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With the streets laid out in a grid pattern, it was the first planned village in Scotland and was part of a resettlement scheme involving people from the old village of Killarow near Islay House (Bridgend).
The Columba Centre (Ionad Chaluim Chille Ile) is the Gaelic Language and Heritage Centre just outside Bowmore.
Heading in the other direction, halfway between Bridgend and Port Charlotte, you can turn off the main road and drive to Kilchoman (ruined church and a large carved cross). Also on the west coast of the 'Rhinns of Islay' you can see the ruins of historic Kilchiaran Chapel near Kilchiaran Bay.
You'll need to take a tiny road from Port Charlotte or Portnahaven to get there.
An excellent craft/book shop called The Celtic House is in Shore Street.
Look out for the Spirited Soaps shop and their whisky soaps.
Famous for its numerous whisky distilleries and large populations of birds, Islay is a beautiful island with a dozen beaches and many historical sites. Leisure facilities include a swimming pool in Bowmore, tennis courts in Port Ellen, a golf course at Machrie and diving around some of the many local wrecks.