Iona Abbey and Nunnery
Iona Abbey and Nunnery
4.5
Historic SitesReligious SitesChurches & Cathedrals
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Iona Abbey is one of Scotland's most historic and sacred sites. Located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull, it was founded by St Columba and his Irish followers in AD 563. As a celebrated focus for Christian pilgrimage, Iona retains its spiritual atmosphere and remains an enduring symbol of worship. The abbey church was restored at the beginning of the 20th century, whilst work on restoring the living accommodation began in 1938, following the foundation of the Iona Community. Today, the Iona Community continues the tradition of worship first established by St Columba 1,450 years ago.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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  • Malgorzata
    12,113 contributions
    Incredibly beautiful and historic place
    A nice little Abbey on the beautiful Isle of Iona. Amazing place on an amazing island. Iona Abbey is a real interesting place to visit. It’s very fascinating to learn about the history of such a remote place. Nice buildings and impressive stonework. Plenty to explore. Very interesting audio guide. Do not forget to visit the museum.
    Visited May 2022
    Written 18 April 2023
  • Christine A
    Oxfordshire, United Kingdom64 contributions
    Brilliant day!
    We were lucky to visit this site on a lovely sunny day. We found the Nunnery interesting with detailed information boards. We recommend joining one of the free tours of the Abbey lasting about 45mns, as this puts this building into the local historical and Celtic Christian context and explains St Columba´s life and influence. We also learned about the architecture of the building and current worship there. A lot of details which we would have missed otherwise. Thanks to Callum, our guide,who obviously enjoys his work and responded to our additional questions with interest. Do not miss the free entry museum at the back. It contains all the relevant history, some amazing Celtic crosses and tombstones, well worth spending time there. There are lovely walks to bays with turquoise water and white sand. Also, nice places to have coffee and food too. Plenty to do and enjoy if you take your time.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 September 2023
  • KarenM1_10
    1,084 contributions
    Informative guide at the abbey
    When you depart from the ferry, the first thing you see on your walk to the Abbey are ruins, is the Nunnery. As you proceed down the road, you will arrive at the Abbey. We were lucky that when we arrived a guided tour was about to begin. The guide provided good information relative to the history of the Abbey and answered all the questions from the group. We also saw the quad and the museum that was worth a look as well. If you have a tour allow yourself about 1-1/2 hours to explore this area.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 5 October 2023
  • Tom B
    Chesterfield, United Kingdom590 contributions
    Delightful Visit
    Make sure you check the ferries before travelling to Fionnphort the chanel has very strong currents. We only had a short time on Iona due to the ferry operations. However it was adequate and the Abbey etc was fantastic. What an experience of this atmospheric place. Thoroughly recommended.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 5 October 2023
  • davidandshona
    Dumfries, United Kingdom2,101 contributions
    A return pilgrimage a mere 45½ years later
    I last visited Iona in 1978, on a school camping trip! 45½ years later, I fulfilled my vow to return again someday. After a spectacular 58 mile drive south from Tobermory (where we were staying for the week) to Fionnphort, we took the 10 minute ferry ride to the beautiful Isle of Iona. It was a first visit to Iona for Shona (and Glen!) This was quite simply the most enjoyable, if tiring, day out that we have had in years. Congratulations if you manage to view all 50 photos! Believe me when I say that these are merely the 'edited highlights'
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 5 February 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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davidandshona
Dumfries, UK2,101 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
I last visited Iona in 1978, on a school camping trip! 45½ years later, I fulfilled my vow to return again someday.

After a spectacular 58 mile drive south from Tobermory (where we were staying for the week) to Fionnphort, we took the 10 minute ferry ride to the beautiful Isle of Iona.

It was a first visit to Iona for Shona (and Glen!)

This was quite simply the most enjoyable, if tiring, day out that we have had in years. Congratulations if you manage to view all 50 photos! Believe me when I say that these are merely the 'edited highlights'
Written 5 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

R G
Dublin, Ireland1,020 contributions
May 2023 • Friends
Its peace and serenity is only surpassed by its setting, Samuel Johnson in 1773 summed it up thus. " That man is little to be envied .... whose piety would not grow warm amidst the ruins of Iona.
Written 6 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tom B
Chesterfield, UK590 contributions
Sept 2023 • Couples
Make sure you check the ferries before travelling to Fionnphort the chanel has very strong currents.
We only had a short time on Iona due to the ferry operations.
However it was adequate and the Abbey etc was fantastic. What an experience of this atmospheric place.
Thoroughly recommended.
Written 5 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KarenM1_10
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan1,084 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
When you depart from the ferry, the first thing you see on your walk to the Abbey are ruins, is the Nunnery. As you proceed down the road, you will arrive at the Abbey. We were lucky that when we arrived a guided tour was about to begin. The guide provided good information relative to the history of the Abbey and answered all the questions from the group. We also saw the quad and the museum that was worth a look as well. If you have a tour allow yourself about 1-1/2 hours to explore this area.
Written 5 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Christine A
Oxfordshire, UK64 contributions
Sept 2023 • Couples
We were lucky to visit this site on a lovely sunny day. We found the Nunnery interesting with detailed information boards. We recommend joining one of the free tours of the Abbey lasting about 45mns, as this puts this building into the local historical and Celtic Christian context and explains St Columba´s life and influence. We also learned about the architecture of the building and current worship there. A lot of details which we would have missed otherwise. Thanks to Callum, our guide,who obviously enjoys his work and responded to our additional questions with interest.
Do not miss the free entry museum at the back. It contains all the relevant history, some amazing Celtic crosses and tombstones, well worth spending time there. There are lovely walks to bays with turquoise water and white sand. Also, nice places to have coffee and food too. Plenty to do and enjoy if you take your time.
Written 19 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rubi
England, UK1 contribution
Aug 2023 • Friends
Had a few hours to spare after a trip to Staffa Island. Iona suffered a power cut and staff at the Abbey couldnt process contactless payments. The younger staff member was unclear as to how to proceed and an older blondish woman intervened. I was surprised at being denied entry. Putting someone so mean-spirited in charge of policing entry to an Abbey and running it as a petty business as opposed to a charitable concern surely goes against the spirit of the place on both counts. Most people would have travelled for several hours to visit Iona and deserve more consideration under circumstances - which could be considered an act of God (?). Regardless, very un-Scottish and ruined a perfectly pleasant day.
Written 11 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your recent review of the site. We were disappointed to read that your visit did not go as planned. Our island sites do have occasional power cuts. Unfortunately we aren’t able to waive the admission fee for their duration and we revert to cash only transactions for these periods and can still accept online bookings. Many people carry some cash but we appreciate not everyone will have that as back up. We are sorry you weren’t able to visit Iona Abbey when you planned and hope you were able to enjoy your time on Iona. Many thanks for taking the time to review the Abbey.
Written 12 October 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

World traveler
86 contributions
Aug 2023 • Friends
Such a very thin place. Take the time to walk the cemetery, visit the museum, and definitely attend the services at 9 am and 9 pm
Written 18 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mo100
33 contributions
Jul 2023 • Solo
Sadly my whole day was ruined. I only had a couple of hours to spend on the island due to the late arrival of my ferry into Mull.

I went for a short hike in the hills & almost ran out of time before going back to the port. I decided to just pop into the small church for a few minutes on the way back to the port & I knew I wouldn't have time to go into the abbey.

I walked from the hill past the abbey on my left & there was a big gate (see photo) which I thought was the right one to use for the small church. I knew the small church did not require a ticket.

Upon opening the gate, the female staff member with short brown hair came out of the shop scowling at me & proceeded to rant at me about how that was a ticketed site and that I had used the "wrong" gate and it was reserved for vehicles & that I should've known as there was a padlock on it! The padlock (which I didn't even notice) was obviously not locked! I had just been hiking & opened about 3 gates on the hills that all had different catches on them so I thought nothing of this one. She did not even ask if I had actually bought a ticket in advance & treated me like a trepasser!

I politely said I had not been there before and was only intending to quickly visit the small church (it was already after 5pm). Thinking she would then understand why I ws at that gate, I was wrong. She STILL ranted on about the padlock and then (stroppily) told me the gate for the small church was further down the path to my right & did not require a ticket. I couldn't believe how I was being spoken to & why she was so wound up over a gate.

I pointed out there was no warning sign on the gate & that I'd walked from the direction of the hills where it wasn't possible to see the correct gate. She got argumentative at me AGAIN and was still going on about the padlock & so at that point I asked for the manager.

Upon going into the shop, her colleague called the manager. I told the first employee that had she been more civil to me, I would not feel like I needed to complain. She got worse, was pointing in my face and so in order to obtain evidence of this, I tried to capture this on my phone and she HIT my arm & tried to wrestle my phone out of my hand. I pointed out to her colleague that she was a witness to that & she implied she didn't see anything & gave me a nasty look which made it obvious she was just going to side with her colleague even though she did not see the gate incident. It was all so upsetting when I was a visitor and I was the one treated appallingly all because I committed the "grave error" of going through a wrong gate!

The manager arrived & was very kind & recorded my complaint but did state that there was no cctv on site.

After leaving the site, I found my e-ticket for the abbey which I purchased a few days before. Not once did that assistant ask if I'd bought a ticket in advance and just treated me like an illegal trespasser. Due to all the upset, I didn't think to find the ticket on my phone at the time.

The manager has refunded my ticket but after 4 weeks, it is very disappointing that nobody from Historic Scotland has responded to my complaint even though they have a formal complaints procedure on the website. I still feel sick when I think about the horrible way I was treated that day.
Written 16 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for your review of your visit to the abbey. We were disappointed to read that your visit did not go as planned. Staff members advise that all visitors to the Abbey enter via the open pedestrian gate by the ticket office. The graveyard and St Oran’s Chapel have a separate entrance nearby. We have contacted our site team regarding your complaint. It was recorded at the time that you had submitted a verbal complaint to the abbey site manager, which did not require any follow up and that was confirmed by a family member. If you are unhappy with our response you can request a further investigation of your complaint. If you wish to do so, please contact us at complaints@hes.scot.
Written 22 August 2023
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Mandy M
Blairgowrie, UK4 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
Very interesting to find out the long history of this building and site including St Columba and the Viking invasions. Reasonable entrance charge compared to some other comparable sites.
Written 6 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

William M
Glasgow, UK25 contributions
Aug 2022 • Family
Sadly the Abbeys IT system was down and we needed to book online to book a tour of the Abbey that I never had time to do as I was time limited due to being part of a coach tour but will definitely revisit one day and get an actual tour of the Abbey!

I visited the cemetery and nunnery that had lots of historical information and a feeling of peace in the air.
Written 22 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Iona Abbey and Nunnery, Isle of Iona

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