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“What a lovely way to spend a few hours”

Inchcolm Abbey and Island
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Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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.
Olympia, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
114 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“What a lovely way to spend a few hours”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

Went to Inchcolm Abbey today. Took a bus (number 43) from Edinburgh to Queensferry stop Police Station. Walked the few minutes to the pier entrance and then took the Maid of the Forth ferry boat over to the island. Ferry ride was about 45 minutes and was pleasant and convenient. The staff was very pleasant as well. The bathrooms on the ferry were the cleanest I've ever seen on any ferry boat - a very nice surprise. They have food and drink for sale on the boat if you so wish.

We then spent 90 minutes exploring the abbey and all of its buildings. There is much to see. The only downside to the island is the tremendous number of birds (gulls) flying all over it but if you can ignore them you should be fine - they are just very noisy.

This is a great picnic spot and lots of people brought a lunch basket with them - as we did - and the ferry boat returned as scheduled for our return trip.

Such a lovely place to explore and an even lovelier place to spend a beautiful summer day.

If you are a member of Historic Scotland - and I would recommend joining - then you only have to pay for the ferry boat ride and not for the landing on the island since Inchcolm Abbey is included in your package.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Florence L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Motherwell, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A delightful boat trip and a lovely island!”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

We visited the island during a boat trip with forth belle tours. Excellent boat ride, took about 40 minutes to get to the island. We had the pleasure of seeing seals and puffins which migrate to this area in the summer. We also met the 'princess Caribbean' cruise ship which was passing by!

You buys tickets for the island excursion on the boat, reasonably priced for what we saw! We were told the mist was thick in the morning but our time on the island 2pm -3:45pm, was blues skies and sunshine! The abbey is amazing, lots of exploring to be done. Winding staircases and hidden passageways. I had 3 teenagers with me who had a ball!

The beach was a delight and the sights from different parts of the island were amazing! There is a small shop for confectionary and cold drinks however it was not stocked very well. Take a little picnic and drinks. We were parched.

Must mention the seagulls. They own the island! Lots and lots of them. A bit jumpy due to it being hatching season, lots of baby gulls and angry mothers everywhere. Be careful!

The boat returned and the mist started to come in again. Think we got the best part of the day. Overall we had a brilliant day! Would definitely recommend this. Our boat tickets were purchased on a deal, glasgows great deals. Tickets for the boat are £12 an adult and £5 child and the island tickets are £5 adult and £3.30 a child.

Hope this helped! X

Visited July 2013
2 Thank Kscott1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
87 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“A hidden gem”
Reviewed July 5, 2013 via mobile

The boat trip alone is amazing & the commentary is very good . The first views of the Abbey from the boat are amazing & the small beach looks great .
The Abbey is in very good condition , at the moment the bell tower is closed due to a recent " incident " . The information plaques are good & there are lots of stairways & rooms to visit .
From the abbey & high parts of the island you get spectacular views over to Edinburgh & fife . A camera is a must . Do be careful if you visit in breeding season as the sea birds may fly at you if you get too close to a nest .
Apart from the Abbey the island has several buildings & posts from the war era that are interesting to explore . I would advise taking a picnic as the wee shop only has soft drinks ,crisps & sweets . You can choose which boat to return on so if its a nice day it's worth staying a few hours .
The boat trip back is even better if you are lucky you will see seals & many seabirds , the captain generally gets the boat close for you to get good pics . You will travel under the rail & road bridge on the way back , views are spectacular .

Visited July 2013
Thank Markb156
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkcaldy, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
161 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“great day trip”
Reviewed July 3, 2013

it costs 17.50 but well worth it.40 mins to reach island,then hour and half on island then 40 mins back.so the boat trip is worth it to start with,great views.the island is fantastic,abbey excellent. so glad i made this trip.if you have not done this,you really must,we even got to see some seals as well.

Visited July 2013
Thank ronnie c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gosport, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
178 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Duck if you see a bird coming”
Reviewed June 30, 2013

Nice day out - a boat trip under the bridge. Seals, Gulls (adult and babies), Terns, Skewers but didn't see any puffins. If you see a bird flying towards you it's probably attacking.

Visited June 2013
Thank AlanandLyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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