town on the Isle of Mull, Scotland, United Kingdom

Tobermory (Gaelic Tobar Mhoire, "Mary's well") is the main settlement on the island of Mull, in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. It has the most accommodation and other amenities, and is the obvious base for visiting the island. In 2020 it had a population of about 1000, a third of the island's total; so by mainland standards it's a small village, but in Hebridean terms it ranks as a bustling town.

Tobermory has a picture-perfect seafront, with the buildings painted in bright colours. It's often used as a TV or film location and Britain's Gen Zs will recognise it as Balamory, produced here 2002-05 by BBC Scotland. The colours are a good way to identify places, though they're not immutable.

Get in edit

Tobermory Distillery

The usual way onto Mull is by the Calmac ferry from Oban to Craignure. This sails daily, roughly hourly Apr-Oct and every 2 or 3 hours Nov-Mar, taking 50 min, see Craignure#Get in for fares.

Craignure is 21 miles from Tobermory along A848: this is two lane from Craignure to Salen, then single-track for six miles, then two lane for the last four miles into town. West Coast Motors Bus 95 / 495 meets the ferries five or six times daily, running from Craignure via Fishnish and Salen to Tobermory (50 min, no Sunday service Nov-March).

1 Tobermory ferry pier has Calmac ferries from Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, taking 40 min. They sail every couple of hours Apr-Oct but only 3 or 4 times a day Nov-Mar. Until end of March 2025, return fares are £20.80 per car, £6.70 per adult including driver, and £3.40 per child aged 5-15. Although Kilchoan is on the mainland, it's a long way from anywhere and you'd only travel that way in order to tour Ardnamurchan. The same goes for the 20 min crossing from Lochaline to Fishnish further south on Mull.

Bus 494 zigzags through Tobermory then runs to Dervaig and Calgary, 40 min, with three M-F and one on Saturday.

Get around edit

Map of Tobermory (Scotland)

The town can readily be explored on foot, but there's a steep hill from the seafront main street up to the residential area and the Western Isles and Park Lodge Hotels. Bus 494 zigzags through town but is infrequent. You need a car to reach the theatre to the south.

Taxis: Chris's Taxis (+44 749 3886 237) and Mull Taxi (+44 7760 426351) are based in Tobermory and do point-to-point journeys within Mull, airport and ferry pick-ups, and tours around the island.

See edit

  • 1 Mull Museum, Columba Buildings, Main St, Tobermory PA75 6NY (cream), +44 1688 301100. Apr-Oct: M-Sa 11AM-3PM. Fascinating displays of island life down the years. Free.
  • Mull Aquarium, Ledaig, Tobermory PA75 6NR (white, behind distillery). M-Th 10AM-4:30PM, Su 12:30-4:30PM. This has changing displays of local marine life, as they have a catch-and-release policy. Adult £6, conc £5.50, child £5.
  • 2 Calve Island is the low island sheltering the bay, grazing land with a summer cottage but no permanent residents. It's just about tidal, but you need an exceptionally low tide to wade across the channel. Divers can explore its submerged wall and surrounding wrecks, which include Pelican a Calmac ferry.
  • Glengorm Standing Stones are a group of three west of Glengorm Castle (see Sleep). You can follow the path northwest for half a mile to Dùn Ara Castle, but the remains are scrappy and you come for the view towards the Outer Hebrides.

Do edit

  • What's on? Read Round and About Magazine or Oban Times.
  • Boat trips go out to the seabird and seal colonies, e.g., those on Calve Island just offshore. Several operators, enquire in the harbour car park.
  • 1 Tobermory Distillery, Tobermory PA75 6NR, +44 1688 302647. Daily 10AM-4PM. They produce Tobermory (smooth, fruity), Ledaig (peaty, smoky, like an Islay malt whisky) and gin. Whisky tasting tour £25.    
  • 2 Mull Theatre (Comar), Druimfin PA75 6QB (2 miles south of town on A848), +44 1688 302459. Varied programme in 100-seater theatre. Occasional shows also at their town base An Tobar, though this is mostly studio and workshop space.    
Calve Island
  • Walk to the lighthouse at Rubha nan Gall, a couple of miles north along the muddy clifftop path. The 17-m lighthouse was built by the Stevensons in 1857 and automated in 1960; unusually, it's reached by a short bridge. You can stay self-catering in the lightkeepers' cottages but they're totally off-grid with no road access.
  • Tobermory Golf Club is nine holes on the cliff tops north of town. Twice around off white tees is 4912 yards, par 64. Visitors welcome, no booking, but weekends they often stage competitions, so check the club fixture list.
  • The Volcano is the plug of rock north of the lane towards Dervaig and Calgary. Good chance of seeing eagles and other upland wildlife here, but the trail is hard going.
  • 3 Aros Forest Park, off the main road a mile south of town, has waterfalls and woodland walks.
  • Mull Music Festival in April features folk-rock bands, fiddle, accordion, dance and ceilidh bands. It's held mostly in Tobermory.
  • Isle of Mull Highland Games are held in Tobermory in late July on Erray Park at the north end of town.
  • And see Mull for events across the island, many of which are in Tobermory.

Buy edit

  • Co-op Food, 33 Main Street, Tobermory PA75 6NT, +44 1688 302004. M-Sa 7AM-10PM, Su 10AM-10PM. This is the only sizeable supermarket on Mull. Reasonable prices, good selection of fruit & veg, has bakery and ATM.
  • The Island Bakery produces shortbread, which you can order online or buy in Tobermory and elsewhere. They no longer run a cafe there.

Eat edit

Fish and Chips van on the pier
  • Fish & Chips Van, Fisherman's Pier (grey metal trailer by the clock tower), +44 1688 302390. Tu-Sa 2-8PM. Said to be the only fish & chips van with a Les Routiers award.
  • Tobermory Bakery & Tearoom (lilac) is open M-Sa 9AM-3PM.
  • The Galleon (blue) is licensed, open Tu-Sa 6-10PM.
  • Cafe Fish, Upper floor, The Pier, 23 Main St, Tobermory PA75 6NU (the white one by ferry pier), +44 1688 301253. Apr-Oct: Tu-Sa 4:30-11PM. Serving seafood from their own boat and other island specialities, good wine list, and claiming "the only thing frozen is our fishermen".
  • Crystal Palace (red) at 28 Main St serves Chinese Tu-Su 4:30-11PM.
  • Macgochan's, Ledaig Building, Tobermory PA75 6NR (grey, by harbour car park), +44 1688 302350. Daily 11AM-11PM. Restaurant bar for upscale dining, Bar-beag for fireside whisky, plus function suite and beer garden. They suffered a fire in 2019 but have re-opened.
  • 1 Isle of Mull Cheese Farm, Sgriob-ruadh Farm, Tobermory PA75 6QD (off Dervaig road), +44 1688 302627. Daily 10AM-17:00. The farm produces unpasteurised artisan cheese: the product varies seasonally as the cows' diet changes. With shop, small cafe does lunch, and you can watch the cows being milked.

Drink edit

The clocktower
  • The Mishnish, Main Street, Tobermory PA75 6NU (red left, custard yellow centre, blue right), +44 1688 302500. Bar daily 11AM-1AM. This 3-star hotel has rooms but it's the lively bar that Mishnish is renowned for. Good beer, ambience, pub grub (noon-3PM & 5:30PM till late) and often has live music. B&B double from £120.
  • Distilleries: see above for Tobermory and Ledaig whisky. Whitetail Distillery makes gin on the north shore of Loch Scridain.

Sleep edit

  • 1 Tobermory Campsite, Dervaig Rd, Tobermory PA75 6PY (on B8073), +44 1688 302615. Clean but basic campsite a mile from town, open Mar-Oct. Dogs welcome. Two-person tent £24, caravan pitch £27.
  • 2 Tobermory Youth Hostel, Main Street, Tobermory PA75 6NU (the terracotta one), +44 1688 302481. Check-in: 5-10PM, check-out: 10AM. Seafront hostel open Mar-Oct. Friendly, good facilities, private rooms also available. Dorm £18 ppn.
  • B&Bs and self-catering cottages: lots. Seafront prices match the hotels but drop sharply as you go inland.
  • 3 Tobermory Hotel, 53 Main Street, Tobermory PA75 6NT (the lilac one near distillery), +44 1688 302091. Comfortable 3-star hotel in renovated fishermen's cottages. Small rooms, and sloping ceiling may cramp tall visitors. With restaurant. B&B double £170.
Mishnish is now burgundy, custard and light blue
  • Park Lodge Hotel, Western Rd, Tobermory PA75 6RA (the vanilla one up the hill), +44 1688 302430. Good comfy 3-star up the hill. B&B double £120.
  • 4 Western Isles Hotel, Tobermory PA75 6PR (on hill above ferry pier), +44 1688 302012, . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Victorian 3-star hotel with 28 rooms and restaurant. There is no lift to 3rd floor. Dog-friendly, gets mixed reviews. B&B double £170.
  • 5 Glengorm Castle, Tobermory PA75 6QE (5 miles northwest of village), +44 1688 302321, . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10AM. Scots Baronial pile, built 1860, has upscale lodgings with B&B apartments and self-catering. With park and gardens. The owners intend to close the B&B in Nov 2022 and thereafter only offer self-catering. B&B double £200.

Connect edit

As of April 2022, Tobermory has a very patchy mobile signal from all UK carriers. 5G has not reached Mull.

Go next edit

  • Tobermory is the obvious base for exploring anywhere on Mull. Iona can be done as a day trip but deserves an overnight stay.
  • The Ardnamurchan peninsula, though it's on the mainland, is even more remote and deserted than Mull.
  • Otherwise it's back to the mainland at Oban. Ferries to the Outer Hebrides sail by but don't call here, so you have to double back via Oban to reach them.

This city travel guide to Tobermory is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.