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A Motorhome holiday in Islay

A Motorhome holiday in Islay

A Motorhome Holiday in Islay 

If you would like a holiday which is a mixture of beauty, intrigue, friendly and relaxing you would do no better than arranging a Motorhome hire Scotland and having a motorhome holiday in Islay.

Islay is one of the Hebridean Islands on the west coast of Scotland. It is not the larget of the Hebrides,  but it's straight roads (some very narrow) and it's reasonably flat contours make it an ideal destination for a Motorhome holiday in Scotland.

A motorhome holiday in Islay

How to travel to Islay

If you arrange your motorhome hire in Glasgow, then the journey from Glasgow to Kennacraig will take about 3 hours depending on the size and power of your Motorhome. Be prepared as you move from the flat landscape around Loch Lomond to the wild and hilly mountainous roads from Arrochar up the Rest and Be Thankful and down towards Inverary.
Inverary is a welcome comfort break, with plenty of eating facilities. From Inverary the road remains reasonably flat, going through Lochgilphead and Tighnabruich before climbing until the final descent into Tarbert (not to be confused with Tarbet which you passed going around Loch Lomond).

From Tarbert you follow the Campbeltown road for 4 miles until you come to the Islay ferry terminal at Kennacraig.

Join the queue of other Islay travellers and ensure you obtain your tickets for the ferry from the CalMac office on the right hand side of the pier. It is best to have booked well in advance).

How Much Will it Cost to take a Motorhome to Islay?

At current prices it will cost you

Motorhome Ferry Fares to Islay

£66.90 Motorhome up to 6 metres long - excludes driver & passengers
£100.40 Motorhome up to 8 metres long - excludes driver & passengers
£133.80 Motorhome up to 10 metres long - excludes driver & passengers


Once you have driven onto the ferry, in my case the Finlaggan, park your vehicle where instructed, and make your way upstairs to the passengers lounges. The ferry is very comfortable with good food in the restaurant, a bar and lounge, where you can catch up on any sleep.

The sailing to Port Ellen takes just over 2 hours. The Scottish wildlife will take your breath away - look out for basking sharks, dolphins and seals as well as all the various local sea birds.

Coming off the ferry at Port Ellen, take note of the Islay Hotel on the left hand side. Recently rebuilt using the original brickwork and facade, this is now considered to be the best hotel on the island.

Islay has 2 campsites suitable for parking your Motorhome overnight, Kintra Farm near Port Ellen and Port Mor, Port Charlotte. Alternatively you could resort to wild camping, however you must remember the basic rules of wild camping in Scotland:

  • Avoid overcrowding by moving to another location if it becomes busy
  • Use a stove or leave no trace of a camp fire - never cut down or damage trees
  • Pick up all your rubbish and also any other rubbish that less considerate people have left behind
  • If in doubt you can always ask the landowner - they may know a better spot!

An Interview with Motorhome Holidaymaker to Islay

Holiday Campervan Islay

I caught up with Brian and Pauline MacDonald from Chester (pictured opposite) who were visiting Islay for the first time in their own Motorhome. Both thoroughly enjoyed their stay on the island, and spoke very highly of the camping locations and facilities. Surprisingly Brian doesn't like Whisky, which is a shame because Islay is the home of malt Whisky. Islay hosts 8 distilleries - Bowmore, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman and Caol Ila - with a new distillery planned for Gartbreck. 

When driving in Islay, the roads are very flat and straight, especially the road from Port Ellen to Bowmore. Be prepared to constantly respond to oncoming drivers who always give a friendly wave!

What is the weather like in Islay?

During the summer months the weather in Islay can be very changeable, ranging from cold heavy rain to scorching heat. Also be prepared for high winds off the Atlantic and foggy mist (the famous Islay Mist).

What Amazing Wildlife is Found in Islay?

Wildlife on Islay island includes red deer, wild goats, wild cats, adders, eagles and midgies!

With the typical Motorhome adventurer spirit, I last saw Brian and Pauline boarding the ferry at Port Ellen, heading for the mainland, then Arran and then onto the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

One thingg was for sure. They thoroughly enjoyed their motorhome holiday in Islay and will almost certainly be back.

At Holiday Campervan we make motorhome hire Scotland so easy - just a few simple steps will get you a wide range of motorhomes and campervans available to hire in Scotland, whether its a simple 2 berth campervan or a luxury 7 berth motorhome, we can help.