Firstly, I have to say that the Isle of Mull is one of the friendliest Scottish islands to visit and tourists are made to feel very welcome - even out of season. The warmth of the locals is second to none and it is very easy to slip into contentment and feel at home on Mull - Paul and I certainly didn't want to leave and if we did not have commitments with work and home we would have stayed much longer!
With spectacular and unrivalled scenery, excellent food and a multitude of things to keep families and couples busy, the Isle of Mull has it all. Even though we visited post Christmas (27th - 30th December 2022) there were plenty of places to eat and shop in Tobermory and we never had a dull moment on the entire trip.
Taken from our Instagram @BotanicIsles
Paul and I have a habit of "winging it" when we travel to a new location and prefer to explore organically than planning out a trip. Usually we research where to stay and thats it. Having said this, I don't recommend this way of travel for this particular island. Planning on Mull (with tides) is essential and will make for a much better trip.
Tobermory is the hub of the Island for food and shopping and makes for a great day trip. As habitation on the island is very sporadic, I would also recommend staying in Tobermory than somewhere more "out in the hills" - you will feel a greater sense of comfort.
We ate at the Mishnish Hotel every night of our stay for lunch and dinner and the food is very affordable and excellent quality. The staff here are so lovely and welcoming. Pictured are some Mull caught sea food which was incredible and fresh.
Dinner at the Mishnish Hotel.
1. Bring good quality, thick walking boots. The Isle of Mull gets a lot of rain and the terrain while walking can be very rough and more often than not, treacherous, including on beaches and general walking.
2. Be mindful of the tides. There are a lot of caves on Mull around the coastline and the tide moves fast. It would be easy to get trapped. It is essential if you plan a long beach walk or hike to check the tides.
3. Bring some extra spending money. While the food cost is low - moderate on Mull, Tobermory is full of exciting and diverse gift shops (and a distillery!) with almost all items made on the Isle of Mull by local artisans and crafters. Supporting local makers is vital to the Mull economy and bringing home a little piece of the island is just so lovely.
4. Be mindful if you have a dog with you. There are many cliffs and places where a dog can get lost. There are also lots of native animals and nesting birds. Keeping your dog on a leash is recommended.
5. Understand passing places rules before going onto the island as most of the island is on a single track road.
6. Bring a rain jacket and lots of jumpers. The island can get very very cold and the rain fall is plentiful. I under packed and regretted it!
7. We would highly recommend staying in a hotel on the island instead of using Air B n B's. We stayed at the Waterfront Apartments in Tobermory which was an Air B n B and we sadly could not recommend. I believe the owner did not live on the island but had bought a good chunk of flats around Tobermory for this reason. They were not on hand to help with anything and the bed was so uncomfortable that we did not sleep barely at all for the whole duration of our stay. Hotels support local custom as we now know and it will enhance your stay.
8. Do plan your trip and what you would like to do each day before stepping foot on the island. Many of the walks to the best places take 6 - 8 hours of walking and is inaccessible by car or bike.
9. Do try the local fresh caught sea food on the pier of Tobermory.
10. Do visit the many gift shops in Tobermory. The selection of Mull made gifts from local crafters and artisans is exceptional and we brought home many items for our home and for gifts. Browsing the gift shops and speaking the passionate owners was a real highlight of our trip.
1. Walk through farmers fields without asking. Nursing or pregnant cows, horses and sheep can become aggressive. We note this here because while being on route to a scenic spot which was on a tourist route and signposted, we opened a gate to find a highland cow with her baby. If we had not been several hundred metres away we may have been chased. We had no idea that a well travelled route would also be a farmers field.
2. Book and Air B n B, hotels on the island are plentiful and this will enhance your stay and support local business. Hotels are much more comfy here.
3. Shop at the Co - Op (one of the only supermarkets on the island) as it has inflated prices and we found it to be the same price as eating at the Mishnish Hotel which has fabulous food, a great atmosphere and a warm welcome.
4. Stay in one part of the island. Travelling around the whole island gives you a feel for this deceptively large and diverse island. Every part of the island has a completely different look - from forests to mountains, Mull really has it all.
Thank you for reading our first blog post and we look forward to many more!
- Laura & Paul