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.