Visit Isle of Arran: Places to stay, things to do

Maddy Gerry takes us to the Isle of Arran to explore its dramatic landscape and famed malt whisky


Why go there?
Quite simply because is known as the ‘miniature Scotland’. Full of rustic charm, one of the highlights of the island has to be the diverse scenery, with dominating mountains, pebbly beaches and rich woodlands. With such a range of landscape, the island is therefore home to an impressive collection of wildlife, including Roe deer, Basking Sharks and seals. Being only 167 square miles in area, the island is ideal for a short weekend break, but will still have plenty to keep you occupied if you find yourself unable to leave after just a couple of days.


Arran is perfect for anyone looking to do some outdoor activities. There are endless walks, along the coast and further inland, as well as the opportunity to go climbing, cycling, pony trekking and bird watching. The island is also a popular destination for golfers, with no less than 8 golf clubs, including the Shiskine club which was voted one of the top 100 in the UK.

The villages on the island are essentially all along the coast, the largest of them being that of Brodick. The village can appear somewhat overshadowed by the spectacular peak of Goatfell, Arran’s largest mountain standing at 874m. The gardens at of the grand Brodick Castle are home to an impressive collection of rhododendrons, which is even recognised internationally. Many of the villages include sites of historical interest, from Neolithic chambered cairns in which human remains and a flint knife were found to evidence of Viking occupation. North of the village of Blackwaterfoot is what is known as the King’s Cave, supposedly Robert the Bruce’s hiding place that bore witness to his enlightening encounter with a spider.

As well as an abundance of outdoor activities, there are also sites for the less adventurous to see. Arran has a thriving art community, with galleries scattered across the island. There is also the Arran Malt distillery in Lochranza, which offers tours and tastings for anyone fancying a Scottish-style tipple.

Why not take a winter stroll and soak up some of the scenery on the Whiting Bay to Lamlash walk which provides amazing views of the Glenashdale Falls.

Where to stay?
There is a surprising number of places to stay on the island, the most notable of the hotels being the Kilmichael Country House Hotel, which also happens to be the oldest. As well as the main house, there are smaller cottages you can stay in if you’re looking for something a little more cosy. There are also a number of campsites on the island if you’d rather be closer to nature.

Where to eat?
Creelers Seafood Restaurant is known for its sourcing fresh, local food, making use of the seafood available from Arran and the Western Isles. For something a little more homely, there is the Rosaburn Café which is good for families, and offers a range of tasty treats including the popular Arran ice cream.

Did you know?
The diversity in landscape is partly due to the Highland Boundary Geological Fault, which runs from Stonehaven to Arran. It was active during the Caledonian Orogeny, a plate tectonic collision that happened over 400 million years ago.