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Issue 31 - Argyll & Bute

History & Heritage

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Scotland Magazine Issue 31
February 2007


This article is 11 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Argyll & Bute

Where to eat

The Anchorage Restaurant
Harbour Street, Tarbert
Small, intimate restaurant producing fresh, colourful food with the accent on seafood, beef and lamb cooked in a simple, classic style.
Tel: +44 (0)1880 820 881

The Bistro
Isle of Bute Discovery Centre, Rothesay
Outstanding all day café and bistro with an imaginative menu and outstanding views of the bay.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 505 500

Isle of Gigha
Providing anything from bar snacks to a full three course meal including fresh local seafood and a fully licensed bar.
Tel: +44 (0)1583 505 123

This restaurant is in the town of Dunoon and it serves quality food in its restaurant and bar area. In summer you can eat in the restaurant’s garden.
Tel: +44 (0)1369 706 402

Ascog Bay, Bute
Fine local produce cooked lovingly by the restaurant’s chefs.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 505 577

Inver Cottage
Starthlachlan, Loch Fyne
Described as providing home cooking at its best, this cottage bar/bistro overlooks the loch and is close to the ruins of Castle Lachlan.
Tel: +44 (0)1369 860 537

Kilberry Inn
Quality restaurant inside a charming ‘but n ben’ cottage. Comfy bedrooms also available.
Tel: +44 (0)1880 770 223

Loch Fyne Oysters
Loch Fyne
World famous oyster restaurant on the edge of Loch Fyne. A mix of restaurant and afternoon tea room. Nice and spacious though – and you can’t better the seafood, obviously.
Tel: +44 (0)1499 600 236

Old Kiln Café
Ardbeg Distillery, Islay
Quite probably the best food on the island.
Tel: +44 (0)1496 302 244

The Waterfront
A smart, well maintained fish restaurant that comes highly recommended. Recently refurbished.
Tel: +44 (0)1631 563 110

Where to visit

Argyll Wildlife Park
Specialises in native animals living in their natural habitat. Attractions include badgers, wildcats, deer, wildfowl and um, wallabies. Nice location, too, nestling on the edge of Loch Fyne. Open all year round, seven days a week.
Tel: +44 (0)1499 302 264

Ascog Hall Fernery and Gardens
The only one of its kind in Scotland, this delightful fernery includes species from across the world. Oldest fern is said to date from the original collection 1,000 years ago. Open mid April to mid October
Tel: +44 (0)1700 504 555

Benmore Botanic Gardens
An offshoot of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens occupying 140 acres of lush hillside. The mild, moist climate of
Argyll allows a vast range of unusual plants to grow here. Open from beginning of March to the end
of October.
Tel: +44 (0)1369 706 261

Visit any of the whisky distilleries on the little island of Islay, but Bowmore offers an excellent tour and a brand new visitor centre. You could also stay the night in one of the distillery cottages.

Bute Museum
Small museum covering the region’s geology, archaeology, history and natural history. There are special sections for
children and a display of Clyde’s steamers. Open all year.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 505 067

Duart Castle
The ancestral home of the clan Maclean, perched dramatically on a cliff top. Walk through the dungeons and state rooms at your leisure.
Tel: +44 (0)1680 812 309

Isle of Gigha
The perfect island escape: sandy beaches; friendly folk.

Inverawe Smokehouses
This traditional smokery features a unique walk through exhibition designed to give an insight into the ancient art of
smoking as well as featuring the history of Inverawe and Taynuilt in Argyll. The shop and exhibition are open from April and include a coffee shop for visitors.
Tel: +44 (0)1866 822 446

Iona Abbey
Isle of Iona
Medieval church considered the point of origin for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland. In use by a
religious community living on the island, welcomes up to 50 guests each week.
Tel: +44 (0)1681 700 512

Iona Gallery and Pottery
Isle of Iona
The gallery specialises in paintings of Iona, limited edition prints, and art cards of Iona as well as etchings and Scottish west coast paintings.
Tel: +44 (0)1681 700 439

Kilchurn Castle
Loch Awe
One of Argyll’s most photogenic loch side ruins. Once a Campbell stronghold, the castle was abandoned after being struck by lightning in the 18th century.

Loch Etive Cruises
Loch Etive
Sail from Taynuilt, 20 kilometres from Oban and take a three hour journey along this narrow but charming loch.
Runs from Easter until mid-October.
Tel: +44 (0)1886 822 430

Mount Stuart
A Victorian Gothic house boasting beautiful Italian antiques, special paintings and some nods to the 3rd Marquis of Bute’s passion for astronomy, astrology and mythology. It’s all very grand and impressive, as are the gardens which offer sea views and wonderful walking. There is a restaurant and shop. Open May to September and throughout Easter.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 503 877

Rothesay Castle
Rothesay, Bute
Unique partially restored castle dominating the centre of Rothesay. It is floodlit at night and visitors can tour using an audio-visual presentation outlining the Vikings’ involvement in the region’s history. The banqueting halls can be hired out for weddings and other functions. Open all year with reduced hours in winter. There is a small charge for admission.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 502 691

St Blane’s Chapel

Peaceful and pleasant spot in the south of the island. Graveyard contains graves of seventh and eighth century bishops and abbots.

Picturesque fishing village with colourful houses along the harbour. Used as the location for children’s television programme Balamory. Great for little ones.

Where to stay

Airds Hotel
Port Appin
This hotel is about 30 kilometres North of Oban but is worth the trek. Port Appin is a lovely place to visit and the Airds’ conservatory restaurant serves quality food in a pleasant and traditional setting.
Tel: +44 (0)1546 730 236

Ardanaiseig Hotel
Loch Awe
Small and wildly romantic country house hotel, tucked amongst the woodlands overlooking Loch Awe. Scottish romantic hotel of the year 2006.
Tel: +44 (0)1866 833 333

Ardmory House Hotel
Quality hotel offering and fine restaurant close to the bay.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 502 346

There are a whole series of hotels in different price brackets and of varying standards along the coast from Oban to Ganavan, but this is among the best. Good standard of rooms and food, pleasant views.
Tel: +44 (0)1631 566 356

Cairnbaan Hotel
A very relaxed and pleasant four star hotel in a pretty location on the Crinan Canal.
Tel: +44 (0)1456 603 668

Cannon House Hotel
Rothesay, Bute
A handsome Georgian townhouse hotel with sea views and a relaxed atmosphere.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 502 819

Columba Hotel
Tarbert attracts a lot of yachtsmen and this hotel is one of their favoured haunts. But it’s no worse for that, and there is a pleasant locals’ feel here, too. If it’s a budget hotel you’re after then this is for you. And if you’re travelling out to the islands it’s well worth spending a night here before an early morning crossing.
Tel: +44 (0)1880 820 808

Creggans Inn
Roadside inn with 14 rooms, some overlooking the loch. Has a bar menu and quality restaurant as well as a formal dining room.
Tel: +44 (0)1369 860 279

Crinan Hotel
Crinan lies on the canal that links Loch Fyne to the sea, and unsurprisingly seafood features prominently, much of it caught fresh and locally. Choose between a cosy pub meal, a bistro meal in the upstairs room, or the dining room.
Tel: +44 (0)1546 830 261

The George Hotel
Old inn that has been lovingly and tastefully refurbished. If it’s Scottish charm and cosiness you want, this is the place. Open fire, nice atmosphere and good food, and some of the room views are wonderful.
Tel: +44 (0)1499 302 111

Hunting Lodge Hotel

Former hunting lodge of the Duke of Argyll. Has its own private section of beach with unspoilt views over the Atlantic Ocean to the Islands of Gigha, Islay and Jura.
Tel: +44 (0)1583 421 323

Isle of Jura Hotel
Craighouse, Jura
This 18 bedroom hotel is situated on Jura’s sheltered East Coast, and is one of the focal points of the island’s social life. Great views and a comfortable atmosphere.,uk
Tel: +44 (0)1496 820 243

Kilcamb Lodge Hotel

Strontian, Argyll
A charming country house hotel in a stunning, out of the way location. Sally and David are friendly and obliging hosts.
Tel: +44 (0)1967 402 257

Kilfinan Hotel
Loch Fyne
A quiet retreat for those who want to get away from it all. Highly respected for its good food, both in its restaurant and its informal bar area.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 821 201

Loch Fyne Hotel
Inverary is a stylish town with some wonderful attractions. This hotel overlooks the Loch and nicely combines traditional Scottish atmosphere and décor with a modern approach to style and service.
Tel: +44 (0)870 950 6270

Lunga House
Craobh Haven
The family home of the Lindsay-Macdougalls and it feels like it with personal decoration and portraits and very much a traditional air. Charming and personal. Self catering options are available.
Tel: +44 (0)1852 500 237

The Port Royal
Port Bannatyne, Bute
Waterfront hotel popular with walkers, cyclists, bird watchers and fishermen. Noted for the Russian Tavern, which serves great food and real ale.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 505 073

The Regent Hotel

Small seafront hotel close to the centre of Rothesay. Cosy bar and nice food in the Four Seasons Restaurant.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 502 006

An Lochan
Regarded by some as one of the most improved hotels in Scotland, combing as it does tasteful décor, nice rooms and an increasingly impressive food offering, both in the bar and the restaurant. Has a conservatory restaurant.
Tel: +44 (0)1700 811 239

Stonefield Castle Hotel
Castle with large gardens that border on to Loch Fyne. The restaurant is grandiose and imposing and a traditional Scottish experience combined with a family-friendly environment makes this well worth staying at.
Tel: +44 (0)1880 820 836

About 30 kilometres from Oban, this hostelry is a little off the beaten track but it is surrounded by wonderful countryside, and is sited in a pretty locality bordering Loch Awe. The restaurant also enjoys a good reputation.
Tel: +44 (0)1866 833 211

West End Hotel
Relaxed and friendly hotel situated on the traffic free West Bay. An ideal base for exploring the west coast.
Tel: +44 (0)1369 702 907

West Loch Hotel

Pretty coaching inn that has been operating for some 300 years. Lovely views over the loch, and a charming and relaxed atmosphere make for a homely experience whether you’re staying or merely dining.
Tel: +44 (0)1880 820 283

Western Isles Hotel
Isle of Mull
An historic Victorian hotel in a dramatic position overlooking Tobermory bay. A haven of comfort good food.
Tel: +44 (0)1688 302 012