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“Good base for a week on Islay”
Review of Ballivicar Farm

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Ballivicar Farm
Exeter, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Good base for a week on Islay”
Reviewed April 16, 2012

We visited Islay for wildlife and whisky and wanted a base where we had a bit of room for an extensive travelling library and a microscope!

Ballivicar Farm is down in the South of the Island, a good base for the Oa and the awesome trinity of Ardbeg, Lagavullin and Laphroaig, as well as the pretty little bays of the SE of the Island (it would be a good place for the ferry as well, once Port Ellen is operational again, but at the moment its a 40 minute drive to Port Askaig). We didn't mind a bit of travelling (Islay isn't big, but the roads aren't particularly quick) so we were happy to use it as a base for the further flung corners as well ~ I managed to sup representative samples at all eight distilleries ~ even if Caol Isla was more of a sat at the gates job (it was shut).

Harriet and Toby are friendly and approachable, but equally happy to let you get about your business (lambing was on during our stay and we had a lot to squeeze into a short time). The geese were in during out visit, and it was quite a site to see a few thousand barnacles on the farm fields, and the starling flock outside our 'hayloft' studio was quite vocal come night time, amazing to hear the variety of bird calls this seventeen strong choir could imitate.

As well as the sheep there are horses and a few dogs (one of which will eye up your ankles, but isn't really a problem) and its a very pleasant place to be of an evening.

Everything was spic and span in the room, with decent radiators that could heat the large living/kitchen area up very efficiently. Only complaint was from the Cook - she hates electric ovens, but managed for the week.

The nearest town is Port Ellen, quite small but with the essentials, shop and a few takeaways and pubs, less than ten minutes by car, and Bowmore which is a little bigger, about half an hour by car.

The Oa is good for wildlife, we had Hen Harrier and White Tailed Sea Eagle there (Golden is more common) and the views from the American Monument are superb. The singing sands are very close, but seemed to have lost their voice ;)

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank mattnnic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed in The Bothy at Ballivicar Farm from September 20-24, 2011. Harriet is a lovely woman, very responsive via email (we are from Canada) and a pleasure to chat with.

The location is very near to Mull of Oa and Kintra Farm, both of which have fantastic sights, and hikes if you're into that sorta thing. Within about 1-2 hour hike to old ruins, or the popular 'singing sands' on Oa.

Ballivicar Farm offers self accommodating suites so you can cook your own meals, which is very important because there isn't a ton of tourism infrastructure in the Port Ellen area. There are one or two restaurants, (Majarani Indian and Cyber Cafe snacks/coffee/takeout).

I would recommend the Bothy for non-couple travelers as it boasts two single beds as opposed to a king or queen sized. We made it work by pushing the beds together, however it wasn't ideal.

Word to the wise, Ballivicar comes with it's own rowdy welcoming committee (two barking dogs) so do not be afraid upon your arrival. They're mostly all bark :)

All in all, we LOVED Ballivicar Farm and if we ever return to Islay we will be sure to contact Harriet again!

Room Tip: The Bothy Room is not ideal for couples as it has two single beds.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank KarlyG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
60 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2011

have stayed in the cottages for a number of years on our frequent holidays on islay.an absolutely lovely setting on a working farm .Harriot and Toby and family are very friendly and helpful.children are welcomed and lots for them to do.there are 3 cottages available all excellent value for money.beaches are nearby and kilnaughton beach is within a 15 min walk or a less than 5 min drive .kintrae beach is slightly further but easily reached,nearby is the machrie golf links which is a gem if your a golfer you must give it a try.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
9 Thank Trueblew9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Islay
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 20, 2011

Harriet and Toby were extremely accommodating (pardon the pun); warm and friendly. Gorgeous farm setting with easy access to all of Islay. Immaculate rooms, restful nights, plenty of heating for those cold Islay nights. We would recommend it without hesitation.

Room Tip: The Chougherie is a double, the others are twin.
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank xxxxxxIslay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2009

what a lovely place. so clean and peaceful. i would recommend islay to anyone with young children. the beaches are amazing, the rockpools are full of life and the locals are so friendly. ballivicar farm is excellent value self catering on a working farm. the pigs are pleasant, and the pony trekking is great fun.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jon N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Ballivicar Farm

Property: Ballivicar Farm
Address: Port Ellen PA42 7AW, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > The Hebrides > Islay > Port Ellen
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Port Ellen
Number of rooms: 18
Also Known As:
Ballivicar Farm Port Ellen, Islay

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