Out and About in Inveraray, Argyll
Inveraray is the traditional county town of Argyll and ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, who founded the town in 1745, alongside his new dwelling, Inveraray Castle. Much of the town was designed and built by the Edinburgh-born architect Robert Mylne between 1772 and 1800.
The Royal Burgh of Inveraray is believed to be the first example of an eighteenth-century planned town which lies 60 miles north west of Glasgow on the shores of Loch Fyne, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Built between 1753 and 1776 by Archibald the 3rd Duke of Argyll, head of the powerful Clan Campbell, the town is an absolute set piece of Scottish Georgian architecture with its distinctive white-washed buildings and black window casings.
Things To Do & See
Inveraray is a gateway to the highlands & Islands of Scotland and provides an excellent centre for day touring. There is lot on offer for visitors to the area, the following information and links will help you plan your holiday.
There are many walks in the area including a number of short walks within Inveraray Castle grounds. Dun Na Cuiache is the hill overlooking the town, with the watch tower built in 1748. It is a fairly steep climb up, but worth it for the fabulous views from the top. There are at least 20 walks of differing difficulty in the area listed here and the Forestry Commission has produced a series of maps with recommended routes. Local Walks Guides (publications) are good value if you are able to purchase them.
The area is ideal for off-road cycling Many of the routes are the same as those shown on walking maps. We can personally recommend cycling from Ardrishaig to Crinan along the canal tow-path (20 mile round trip). Cycle hire is availablefrom Crinan Cycles of Lochgilphead. Tel: 01546 603511
Row, Motor and Cabin Boats are available for hire for fishing and family expeditions on Scotland’s longest fresh water loch – set in magnificent West Highland scenery, rich in history and wildlife with enchanting islands and ruined castles to explore.
Loch Awe Boats, Ardbrecknish Tel: 07703 112422
Hill walking / Climbing
Ben Lomond is well worth climbing for views of the loch and access can be gained by ferry from Luss. Ferry tickets (Luss to Rowardennan) can be purchased online, or from shops in Luss.
There are several other Munros to be bagged in the area. The Arrochar Alps at the head of Loch Long are a short drive away and includes the Munros (over 3000 ft) of Beinn Ime, Beinn Vorlich, Beinn Namain, Beinn Vane and Beinn Arthur. Or try ‘The Cobbler’ and Beinn Luibhean, both Corbetts (2500 – 3500 ft).
Glencoe and Glen Etive are a 90-minute drive and boast 26 Munros, including Bidean Nam Bian, Beinn Cruachan, Buchaille Etive Beag, Buachaille Etive Mor and the awesome ridge of Aonach Eagach.
Fresh water fishing is to be had on Loch Awe, close to Inveraray, and are able to hire fishing boats – for fishing or simply for spending a leisurely hour or two on the Loch (take a picnic and head for one of the small islands, or the other side of the loch!).
Loch Awe boats: The Boat Yard, Ardbrecknish, By Dalmally, Argyll, PA33 1BH Tel: 07703 112 422
Fishing tackle supplies, permits and advice are available from ‘Fyne Tackle’ in Lochgilphead.
Argyll Adventure in Inveraray provides horse riding for beginners to advanced, from one hour upwards, April to October. Tel: 01499 302 611
As well as horse riding, Argyll Adventure also offers a Paintball range, a Crossbow range and Laser Storm. Tel 01499 302 611
Seafari Adventures offer wildlife and nature boat trips to see whales, porpoises, sea birds from their base at Easdale, Oban. Tel: 01852 300 003
Island hopping Oban is the place to catch ferries to various islands. Contact Caledonian Macbrayne Tel: 01475 650 397
Iona is worth a visit, as is the Isle of Gigha which has gardens, wildlife and golf.
The Loch Fyne Hotel and Spa is a few minutes walk from the house and has a 15m swimming pool, sauna, steam room and spa. Day swim passes are available for non-residents. Tel: 01499 302148
There is a larger, public pool at Lochgilphead 40 mins drive.
This is a wonderful area to view gardens, renowned for their azaleas and rhododendrons, best viewed in May. There are in excess of 20 gardens to visit in Argyll including the National Trust’s magnificent Crarae Gardens which is only 10 miles away.
Inveraray Castle, home of the Clan Campell, is open from April to mid-October. There are many castles to see in the area, however few are occupied and most lie in ruins.
Inveraray Jail, Scotland’s living 19th century prison, is open all year round. A family favourite and highly recommended.
Auchindrain Township, an open air museum, is an original West Highland Township, presenting a taste of what life was like for the Highlander in past centuries.
Kilmartin Glen There are more than 800 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin – many of them prehistoric. This extraordinary concentration and diversity of monuments distinguishes the Kilmartin Glen as an area of outstanding archaeological importance. It is one of Scotland’s richest prehistoric landscapes.Over 5000 years of human history are traced across Kilmartin Valley as described in the Visitors Centre here (which also incorporate an excellent café!).
The Bell Tower of All Saints Episcopal Church, Inveraray. Good views of Inveraray can be seen from the top of the tower – and if you want to impress a campanologist, the bells have the second heaviest ring of 10 in the world!
St Conan’s Kirk, in Loch Awe village, is a church well worth a visit. It’s location, views and unique architecture makes it popular for weddings.
Hill House, Helensburgh, is a National Trust for Scotland property, designed by Charles Renee MacIntosh and considered his finest domestic creation. Although Helensburgh it is a little further afield it is well worth a visit if you enjoy interior design.
There are 23 golf courses within 30 miles of Inveraray, and there are more down the Mull of Kintyre including Machrihanish Golf Club, but these are further than 30 miles from Inveraray.
The George Hotel – good value, good atmosphere and excellent food! Tables bookable. Tel: 01499 302 111
Samphire – good seafood restaurant. Tel: 01499 302 321
The Loch Fyne Hotel and The Inveraray Inn also serve food in their bar and/or restaurants.