Things to do

An isle for activity and relaxation

Whether you want to be active or simply enjoy a chance to relax for a while in a peaceful location, Colonsay offers something for every visitor.

Colonsay Golf Club

The 200 year old 18-hole links course is situated on indigenous machair, which is shortish grass growing in sandy soil. Many golfers enjoy the more natural style of play on this wonderfully scenic links course overlooking a sandy beach.

The golf course is always open and a map of the course and scorecards are provided when you pay. Cost is £5 per day or £30 annual membership, please pay at the hotel.

Golf web-page

Cycling

As well as offering numerous walks, the islands are a great place for cycling. The roads are relatively free of traffic and there are few steep or long hills. Bring your own bike or arrange to hire locally from Archie MacConnell (Tel:01951 200355).

Wildlife watching

There are at least seven distinct habitat examples in Colonsay, so it is very easy to plan a full week of great variety. See flora and fauna for more information.

Colonsay House Gardens and cafe

The Colonsay House and woodland gardens are home to one of the finest rhododendron collections in Scotland.  There is also an extraordinary array of unusual trees and shrubs, many from other parts of the world.  From April to October, open Wednesdays and Fridays 12 to 5pm, and Saturdays 2 to 5pm. There is a sunny terrace café that serves lunches and afternoon teas of locally grown produce and delicious home baking.  Tel 01951200211 or visit Colonsay House Gardens and Café

Fly Fishing

The lochs are managed with a view to conserving the native brown trout. There are no rainbow trout and no imported fish. The native stock are a distinct strain, descendants of the fish introduced by the monastic community of Kiloran Abbey.  You may fish with a permit from March 17 to October 6, using only fly fishing methods.

A permit costs £25 per adult per week and can be purchased from the Office at Colonsay hotel.

Family fun

For families, Colonsay offers the chance for a more traditional style of holiday, where children can enjoy pursuits such as rock-pooling, building sand castles, shell collecting or kite-flying on one of the many beaches.  Many people bring small boats and kayaks for exploring the more sheltered coastlines.

Colonsay Brewery

Colonsay is the smallest island in the world to have its own brewery and distillery. Open most afternoons for the sale of Colonsay beers and the distillery's Gold Medal winning Wild Island Botanic Gin and a number of island distilled seasonal products.

Colonsay Brewery

An expedition to Oransay

The important ruins of the Augustinian priory in Oronsay include a magnificent stone cross, cloisters, mediaeval gravestones and a consecrated High Altar. The island is tenanted and farmed by RSPB in the interests of birdlife and a visit will be a highlight of your stay. You can walk across at low tide (2 miles each way to the Priory), but you need to check the tides carefully. Plan to cross on or soon after a New or Full Moon; get advice locally.

Oransay Priory

Heritage Trust Centre

Visit the Colonsay Heritage Trust Centre which has an evolving display of artifacts and photographs on show as well as special exhibitions.  It is located at the Baptist church, next to the primary school in Kilchattan. Find out more at the Colonsay and Oronsay Heritage Trust.

Cave exploration

The caves at the north end of Kiloran Bay are visited quite easily, while the New Cave to the south requires a bit of planning. Make sure you have at least two torches, wear long trousers and tread warily.

There are quite a few other caves at Uragaig, to the south-west of Kiloran The otters, bats, pigeons, spiders and other cave inhabitants are very tolerant, but please minimise the impact of your visit.

Star gazing

Away from the lights of Scalasaig and Kilchattan, there are many excellent star gazing locations. Why not venture out after dark on a clear night with a blanket to lie on and take a look at the sky? A couple of accessible spots include Kiloran Bay and the golf course. Somewhere on the west side and facing north is best. Picture by Chris Baker.

Boat Trips

Cameron & Struan Smith operate Coastal Connection with fast charter boats operating all year round. You can enjoy boat trips to and from Colonsay. Call 01631 565833 or 07919 615210 for information.

Things to do