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1. Cycle the coast
Seventy-three-year-old native islander Archie McConnell runs a bike rental shop, vacation house and sheep farm on his property. Hop on a mountain bike, and he’ll point you toward the island’s one-lane paved circuit, which takes just over an hour to complete. There’s something to see in every corner of Colonsay: sunbathing seals on the southwest coast; sandy beaches in Balnahard Bay to the north; and golden eagles on the east coast.

2. Taste its honey
Colonsay is a haven for the British black bee; it has protected status, and no other species can be imported onto the island. Using nectar from the thousands of wildflowers that grow here, these bees produce an unrivalled honey that changes with the season. Try it at the Colonsay Pantry, a tiny diner next to the ferry port, where the lavender-and-thyme-flavoured honey is drizzled over warm berry crumble.

Colonsay Estate

3. Stay and dine at an 18th-century estate
Built in 1750, when tourists were scarce, the Colonsay Hotel was originally an inn for locals. The 1st Baron Strathcona bought the land and hotel in 1904 after returning from Canada, where he was a co-founder of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Today his descendant Alexander Howard and Alexander's wife, Jane, run the Colonsay Estate, which includes the hotel, rental cottages, a backpacker’s lodge and eatery. Stroll the property’s garden; with its high stone walls and branch archways, it could be straight out of the pages of The Secret Garden. It also provides fresh produce for the restaurant, like the chicory, pear and lettuce used in the house salad.

4. Sample local brews
Brewer Chris Nisbet of Colonsay Brewery credits the Hebridean waters for his almost-translucent beers. Stop in for a light and refreshing IPA after a long hike; you just might hear about how Nisbet and two friends opened the brewery in 2007 or how they make up nearly 10 percent of the island’s workforce. (Their other titles include volunteer firefighter, oyster farmhand, golf course keeper and air traffic control officer.

5. Cross over to Oronsay
The neighbouring isle of Oronsay is accessible at low tide via the Strand, a 2.4-kilometre stretch of connecting land. (Check with a local before making the trek.) Explore the tidal island’s 14th-century priory, which includes a medieval-era church, sculpted cross and ancient grave slabs. Just be sure to plan your return time; the walking path is flooded with water during high tide.

See Visit Scotland's website for more information on visiting the Hebrides.



Getting There

Air Canada rouge offers seasonal nonstop service from Toronto to Edinburgh, Scotland. With hotels in Edinburgh and beyond, coach tours, Fly & Drive tours, as well as activities and excursions, create your perfect getaway with Air Canada Vacations.

Comments… or add another

gerrard higgins

Monday, April 7th 2014 16:26
I am so happy that Air Canada is now flying direct to Scotland. giving air Transat a run for there money That was the only airline available and had a bad experience both times. Will never use them again. Thank you .Gerrard Higgins.

Gary McLaren

Monday, April 7th 2014 17:02
Colonsay looks keenly inviting & welcoming. One can
easily imagine oneself making the bike tour, skipping across to Oronsay, racing the tide back, and tucking into a warm & succulent meal at the
Colonsay estate & quaffing several of the IPA beer
from the local brewery. A taste of the Isles awaits.

Claire Gay

Monday, April 7th 2014 21:02
This sounds like a very interesting place to visit for someone who wants to explore whilst resting ( a true holiday in all sense of the word) in a quiet, serene, historical place.

Victoria Manson

Tuesday, April 8th 2014 14:07
sounds like a great holiday,...we are hoping to come over to Edinburgh and Aberdeen in August of 2016...this sounds like a nice little offshoot to come visit for a few over here in northern British Columbia we also have sheep (Suffolk),so we'll feel right at home!


Tuesday, April 8th 2014 16:31
I would love to go. The honey sounds divine and I'd love to get to out-of-the-way places in Scotland like the Hebrides, but alas, not this year.

Yvonne Wemyss Turner

Wednesday, April 9th 2014 11:28
What an amazing photo of Kiloran Bay, I learned to swim there many years ago. When I was a little girl our family would often spend the day at this lovely beach, and not see another soul.

Marie Plienegger

Wednesday, April 9th 2014 15:55
I would be interested in having more information and prices for the Hebrides, Colonsay in particular. Flight and hotel.

thank you,


Gus Morgan

Thursday, April 10th 2014 19:51
Thanks for letting us in on this jewel! Sounds fantastic!
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