Iona Abbey

Top choice in Oban, Mull & Tiree

Iona's ancient but heavily reconstructed abbey is the spiritual heart of the island. The spectacular nave, dominated by Romanesque and early Gothic vaults and columns, is a powerful space; a door on the left leads to the beautiful cloister, where medieval grave slabs sit alongside modern religious sculptures. Out the back, the museum displays fabulous carved high crosses and other inscribed stones, along with lots of background information. A replica of the intricately carved St John’s Cross stands outside the abbey.

Next to the abbey is an ancient graveyard where there's an evocative Romanesque chapel, as well as a mound that marks the burial place of 48 of Scotland's early kings, including Macbeth. Former Labour party leader John Smith is also buried in this cemetery. The ruined nunnery nearby was established at the same time as the Benedictine abbey. The museum is closed Sundays in winter.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Oban, Mull & Tiree attractions

1. Iona Heritage Centre

0.23 MILES

This place covers the history of Iona, crofting and lighthouses; there's also a craft shop and a cafe serving delicious home baking.

2. Ardalanish Weavers

6.22 MILES

Fleeces from the Hebridean sheep on this farm are woven into fine woollen products using venerable looms, which you can see at work in the old cowshed…

3. Ross of Mull Historical Centre

6.32 MILES

The little village of Bunessan is home to the Ross of Mull Historical Centre, a cottage museum by a ruined mill that houses displays on local history,…

4. Sheila's Cottage

13.62 MILES

Sheila's Cottage, a short walk north of the Ulva ferry landing, is a reconstruction of a traditional thatched crofter's cottage, with displays about the…

5. Calgary Beach

17.36 MILES

Mull’s best (and busiest) silver-sand beach, flanked by cliffs and with views out to Coll and Tiree, is about 12 miles west of Tobermory. And yes – this…

6. Calgary Art in Nature

17.76 MILES

Run with enthusiasm and vision, this place just back from Calgary beach is an excellent art space, and also has great self-catering accommodation. On-site…

7. Old Byre Heritage Centre

18.51 MILES

The curious and cheerful Old Byre brings Mull’s heritage and natural history to life through a series of tableaux and half-hour film shows. The prize for…

8. Colonsay House Gardens

18.54 MILES

Situated at Colonsay House, 1.5 miles north of Scalasaig, these gardens are tucked in an unexpected fold of the landscape and are famous for their…