Iona Abbey

sights / Architecture

Iona Abbey information

adult/child £5.50/3.30
Opening hours
9.30am-5.30pm Apr-Sep, to 4.30pm Oct-Mar
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Lonely Planet review

Iona's ancient abbey is the spiritual heart of the island. The spectacular nave , dominated by Romanesque and early Gothic vaults and columns, contains the elaborate, white marble tombs of the 8th duke of Argyll and his wife. A door on the left leads to the beautiful Gothic cloister , where medieval grave slabs sit alongside modern religious sculptures.

A replica of the intricately carved St John’s Cross stands just outside the abbey – the massive 8th-century original is in the Infirmary Museum (around the far side of the abbey) along with many other fine examples of early Christian and medieval carved stones.

The ruins of the abbey were donated to the Church of Scotland in 1899, and by 1910 a group of enthusiasts called the Iona Community ( had reconstructed the building. It’s still a flourishing spiritual community that holds regular courses and retreats.