Mull is one of those Scottish islands that are always talked about but to me always had a bit of intrigue about it. I knew almost nothing before our wheels rolled on to the ferry that would take us to the island!
If, like me, you are thinking of travelling to Mull and want a bit of an overview of what there is to do there then this post is for you. We’ll be looking at the top 10 things to do on Mull and don’t worry there are a few wet weather activities too!
Mull’s intrigue and mystery pulled me towards our trip there and it definitely delivered a wonderful and diverse experience. Are you ready to see what’s on the Isle of Mull?
A note from the writer: Hey! I’m Kirsty and I’m a UK travel expert – while I grew up in Scotland, as an adult I now return to visit almost every year – there’s so much to see! Shout (or comment below) if you have any questions about your next trip and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
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Note about driving on Mull – Mull’s a large island that has a lot of people but it still has a very tricky road system. I’d say about 90% of the roads are single track and in some instances the passing places were quite potholed and not in good condition.
Just be aware for when you get there, allow plenty of time to get to where you’re going and you’ll be fine!
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Table of Contents
1. Visit Tobermory
The harbour village of Tobermory is the largest on the island of Mull and so if you’re looking for signs of life on this large but fairly quiet island, Tobermory is probably a good place to go.
I will admit right now that I loved Tobermory because my kids grew up watching Balamory, a BBC children’s programme which was set there. Ever since I’d wanted to visit! Even though the programme is old now (it was from the early 2000s) there’s a lot of souvenirs to be bought so obviously I’m not the only one with fond memories of the show!
Tobermory is a gorgeous sight for your eyes with colorful buildings that line the harbour.
There’s plenty to do as well from museums to gift shops to explore and plenty of places to shelter from the rain and get a bite to eat if you need it too.
Boat trips go from Tobermory too – you can get trips to see wildlife on the water or to the Isle of Staffa.
Don’t miss the aquarium which is on the side next to the car park and distillery. It’s a great spot to take kids to learn about the sealife – I liked that it was a catch and release aquarium so the creatures never stay for long.
2. Tobermory Distillery
While in the village of Tobermory you’ll probably come across the distillery with that distinctive smell. It’s right by the big car park so you’ll not miss it, even though it’s quite a small one compared to some whisky distilleries in Scotland.
Tobermory distillery makes 2 different whiskies and also a gin. You can pop in to see the visitors centre when you’re in Tobermory or if you’re a bit more of a whisky fan you might like to add in a distillery tour and tasting to your day.
They have 2 different tours but you should book in advance, especially in the summer season.
I love that on the tours you can also take away drivers drams so any drivers can still enjoy the taste of the whisky!
3. Go Wildlife Spotting
Mull is renowned for its wildlife and while you’re on the island you’ll likely see people with binoculars, huge telephoto lenses attached to cameras and all manner of camouflage clothing!
You don’t need to be a dedicated wildlife spotter to see some of Mull’s amazing species though – often they’ll find you! We saw huge deer running across the road right in front of us one day!
Some of the wildlife you should look out for on Mull are:
- Eagles – both sea eagles and golden eagles
- Red Deer
- loads of seabirds!
4. Be wowed by pristine beaches
Mull has some stunning beaches and if you want to explore some of those then you’re in luck! We always love a beach so we headed to 2 places where we had heard amazing things.
The first is Calgary Bay which is a quiet and sheltered beach with the most gorgeous white sand. The sea is calm and it’s a favorite with paddle boarders and kayakers.
The second was at Fidden Beach by Fidden Farm Campsite which was near Fionnphort. Honestly if you’re camping or taking a campervan to Mull then I can’t recommend this site enough for the beach that’s there. Sheltered, perfect for kids to paddle in and breathtakingly beautiful.
The west coast seemed to be the best for beaches we found.
5. Discover Duart Castle
Not far from the Craignure ferry terminal (where the main ferries from Oban dock) is this magnificent castle. You might have even spotted it as you sailed past – Duart Castle.
This castle was the seat of the Maclean Clan, one of the oldest clans in Scotland, and is over 700 years old!
It’s a winding single track road to the castle but there are some amazing views over the sound of Mull where you can see ferries and boats passing by and on a good day you can see Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest peak!
If you want to visit inside the castle it’s open for visitors where you can see the Great Hall and also the state bedrooms. You can also learn more about the Maclean Clan in an exhibition they have on.
6. Take a Hike
Mull is a haven for walkers and hikers especially if you like challenging climbs. Ben More, the highest peak on Mull is also the only ‘Munro’ on the island too. It’s known as one of the most challenging Munroes to bag!
I’m most definitely not what you’d call a hiker but we also managed some lovely walks in the area. Check out some of the forestry lands dotted around the island which have trails to explore. We visited Aros Park which is an old, long gone estate with a small loch to walk round.
7. Go on a boat trip
There are numerous boat trips that can be taken from places around the Isle of Mull. Tobermory as I mentioned before is a jumping off point for many trips but you can also go from Fionnphort too as we did.
From Tobermory you can do wildlife cruises or simple bay cruises.
From Fionnphort you can take wildlife cruises or trips to the isle of Staffa (which is what we did – highly recommended!)
You could of course choose to use the many ferries to Mull to explore some other bits of Scotland. 2 ferries go to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula which is a fairly remote place and very off the beaten track. The ferries are fairly quick so good for a day trip off the island.
8. Visit nearby islands
Following on nicely from the last boat trip post, of course many boat trips can take you to the nearby islands.
The isle of Iona lays at the south west of the island and is a really short ferry trip from Fionnphort. It’s a completely different feel from Mull as well with a very strong history of Christianity there with the abbey ruins.
The isle of Staffa has been mentioned a couple of times by me on this post – it’s an uninhabited island that’s known for its basalt rock formations and the famous Fingal’s Cave. It’s also home to puffins in the summer months so a great place to see them.
The isle of Ulva can also be reached from Ulva Ferry on the west coast of Mull. It’s a small community run island that’s a haven for wildlife – great if you’re looking to tick off the more obscure Scottish Islands!
9. Explore ancient stones
Mull has been inhabited for many years and there is evidence of this in some of the ancient sites on the island – the Kilmore Standing Stones and the Lochbuie stone circle are worth checking out
Dating back to around 2000BC they show that Mull has been a place for humans for a long time!
I visited Kilmore Standing Stones while the heavens opened up on me – it’s not among a forest as some online sources state – the trees have been cut down in 2023 when we visited. It’s still pretty and there are great views though. See images above.
10. Learn about historic island life
If history is what you’re interested in then head to the Old Byre Heritage centre where you can find exhibitions and films about the history of the island as well as learn about the nature and geology to be found.
There’s a tearoom and gift shop as well so you’ll not be hungry!
Are you planning a visit to Mull in the future? It’s definitely one of the great Scottish Islands that the country has to offer with so many things to see and do!
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