This is as close to paradise as any devotee of Scottish whisky could ever wish for. If you love being cosy by the sea and savouring boat fresh seafood, the whitewashed Harbour Inn by a wee stone harbour will work perfectly too. This relaxed bolthole on Islay – the ‘Queen of the Hebrides’ – is ideally located, not just on scenic Loch Indaal, but also opposite the Bowmore Distillery (the inn’s owners) right at the heart of the nearest Islay comes to a town, the unofficial capital of Bowmore.
You will want a sea loch view room to watch for seals, otters and dolphins. The seven bedrooms are quite simple, with not too much fuss: comfortable, trim and well finished. In a phase, as they themselves say, ‘contemporary Scottish’. They have self-catering options too in the old distillery cottages just across the road, where you will wake up reeking of the good stuff. For drinks – whisky, of course! – there is the Schooner Bar. That is just a warm up for the main act of dinner with a view over the water, accompanied by the fruits of the local fishermen (scallops are especially good), Islay Oysters from Loch Gruinart and renowned Islay beef. Washed down with more malt. This is Islay after all, where nine distilleries await – first up is surely Bowmore, a sherry-tinged not too peaty wonder.
PricingDoubles from £174, including breakfast.
Harbour Inn, Bowmore, Isle of Islay PA43 7JR
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