The coloured houses along Tobermory’s seafront make it one of Scotland’s most easily recognised destinations. As Mull’s ‘capital’, this cheerful little town offers plenty of places to eat, drink and discover. The shops lining the main street are filled with locally handmade gifts and food, as well as most everyday essentials. In the harbour, working fishing boats can be seen alongside yachts and visiting ships such as the Hebridean Princess. Meanwhile, overlooking the bay is a 9-hole golf course, an arts centre and plentiful accommodation. Tobermory makes a fantastic base from which to explore the island, or an essential day trip if you are staying elsewhere.
Tobermory became a popular destination for pre-schoolers and their parents some ten years ago, as the instantly recognisable setting for the BBC’s “Balamory”. Though the series is no longer being aired, there is still plenty of family fun to be had, come rain or shine.
At the Mull Aquarium there is always something new to discover, as creatures are released back in to the sea every four weeks. The interactive touch pools are a great way to learn about the abundance of life beneath the waves in Tobermory. The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s visitor centre also offers interpretive displays about the larger marine life that can be seen in and around the bay.
For younger children, the Rainydays soft play area is open on a Tuesday and Friday afternoon – the perfect hideaway for, well, rainy days! Aros Park, situated just outside Tobermory, is a natural playground, with a stunning waterfall and easy footpaths, suitable for buggies.
Much of our island’s fantastic produce is showcased in the shops and restaurants of Tobermory. We are particularly proud of our seafood, which is expertly prepared at many of the restaurants, and can also be bought from the award-winning Tobermory Fish Company. Several cafes offer warming soups and simple meals, or you can opt for something hearty at one of our pubs, which range from modern to traditional.
If you have a sweet tooth to satisfy, Tobermory Chocolate awaits, or you could try some organic Island Bakery biscuits, less than a mile from where they are baked. Of course, nothing says ‘holidays’ like an ice-cream, and we make that here too! Isle of Mull Ice Cream transforms milk from the island dairy into a huge variety of adventurous flavours such as “Tobermory Whisky Marmalade” and “Island Bakery Dark Chocolate and Ginger Cheesecake”!
As well as providing us with ice-cream, the cows at Sgriob Ruadh farm are also responsible for our famous Isle of Mull Cheese. You can visit the working farm to sample a Ploughman’s lunch and perhaps see the cheese-making in action.
Last but not least, Tobermory Distillery offers a distinctive flavour of Mull’s history. Tours of the distillery reveal the age-old whisky making process, and end with a chance to sample the two single malts made there.
To learn more about the produce available across the island, visit Mull and Iona Food Trail.
The town of Tobermory was established in 1788 by the British Fisheries Society, who selected the bay for development and constructed a pier, customs house and of course an inn. However, there is evidence that the surrounding area has been inhabited for as many as four thousand years.
Just outside Tobermory, at Baliscate, three standing stones can be seen which date back to the early Bronze or even Neolithic era. In 2009, another exciting discovery was made nearby, as archaeologists from channel four’s Time Team excavated a 7th century Christian Chapel.
erhaps the most intriguing discovery from Tobermory’s history is still to be made – legend has it that a Spanish galleon, laden with gold, lies at the bottom of the bay. The ship is thought to have been a member of the Spanish Armada, defeated in 1588, but it has never been found.
For those with an interest in history – both the legendary and the ordinary - the Mull Museum on Tobermory Main Street is a treasure trove of artefacts and information.
Tobermory has a busy calendar throughout the year, including a full and varied programme from our multi-arts organisation, Comar. The arts centre, An Tobar, is a characterful Victorian school building sitting above the bay. It plays host to musicians, comedians and other performers from all over the world, as well as exhibiting the work of both local and guest artists. Meanwhile, just outside Tobermory at Druimfin, a more modern performance space both nurtures new talent and attracts established entertainers.
Tobermory is the hub for many of Mull’s annual events, including the Music festival in April, during which many of the island’s venues host live bands and livelier audiences for weekend of free performances. For more classical tastes, the equally welcoming Mendelssohn on Mull brings professional musicians to stunning and unique settings during the first week of July. The Mull Mòd celebrates Gaelic language and music each September, alongside the Mull Fiddler’s rally, which welcomes musicians from all over the country.
Another truly traditional taste of Tobermory can be found at the annual Highland games, where pipe bands and Scottish country dancers entertain alongside kilted strongmen tossing the caber. There is no better setting to soak up the Scottish experience!
The Isle of Mull is a real haven for wildlife, and Tobermory is no exception. Seals, otters, porpoise and bottle-nose dolphins are year-round visitors to the bay, with more occasional sightings of minke whales and even basking sharks.
For the best chance of seeing these enchanting creatures, head out to sea with one of the dedicated tours leaving from Tobermory Harbour. Local experts will share their years of experience to help you catch a glimpse of sea-life thriving in its natural habitat.
If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land or look to the skies, a number of guides offer friendly and bespoke services with well-equipped vehicles. Alternatively, you can enlist the help and company of a guide on foot, to really explore the landscape at close quarters.
For more information on wildlife tours and encounters, please visit our wildlife pages.