Islay Driving Tour: Port Ellen to Ardtalla and back

Driving Tour Information
Area: South-east Islay
Total Distance: 20 Miles. 32Km
Total Time: 2-4 hours
Nearest Petrol station: Port Ellen
Map: Islay Landranger Map

Highlights & Other Info

Discover the attractive and secluded south-eastern part of the island. See the seals, Kildalton Cross, Claggain Bay and have a dram or a tour at the three iconic distilleries: Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg Distillery and try to spot a few Eagles along the way

Start in Port Ellen
Start in the beautiful village of Port Ellen and follow the sign to Ardbeg Distillery from Frederick Crescent. As soon as you leave the village there are some great views to admire over the south-east coast of the island. Directly after the village ends you will find a minor road on your left which leads to some farms and a tall standing stone.

Kildalton Distilleries & Dunyvaig Castle
Back on the main road keep on driving towards the three famous distilleries on your right, all located on, or very near the shore. The first distillery is Laphroaig, the second one is Lagavulin and the last one is Ardbeg. Lagavulin Bay is worth a visit, at the entrance there is Dunyvaig Castle, a former stronghold of Clan Donald, now in ruins. To visit Lagavulin Bay drive through the village of Lagavulin. At the end of the village is a wee track to the right where you can park and head to the castle. If you're in for a coffee or something to eat stop at Ardbeg. They have a magnificent restaurant called The Old Kiln Cafe. The three Kildalton distilleries each have a pier, or remains of a pier, which was used in the old days when transport was done by ship. These piers are very much worth visiting, they all have great sea-views as well as beautiful views back to each of the distilleries.

Seal Bay & Kildalton Estate
The main road now becomes a single track road. After a rather sharp turn to the right you drive along "Seal Bay", officially named Loch an t-Sàilein. On most days there are seals resting or sunbathing on the rocks. Directly after the bay is Kildalton Estate and the now ruined Kildalton Castle, both not accessible for the public.

Claggain Bay & Ardtalla
The road continues and when you leave the dense woodlands there is a long straight stretch of road over moorland followed by Kildalton Cross and Chapel on your right. The last leg of this tour continues over a few more miles of single track road until you reach Claggain Bay, at the end of which is a closed gate and a wee parking space for visitors at Ardtalla.

Wee village of Lagavulin

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Norman Newton - Islay guide
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