8 reasons to go wild about Glasgow & Islay, Jura and Colonsay

The Heart & Soul of Scotland

You can’t beat Glasgow for culture. It’s packed with galleries, museums and visitor attractions. The city’s architecture is world-renowned and many of the old buildings are being reinvented as restaurants, arts venues and even a new distillery.



Speaking of distilleries, did you know that the beautiful island of Islay is just an hour’s flight from Glasgow? Hop on a plane to discover amazing wildlife, fabulous scenery and some world-famous whisky distilleries. Here are eight reasons why your short break should twin Glasgow with Islay.


Glasgow & Islay, Jura and Colonsay


#1 Modern malt

Glasgow’s stills are flowing again! The Clydeside Distillery opened in 2017 in a former pump house at Queen’s Dock on the banks of Clyde. It’s now producing the first whisky in Glasgow for more than 100 years. Take a tour to watch the craftsmen distil the city’s new spirit.

#2 Be transported

Make your way to the Riverside Museum, Glasgow's free transport museum located on the banks of the River Clyde. There are thousands of objects on display. Ride a tram, check out the motorbikes and walk down an old cobbled Glasgow street.

#3 Tall tales

The Tall Ship Glenlee, is berthed outside the Riverside Museum. Restored to her former glory, the Glenlee is one of only five remaining Clyde-built sailing ships still afloat in the world. Climb aboard and experience what life was like on the high seas.

#4 Eat, drink and play

Head to Princes Square for a spot of lunch. You'll find a great selection of cafes and bars to choose from. For dinner, book yourself a table at The Gannet, a multi-award-winning bar and restaurant in the Finnieston area. For after dinner fun make your way to Òran Mór for drinks and live music. It’s housed in what was formerly Kelvinside Parish Church. Check out the auditorium with mural ceiling by Alasdair Gray. And for a final pint, head to The Scotia, one of Scotland’s oldest and most iconic pubs. It has a legendary status on the city’s music scene.

Stay at Radisson Red, Glasgow’s hippest new hotel. Head up to the rooftop bar to watch the sun set over the Clyde as you sip a cocktail.

Glasgow & Islay, Jura and Colonsay

Islay, Jura and Colonsay

#5 A Peaty Dram

No visit to Islay would be complete without a tour of a whisky distillery. There are nine on the island, including Ardnahoe, which is due to open soon, and Bowmore, said to be one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. All of them provide fascinating tours ending with a peaty dram or two. 

#6 Wild at Heart

Islay is home to an array of incredible wildlife, from rare butterflies to iconic Scottish creatures such as otters, seals and eagles. Join Islay Outdoors for an unforgettable wildlife tour, a fishing trip or bird-watching.

#7 Paddle or Pedal

Go on a sea kayaking adventure with Kayak Wild Islay. Explore the coastline and discover islands, hidden lagoons and beaches. Or how about heading off road with a Fat Bike tour? With big wheels, these bikes are perfect for riding along beaches.

#8 Eat, Drink & Play

Head to the south of the island for lunch at one of the island’s most famous distilleries. Ardbeg’s Old Kiln Café serves up delicious dishes featuring local produce. For dinner, treat yourself at 18 at the Machrie. Overlooking the 18th green of the famous Machrie Links golf course, Laggan Bay and the ocean beyond, this fabulous modern restaurant is all about great food and incredible views.

Stay at Islay’s newest hotel, The Machrie, which opened this year. It’s a stunning renovation and expansion, providing luxurious hotel accommodation in a dreamy beachside setting. And if you like golf, one of the world’s finest Links courses is right on your doorstep


The Glasgow Subway is the easiest way to get around the city centre and west end of Glasgow. The most common way to travel to Islay & Jura is via regular CalMac Ferries services. Flybe runs a twice-daily 35-minute scheduled flight from Glasgow International Airport to Islay. The flight provides spectacular views over the islands and Kintyre. 

On Islay you can hire a car, use the bus or go for a combination of taxis, hired bicycles and foot. From Islay you can make the short hop on the ferry across to Jura. If you have more time, in the summer you fly between Islay and Colonsay with Hebridean Air Services

Visit Glasgow

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Visit Islay, Jura and Colonsay

The Hebridean islands of Islay, Jura and Colonsay are closer than you think. Visit Islay and discover smoky whiskies, wildlife and miles of sandy beaches. 

Visit Islay and Jura and Visit Colonsay.


'The Heart & Soul of Scotland' campaign is a partnership between Argyll & The Isles Tourism Cooperative and Glasgow Life, supported by partners: Visit Scotland, Argyll & Bute Council, Love Loch Lomond, ScotRail, Calmac Ferries, Loganair, Enterprise rent-a-car and West Coast Motors.