Attracting millions of visitors each year, welcoming Arran is one of the country’s quintessential holiday destinations.
Offering an array of historic sights, wonderful natural landscapes and experiences attracting tourists from across the world, join us as we explore the wonders of Arran, ‘Scotland in Miniature’, starting with Brodick Bay.
1. Brodick Bay
A standout all by itself nevermind alongside the iconic Brodick Castle (more on that later), Brodick Bay is a magical part of Arran.
The bay is often the first welcoming part of Arran that greets visitors on arrival by ferry from Ardrossan.
2. Brodick Castle
Tucked away behind some foliage for large portions of the year, Brodick Castle and its surrounding estate are a fantastic Arran highlight.
A lot has changed at Brodick Castle over the years. Once home to Dukes of Hamilton, the castle is now under the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland.
As mentioned previously, there is a lot of foliage surrounding the castle. This conceals the scale of this beautiful and stately building.
Visitors can tour both the gardens and the castle, letting you fully admire this essential island landmark.
Guided tours are strictly limited in number due to the size of some of the rooms explored inside.
Dating back to the early 1930s, the castle gardens provide the perfect strolling location, taking you past some well-maintained displays and the pièce de résistance, onto some lovely walking trails flowing through neighbouring lush landscape.
Bit of Trivia – Recognise the castle from somewhere? You may have carried hundreds (lucky you!) of small versions of Brodick Castle in your wallet or purse over the years. Yes, this famous castle was once featured on £20 sterling banknotes.
3. Glen Rosa
Spend some free time visiting Glen Rosa. So pleasing on the eye you would be forgiven for thinking you are looking at the label of a rare and highly prized bottle of whisky, Glen Rosa offers visitors the chance to take in a landscape that rivals some of Scotland’s best in terms of natural beauty.
Yes, Rosa rivals even the eternally in the lens (film and camera) majestic Glen Coe!
4. King’s Cave
Along the coast, you will find the spectacular and steeped in legend King’s Cave.
Famously, Robert the Bruce is said to have prepared here for the Battle of Bannockburn. He may even have had his famous encounter with a Spider in this cave.
Whether the legends are true or not, King’s Cave and the surrounding shingle beach is a great place to explore.
With some green grass hair in the warmer months, the rock concealing the cave has a slightly less intimidating appearance.
Don’t let any doubts steal an opportunity to experience these caves for yourself.
5. Whisky Distillery
Independently owned and the only distillery on the island, the Isle of Arran Whisky Distillery first opened over twenty years ago.
Since then, whisky drinkers and tourists from around the world have enjoyed the whisky produced here and enjoyed fantastic tours of the site.
Expertly led tours will take you on a journey of discovery through the distillery catering to all levels of interest.
The visitor centre here has won multiple awards over years, certifying its status as one of the great Scottish attractions for both British holidaymakers and tourists arriving from overseas.
Why not toast the success of your tour with a sampling of the distilleries famous dram?
Arran’s biggest village, Lamlash is another key scenic walking spot on Arran.
The village full of welcoming island character, Lamlash is right up there amongst Scotland’s prettiest villages.
This west coast gem is a definite Arran highlight with many visitors to the island encountering the village during their time spent following the special Arran Coastal Way.
Another beautiful village, Lochranza is also not without its own unique and fascinating history.
As well as the lone standing ruins Lochranza Castle, Lochranza is also famous for the row of old homes known as the ’12 Apostles’.
Once home to sailors, each of the cottages has their own distinct centrepiece window.
Whilst out on the water, the sailor’s wives would signal to their husband’s by placing a candle in their respective window.
Each sailor was able to recognise their own distinct windows lit up through the murky night sky whilst out fishing.
8. Machrie Moor Standing Stones
One of thousands of former ritual sites scattered across the UK, the mysterious Machrie Moor stones are a true Neolithic monument.
The Standing Stones here have been battered by the elements for over a thousand years and yet still stand in the vast stretch of moorland for visitors to admire with intrigue.
9. Goat Fell
Perhaps the most identifiable landmark on Arran, the magnificent mountain Goat Fell is also the tallest point on the entire island.
At over 800 metres, Goat Fell is a hiking haven. A fitting reward for a climb to the summit, the views atop Goat Fell are jaw-dropping.
Views look out not only across the island but out onto the waters of the Firth of Clyde and beyond to Ardrossan.