Tobermory is the capital of the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides, and was the only burgh until 1973. It is situated on the east coast of Mishnish, the island’s northernmost point, at the northern entrance to the Sound of Mull.
The British Fisheries Society built the town of Tobermory in 1788. Tobermory was chosen as one of three new settlements to be established by the society. Ullapool and Lochbay in Skye are the other two. The construction work began in 1788.
Tobermory gets its name from the Gaelic Tobar Mhoire, which means Mary’s well. Mary’s Well and Mary’s Chapel are from the Middle Ages, and the water from the well was thought to have medical virtues.
The location for the new Tobermory had to be established by chopping away at the steep hill and reclaiming land from the sea in order to begin its construction. The earliest structures built were a tiny pier and a customs house, which allowed salt to be unloaded and taxes to be assessed.
The majority of the fish was transported in salt to preserve it. The existing post office was previously used as a customs house and store. The new village was meant to attract people who were already working on the land and help them develop their talents as fisherman and tradesmen.
In recent years, tourism has come to the village’s rescue, and with visits by notables such as Mendelssohn, the community has become a stopping point for visitors to the Hebrides and Fingal’s Cave. The town then had a reputation for being on the “Royal Route,” and Steamship Companies exploited this phrase in their promotional material to persuade tourists onto its excursions.
Tobermory as a Tourist Attraction
Many of the buildings on Main Street, mostly stores and restaurants, are brightly colored, making it a popular location for television shows such as the children’s show Balamory. The town is home to the Mull Museum, the Tobermory whisky distillery, and a brewery, the Isle of Mull brewing company.
A notable landmark is the clock tower on the harbour wall. The town also has an arts center, An Tobar, whose management combined with that of Mull Theatre in 2012 to form the umbrella arts organization Comar.
The theatre still stands at Drumfin, just outside Tobermory, and is utilized by youth and adult dance and drama groups, staging a diverse range of shows. Staffa Tours operates popular boat tours from Tobermory to the Treshnish Isles and Fingals Cave on Staffa.
Things to do in Tobermory
- Discover Tobermory Harbour – It is one of the most attractive harbour towns, with its houses colored like a box of children’s crayons and mirrored in the harbour’s quiet water. People who love colors will surely love this sight. It’s only a 15-minute walk from the distillery to the ferry terminal, but it’s a terrific way to start seeing the town because you’ll see all the local stores, gorgeous structures like Tobermory Evangelical Church and the Mull Museum, restaurants and bars.
- Visitor Center at Tobermory Distillery – The distillery, which is located at the very end of Tobermory Main Street, is open every day of the week. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They offer distillery tours as well as whiskey and gin samples. In their shops, you can also purchase bottles and gifts. If you enjoy local and authentic souvenirs, this is a great item to bring back.
- Take a walk to Rubha nan Gall Lighthouse – To get to the lighthouse, walk along Main Street in Tobermory until you reach the Tobermory Lifeboat Station. Take the designated trail diagonally into the woods from here. The short 2 kilometer walk through woodland to Rubha nan Gall’s lighthouse is breathtaking. The initial steep ascent levels off to a walkway that pleasantly weaves its way to the lighthouse. Views across the Sound of Mull include Ardnamurchan and the top of Ben Hiant, which is fading into the distance.
- Visit the Mull Aquarium – Mull Aquarium is located in Tobermory’s main parking lot, in the Harbour Building. From April through October, it is open every day from 9.30 a.m. until 5 p.m. A ticket for an adult cost £5.50. All of the marine life you see here is returned to the water within four weeks. This community-owned enterprise is Europe’s first catch-and-release aquarium.
- Ice cream shop – Isle of Mull Ice Cream Shop, located on Tobermory’s Main Street, is a great spot to go if you’re looking for something sweet. This local artisan creates delectable ice cream using local dairy products from Sgriob-ruabh Farm. Two of the components used in their ice creams are Island Bakery Oat Crumbles and Tobermory Whisky. Sweet tooth will totally love this place.
- Take a wildlife viewing tour – Tobermory is a great place to start a sea safari, with a variety of boat cruises available to see Minke Whales, Harbour Porpoise, eagles, seals, and dolphins. If you love to explore the ocean and the creatures, this is the best choice for you.
- Enjoy the freshest seafood – Tobermory is one of the best spots to eat delicious seafood dishes or platters on the Isle of Mull. Seafood is included on the menus of all Tobermory restaurants, so you can have it anywhere.
- Baliscate Standing Stones – Take the lane behind the Isle of Mull Pottery. You will have to walk up for a while before you reach the stones. You can easily walk there. Once you are there, you’ll find the stones as well as stunning views of Tobermory Bay.
From restaurants, to local shops and the beach side of the place, surely, you’ll find activities that is best for you. Wander around the beautiful place and immerse yourself in the local experience that is once in a lifetime. Tobermory is a place where the pressures of ordinary life fade away. So, if you want to unwind and relax, this place is a great option for you.