Argyll & the Isles
Argyll was once the centre of the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The hill fort at Dunadd dating from around the sixth century was the equivalent of Arthur’s Camelot and it was here that the early kings were crowned.
Burial cairns at Dunchraigaig and Nether Largie, as well as standing stones at Temple Wood, are just part of a concentration of historic sites in Kilmartin Glen. Kilmartin House, an award-winning centre for archaeology and landscape interpretation, is located in the heart of the area.
Lochgilphead is the administrative centre of Argyll. The attractive market town sits at the head of the Crinan Canal which cuts across the peninsula of Knapdale between Loch Fyne and the Sound of Jura.
Inveraray, at the head of Loch Fyne, is a beautiful 18th-century town boasting one of the more unusual attractions in Scotland – a 19th-century jail. You can sit in the carefully restored courtroom and listen to excerpts of real trials which took place in the 1820s.
In the prisons, staff in period costume act the parts of prisoners, wardens and matron. All the buildings are almost exactly as they were when the last prisoners were moved out in 1889.
Inveraray Castle has the reputation of being the grandest stately home in Scotland.
Tarbert is the main fishing port for Loch Fyne, with pretty houses guarding over the sheltered harbour. Campbeltown, in the south-east corner of Kintyre, was once an important industrial settlement with a large harbour and over 30 distilleries – now there are just two.
Other attractions include the wonderful gardens at Arduaine and Crarae.
Built as a fishing port in the late 18th century, Tobermory is the main village on Mull. The picturesque harbour bustles with fishing boats and yachts.
Mull itself has a coastline of around 300 miles and a population of just 2,700. So if you’re longing for some space and peace... you’ll find it.
Explore the myth and legend of MacKinnon’s Cave, or tour the dungeons and state rooms of Duart Castle.
Experience castle life first-hand at Glengorm Castle, and stay the night at this historic hotel. The castle near Tobermory was built in 1860 and is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding forests, moors and coastline.
Islay is famous for its seven working distilleries, with all the island malts having a very distinctive taste of seaweed, peat and smoke.
Make a pilgrimage to the Kildalton Cross. Carved around 800 AD, this is the only intact Celtic cross still standing on its original site in Scotland.
Walking, wildlife watching and fishing are the main visitor activities on the Isle of Jura, with tranquillity in abundance. Visit the Isle of Jura distillery at Craighouse and the gardens at Jura House.
The Isle of Bute is the “Jewel of the Clyde”. Visit the 800-year-old ruin of Rothesay Castle in the centre of the town and take a stroll along the classic Victorian seafront facade, promenade and pier.
Be sure to visit to Mount Stuart House, a gothic palace with sumptuous interiors.