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Travel: Skye – a charming island full of delights for foodies

Portree has great cafes and restaurants.

The boundless beauty and charming coastal villages of Skye have attracted tourists to the island for decades.

Whether you’re into visiting romantic castles, wildlife watching, climbing magnificent mountains or just want to try out the fabulous food there’s plenty to do on the Misty Isle.

As soon as you drive on to the road bridge connecting the mainland to the village of Kyleakin you’ll be impressed with the stunning sea views.

We travelled to Skye, the largest island in the Inner Hebrides, for a midweek break as the leaves were turning on the trees in autumn.

Keen to treat ourselves to a fine-dining experience, my mother and I stayed at two hotels in different parts of the island to try out their hospitality.

Skeabost Hotel has its own nine-hole golf course.

Driving north from Kyleakin to Portree is a magical experience. You head along narrow, twisty roads by the water’s edge, passing the rugged ridges of the Cuillin range.

Thousands of climbers descend on these mountains each year and they’re certainly not for the faint-hearted.

The Black Cuillin is known as the UK’s most challenging mountain range, standing at 3,254 feet at its highest peak and nearly seven miles long.

A hotel with its own golf course

At Portree, the largest town on the island, we turned off and headed west for a few miles until we reached Skeabost Hotel, a grand white building and the only hotel on Skye with its own golf course.

It stands next to an ancient burial site on St Columba’s Isle where 28 clan chiefs are buried and it’s worth a visit to see some of the gravestones dating back to the 16th Century.

It’s a pretty short walk next to the River Snizort and the Skeabost Memorial Hall.

The entrance sign at the historic graveyard on St Columba’s Island on Skye.

The historic hotel was originally built as a hunting lodge in 1871 and has been extensively refurbished over the years with a choice of 20 bedrooms.

Our dinner was booked in the award-winning restaurant that night and we were seated in the large conservatory looking out over the gardens surrounded by woodland.

I opted for the alder smoked salmon starter, a tangy dish served on a plate of cold Asian noodles dressed with a honey ginger sauce.

For the main course I tried a tasty serving of spiced monkfish accompanied by celeriac puree, compressed roast cucumber and a pistachio crumb.

As you’d expect on an island, there was a nice selection of seafood dishes on the menu but there were also plenty of other options such as steak, and risotto and pastry dishes for vegetarians.

Plenty to do in Portree

After sleeping in a tower room with pretty views over the River Snizort, we travelled back to Portree, a bustling port with a row of pretty colourful buildings lining the harbour.

Portree, Isle of Skye.

It’s a popular destination for tourists and there’s lots of attractions to visit, whether you’re keen for a walk round all the craft shops in the town, or want to head out to sea to do some wildlife watching.

You can book a boat trip to go whale watching and there’s even a skipper who’ll take you out to get as close as you’ll ever get in nature to white-tailed sea eagles while he feeds them from the boat.

There’s also spectacular walking routes nearby such as the Quiraing, formed by a huge landslip which left behind impressive plateaus and high cliffs.

Or you’ll get great photographs hiking up the Old Man of Storr, a large pinnacle of rock with views for miles around it.

The Old Man of Storr, Skye

It’s also worth just driving round the island and stopping off at various points along the way for photographs.

There’s plenty of lower-ground walks and ruins to visit, and you don’t need to travel far to find crafters on the island, with many of them inviting you into their studios to see how they work.

It’s a very arty place with painters, knitwear specialists, jewellers and other colourful artists falling in love with the island over the decades and moving there.

After a day in central Skye we travelled back along the A87 down to busy Broadford to the south-east part of the island.

We’d booked in for the night at the stylish Duisdale House Hotel, perched on the Sleat Peninsula.

It was a relaxing night in one of the brand new garden lodges built on land next to the hotel with pretty sea views.

The friendly staff at this hotel work hard to make sure you enjoy the surroundings and the fabulous food at the 2 AA Rosettes restaurant.

The delicious beetroot hummus starter.

For dinner I chose a beetroot hummus starter with roasted asparagus and compressed pineapple, followed by the tasty wild mushroom beignet as my main meal.

The Duisdale apples tarte tatin was the perfect size to finish off the meal with a lovely sweetness.

Relaxing in the lounge with our wine for the rest of the evening, we enjoyed the lively atmosphere with a bride and groom-to-be who had travelled all the way over from America to get married there the next day.

After a comfortable sleep in the garden lodge we woke up feeling fresh and travelled along the road a short distance to a nearby wildlife art exhibition at the Isle of Ornsay as the last stop on our stay.

It’s easy to find out where artists are exhibiting with a handy Creative Trail guide created for the island. You can find details of all the exhibitions by visiting

Rooms at the four-star Duisdale House Hotel at the Isle Ornsay, Sleat, cost from £126.65 a night.
Call: 01471 833202
Rooms at the Skeabost House Hotel at Skeabost Bridge cost from £155 a night.
Call: 01470 532202