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Accommodation Isle of Iona

Bishop's House accommodation on Iona

Bishop's House, Iona

Built in 1894, Bishop's House on Iona is a retreat house taking groups and individuals daily and weekly. It is situated close to Iona Abbey and looks out to the tranquil setting of the Sound of Iona. The beautiful St. Columba's Chapel is situated right in the heart of the house. Bishop's House has a fine tradition of a warm welcome, complemented by good wholesome home cooking.

Bishops House, Iona
Lounge in Bishops House
Beach on Iona

Bishop's House has space for up to 23 people accommodated in 8 twin and 7 single rooms. Since we are primarily a retreat house, guests are asked to help lay and clear away meals and do a couple of small things to help the housekeeping team on your day of departure. We find that this time helping each other builds a sense of community within the house. St. Columba's chapel is open all day. In summer the Eucharist (holy communion) and Compline (evening prayer) is celebrated daily, and all are welcome to attend these services.

Bishop's House is now offering the opportunity of a stay over the low season months. This is a new way to enjoy being on Iona in a different season. The island is enthralling in winter – and even more peaceful, given only around 150 people live here all year round. A low-season stay is our most affordable way to be on Iona. You can find out more on our Retreats page, and do please contact us for more details: and telephone: 01681 700111.

About A House

Bishop's House was founded in 1894 by the Lord Bishop of Argyll and the Isles Alexander Chinnery-Haldane, to be a centre of Prayer, Study, Contemplation and the Eucharist on the island of Iona – a charter we still uphold.

The House was originally called Saint Columba’s House, named after the chapel at its centre which is dedicated to the Saint. Bishop Haldane’s persistent involvement led to islanders calling the house “Bishop’s House”, a name that eventually stuck. We have welcomed guests for over a century, making us the oldest retreat house on the island.

The house was originally entrusted to the Order of Saint John the Evangelist, the Cowley Fathers. The house reverted to Diocesan stewardship shortly after the First World War, and since then has been run by a succession of Wardens. Despite many changes down the years, Bishop’s House still retains the charm and character of the Victorian Anglican revival in Scotland.

Iona has, of course, been a spiritual centre for the whole of Scotland since the time of Saint Columba, who founded his monastery on the island in 563. Throughout the Middle Ages, Iona was an artistic centre for monument stone carving and manuscript production. The Book of Kells was begun on the island, only being taken to Kells for safe keeping from Viking raiders. The artistic tradition continues on Iona, having enjoyed a major revival in the late Victorian era, largely as a result of the work and inspiration of Alexander and Euphemia Ritchie, who lived a few doors down from us. Saint Columba’s chapel contains its fair share of artwork, including a number of Richie brasses. Bishop's House continues to be a patron of the arts and thanks to a generous legacy left to the Friends of Bishop's House in 2010 we installed new chapel windows by glass artist Anita Pate – and are currently beginning fundraising for a new set of windows at the entrance to the chapel.

Near Chapel WindowNear Chapel WindowNear Chapel Window

The Episcopalian traditions of worship are celebrated in the chapel, including our daily Eucharist and Compline. In the chapel, the soul is fed, and next door is the dining room, our place of food for the body, where we celebrate the physical feeding and nourishment of our guests, which is also key to a great retreat at Bishops House! Beyond the dining room is the cosy library, furnished with a real fire, where minds receive sustenance. And then at the end of the south wing of the house, you find a spacious lounge and coffee station, the home of good company, the odd ‘ceilidh’, and patio area where we often BBQ in the summer!

We love the fact that Bishop’s House, having been extended substantially over the past 110 years (most recently in 2013), has grown to become an established place of hospitality, welcoming over 700 people a year from all over the world to Iona. We are so grateful to be blessed by the spiritual legacy of Bishop Chinnery Haldane and Anna, his Irish wife, whose private wealth funded the establishment of this retreat house. And we are privileged to offer a unique space where modern-day pilgrims can receive God’s goodness, healing and grace, on this special Isle of Iona.


Please choose the year in which you wish to visit us to download the current tariffs (PDFs include both individual and group prices):

2019 »
2020 »

Please click here to download our booking information pack if you would like further information about coming to stay at Bishop's House, or you have booked and would like to find out more in preparation for your stay.

Iona Poetry


Worn wood
And rounded stones
Roughly kissed
On the southern shores
of that Blessed Isle

Of many a storm
Softly eased back
Beneath the feet
Of the Time Travellers

A gentle breeze
Pressed against their cloaks
And a lone gannet
Screeched its welcome
To Column Cille

Dan Ross

Iona Abbey

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Please choose the year in which you wish to visit us to download the current tariffs (PDFs include both individual and group prices):
2019 »
2020 »

Please click here to download our booking information pack if you would like further information about coming to stay at Bishop's House.