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Eilean Shona

Eilean Shona

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.


Eilean House

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. 

More details on the residency programme and application

Shona Retreats

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.




Sample itinerary ideas that can include Eilean Shona : The Highlands and Private Island

Other relevant links :  Chatting with Holly Blog

  • "Heaven on Earth This is the kind of magic one longs for, looks for & seldom finds"

    Kate Winslet



The Westbury

The Westbury boasts an iconic location just off of Dublin’s famous Grafton Street, renowned for luxury shopping and street artists.

The Westbury is within a 10-minute walk of some of Dublin’s most popular attractions, such as Trinity College and the National gallery, and there are also numerous bars, restaurants and shops just steps away. This central hotel is a fantastic base to explore Ireland’s iconic capital and a great choice for those wanting to be amongst the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

Rooms: 205 Bedrooms and Suites      Type: Families and Couples


Built in the 1820’s, Ballyfin has long been admired as the most lavish Regency mansion in Ireland. Here classical grandeur meets with a landscape of rolling hills, follies  and ancient grottoes in the magnificent property, set at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Ballyfin has been designed as a home-away-from-home making the experience entirely intimate. Enjoy estate-grown food prepared by award-winning chefs, take part in wine & whiskey tastings in the cellar, enjoy treatments in the spa, swim, or simply spend an afternoon in the large library, finishing with a fireside cocktail in the Ballyfin Bar.

Rooms : 20 Luxury Bedrooms and Suites  Type: Couples, Active, Historic

The Merrion Hotel

The Merrion is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Dublin. The facade represents the elegant Georgian architecture for which Dublin is so famous making this hotel a true piece of Dublin’s history. Situated just minutes from St Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square, staying here you could no be better located to explore the city. The hotel’s interiors reflect the authentic, historic exterior as it comes complete with two period gardens designed to reflect and replicate the atmosphere of the 18th century. The hotel also has a strong reputation for dining as its restaurant is the only one in the entire country to hold two Michelin stars.

Rooms : 145 Bedrooms and Suites   Type : Couples, Family, City Breaks

View entire accommodation collection

Loch Moidart, Scottish Highlands

  • "Incredible service ! The BEST tour guides, tour options and always available to help smooth over any "snafus" that we ran across during our vacation. 5-star, A+ rating from us."

    Clients of Jessica Thompson, Fairway Travel, Virtuoso

  • "....their time in the U.K. was PERFECT – loved everything you guys did for them, and sang praises for everyone! Thank you!! "

    Connie Hanes, Herff Travel

  • "Everyone, from the Tour Guides to our excellent driver, were amazing. All aspects of the trip were beyond expectations. Even changing our day schedule for outside reasons (like the airline sending my bag to a city 120miles away) they were always happy to help and move the schedule around so we could keep enjoying our trip. Everyone made us feel at home and like family."

    Client of Leah Molinari, Molinari Travel, Gifted Travel Network

  • "Dream Escape was the trip of a lifetime. Excellent choice of hotels, tour guide was awesome, the planned tours were wonderful and very informative."

    Client of Trisha Rathke, VIP Travel Designs, Gifted Travel Network

  • "Dreamscape designed an itinerary that combined an exploration of Scottish history and culture and a visit to some of the filming locations for the hit TV show Outlander. The tour guides provided were personable and knowledgeable and responsive to our interests. Our driver who was with us for the entire trip was professional and pleasant and again, flexible and sensitive to our interests. The hotels were magnificent and the pacing of the trip, spending at least two nights in each hotel was perfect. The itinerary was everything we wanted!"

    Client of Susan Morley, Journeys around the World, Cadence

  • "Sally Strange was wonderful so knowledgable, friendly and fun. 100% would use her services again. We feel like we have a friend for life! We LOVED our tours, where we ate lunch, and spending the days with Sally......Thanks (once again!) for looking after our clients so well. We so appreciate you. "

    Lauren Ainsley, Black Tomato

  • "Rosie...thank you for giving us such a world-class experience in Scotland. Everyone had such a wonderful time and your presence was a large part of that. Your warmth and generosity in taking care of us on our little excursion is so beyond appreciated and I can’t wait to work with you again soon."

    Alex Martinetti

  • "Thank you so very much for the amazing trip to Scotland that you planned for us!! It was truly a once in a lifetime fabulous family trip!! Not only were the accommodations perfect, the activities were above expectations, given the people involved with so much knowledge and compassion for what they do....Many, many heartfelt thanks for making this trip so very special for our family. "

    Clients of Kristen Meckem, Kristen Meckem Travel, An Affiliate of Brownell

  • "I work regularly with Michael Davies, who I can not praise enough! Michael is a gem to work with and always delivers extraordinary client itineraries. "

    Jennifer McCrea, Boutique Travel Advisors

  • "We cannot thank you enough for all you did for us during our stay in Scotland! We loved every minute of it....and we loved you teaching us the history of each town and visit. "

    The Pogue Family - Clients of Amy Spence, Strong Travel

  • "We are so grateful for professionalism, expertise, and purely fun personality to entertain and educate our clients in all things royal! I do believe it was a smashing success. 😊"

    Pat Bowden, Red Letter Travel, an independent affiliate of Brownell

  • "Michael does such an outstanding job with making sure every itinerary he works on with me is well thought out. He is attentive to detail and always allows for the clients interest to be reflected in their tours. He makes sure that the perfect tour operator and chauffeur is paired with each client. I wanted you to know what a pleasure it is working with Michael and knowing my clients will always be well cared for when traveling with Dream Escape! "

    Jennifer McCrea, Boutique Travel Advisors

  • "Without a doubt, what made all of it so special and unforgettable was having the true pleasure of having Sally Strange as our guide. She was truly full of life, energy, amazing historical knowledge anywhere we visited was extraordinary. Her sense of humor and fun personality made her extra special. Sally was a winner in every way."

    Clients of Betsy Talbot, Travel by Talbot (Brownell)

  • "Your team excelled on all levels! The execution of the itinerary was flawless!!! Well done. The clients LOVED Sally and this was just the second note from them about how exceptional she was. "

    Cathy Major, Cerulean World Travel

  • "I just wanted to send an e-mail to compliment the excellent service I have received with Susie Little. She has been absolutely wonderful to work with. She is quick to respond, easily answers all of our questions, and has had to be patient with my clients as we have made many changes and updates to the itinerary. I really appreciate all of her hard work and the beautiful itinerary she put together for my clients. They said they were in AWE and everything looked fabulous! Thank you for providing such excellent service and I look forward to working with you in the near future! Thank you so much!"

    Krista Boyles, Unique Romance Travel

  • "I want to extend my deepest gratitude for your incredible work on this project, we really could not have gotten it across the finish line without you and your team 😊"

    Marieta Carrrero, Boost Journeys

  • "I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone at Dream Escape who helped in making the Gialamas' visit to London special. I know Dream Escape has many people behind the scenes that work on making an itinerary such as this flow seamlessly and I just wanted to say thank you for all of your hard work! "

    Jennifer McCrea, Boutique Travel Advisors

  • "Activities & Tours - All the events and guides were outstanding.- Guides - Simply the best. All of them. All outstanding! "

    Black Tomato Clients

  • "Thank you for everything you did to make the entire trip, special presentations and events so special. It has added a sparkle in my life!"

    Gretchen Ashworth Stewart, Client

  • "Dream Escape, to no one’s surprise, is the best in the business. I cannot begin to thank you for crafting a perfect vacation for these clients. They had nothing but fabulous things to say about each and every event."

    Nancy Ebel, Virtuoso Travel Advisor

  • "Couldn’t have asked for a better 1st trip to London!......The sites we saw were the best & Sally, you went above & beyond to make it memorable"

    Shannon Marie Long - Reed and Mackay

  • "Delightful to spend time and see the incredible city of London with you all. Dream Escape for a flawless job in seeing the best bespoke sites, Sally you are amazing. Thank you again as this was amazing"

    Josh Whitaker - Owner, Rudi Steele Travel

  • "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

  • "I cannot thank you, Nicola and all the Dream Escape “clan” for the wonderful care & attention you have provided, and are providing for my clients"

    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"

    Country Life

  • "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