Visitor Attractions

Visitor Information - Argyll & Islay

History and Heritage



Out and About:

Argyll & Islay:  Accommodation

The mainland here is a long finger leading southwards to the Mull of Kintyre. The largest towns are Lochgilphead in the north and Campbeltown in the south. The soutern tip of the Mull is just a dozen miles or so from the coast of Ireland. The Crinan Canal splits the peninsula between Lochgilphead and Crinan.

Off the west coast are the islands of Islay and Jura. Smaller and lesser-known islands are Colonsay, Oronsay and Gigha. Just to the north of Jura is the Island of Scarba and in between the two islands runs the mighty tidal race of Corrievreckan, an awe-inspiring spectacle.

..and our thanks to Jilly Wilson for the following:

Lochgilphead is the 'hub' of mid-Argyll, first laid out as a planned settlement in about 1790. Much of the surrounding region was once part of the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada, established by the Irish Celts (known as the Scotti, hence Scotland) who settled here in the fifth century. Their capital was at Dunadd, just a few miles away, from where they gained ascendancy over the native Picts.

Beyond Dunadd lies Kilmartin Glen - famous for its rich historical legacy. There are at least 350 ancient monuments within six miles of the village of Kilmartin, of which around 150 are prehistoric. They include burial cairns, rock carvings, and standing stones, as well as Dunadd and three more recent castles.

To the south and west of Lochgilphead lies the little known area of Knapdale, complete with its highly indented shoreline and little gems like Tayvallich.

Loch Sween sweeps from the Sound of Jura, coming to a halt a little south of Crinan. In doing so it leaves almost cut off a largely forested narrow peninsula running parallel to and facing the north end of Jura itself. The Tayvallich Peninsula, as it is locally known, is reached from the road junction at Bellanoch on the Crinan Canal, and runs to Keills at its tip. Tayvallich faces east onto Loch a'Bhealaich and Loch Sween beyond it, and Carsaig, facing west onto Carsaig Bay and the Sound of Jura. Thomas Telford built jetties at Carsaig, and at Keills.

In Tayvallich, a line of cottages strings around a remarkably sheltered bay: so sheltered, in fact it is almost cut off by spits prejecting into the main loch. Also in Tayvallich is a small collection of services and a range of accommodation including a lochside caravan park. This is an ideal location for yachting enthusiasts, as is obvious from a glance at what is floating in the bay, or for those who really do want to get away from it all.

It is worth making the extra effort to cover the remaining six miles of single track road to Keills. This is home to the Chapel of the Keills, but the main reason to come here is simply to experience the isolation. Not many people come this way.

Just south of the town lies the entrance to the Crinan Canal, which provides a short-cut for boats across the head of the Kintyre Peninsula. The canal is well worth exploring, as is the village of Crinan itself. The canal took its name from the headland here where the Crinan ferry landed.

Isle of Gigha

Historic Buildings and Castles:

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray. Home to the Dukes of Argyll, the castle houses fine collections of furniture, art and armour.

Augustinian Priory

Isle of Oronsay. Recently restored 14th century priory. You can walk to the island at low tide.

Saddell Abbey

North of Campbeltown is Saddell Abbey, resting place of the warrior Somerled who fought against invading vikings.

Keills Chapel and Cross

Near Tayvallich. Keills Chapel houses a magnificent collection of Celtic carved stones, and next to Iona, Keills and Kilmory must have the best collections on view in the West Highlands. Of particular interest is the Keills Cross above the chapel.


Museums and Galleries:

Arctic Penguin

The Arctic Penguin is anchored in Inveraray Harbour. The former lightship now houses a maritime museum.

An Tarbert Centre

Tarbert. Exhibitions of contemporary art.

Museum of Islay Life

Bowmore, Isle of Islay. The museum offers a perspective of island life.

Heritage Centre

Campbeltown. Tells the story of the town.


Parks and Gardens:

Arduaine Garden

This coastal garden will surprise and delight visitors each day of the year, with a fine collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and many other spring-flowering shrubs.

Achamore Gardens

Achamore Gardens

Isle of Gigha. The main areas of woodland to the north and south of Achamore House were planted to provide shelter from the strong winds and salt spray and also game cover.

Argyll Forest Park

This magnificent stretch of rugged hill country was the very first Forest Park for public enjoyment to be established in Britain, back in 1935. Many visitors who have come to know the Argyll Forest Park, its mountains, glens, lochs and woodlands, claim that this first park is also the finest of them all.

Colonsay House and Gardens

Isle of Colonsay. The Colonsay House rhododendron and woodland garden is considered to be one of the finest rhododendron gardens in Scotland. It has an exceptional variety, not only of rhododendrons, but also of trees and shrubs including some exotic species from the southern hemisphere.

Ardkinglass Woodland Garden

Ardkinglas House, a splendid neo-baronial home famous for its architecture and interior design, is surrounded by one of Argyll’s outstanding woodland gardens, with some of the tallest and most massive conifers in Europe.


Visitor Attractions:

Iveraray Jail

Inveraray Jail

Inveraray. Transports you back to an 1820s courtroom.

Ardbeg Distillery

Isle of Islay. Ardbeg is one of the most welcoming distilleries to visit. In the old malt buildings and kiln, you can warm up with a dram and lots of home-made cooking and baking.



Restored Highland village, north of Lochgilphead.

Bunnahabhain Distillery

Isle of Islay.

Persabus Pottery

Persabus Pottery

Persabus Pottery is a small, cottage pottery situated on Persabus Farm near Port Askaig on the Isle of Islay. The quality pottery is produced by hand and features exclusive designs only available from Persabus. Showroom and coffee shop.



Islay Marine Charters

Islay Marine Charters, Erasaid, Gruinart, Isle of Islay. Sea angling, cruises and private charter. Rod hire available.


Car Hire:

Burnbank Garage

tel: 01586 552772

County Garage

tel: 01369 703199





Argyll & Bute Council

Cuan - Luing
Easdale - Easdale Island
Port Appin - Lismore

Duncan MacEachen

Gallanach - Isle of Kerrera ferry.
tel: 01631 563665


Selected Accommodation in Angus and Dundee


Guest Houses

Bed & Breakfast

Grey Gull Inn, Ardrishaig
Balinakill Country House, Tarbert
Harbour Inn, Bowmore, Islay
Horseshoe Inn, Lochgilphead
Lochgair Hotel, Lochgilphead
Jura Hotel, Jura
Stonefield Castle Hotel, Tarbert
Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa, Inveraray
Braefoot Guest House, Campbeltown

Rudha na Craige, Inveraray
Brambles Boutique Hotel, Inveraray
Trout Fly Guest House, Port Ellen, Islay
Grange Guesthouse, Port Ellen, Islay
Carradales Guest House, Carradale

Post Office Guest House, Isle of Gigha
Lyrabus Croft, Isle of Islay
The Coran, Lochgilphead
Meadowside, Bowmore, Islay
Ayen Cottage, Ballygrant, Islay
The Hall, Campbeltown
Kentraw Farmhouse, Islay
Dunivaig B&B, Tarbert
Old Smithy, Tarbert
The Anchorage, Kilberry, Tarbert
Burnside Lodge, Port Wemyss, Islay
Brecklate B&B, Southend
Ederline House B&B, Kilmartin
The Old Manse, Kilmartin
Lochpark House, Carradale
Loch Gorm House, Bruichladdich, Islay
Persabus Farm B&B, Islay
Anchorage B&B, Islay
Orsay House B&B, Islay

Self Catering



Minard Castle, Minard
Carradale Chalets, Carradale
Coillabus Cottage, Isle of Islay
Lorneholme Holiday Cottage, Carradale
Argyll Chalets, Portsonochan
Avich Apartment, Portsonochan
Ballivicar Farm Cottages, Port Ellen, Islay
Muir of Auchnabreac, Inveraray
Torrisdale Estate, Carradale
Bayview, Carradale
Lagmore House, Islay
Colonsay Island Lodges
Lili-nan-Gleann, Islay
Carradale Cottage, Carradale
Afton, Tarbert
Otter Cottage, Jura
Ri Cruin, Kilmartin
Beachside Flat, Port Ellen, Islay
Hazel's Cottage, Campbeltown




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