Obviouslywe LOVE London but we all need to escape the big city now and again. Normally just seeing some green fields and some sheep is enough to make us feel immediately relaxed but what if you’re looking for somewhere to really get away from it all? Then let us introduce you to the island of Jura, part of the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland where there’s only 200 people, 5000 deer, one shop, one road, one pub and definitely no phone signal. Jura is the ultimate destination for peace and quiet, so much so that George Orwell came here in 1946 to work on his manuscript for 1984 free from any distractions, and its isolation is still very much its main selling point.
Orwell described Jura as ‘very unget-at-able’ and although its easier these days the journey is by no means simple, involving a flight to Glasgow, another flight to the island of Islay, a drive and then a ferry, but its absolutely worth it for the beautiful scenery, wildlife, and quiet. Aside from its remoteness Jura is most famous for its whisky distillery, which is the main employer on the island. We stayed for two nights in the distillery’s Jura Lodge, a beautifully designed collection of four rooms all with their own quirks – ours had a roll top bath in the room looking out over the bay. Upstairs is a communal kitchen, lounge and music room decorated with antique furniture, antlers and leather sofas.
For whisky enthusiasts, Jura offers guided distillery tours and tastings where you can explore its range of premium single malt whiskies and learn how they are made. All its whiskies are aged for at least 10 years, in a range of old barrels such as American Bourbon or sherry which affect the taste and style. Jura is also renowned for its pure water which is said to give the whisky an extra specially light taste and texture. Our FAVOURITE had to be the Diurach’s Own, aged for 14 years in American white oak and a final two years in ex-Amoroso Sherry casks, giving it a rich, fruity, citrusy taste which made it go down very easy indeed.
Exploring the rest of the island can be done by bike, which is great for exploring off-road and finding spots to sit away from any sign of human life, or by guided bus or boat tour. For bus tours you can book a day trip with Jura Island Tours which will take you as far as the single road goes, visiting beaches, ancient stone monuments and explaining a bit about the island’s history. By boat, the Jura Passenger Ferry will take you around the island’s waters where you can spot seals, sea eagles and visit neighbouring uninhabited islands.
Life on Jura could not be more different to London and we absolutely loved having a real break away from the city, exploring the island and keeping warm at night in the lodge with a dram of whisky. If you want a proper UK getaway we reckon Jura is pretty hard to beat.