Sleeps: 20 Bedrooms: 11 Bathrooms: 6
Type: Seclusion, Mindfulness, Celebration, Family
Features & Activities: Boating, fishing, kayaking, rural
Location: Loch Moidart, off the West Coast of Scottish Highlands
Those Looking For: Time to reconnect, get off the grid and re-energise
This exclusive Scottish Island retreat is a back-to-nature Neverland. Originally the site of an 18th-century hunting lodge, the island has an illustrious history—the author J.M. Barrie spent summers here in the 1920s and wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Peter Pan while staying on Eilean Shona.
A retreat for guests who want to detach and detox from the modern world, Eilean Shona nestles in a tranquil loch on the dramatic west coast of Scotland and is a car free wilderness heaven.
Days are filled with cooking and drinking around camp fires, wild swimming, reading, hiking, picnicking, kayaking, nature watching, and generally pottering about.
Eilean Shona House, with its comfortable, quirky design, is ideal for family gatherings and special celebrations. The holiday cottages are perfect for romantic escapes or family adventures.
1. Sea kayak around the private island.
2. Visit Castle Tioram, a medieval ruin.
3. Sip a glass of wine whilst watching otters play and the sun setting.
4. Enjoy delicious seafood around a camp fire on a deserted sandy beach.
5. Curl up by the fire with a good book and enjoy the peace and tranquility that the island brings.
Vanessa Branson has artistically created a beautiful retreat and place that can accommodate up to 20 with double rooms, a few twins and even a bunk room.
It is perfect for family celebrations, Christmas and New Year parties, executive team building away weeks, well-being or simply gathering with friends.
Although remote, provisioning for Eilean Shona House is simple and will be arranged with the help of Dream Escape.
The team have worked with a number of great chefs and can guide towards those who would suit your party. In addition, Jill Gosney who lives in Acharacle, the nearest mainland village, cooks wonderful dishes and is happy to leave them at Dorlin Pier daily.
If you prefer to self-cater, we can help with your requirements and food order. A number of local suppliers do deliver to Dorlin Pier. We can also order items on your behalf to be delivered for your arrival. If you prefer to do your own shopping, the nearest supermarket is in Fort William and we have plenty of freezer and fridge space to accommodate your group for at least a week.
The Island has a little shop selling essentials, such Wine, Beer, Spirits, milk, butter, bread, firelighters etc, as well as Jill Gosney’s award-winning venison casseroles and fish pies. This is by the Bothy and is open on for an hour twice a week to top up supplies.
Eilean Shona is a car-free wilderness heaven. Days are filled with cooking and drinking around camp fires, crabbing, wild swimming, painting, reading, hiking, picnicking, kayaking, nature watching, photography ….
The island has a limitless number of beautiful and varied walks with both marked and unmarked paths. Be aware that to navigate the Atlantic coastline is not for the faint hearted: there is no marked trail and plenty of boulder leaping and cliff scrabbling. However the network of paths around the rest of the island are signposted – some clearer than others. You need never panic as the sea is almost always in sight to guide you to where you are heading.
Swimming in Eilean Shona’s pristine waters is one of the glories of the world. At first paddle, the water feels very cold indeed but we recommend you persevere. Wear a swimming cap – if your head is warm you have nothing to fear! When swimming off the pier check which direction the tide is pulling and set off up tide.
The mountain and road trails on the mainland are excellent for cycling and for keen golfers there is a nearby course at Traigh, roughly an hour’s drive away. Clay pigeon shooting sessions can also be arranged.
Your own boats
The west coast of Scotland is pristine and has hundreds of secluded inlets and beaches to explore. Shona offers safe anchorage to those wanting to bring their own yacht or rib. There are sea kayaks available for the main house and several paddleboards.
If you are arranging a big celebration, we will be happy to help organise a bespoke event. There are a number of wonderful local bands, pipers and singers if you wish to add some Highland style to a celebration – Hughena has all the contact numbers.
Company Away Days
Eilean Shona is ideally suited for a company team building, offering a great mix of outdoor pursuits and relaxed luxury. The village hall is a meeting room with a difference for workshops. Bonding activities can be organised, including hiking, round island kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and road and mountain biking (only on the mainland).
Eilean Shona has a very diverse flora and fauna due to its varied topography and the wide variety of habitats that occur on the island.
Some of the stunning wildlife you will encounter are Red Deer, Red Squirrels, Pine Martens, Otters, Common & Grey Seals, White-tailed Eagles, Golden Eagles, Buzzards, Hooded Crows, Grey Herons, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Red breasted Mergansers, Herring Gulls, Tawny Owls.
Smaller species of birds including Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Cuckoo, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Siskin, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Wheater, Tree Pipit and Meadow Pipit.
Butterly species including Peacock, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Scotch Argus.
Dolphin, Minke Whales and Basking Sharks can all be seen in surrounding waters.
Eilean Shona successfully combines comfortable living with a respect for the environment. We make every effort to be plastic free and carbon neutral on the island with no cars, plentiful wood supply and all our electricity coming from the hydro-electric power station. Our water supply comes from the hills and we are meticulous with our recycling and use only bio-cleaning products.
We see our role as custodians of the island, protecting the landscape and creating the perfect environment for improvement. We’ve created a 600 acre deer free zone and have a full time woodsman to plant new trees and clear paths to ensure that the island’s 1,000 acre woodland is managed all year round, thereby sustaining its natural beauty for generations to come.
All income raised from cottage and house rentals is reinvested into Shona’s continuing conservation projects.
Eilean Shona has a rich cultural programme of workshops and residencies and Eilean Shona’s cultural focus remains a central theme. Artists and writers taking part have included Louisa Young, Ben Rivers, Ayan Farah, Paul Kindersly, Laura Lancaster, Pep Duran Esteva, Carmen Galofre and many more.
Shona Artists Residency Programme
The island has long been an inspiration for artists and writers and to build on this legacy we are launching an annual residency programme from March 2021.
Courses, led by experienced teachers, will focus on exploring creativity in this truly unique island setting. Cut off from the world and all its stresses, you will be immersed in nature and surrounded by wildlife. Retreats are aimed at both the beginner and those with more experience.
Writing workshops have been led by Amy Liptrot, Raffaella Barker, Hilary Boyd and Freya North. Our next writing workshop will take place in the Autumn of 2020.
Podcast. Holly chats to Vanessa Branson about all the wonderful experiences to be had on her exclusive Scottish Island, Eilean Shona.
"Heaven on Earth This is the kind of magic one longs for, looks for & seldom finds"
The magnificent five star Ashford Castle is set in 350 acres, on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib. With 82 guest rooms, a wealth of activities and thoughtful touches, enjoy acclaimed Irish hospitality on a grand scale. The Castle dates back to 1228 when it was originally founded by the Anglo-Norman De Burgo family, later becoming the family home of the famous Guinness family whose name is now synonymous with the Emerald Isle.
Rooms : 82 Bedrooms. Type : Couples, Families, Outdoor Active, Golf
Sunday Times “Best Places to Stay Hotel” 2020
As you sweep up the long tree clad drive you will glimpse the beautiful façade of Glenapp Castle; encapsulating the romance of the Scottish Baronial style with magical towers, turrets, and crenellations. Oak panelled halls lead to the heart of the castle offering stunning views out to sea and the famous volcanic outcrop of Ailsa Craig. Beyond that you can see the Isle of Arran, Holy Island, and, on a clear day, the hills of Northern Ireland. Also available for exclusive use.
Rooms : 17 individually designed rooms with stunning views
Type : Couples, Families, Outdoor Actives, Golfers
Situated in a picturesque Irish village with convenient access to the rest of the country, Adare Manor is an ideal base for exploring the best that Ireland has to offer.
The hotel offers something for everyone – a luxury castle feeling for couples looking for a romantic getaway, state of the art golf for those keen to try their clubs on this championship course and, for those looking for a little pampering, the La Mer Spa is the only one of its kind in the British isles. There is also an abundance of activities for active families looking to explore the outdoors ranging from falconry to archery, horse-riding, cycling and fishing. This historic country castle escape has it all.
Rooms : 104 spacious bedrooms and suites Type : Couples, Active Families, Golfers
"Probably the best of the best in the UK and Ireland for organising amazing trips. They know their stuff, have fantastic relationships with suppliers and always go the extra mile."
Rob Arrow, Al Tayyar Group
"Lovely suite. Fabulous private tours. Everything has exceeded our expectations. "
William A Heim, Client
"I had the most wonderful time with you and learned so much...What you offer is rare and much needed in the truly exclusive travel world. "
Jean Newman-Glock, Signature Travel Network
"You were the heart and soul of the trip….I truly admired your sunny personality, sense of humor, organization and professionalism. You also demonstrated that a guide’s work is never done as you were constantly researching….. Did you ever rest??? "
Sharon Delano, Frosch
"We want to thank you and the team from Dream Escape. All six of us in our group had a wonderful time, and we all agreed we owed that in large measure to the work of Dream Escape. From the onset of working with you, you demonstrated a tremendous knowledge about all the activities we wished to pursue —from playing golf to dining at excellent restaurants to seeing historical sites and the Tattoo and Fringe Festival. And, then you executed "
Thomas Cohen, Client
"THANK YOU a zillion times over for choosing/assigning Rosie to be with this family. She MADE the trip for them – there’s no other way to put it! "
Jill Jergel, Frontiers International Travel
"Our holiday in Scotland now tops their lists of best trips…… To their growing list of amazing and memorable first-time experiences, our sons may add fishing for trout and salmon on the River Tay; steering a motor boat on Loch Ness; and taking private guided tours on Culloden Moor Of the eight full days we were in Scotland, Alex and Mattie thought each and every day was the best"
Michael Guadarrama & Trammi Nguyen, clients of Peter Carideo. CRC Travel
"All six of us were deeply moved by the whole experience. Bravo Dream Escape "
Max Levy, Direct client
"Thank you Karen and all of the staff and guides affiliated with Dream Escape…..the Flemings are having an awesome tour of Scotland. You all have made me look like a star! "
Joni Gerace, The Travel Society, LLC
"Thanks for all your help and we can chalk this one up as a big success! Our anniversary celebration was all we could have hoped for "
Clients of Courtney Regan, Affiliate of Brownell Travel
"Rosie was MORE than outstanding – she went out of her way to help us in every regard...She was so knowledgeable – we all loved her"
Jill A. Jergel, Frontiers International Travel
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Cindy Evans, Travel Consultant
"I hope I have another opportunity to work with Dream Escape in the near future. The company is so professional, yet approachable and easy to work with. It has been a pleasure!"
Carole McFarland, Universal Travel
"Dream Escape is delivering in a superb manner. Jim Johnston is a great driver and one of the best guides we've had - I wish to very much thank the Dream Escape Team for fulfilling a Dream…"
Donald M. Davis, President, Luxury Travel, Inc.
"Thank you all so much it's great to have trusted friends on the ground to take care of our clients!"
Peter Carideo, CRC Travel
"The trip was great.... Dream Escape is the name of the game"
Ann Lipschitz, Worldview Travel
"Your level of service is just outstanding"
Debra Fini, VWTI
"Dream Escape don’t just organise trips – they create adventures"
Financial Times, How to Spend it
"It was, without doubt, one of the most spectacular weekends I have ever had"
"David Tobin’s an ace at getting inside private castles and estates and he’s well connected.... "
Conde Nast Traveller Magazine
"The level of service they provide is outstanding. They truly care about every aspect of the trip to ensure you have a fantastic stay. Rosie is a hidden gem of a tour guide. Just fabulous."
Yvonne Malka, Signature Travel Network, April 2018