Inchmahome Priory is a gorgeous hidden gem smack-bang in the middle of Scotland. It is an easy day trip from Edinburgh, Glasgow or Stirling. Just get to Stirling then catch the Aberfoyle bus, and request the Port of Menteith stop.
I believe Inchmahome Priory is not open during the winter (I was lucky enough to get there in the week before it closed), as is the case for many historic sites around Scotland – however, while you still may be able to physically go to many of the closed castles and walk around them and take photographs, Inchmahome Priory is set in the middle of a lake (the only “lake” in Scotland, all other inland bodies of water are referred to as “lochs”) and only accessible by boat.
I was lucky enough to visit Inchmahome Priory with only four others on the island. Only four! It was fantastic to be sharing this historic place with them as if it were a big secret from the masses of tourists who queue up to visit the more well-known sites such as Edinburgh Castle. The island also had a great sense of peace and tranquility.
Inchmahome Priory is steeped in history, with the current remains dating from the 1200’s and used as an Augustinian monastery. Over the centuries, the Priory was used as a hideaway for the child Mary, Queen of Scots. The most commonly taken photograph of Inchmahome Priory is the “five window” shot, taken through the door of the church to the opposing wall near the altar with the open five windows and an absent roof. You can just imagine the beauty of what stained glass windows would of been in place in the five windows. The door is said to very much resemble the door of Dunblane Cathedral. For the purposes of comparison, here is a shot of the door of the Dunblane Cathedral that I took the week after visiting Inchmahome Priory.
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Inchmahome Priory as a solo traveller, I kept thinking it would be a great summertime daytrip complete with picnic for a young family – plenty of hideyholes for the kids to play. They would even be following in the footsteps of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Once I returned to shore, I decided to grab a hot coffee from the hotel at the Port of Menteith while waiting for my bus home. The hotel looks to serve up a nice meal as well. There is also a lovely church and graveyard at the Port of Menteith that are well worth a look.