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Bryan Dearsley shares these tips on maximizing the fun while visiting ‘Scotland in Miniature’… check out our list of the top things to do on the Isle of Arran Scotland
Referred to by locals and savvy marketers alike as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, the beautiful Isle of Arran has a little bit of everything. Though measuring just 166 square miles, it’s a microcosm of all the very best bits of the mainland, making it an ideal place for visitors in need of a Scotland-fix.
From magnificent mountains and moorland that serve as home to an abundance of flora and wildlife, staggeringly beautiful coastline with sandy beaches and quaint fishing villages, plenty of castles to explore, excellent local food and drink (including a distillery), Arran really does have it all.
The Isle of Arran is also surprisingly easy to get to for domestic and international visitors alike. It’s entirely possible to get to the island from Glasgow Airport in just a few hours thanks to Scotland’s handy rail and ferry links. And once there, the island itself has a first-rate local bus service, along with car rentals and taxi services.
To help you get the best from your visit to this beautiful Scottish island, take a read of our handy guide to some of the best things to do on the Isle of Arran, as well as our tips for the top places to visit, stay, dine, and drink.
The top things to do on the Isle of Arran
Take a Break: Book a Stay at the Best Hotels on the Isle of Arran
For those wanting to enjoy a weekend break in Scotland (or even a mid-week break), the accommodation options on the Isle of Arran are plentiful. From 5-star hotels to quaint B&Bs, guesthouses, inns, and luxury cottage rentals, visitors are well served when it comes to finding somewhere to lay their heads.
Considering an Arran rental? From grand old self-catering homes capable of sleeping groups of 10 or more people cozy cute-as-a-button cottages close to major attractions and golf courses, there’s something for everyone. One of our favorites is quaint Grenrof Cottage in Whiting Bay. Located just minutes from the water and only a short stroll to the golf course, buses, pubs, and restaurants, pet friendly Grenrof Cottage features two bedrooms and sleeps up to four guests comfortably.
Those seeking a good quality luxury hotel also have a surprisingly good choice. Our favorites (all of them available to book through Riley’s preferred accommodations partner) include:
- Auchrannie Resort – 4-star luxury set in a gorgeous historic mansion – check out Auchrannie Resort
- The Douglas Hotel – Luxurious 4-star accommodations set in an 18th century manor house – visit The Douglas Hotel
- Best Western Kinloch Hotel – 3-star accommodations with superb water views – check out Best Western Kinloch Hotel
Enjoy a Unique Arran Food Experience
Gone are the days when British cuisine was something to sneer at. The Isle of Arran boasts some of Scotland’s best dining, from tasty full-Scottish breakfasts to fresh fish pub suppers to fine dining.
If you can, try to time your trip to coincide with the monthly Arran Supper Club for a wonderful mix of fine food and wine (a glass is provided, you bring the rest) and excellent company. The fun Arran Supper Club offers a unique chance to spend time with the locals while making new friends.
Drink Local, Like a Local
Arran’s got some great pubs, including the Ormidale Hotel in Brodick (www.ormidale-hotel.co.uk). The choice of locals, it’s a fun mix of great food and drink, as well as dancing (the famous Saturday Disco), local folk music (Sunday’s) and quizzes (Trev’s Tuesday Pop Quiz).
And while on the topic of libations, the award-winning Arran Distillery is a must (www.arranwhisky.com). Sample the distillery’s fine malts, take a tour, even buy yourself a cask, write your name on it, then come back and collect it 10 years down the road.
Explore the Past at Brodick Castle
Expect to spend the best part of a day exploring Brodick Castle. Built in 1510, this magnificently preserved castle features an incredible collection of antiquities, a reproduction iron age house, and wonderful gardens.
Visit their website at www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Brodick-Castle-and-Country-Park/.
Climb Every Mountain
Goat Fell, the 2,866ft mountain that dominates the island, is a must climb. It does take some energy and is quite steep in places, as well as a few hours of your time, but it’s certainly worth the bragging right and the incredible views.
When you’re done, you’ll find yourself back at the parking area adjacent the excellent Arran Brewery(www.arranbrewery.co.uk) where you’ll enjoy the most welcoming pint of your life.
Do Your Research
For further details on these and so many other fun things to do on the Isle of Arran, contact the very helpful folks at Visit Arran (www.visitarran.com).
Bryan Dearsley is Editor-in-chief of Riley International Media
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