Scotland – Argyll

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in Scotland

5. Kiloran Bay, Isle of Colonsay

Top 10 ten places to visit in Scotland – Argyll

Kiloran Bay, the Isle of Colonsay

If you really want to get away from it all, the Isle of Colonsay offers peace, seclusion and beauty. Despite its northerly position, the weather here can be surprisingly warm due to the Gulf Stream, the mighty Atlantic current that carries Caribbean heat to the western isles.

With a series of gentle peaks covered in heather and the occasional patch of woodland, inland lochs and sandy beaches, the island has a varied and intimate landscape and supports abundant wildlife, including goats, rabbits and wild birds.

As well as walking and nature watching, there’s an eighteen hole golf course with fantastic views over the north Atlantic. If golf’s not your thing, why not try trout or sea fishing, or take a picnic to one of the beaches?

Kiloran Bay
There are a number of fine beaches on Colonsay with bleached white sands and seas as turquoise and translucent as Caribbean waters.

Kiloran Bay is one of the best of these beaches and is relatively easily accessible. Its majestic sweep is broken only by occasional jagged rocks jutting upwards from the sand, and backed by undulating green hills. The weather can change the mood of the shoreline completely, from benign and gentle to isolated and menacing, with huge breakers crashing in from the Atlantic.

While at Kiloran Bay you can sunbathe, swim (if it’s warm enough), surf (after a strong westerly wind the rollers should be big enough) of fly kites (as there’s usually at least a breeze). For the more energetic take the short walk up Carnan Eoin for excellent views over Kiloran Bay, Colonsay and over to the Isle of Jura.

The Colonsay House and Woodland Gardens
Twenty acres of sub-tropical gardens were planted here in the 1930’s, by Lord Strathcona who had made his fortune building the Canadian Pacific Railway. He purchased Colonsay House (built in 1722 by Malcolm Mac Neil) along with the island in 1904.


Just separated by tidal sands to the south of Colonsay, is the smaller isle of Oronsay. You can walk across at low ebb, but be sure to check the tide times before setting off. The highlight here is the Oronsay Cross, an intricately carved medieval monument standing next to the ruined Oronsay Priory.

The Colonsay Hotel, built in 1750, is a simple, comfortable and elegantly decorated place, serving gastro-pub type food. This is the only hotel on the island, and is located in Scalasaig on the east coast where your ferry from the mainland will arrive.
For an island of only one hundred inhabitants, there’s a decent selection of holiday accommodation and holiday cottages available. Some examples are listed below.

More places to visit and days out in Scotland

Colonsay, Kiloran Bay location

Accommodation and eating out on Colonsay

Accommodation in Colonsay

The Pantry, above the pier in Scalasaig, serves home cooked meals and cakes, T +44 (0)1951 200325

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