Islay is a great holiday destination for families. It's true that many whisky aficionados come to the island each year to visit one or more of the eight whisky distilleries, but Islay has so much more to offer. Where else in Scotland do you find so many beaches, wildlife, attractions and beautiful nature in a relatively small space. Islay is after all only 40km wide and 25km long.
Children will have a great time and there are plenty of possibilities to burn off some of that energy, also on days when the weather is not as kind as you had hoped for. And if children have a great time, you will have a great time as well!
Outdoor Activities for Families
The most popular outdoor activity on the island are the more than 20 beautiful beaches so pack the beach towels, buckets and spades and find your, usually private, beach. Please note though that the west coast beaches are not safe for swimming or paddling. Now beaches aren't there only to play on, there is often so much to discover as well. The many rockpools on or near Islay's beaches are a great start to teach your kids about the rich flora and fauna of the sea. One of Fiona's Discovery Packs can make it even more interesting.
Walking is another great way to discover Islay's beautiful nature and to entertain the young ones. Being a parent myself I've made many walks together with my wife and 6yr old daughter on Islay, so I've tested quite a few suitable routes for children on the island. There are over 10 stunning walks suitable for younger children on the Islay Walks page.
It doesn't stop here. Islay has a few good playgrounds and the one at the Port Mor Centre in Port Charlotte is the best one I've seen in the west of Scotland. Horse riding is also available at Ballivicar Farm near Port Ellen. In the summer of 2013 Gus Newman started with his Islay Sea Adventure Tours which make a great day out for all the family. He sails from Port Ellen and shows the seals, dolphins and other wildlife.
If that rainy day arrives you can go to the indoor pool at the MacTaggart Leisure Centre, visit the weekly held craft markets at Bruichladdich Hall, meet Anne at Tormisdale Croft to see how she works the spinning wheel, visit the Toy Library in Bowmore where you can borrow beautiful toys or take your kids to the Islay Natural History Trust Visitor Centre where they can find an exciting "Touch Tank", marine and fresh water aquariums and other great stuff for children and parents too!
Happy Times on Islay
Check the Islay Activities Page or Islay Event Calendar for a lot more indoor and outdoor activities for the entire family. I also advice to pick-up the latest copy of the Ileach, the islands newspaper, here you will find more information on one day events. And if you decide to make the trip you can find the right Accommodation for your holiday on Islay Info.