Nautical Information
Location55 37.6N 006 11.4WAnchorage Position55 37.5N 006 12.5W
No. of Berths1Distance to Landing Stage0.6NM
Berth detailsMax length 100m draft 4m Under Keel Clearance 0.5mTidal range/movementapprox. 0.75m
Town centre200mShuttle to townNo
AnchorageYesNearest airportIslay Airport


Port Ellen (Port Ìlein), is a small town on the Island of Islay, Argyll, Scotland, and the town is built around Leodamais Bay.

The name, Port Ellen, originates from the wife of the founder, Frederick Campbell of Islay. Its previous name, Leòdamas, is derived from Old Norse meaning "Leòd's Harbour".

Port Ellen is the largest town on the island of Islay, providing the main ferry link between the island & mainland port at Kennacraig, by Tarbert, Argyll, Scotland.

The distillery at Port Ellen was established in the 1820s, however the production of Scotch Whisky ceased in 1983. Whilst production ceased, the large malting still continues to produce fort the majority of the other distilleries on Islay.

Port Ellen has a variety of archaeological sites which cover the Neolithic, Bronze & Iron Age periods. Sites include standing stones at Kilbride, a fort at Borraichill Mor, several chambered cairns and a chapel at Cill Tobar Lasrach.

Port Ellen is dominated to the south by the Oa peninsula which rises steadily from sea level at Kilnaughton chapel and graveyard to 202 metres at Beinn Mhor which is the most southerly point.

The American monument is located on the Mull of Oa, built in 1920 to commemorate the loss of two troop ships in 1918, whilst in Islay’s waters. A nature preserve around the area of the monument sees plenty of wildlife all year round & is particularly important for rare birds, including the chough and golden eagles.

There are several lochs on the Oa. The largest of these lochs is Kinnabus followed by Loch Ard-Achadh which is a few hundred metres to the north east. There are two other lochs to the west at Lower Glen Astle.


Andrew Campbell - Port Manager & DPFSO
Scott Goodwill - Area Harbours Manager & PFSO
Port Ellen Harbour, Ferry Terminal Port Ellen, Islay, PA42 7DW.

T: +44 (0)1496 730 172 F: +44 (0)1496 302 557

Image credit: Paul Tomkins

Popular excursions

Popular Excursions

The following is a list of popular excursions that are available.

It should be noted that these details are not definitive but are intended to demonstrate the range of excursions and activities available to cruise passengers visiting Port Ellen as part of a cruise. Please note that, in many cases and with prior arrangement, half day tours can be combined to create full day itineraries

Shore excursions are normally pre-booked onboard via the cruise line concerned. Cruise Scotland cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of this information and all details and tour descriptions should be checked with the cruise line concerned.

Half day


Three miles east of Port Ellen the main road to the three Kildalton distilleries reaches Ardbeg Distillery.

Islay's south eastern shore is a single track for a further five miles to Claggain Bay & by continuing for at least another four miles you will come to the ruin of Kildalton Old Parish Church. Standing in the churchyard is the Kildalton Cross. The High Cross of Kildalton and the Old Parish Church of Kildalton is approx. 10km (7 miles) from Port Ellen towards Ardtalla passing the distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

Half day


There are currently eight working distilleries on Islay. The first recorded distillery was Bowmore, founded in 1779; the most recent was Kilchoman, which was established in 2005.

Caol Ila Distillery, Caol Ila, Islay | (1.1 miles from Port Askaig)
Bunnahabhain Distillery, Bunnahabhain, Islay | (4.6 miles from Port Askaig)
Kilchoman Distillery, Rockside, Islay | (16.7 miles from Port Askaig)
Bruichladdich Distillery, Bruichladdich, Islay | (13.5 miles from Port Askaig)
Bowmore Distillery, Bowmore, Islay | (10.4 miles from Port Ellen)
Laphroaig Distillery, Laphroaig, Islay | (1.8 miles from Port Ellen)
Lagavulin Distillery, Lagavulin, Islay | (2.7 miles from Port Ellen)
Ardbeg Distillery, Ardbeg, Islay | (3.6 miles from Port Ellen)

Half day


Islay Woollen Mill is situated just off the main Port Askaig road near Bridgend & was first established in 1883 and remains as Islay's only Mill with materials sold to firms in England, Scotland, France & Germany, whilst producing a wide of range of their own products.

Since re-opening in 1981, a wide range of products including rugs, scarves, caps, tweed jackets and kilts as well as raw fabrics are produced. The Mill creates designs and then weaves them on its own looms. The designs were featured in Hollywood blockbusters such as Braveheart, Forrest Gump, Rob Roy and Far and Away.

Contact details

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