• Port Charlottle VIllage

    This best-preserved and most attractive village on Islay, was founded by Walter Frederick Campbell in 1828 and named after his mother.

Port Charlotte Village

Port Charlotte itself offers many amenities for the visitor including The Port Charlotte Hotel with its bar and restaurant featuring local produce and seafood . The Lochindaal Hotel is friendly pub with great bar meals and Yan’s Kitchen  (formerly The Croft Kitchen) which specialises in tapas, seafood and grills. Within the village there is also a well stocked general store, post office and petrol station. The Port Mor centre, on the edge of the village, offers an excellent campsite with shower facilities, a cafe and football pitch.

Port Charlotte’s History

This best-preserved and most attractive village on Islay, was founded by Walter Frederick Campbell in 1828 and named after his mother. The village was built as a planned village around 1830 and included the Lochindaal Distillery which opened in 1832 becoming one of the main sources of employment for the villagers. The first licensee was Colin Campbell, but he owned the distillery for only two years and many owners followed him.

The Port Charlotte distillery closed in 1929 but its buildings still remain and some are now in use by the Youth Hostel and Islay Natural History Trust.

Museum of Islay Life, Port Charlotte

Museum of Islay Life

The award-winning Museum of Islay Life is housed in the old church on the right hand side, opposite the Rhinns Medical Centre surgery. This car park is intended only for doctor’s patients and visitors of the Croft Kitchen restaurant. The museum was opened in 1977 and is devoted to all aspects of Islay life and times. Exhibits include reconstructions from archaeological excavations of prehistoric sites on the island, as well as an important collection of carved stones.

There is a fine array of domestic items, largely from the Victorian era, displayed in room settings, plus such objects of interest such as an illicit still and the clockworks from the Rhinns lighthouse. The museum holds an extensive library and archive with books related to Islay’s rich history. Interesting to mention is the fact that most items in the museum are in fact a gifts donated by people on Islay. The Museum is open six days a week from April to the end of October, and on Sunday afternoons.

Islay Natural History Trust

The Islay Natural History Trust Information Centre is located in the centre of Port Charlotte and occupies the ground floor of a former distillery warehouse. The warehouse belonged to the Lochindaal Distillery, which closed down in the 1920s. The Centre contains a large exhibition dealing with all aspects of Islay’s wildlife, including geology. There is a reference library of natural history books and files of records of Islay’s rich flora and fauna, all available for consultation, also a field study laboratory and a lecture room.

The Information Centre opening hours are:
June, July, August – 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday.
April, May, September, October – 10 am to 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday.

Edible Crab, Port Charlotte

A walk through Port Charlotte

Opposite the Museum of Islay Life is Yan’s Kitchen, an excellent place to stop for coffee and scones or a meal and enjoy the lovely views over Loch Indaal. Following the Main Street with it’s lovely white painted houses the visitor will find the Port Charlotte Hotel and bar where a fine meal can be combined with a dram from the hotel bar. On the left, a little road will take the visitor to Port Charlotte’s beach with its picturesque houses and stunning views over Loch Indaal and the hills from the neighbouring island of Jura.

Halfway up the road from Port Charlotte past the school which leads to Kilchiaran and Portnahaven, in a glen on the right of the road is Port Charlotte’s ‘Tooth Stone’. Local stories have it that hammering a nail into the Tooth Stone will stop toothache. Or it might be better to visit the dentist! Just outside the village centre on the main road to Portnahaven is the Port Mor Centre, a beautiful community centre with lots of facilities as well as a campsite, a cafe and a fantastic children’s playground.