lies directly across the bay from the whitewashed warehouses of Port Ellen, a once groundbreaking distillery that closed in 1983 but is now due to reopen with spectacular new buildings in 2024.


Port Ellen distillery and the adjacent Diageo Maltings are about a 15-minute walk from Beach Cottage, along the beach and through a nice mature wood.


Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg (right),  all located within a couple of miles of each other on Islay’s eastern seaboard, are close enough to make a distillery crawl on foot feasible from the house.


Ardbeg, the furthest away of the three, is five miles from the cottage, mostly along a dedicated walking and cycling path that starts on the eastern edge of Port Ellen.


All of Islay's distilleries offer good tours and stunning locations virtually all year round (Always check opening times and book tours in advance).


At Ardbeg there is particulary good food available from a sit-down bistro and/or a food truck in the courtyard. Lagavulin has a popular cocktail bar.


The Distilleries Path will soon be a four-stop affair with construction now underway at Elixir Distillers new Portinruan distillery just outside Port Ellen.

The west of the island, known as the Rhinns,  is home to Bruichladdich, which was taken over by France's Remy Cointreau in 2012, and Kilchoman, an independent farm distillery opened in 2005 which has since undergone significant expansion.

Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila are at the northern tip of Islay, half an hour from the house by car.

They were joined in 2019 by Ardnahoe (left), which is located in a spectacular setting on the road to Bunahabhain and has a whisky bar and restaurant overlooking the Paps of Jura.

Ardnahoe was Islay's 9th distillery, Port Ellen's re-opening and the completion of Portinruan will make it 11 and it looks as if three other projects will take the total of 14 in the next few years.

Picture credit @Ardnahoe


Bowmore, a 15-min drive from the cottages, runs good tours and has a very plush visitor centre. Heat from the production process is recycled to keep the swimming pool next door nice and warm.