Branson’s Hebridean island holiday cottage up for rent

Vanessa Branson on her island Eilean Shona where The Old Schoolhouse is now an exclusive holiday hideaway used by celebrities and available for the public to rent

Vanessa Branson on her island Eilean Shona where The Old Schoolhouse is now an exclusive holiday hideaway used by celebrities and available for the public to rent

1
Have your say

As holiday cottages go it might appear spartan – no electricity or mobile phone signal and a 45-minute walk from a jetty to reach your destination after a boat trip.

But the newly opened Old Schoolhouse on the 1,300-acre private island of Eilean Shona in the Inner Hebrides has been revealed as the romantic hideaway of Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet and her husband Ned Rocknroll, giving it some extra glamour.

With lighting from gas-powered lamps, a wood-burning stove and luxury touches such as Egyptian cotton sheets and Beni Ourain rugs from the Atlas Mountains, the property – overlooking its own mile-long bay – has provided a unique spot for the star to enjoy time with her husband.

Vanessa Branson, sister of Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson, who bought the island in 1995 for £1.3 million with her husband Robert Devereux, said: “It allows people to connect with something which is very elemental and people who stay there often write a great deal in the visitors’ book about the wildlife and the luxury of having privacy.”

Branson also rents out 11-bedroom Eilean Shona House – which writer JM Barrie used to take for the summer – and seven other holiday cottages. Branson said that Sir Richard – who owns 74-acre Necker Island in the Caribbean, another celebrity favourite – has visited Eilean Shona. She said: “We have family gatherings on Eilean Shona every year. One person who really loves it is Kate Winslet who is married to my nephew.”

Branson said the two-bedroom cottage, which first became available for rent at £1,250 per week at Easter, is attracting people eager to experience the island’s isolation, and its wildlife.

Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland’s regional director for the Highlands, said: “Scotland is full of remarkable hidden gems . The island of Eilean Shona is one such idyllic escape and the fact that it’s a favourite haunt of Hollywood royalty will only add to its appeal.”

Back to the top of the page