Inside whisky distillery

Malt in Your Mouth Whisky Distilleries in Islay

If you’re looking for a UK winter getaway, Islay is home to a number of world famous Scottish whisky distilleries. Since the fourteenth century Islay has been fermenting grain mash into smooth, distilled, traditional whiskies. An island ideal for growing barley, Islay’s pure water sources, fertile lands and abundance of peat has put Islay at the top of every whisky connoisseur’s bucket list.

5 Whisky Distilleries Off The Peat-en Track

Laphroaig Distillery

For over 200 years, Laphroaig Distilleries has been crafting the world’s most richly flavoured Scotch Whisky. Join in a one-hour tour of the Laphroaig Distillery and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Laphroaig process. You can also test your taste buds in a flavour or premium whisky tasting with an experienced Laphroaig Host.

Exterior of Laphroig whisky distillery by the sea

Image title Laphroaig Distillery by Ed Wolstenholme is licensed under (CC BY-SA2.0)

Lagavulin Distillery

Situated in the picturesque Lagavulin Bay, the Lagavulin Distillery is well worth a visit. Take a tour of the distillery, watch the distillers at work and discover the rich peaty flavour of the Lagavulin magic. Nestled in a small and beautiful bay on the south of Islay, Lagavulin’s guided tours and local legend (Ian McArthur) will divulge all the secrets of their world famous malt.

Exterior of Lagavulin Distillery by the sea

Image title Lagavulin Distillery by Stephane Farenga is licensed under (CC BY 2.0)

Ardbeg Distillery

Since 1815, Ardbeg has been distilling their distinctive single malt Scotch whisky. To get a feeling for the true spirit of Ardbeg, you can visit the distillery where their whisky is, has been and always will be crafted to perfection. With regular tours, a great shop and an excellent café, Ardbeg is a favourite among the whisky distilleries on the island.

Bowmore Distillery

Established in 1779, Bowmore is the first recorded distillery on Islay, and one of the oldest in Scotland. Renowned for its peaty flavour, Bowmore malts have been brewed the same way for over 200 years – carefully smoked in a peat-fired kiln. Bowmore itself is home to almost a third of the island’s population. Besides the distillery, it is well known for its white-washed houses, stone-built harbour and iconic Round Church.

Kilchoman Distillery

Established in 2005, Kilchoman is the newest addition to Islay’s famous whisky distilleries. Not only is it one of the smallest whisky distilleries in Scotland, it is also the first whisky distillery to be built on the island in 125 years. Set on a farm on the rugged west coast, Kilchoman has gone back to the roots of traditional Scotch whisky distilling. From barley to bottling, Kilchoman farms its own barley and is one of only a handful of whisky distilleries still practicing floor malting. Unlike other whisky distilleries, Kilchoman¬ is the only distillery to complete all parts of the whisky making process on site.

Visiting Islay

If a tour of Scotland’s most notorious whisky distilleries is for you, you can book in to Islay Cottages’ self-catering holiday accommodation. Perfectly positioned in both rural Kilchoman and the main village of Bowman, you can make the most of Islay’s vast whisky presence in its small village setting.

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Attracting Edinburgh Attractions You Have to Visit

If you’re planning on spending Christmas in the UK, Edinburgh was voted one of the best cities in the world to enjoy a winter break. And while Edinburgh may seem small compared to other cities, in terms of unique Edinburgh attractions per square mile, it’s top of the table. The city is packed with amazing things to do, so unless you’re planning on making your stay a permanent one, you’re going to struggle to see even half of what’s on offer. To help you get the most out of Edinburgh attractions, we’ve put together a list of the top things to do in Edinburgh to get you started.

 

Greyfriars Bobby Statue

This wee dog has had a vice grip on the hearts of the British public since the late 19th century. Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye terrier who stood vigil at his master’s grave for years until his own death. In life he was dearly loved by the people of Edinburgh and the intervening years has done little to diminish that. His fierce loyalty has inspired books and even a movie by Walt Disney! A life-size statue was erected in recognition of his fierce loyalty at the corner of Candlemaker Row and the George IV Bridge.

Statue of Greyfriars Bobby Image title bobby’s bar by zoetnet is licensed under (CC BY 2.0)

National Gallery Of Scotland Complex

The Scottish National Gallery and the adjoining Royal Scottish Academy form a complex in the heart of Edinburgh city. Situated just off Princes Street, the galleries are Edinburgh attractions in their own right. They house a magnificent collection of both classical and contemporary art. The complex is comprised of distinct buildings, linked via an underground tunnel, and both are the designs of the renowned architect William Playfair. The complex also includes the Scottish Café & Restaurant, which boasts spectacular views of Princes Street Gardens.

 

The Royal Botanic Garden

This magnificent 70 acre garden is the second oldest of its kind in Britain. It is home to a herbarium, Britain’s biggest palm house, a tropical house, a terraced moorland garden and many other delights. The Gardens also host many exhibitions where you can learn more about the beautiful species on display, and join a guided tour of the gardens.

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens  and the glasshouse

Image title Rhododendron at Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden by Karen Bryan is licensed under (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Our Dynamic Earth: Edinburgh’s Science Centre

Our Dynamic Earth is an amazing multimedia journey back 500 million years through Earth’s history. Located at the foot of Arthur’s seat near Holyrood Park, the science centre is housed in an ultra-modern tent-like structure and invites guests to take part in a series of interactive exhibits. State of the art technology brings it all to life with an amazing 360 degree full dome film theatre.

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Fireplace at Christmas time with decorations and tree

Christmas in the UK – a Claus For Celebration

As the days begin to grow shorter and the winter chill sets in, the UK is transformed from a bustling summer getaway to a wonderful winter wonderland. It’s a time to cozy-up in front of a fire, snuggle down with a good book and enjoy all the age-old traditions of a traditional Christmas in the UK. And while there may be no place like home for the holidays, by the time the festive season is over, you’re often in need of another holiday. If that sounds about right, check out our top tips for getting the best holiday deals, book early and enjoy a Ho-Ho-Ho-liday with Christmas in the UK.

 

England: a Festoon of Festivities

Spreading Christmas cheer from the West End to the far South, the English capital dons a special sparkle throughout the festive season. From the giant Christmas tree and traditional caroling in Trafalgar Square, to the annual Nut Cracker ballet at the Royal Opera House, outdoor ice-skating rinks, Christmas markets and the bright lights of the London Eye, London is transformed into our very own tinsel town.

What to do:

Enjoy some retail therapy with Christmas markets in Bath, Lincoln, Birmingham and Salisbury. Experience ‘squibbing’ at the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, take to the streets in Worcester’s Victorian Christmas Fayre and eat your heart out at the Slindon Pumpkin Festival.

 

Scotland: Scenic Extravaganzas

Famous for its hilltop castle, cultural festivals and Hogmanay street party, CNN has voted Scotland’s majestic capital as one of the best cities in the world to enjoy a winter break. With a huge line up of Christmas markets, glittering lights, fairground rides and Europe’s largest open air ice rink, Christmas in the UK this year promises not to disappoint.

What to do:

At the heart of the festivities, St Andrew Square will host a variety of live shows, festive markets, fantastic food and musical extravaganzas. If you’re looking for a quieter winter break with friends and family, escape the city with a Railway Holiday to the Highlands and discover a side of Scotland you’ve never seen before.

 

Wales: a Winter Wonderland

When it comes to spending quality time with family and friends, Christmas in Wales will ensure you get all you could ever want for Christmas. With all the charm of quiet village living, as well as the festive season madness of the bigger cities too, Wales offers anyone looking to spend Christmas in the UK the best of both worlds.

 

What to do:

Enjoy ghosts of Christmas past at a Welsh Castle, take a walk along the Coastal Path or go shopping at the Swansea, Cardiff and Blackwood markets. Wrap things up with the Caerphilly or Llandudno Christmas Fayres, take a Santa Special train ride in Llangollen and let the Abergavenny Christmas Food Festival leave you hungry for more.

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Spooky room with spooky shadows

Spook-tacular UK Halloween Destinations

 

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, All Hallows Eve is approaching on the double. With deadly dungeons, haunted castles and a bloodthirsty history, enjoy heart-stopping tours, potent pub potions and ghoulish creatures with the most horrifying UK Halloween destinations.

 

London terrors

At the top of any UK Halloween destination list has to be the Tower of London. As London’s most notorious prison famed for torture and executions in the days of yore, the Tower of London is full of wonderful historical horrors.

If you’re in the mood for things that go bump in the night, take a night crawl through London’s cemeteries, walk the walk with Jack the Ripper Ghost Walks or brave the spookiest locations in London. With loads of horrifying events, eerie tours, blood-chilling venues, zombie dawn raids and costume scare tactics, make London your UK Halloween destination of choice … if you dare.

 

Haunted Edinburgh

If you’re looking for horrific history, Edinburgh is one of the spookiest cities in the UK. Each year, Edinburgh plays home to a host of traditional Halloween festivities. From fancy dress and bobbing for apples, to trick-or-treating, making Jack-o-lanterns, chilling ghost stories and Halloween parties, Edinburgh will push your scare threshold to the limit.

For a truly chilling Halloween experience, hop on to the Ghost Bus tour, enjoy a night of the living dead with a City of the Dead tour, celebrate Halloween at the Dungeons or relish in one of the many ghost tours throughout the city.

 

Ghoulish Wales

Steeped in a history of myths and legends, Wales is the UK Halloween destination of choice for all things paranormal. With haunted houses, haunted castles and haunted tours, Halloween in Wales will leave you breathless.

Deck the halls with home-made Halloween decorations, dive six feet under with Dolaucothi Gold Mine tours, search for bats at Tudor Merchants House and enjoy spooky stories at the National Waterfront Museum and Dyffryn Gardens.

Spooky old doll

Spooky Ireland

Take a walk on the dark side of Northern Ireland this Halloween. Whether you’re looking for scary outdoor adventures, spooky family activities or horrific Halloween festivals, Northern Ireland is taking fright night to a whole new level. Visit creaky homes and haunted landmarks, explore Dracula’s lair on location of the newest blockbuster, mash things up at the Metro Monster Mash in Belfast or get your scream on at the Halloween Howler in Lisnaskea.

 

So if you’re looking for a traditional, scare-the-socks-off-you Halloween experience, book the perfect UK city break and experience all the horrors that UK Halloween destinations have to offer.

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