Inchcolm Island and Abbey are 4 miles out
from South Queensferry, that is 10 miles
west of Edinburgh. The earliest parts of the
Abbey were built in the 1100s for King David
Inchcolm Island and Abbey are open for
visits 1 Apr to 31 Oct, 9.30am to 5.30pm. Boat
Trips to the Forth Bridges and around the
Island run most of the year. Regular Buses and
Trains run from Edinburgh.
Click On Map for area Attractions
Camping & Touring Parks in
The image top is of the High Street in South
Queensferry, a scenic little Town with a
Marina, Beach, Pubs and Diners.
The second image is of one of two Tour Boats
that depart from a Slip at the Forth Rail
Bridge. This is the Slip used by Car Ferries
until the Forth Road Bridge was completed in
There are a few different Boat Tours
available, including 1 and a half hours around
the Islands and Bridges, and a 3 hour trip that
allows 1 and a half hours on Inchcolm
The two companies running tours are:
Forth Tours and
Maid of the
The Boat Tours also visit a smaller Island
to view Seals and Sea Birds, give close up
views of the Bridges, give information on Ship
Wrecks in the area, one containing Royal
Treasure, and how the Islands were used during
the two World Wars.
The Visitor Centre has a Hogback Stone Grave
Marker dated to the 900s, said to be of
Anglo-Saxon or Viking origin. The Visitor
Centre sells Cold Drinks, Ice Cream, Sweets and
You can explore all the Abbey and climb to
the top of the Tower for great views. The
stairs in the Tower are narrow and steep.
Touring the Island, you will see the remains
of Military Gun Placements and Barracks. There
is also a long Tunnel through the east side of
The Island has two sandy Beaches, many
scenic Picnic Areas, and a small Island next to
the Pier covered in Gnomes.
900s - a Hogback Grave Marker Stone is used
on the Island showing Christianity must have
been present on the Island at that time. This
Stone is now in the Visitor Centre.
1070 - King Malcom III (Canmore) marries the
English Princess Margaret.
They establish a huge Abbey and Palace at
Dunfermline, northwest of Inchcolm
Margaret then established the first Ferry
Service between South Queensferry and North
Queensferry, so people from the south of the
Forth could visit Dunfermline Abbey.
1123 - King Alexander I, son of Malcom III
and Margaret, sheltered on Inchcolm Island
during a storm and vowed to build a Monastery
on the Island, as it could have saved his
1124 - King Alexander I dies before he can
have a Monastery built on the Island.
1124 - David I, brother of Alexander I,
founded a Priory on Inchcolm Island.
1235 - the status of the Priory was raised
to an Abbey.
1335 - during the Wars of Independence with
England, the Abbey’s Treasures and a Statue of
Columba were stolen.
1547 - Inchcolm was held by the English
during wars over Religion. Henry VIII of
England had adopted Protestantism and wanted
his son Edward to marry the infant Mary, Queen
of Scots. Scotland was still Catholic at that
time, with strong connections to Catholic
France. The English feared Scotland and France
would join together to invade England.
1548 - the French sent 10,000 troops to the
Forth area to help the Scots. Mary Queen of
Scots moved to France that year for her safety,
and later Married a French Prince.
1551 - a Treaty was signed between Scotland,
England and France to end the War.
1560 - Scottish Parliament adopts
Protestantism, leading to the end of Catholic
worship in Scotland and the Abbeys.
Inchcolm is one of the best preserved Abbeys
due to it being on an Island. Little of its
stonework was taken for other buildings, like
so many Abbeys on the mainland.
1633 - the ship Blessing of Burntisland sank
close to Inchcolm Island carrying Charles I’s
Treasure, valued at over £1 billion today. The
Treasure has never been recovered.
1914 - 1918 during WWI, Inchcolm Island was
used as a Fortress to help defend Edinburgh.
Many huge British Warships were stationed
around the Island. Image.
1918 - the 20,000 ton Aircraft Carrier
Campania sank close to Inchcolm Island.
Campania was an aging Liner converted to an
Aircraft Carrier during WWI.
1939 - 1945 - during WWII, the Island was
again fortified to help protect Edinburgh.
1990s - Historic Scotland takes control of
Inchcolm Abbey, maintaining the Building, and
allowing visits throughout the summer.