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Sanda Island

Visitor guide to Sanda Island in Argyll include information on the place, things to see and do, and, accommodation and hotels in Sand Island. We also have included some details on stag and hen nights in Sand Island.

Strategically placed between Campbeltown, in Kintyre, and Red Bay, in Northern Ireland, it is roughly 13 miles from both. Although only two miles from the mainland it is supplied by boat from Campbeltown.

Sanda Island is a privately owned island of 400 acres, situated near the Mull of Kintyre in Argyll. A beautiful and picturesque Scottish island, rich in history, Sanda also boasts a safePath along the Island anchorage for visiting yachts during summer months. In the last few years, visitors to the Island have increased substantially, as letting cottages have become available.

Further development has been encouraged in 2003 by the opening of the Byron Darnton pub and the establishment of Scotland's fourth official Bird Observatory. Another Claim to Fame Are the unique Stamps which were produced on Sanda Island in the 1960s in conjunction with Malcolm Kelly, a printer, from Girvan. A stamp was produced in 1970 for the pop star Jack Bruce, who then owned Sanda.



Travel Directions to Sanda Island

Getting To Sanda Island

Sanda Island is 13 miles south by sea from Campbeltown, a 1 hour journey, sailing daily or 20 miles from Ballycastles, Northern Ireland - 1 hour.

Campbeltown is approximately 140 miles, 3 hours, from Glasgow on the west.

By bus it is 4 hours 25 minutes, with 3 trips daily each way each day.

By air it is 40 minutes to Glasgow, twice daily but excluding weekends.

Local Sights & Activities for Sanda Island

Things To See and Do

The Byron Darnton tavern

Was built in 2002, and the grand opening took place in June 2003. Built in the old garden of the farmhouse, the tavern has thick stone walls and is constructed in a traditional style. The internal walls remain as exposed stone with some pine cladding, and the floor is finished in natural slate. The three-penny piece shaped bar is in stone with a solid mahogany top.

The tavern has wonderful views out over Sanda Bay towards neighbouring Sheep Island. By the entrance there is a cosy enclosed beer garden with outside seating.

Sanda Bird Observatory

Was set up as a registered charity in 2002, and in July 2003 it became Scotland's 4th official bird observatory with its own headquarters, facilities and accommodation. For more details see their own website. Internal work on the boatshed has been funded by SNH and in 2005 the bird observatory visitors centre will be open to the public.

With no rabbits, rats, mice or snakes on the island we are indeed blessed. Slow worms some 2-3 feet long can be seen and some shrews scuttle about. Ants are present but cause little problem, while the mighty midge rarely creates any trouble. Two mink have been at large but were trapped rapidly without too much damage to the birds. Butterflies and moths abound, and over 80 species have been logged.

Sanda lighthouse

Is situated off the south end of Kintyre. Since the CHRISTIANA, of Glasgow, outward bound in bad weather, was lost with all hands on the nearby Pattersons Rock as far back as 1825, there had been a demand for a light on this island which forms the turning into the Clyde after passing through the north Channel between Scotland and Ireland.

Trinity House proposed we move the Mull of Kintyre light to Sanda, the Commissioners declined, although they were willing to mark Pattersons Rock with a beacon. As wrecks continued, however, they later decided to build on the summit of the Ship Rock which is a small detached rock off Sanda. The engineer designed a stone tower 3 steps set against the face of the rock, still the only one of its kind in Scotland. It was first lighted in 1850.

Hen and Stag Nights

Sanda is the perfect venue for that special night out. Hen and stag nights have proved to be highly enjoyable in the very pleasant and relaxed atmosphere of the Byron Darton Tavern. Overnight accommodation can be arranged at affordable rates for small parties. Food, the other essential ingredient, is also available as snacks, meals or a buffet.

Sanda Island Hotels & Accommodation


There are six cottages available for letting on Sanda Island, all of which have been tastefully refurbished over a 5 year period to retain the individual character of each property. All cottages are fully equipped with gas, electricity and spring water. Facilities include use of the private snooker room, with full size snooker table, large library, games rooms, including darts and table tennis, and orienteering courses. In addition, fishing trips can be arranged by request and upon payment of a supplementary fee. Click here to find out more.