Inchcolm Abbey and Island
Inchcolm Abbey and Island
4.5
10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Monday
10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday
10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday
10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday
10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday
10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday
10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday
10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
About
There is currently no visitor access to the walled garden and the hermit's cell while we undertake conservation works. Inchcolm Abbey was established on this island originally as a priory by David I in 1235. It is the best-preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland. It was the dream of Alexander I to establish a monastery on the island after he sheltered on it during a storm. But following his death, it was his brother David I who invited Augustinian canons to establish a priory, which was later given full abbey status. The abbey has a dramatic location which you can see from the boat before you arrive on the island. The medieval stone screens inside the belltower are rare survivals of medieval church fixtures and the 13th century well-painting is a rare medieval fresco. The island is also famed for its seals, wildlife and coastal defences from the two world wars.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

Top ways to experience Inchcolm Abbey and Island and nearby attractions

See what travelers are saying
  • 2J66
    21 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth extending your boat trip
    We took the option of extending our bridge viewing trip on Maid of the Fourth and it was well worth it to spend 90 minutes taking in the Abbey and the wildlife of the island and surrounding waters. The nesting gulls had young chicks at the time of our visit but the staff had warned that they might be aggressive so we just gave them a wide berth. Historic Environment Scotland have a centre with interesting displays and a gift shop which also sells hot & cold drinks & ice creams.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 19, 2023
  • Katie
    16 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the visit
    This incredible abbey is totally worth the visit! Not only do you get to take a boat out to the island and see the Forth of Firth from a new perspective but you also get to visit the abbey that dates to the time of David I (12th century). The Stewards on the island were really friendly and knowledgeable and the abbey was great for exploring. Also on the island are some WWI and WWII bunkers. If you're going, bring a picnic and enjoy the island (beware of the gulls though!).
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 6, 2023
  • Andrew T
    53 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A little island with a lot of history
    Decided to take a cruise out to Inchcolm Island and so glad we did. A beautiful little island with some amazing views and an abandoned abbey (amongst other things) to explore. The cruise out and back had informative narrative throughout too.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 13, 2023
  • Kelly1957
    Crowborough, United Kingdom137 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    10/10 EXPERIENCE
    Great boat trip with Forth Tours. Enjoyable, informative commentary on board, great crew and drinks/snacks for sale. Amazing views of the bridges and coastline. The island is a magical place and the staff on the island are just wonderful. Castle and island are well worth a visit. We thought we might keep this a secret but we had the whole island to ourselves for the last hour!! Captain took us to see the seals on the way back to Queensferry. Great views of the razorbillls and gulls.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 20, 2023
  • Blair Durno
    Arbroath, United Kingdom299 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    First Time Solo
    First time visiting the Island on Friday. It was an amazing experience. Met by the Staff who were welcoming and friendly. The views were amazing from every part of the Island. Watching the birds go about their daily lives. Will definitely go back. It's a wonderful place.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written March 31, 2024
  • Martin
    7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    WOW, fantastic island to explore
    3 of us opted to visit Inchcolm Island our main aim was to visit the highest point on the island all 31.5m of it. The boat trip to the island was superb with lots of local facts thrown in by the commentary. The boat times limit the time on the island and we had the best part of a couple of hours to explore. First we went to the western end (highest point) taking plenty of photo's. Then we explored the Abbey, the history is amazing and the buildings are in great condition considering how old some of them are. The highlight was squeezing up the spiral staircase to the viewing area on the tower. We then headed to the eastern part which has plenty of WW2 concrete remains, the highlight on that side of the island is a tunnel which is about 30m long and would be great fun for children to explore. We visited the island in late April, the gulls were very active & were busy nesting and not overly aggressive, however that will change once the chicks arrive. The return boat trip takes you under all 3 bridges which makes for some great photos. Thoroughly recommend.
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled with friends
    Written April 27, 2024
  • Chris R 3105
    Christchurch, United Kingdom84 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth a visit but avoid May
    Really good 1-2 hour visit. We visited as part of the 3 bridges cruise and stopped here for a couple of hours. The inchgnome island next to the docks was brilliant. On the island we were lucky with the weather and also the time of year. Don’t go in May is the advice of the guides there. 1000s of seagulls on the island and it’s their breeding season. We went in April and they were just noisy and telling us off, apparently in May they divebomb, which will make that trip a long one as not much to do other than walk round the abbey and climb to the highest point. The guides on the island were really friendly and helpful also.
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 6, 2024
  • Waddler
    York, United Kingdom11,255 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth coming
    The priory gives some good exploration, don't miss the tiny spiral staircase that gives you access to the tallest tower for views across the island. It's a scenic island, we didn't manage to spot seals or puffins, despite going to the Western end where a small puffin colony had arrived for the season. The headlands are worth exploring at each end anyway, despite the gulls getting a bit noisy. Apparently taking a long stick and holding it above your head is the way to go as if the gulls do attack then they will go for that!
    Visited May 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written May 6, 2024
  • Gary C
    Cumbernauld, United Kingdom493 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very worthwhile
    We visited as part of a boat trip and it’s was very good. Clambering all over the abbey was great fun. The trip up the tower was interesting we say - not for the claustrophobic or folk vertigo like me but I’m glad I managed it. NTS staff on island very extremely friendly and helpful. Yes we did go in May not realising the issue with the gulls and it was quite scary walking out to the fortifications to be fair. You don’t need to worry if you stick to the abbey though.
    Visited May 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 16, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles980 reviews
Excellent
762
Very good
188
Average
26
Poor
2
Terrible
2

Alan A
Edinburgh, UK187 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
This is one of the few historic buildings in Scotland which is currently fully open to the public. Much of the abbey dates from the 12th century and is well preserved and maintained. The little museum fills out the story with details of what went on there during the 20th century world wars. With the ferry crossing from South Queensferry, it makes for a wonderful day out for people of all ages.
Written June 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

simon956
Edinburgh, UK10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
A justly-deserved title. Only accessible by an inclusive ticket with Forth Boat Tours, you get a fantastic boat trip, an hour on the island, and a great return journey. Semi-ruined, there is enough to see even when it's a wet day. If you have a head for heights, go up the Abbey tower and look over and see all of Edinburgh.
Written September 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

clairemontana
Edinburgh, UK47 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Friends
It’s such a beautiful place of peace and living history in Scotland. There is so much to see whilst on the island and it just sparks your imagination. The staff are lovely and friendly and clearly love and care for their charge.

We went during seabird breeding season, I recommend taking a stick so they do not attack you.
Written October 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FionaVolc
Aberdeen, UK16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
We took the 3pm sailing and opted to visit Inchcolm as part of our trip with Forth Boat Tours. I definitely recommend visiting the island. It was the highlight of the boat trip. The abbey is beautiful and there are lots of rooms to explore. The tunnel was great fun and the island staff were really friendly and helpful. As it was late June the seagulls were all hatching so it was hard to explore the extremities of the island due to the protective parent gulls. But that is understandable!
Written July 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BarbaraRiekwel
Coatbridge, UK741 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Couples
Really enjoyed this wee island. We booked the boattrip including 11/2 hour stop on the island. The weather was nice and we had brought some lunch which we enjoyed on the bay/beach next to the abbey. The abbey itself is still closed, which we knew, but you can still see plenty and get a good view from the top of the island. Nice walk up to the top and wind your way down around the hill. Plenty of viewing points and lots of birds!
The toilets were clean and there is a wee shop where you can get souvenirs and some soft drinks. The trip to the island was a bit rough but most people found that good fun i think. Lots of seals in the rocky island before you get to Incholm which was really nice and we got to see all 3 bridges from the water. Really nice trip and island.
Written April 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Martin
7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Friends
3 of us opted to visit Inchcolm Island our main aim was to visit the highest point on the island all 31.5m of it. The boat trip to the island was superb with lots of local facts thrown in by the commentary. The boat times limit the time on the island and we had the best part of a couple of hours to explore. First we went to the western end (highest point) taking plenty of photo's. Then we explored the Abbey, the history is amazing and the buildings are in great condition considering how old some of them are. The highlight was squeezing up the spiral staircase to the viewing area on the tower. We then headed to the eastern part which has plenty of WW2 concrete remains, the highlight on that side of the island is a tunnel which is about 30m long and would be great fun for children to explore. We visited the island in late April, the gulls were very active & were busy nesting and not overly aggressive, however that will change once the chicks arrive. The return boat trip takes you under all 3 bridges which makes for some great photos. Thoroughly recommend.
Written April 27, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

570worldtraveller
St. Andrews, UK22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
An absolutely stunning Abbey and in such good condition for a centuries old building. What history has occurred on this evocative island in the Firth of Forth. The wonderfully helpful and informative staff on the island make this an experience to savour, especially Charlotte. To gaze out of the Window where Walter Bower wrote the Scotichronicle and see the view of Edinburgh that inspired his words captivated my imagination. The views from the wee beach are spectacular and the seals come so close to the shore. We highly recommend to all fellow travellers.
Written September 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

quarryhouse99
Aberdeen, UK124 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2019
The only way to get to the island is by boat via one of the forth ferries/cruises. We chose to spend 90 mins on the island as part of our round trip. We were blessed with fine weather which meant we had great views. The old abbey is worth seeing even if it is a bit difficult to work out the various rooms etc from the map. We managed to explore the whole area in the time and watched seals swimming in the sea.
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris R 3105
Christchurch, UK84 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Really good 1-2 hour visit. We visited as part of the 3 bridges cruise and stopped here for a couple of hours. The inchgnome island next to the docks was brilliant. On the island we were lucky with the weather and also the time of year. Don’t go in May is the advice of the guides there. 1000s of seagulls on the island and it’s their breeding season. We went in April and they were just noisy and telling us off, apparently in May they divebomb, which will make that trip a long one as not much to do other than walk round the abbey and climb to the highest point. The guides on the island were really friendly and helpful also.
Written May 6, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Katie
16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Solo
This incredible abbey is totally worth the visit! Not only do you get to take a boat out to the island and see the Forth of Firth from a new perspective but you also get to visit the abbey that dates to the time of David I (12th century). The Stewards on the island were really friendly and knowledgeable and the abbey was great for exploring. Also on the island are some WWI and WWII bunkers. If you're going, bring a picnic and enjoy the island (beware of the gulls though!).
Written July 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 881
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Inchcolm Abbey and Island - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

All South Queensferry HotelsSouth Queensferry Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in South Queensferry
All things to do in South Queensferry
Boat Tours & Water Sports in South QueensferryDay Trips in South Queensferry
RestaurantsFlightsVacation RentalsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars