Islay 2011 (Whisky & weans)

The kids are off school and we have nothing organised so early on Saturday morning (9th April) I decide, lets go to Islay….


We get on the phone to Margaret at Port Charlotte Holidays to ask if she has any availability for tomorrow until next Saturday, YES she does, we book the Sanigmore house immediately, Calmac next and 3 minutes later we are all booked up and ready for our trip to Islay.


The drive to Kinnacraig on the morning of Sunday 10th was breathtaking; the weather was bright, sunny and calm, perfect.  The 13:00 ferry was on time and the kids were extremely excited about going on their holidays, I of course was excited about the Whisky.


The week was full of glorious sunshine, numerous trips to the beautiful beach area in Port Charlotte, swing park tom foolery at Port Mor and scrumptious food at the Port Charlotte Hotel.


Oh and of course a visit to all the Distilleries, we even managed to squeeze in Jura… We received a very warm welcome at Bruichladdich (as always) and also at Bunnahabhain, Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Bowmore.


I must admit tho, there were a few occasions throughout the week that gave us some cause for concern, but thankfully many more that we were pleasantly surprised at.


Firstly… My Concerns:

  • The Harbour Inn does not allow kids in the bar even when eating, BUT you cannot eat from the bar menu in the restaurant (BUT I’M NOT ALLOWED IN THE BAR… aahhh) In others words if you have kids then you MUST eat in the restaurant from the restaurant menu.
  • The Lochside Hotel requests that kids be out of the RESTAURANT by 8pm – not the bar! the RESTAURANT… what!


Pleasant Surprises:

  • Port Charlotte Hotel could not do enough for families, which created a fantastic environment for everyone, whether eating or just having a dram, oh and the kids menu was fabulous value for money. My kids love fish so they had the salmon fillet twice, massive portions…
  • Bowmore Distillery offered myself and Scott a dram in their very modern and comfortable tasting bar and then offered the kids paper and pens to draw and colour in, leaving Scott and I to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and our delicious drams.
  • Briuchladdich distillery allowed us plenty of time to browse their magnificent unique shop, chatting with us and the kids. Offering the kids stickers etc.. We were made to feel very welcome.
  • Ardbeg Distillery had a wonderful lunchtime menu which included a great kids menu (not a chicken nugget in sight) soups, sandwiches, make you own wrap. Exactly what kids want.
  • Amazingly we bumped into the boys from on our last night in the Port Charlotte Hotel – they were on a press trip with Morrison Bowmore, hope you had a great night…


In summary we had a FANTASTIC whisky time and we were truely very lucky with the weather.  Can’t wait till next time.


PS. the kids have asked if we can move there…


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5 Responses

  1. Keith McBride says:

    Thanks for your review and pictures. We enjoyed a family holiday this year on Islay. My weans are 15 and 17 and the bars and restaurants were not too bothered about lettting them in.

    We only managed Kilchoman, Laphroig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg this year. Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Bowmore and Bruichladdich next!!

  2. Nicola says:

    Hi Keith, I am so glad you enjoyed my review of Islay… it truely is a breathtaking place. We are hoping to go back at the end of the month for a long weekend.

    I am sure you will get back to visit the distillery’s you missed this time round, you will not be disappointed.

    I just love it


  3. Joshua says:

    Hi Nicola,
    Greatly enjoyed your review of your family trip to Islay! Discovered it while perusing around the web as I research my own trip in September. This will be my first trip to the island. Out of curiosity, how easily can one zip around in a hire car? I’ve no sense of real distances from google maps as even “A” roads differ mightily in Scotland in my experience, and of course local traffic (including lorries and tractors and the like) can make for very slow going on single lane roads. How easily, for example, can one get from, say, Bruichladdich to Ardbeg? Or, say, from Bowmore to Bunnahabhain? How long are such drives likely to be?
    All best,

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