Islay House: Bluebell Magic & Afternoon Tea
Surely one of the world’s most beautiful wonders has to be a bluebell wood- in early May the countryside becomes awash with swathes of blue and it seems Islay was no exception to the rule. Even on the Scottish islands, bluebells seem to thrive.
Cruising along the coastal road, en route to the larger town of Bowmore, my eye was suddenly caught by a flash of colour on my left- the little woodland running parallel to the road was a sea of bluebells. We immediately pulled over, unable to resist getting a closer look.
We were soon greeted by a friendly gardener, who welcomed us into the grounds- “feel free to wander all through the woods” he smiled warmly. We didn’t need to be told twice. Dizzy with bluebell delight, we wandered further up the drive, and found Islay House sitting proudly at the centre of the grounds- a vision in white.
The interior of the house was crisp and clean with high-white ceilings and dreamy spiralled staircases. In the reception room stags’ heads adorned the walls- their regal antler-crowns imbued the house with Scottish majesty. It was no surprise to hear that this was once the home of the Laird of Islay.
Even washing my hands was a treat- whisky-water soap left a sweet, smoky scent. After settling down in the dining room, we decided to splash out on afternoon tea. We were kept well-stocked with huge steaming pots of tea- 1 each (!) and tiers of scones, meringues, fruit cake and finger sandwiches.
Tucked away, in the most beautiful grounds, Islay House is definitely worth checking out. I’m already dreaming about coming back one day- I’ve heard Winter is a striking time to visit and walk in the grounds when the woods become overrun with snowdrops, spilling down towards the sea which is just beyond the gates of the house.