Argyll & Bute

Argyll Forest Park

Argyll & Bute

Argyll and Bute, part of the wider Strathclyde region, is situated in the Western Highlands of Scotland. The area is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, encompassing a large portion of the west coast and many islands of the Inner Hebrides, including Mull, Islay, and Jura.

The geography of the Argyll and Bute region is a blend of rugged coastlines, rolling farmland, vast mountain ranges, and a tapestry of islands. This varied topography is the result of intense glaciation during the last Ice Age which formed the region’s glens and freshwater lochs while also creating its numerous sea lochs. The region is sparsely populated, and much of it remains unaffected by tourism, though there are plenty of places of interest that make visiting Argyll and Bute an essential part of any sightseeing itinerary.

One of the most iconic historic sites is Inveraray Castle, a Gothic Revival castle that overlooks the serene waters of Loch Fyne. Visitors can explore the castle’s beautifully restored interiors, expansive gardens, and enjoy one of the best views in Scotland from the top of the Dun Na Cuaiche viewpoint.

The Isle of Mull is another must-visit destination. It’s the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides and is well known for its mountainous interior and sweeping plains of moorland, as well as the charming town of Tobermory with its brightly coloured houses overlooking the harbour. The island offers easy access to Iona, home of Iona Abbey, and another equally captivating historic site at Duart Castle.

For whisky enthusiasts, a trip to Islay is an absolute must-do. Known as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’, Islay is famous for its peaty, smoky whiskies, which are quite unlike the spirits produced by other Scottish regions. There are currently nine working distilleries on the island, most of which offer tours and tastings, including Laphroaig and Bowmore, which both have great visitor centres.

Another notable attraction in Argyll and Bute is Knapdale Forest which is one of the few places in the country where beavers roam wild. During a visit, it’s possible to spot beavers in their natural habitat at Barnluasgan as well as join a guided tour from the Argyll Beaver Centre near Bellanoch.

Inveraray castle

Find places to visit and things to do in Argyll & Bute with these visitor guides.

  • 11 Free Things to Do in Argyll and Bute

    11 Free Things to Do in Argyll and Bute

    Visiting Scotland’s tourist attractions can be an expensive business, especially for those visitors travelling with a family. In this article you will discover a list of completely free-to-visit attractions in Argyll & Bute that are suitable for all ages, including historic buildings, walking routes, museums, and public parks.

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  • Angus’s Garden

    Angus’s Garden

    Angus’s Garden is a managed landscape dedicated to Angus Macdonald who died in Cyprus in the 1950’s. The garden is the work of his mother, Betty, who spent 40 years creating a beautiful nine-acre woodland garden as a memorial, complete with walking trails that circle an extensive collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, and a small loch.

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  • Ardmucknish Bay

    Ardmucknish Bay

    Within the heart of Scotland’s picturesque Argyll and Bute region lies a breathtaking destination that often goes unnoticed by tourists: Ardmucknish Bay. This unspoiled haven boasts a mix of golden sand and pristine sheltered waters which are a popular destination for nature lovers and holidaymakers alike. In this article, we’ll explore the many facets of…

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  • Arduaine Garden

    Arduaine Garden

    Nestled on the shimmering Argyll and Bute coastline, Arduaine Garden is a haven of botanical beauty that’s guaranteed to captivate all visitors. This spectacular garden, basking in a stunning location on Scotland’s west coast, spans 20 acres and is a testament to the vision of its creators, the Campbell family, who established it in 1898.…

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  • Ben Cruachan Dam

    Ben Cruachan Dam

    A visit to Ben Cruachan (which isn’t actually a mountain – it’s a Munro) rewards walkers with some of the finest views in the Southern Highlands, especially if they make it to the very top of its summit and gaze down at the multitude of rocky satellites below it.

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  • Bonawe Iron Furnace

    Bonawe Iron Furnace

    Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace near Taynuilt, Argyll, is a restored ironworks that was founded in 1753. Although operations ceased in the 1870s it has since come under the management of Historic Environment Scotland and it is now a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the abandoned smelting buildings, storehouses and ironworks for a small fee.…

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  • Dunstaffnage Castle

    Dunstaffnage Castle

    Dunstaffnage Castle is perched on top of a rock overlooking the Firth of Lorn. It is located close to Oban and makes an ideal stopping-off point for visitors waiting for a ferry to the west coast islands. The castle was built in 1240 AD as the stronghold of the MacDougall clan, but it’s now managed…

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  • Glen Loin

    Glen Loin

    This scenic walking route runs through the dramatic mountain peaks and glens of the Arrochar Alps in the Strathclyde region. At around 11 miles the route offers an enjoyable walk on paths that vary between tarmac and muddy woodland on a circuit that’s mostly level with a few minor climbs. Along the way, walkers will…

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  • Glen Nant

    Glen Nant

    The Glen Nant National Nature Reserve in Argyll is an enchanting woodland sanctuary that breathes life into the term ‘natural beauty’. This 836-acre wildlife paradise is a testament to the region’s diverse flora and fauna, providing a home for an array of species from delicate wildflowers to elusive red squirrels. Packed with a mosaic of…

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  • Inveraray Castle

    Inveraray Castle

    Inveraray Castle in Argyll is situated on the shore of Loch Fyne in western Scotland where it has been the home of the Dukes of Argyll since the 18th century. The castle is open to the public for self-guided tours and visitors are welcome to walk around the beautiful gardens during their visit. Discover this…

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  • John Muir Way, Helensburgh

    John Muir Way, Helensburgh

    The walk from Helensburgh to Balloch is a perfect opportunity to appreciate Helensburgh with its lovely beach and numerous cafés, as well as the countryside that extends across this stunning area of the Trossachs in South-West Scotland. Discover this beautiful and under-appreciated region of Scotland with this complete visitor guide.

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  • Kilchurn Castle

    Kilchurn Castle

    Kilchurn Castle is located near the A85 at the foot of Loch Awe in Argyll. The castle was built in the 15th century as the power base of the Campbells of Glenorchy but it is now managed by Historic Environment Scotland. Admission is free. Discover Kilchurn Castle with this complete visitor guide.

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  • Loch Lomond

    Loch Lomond

    With a surface area of 27.5 square miles, Loch Lomond is Britain’s largest body of freshwater. This immense loch is situated within the beautiful Trossachs National Park, surrounded by forests, quaint villages, and soaring mountain peaks. The loch is one of the most-visited natural attractions in Scotland due to its proximity to Glasgow. It is…

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  • Luss

    Luss

    Luss is an attractive conservation village situated on the shores of Loch Lomond in The Trossachs National Park. The village has a long history dating back to the early 6th century but it wasn’t until the 1980s that it became a tourist destination when the popular Scottish TV drama Take The High Road was filmed…

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  • McCaig’s Tower

    McCaig’s Tower

    McCaig’s Tower is situated on a hill overlooking the centre of Oban, where visitors are rewarded with panoramic views across the town and the islands beyond. The ‘tower’ is actually a circular wall ringed with open windows that was built as a monument to the wealthy McCaig family in the early 1900s, but today it’s…

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  • Oban

    Oban

    Nestled on the west coast of Scotland, the charming town of Oban has long been a popular destination for visitors. Its picturesque harbour and stunning natural surroundings make it a must-see stop on any trip to Scotland. Whether savouring fresh seafood on the pier, enjoying a wee dram of whisky at the distillery, or exploring…

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  • Oban Airport Scenic Flight

    Oban Airport Scenic Flight

    In this article, you’ll go on an unforgettable journey through the skies with Hebridean Air Services. This isn’t your average flight – it’s a sightseeing extravaganza, soaring from Oban Airport around the islands of the Inner Hebrides and back along the picturesque coastline of Argyll. Oban Airport, while small, is perfectly situated for these tours…

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  • St. Conan’s Kirk

    St. Conan’s Kirk

    The privately-run St. Conan’s Kirk near Loch Awe offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. The stunning architecture both inside and out of the church is the perfect backdrop to the intricate carvings that are reminiscent of Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian. St. Conan’s Kirk is currently free to visit but donations are accepted.

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  • The Best Things to Do in Argyll & Bute for Families

    The Best Things to Do in Argyll & Bute for Families

    Argyll & Bute is a family-friendly destination in one of Scotland’s most scenic areas. The region is a paradise for families looking to escape the daily grind, with stunning lochs, sandy beaches, ancient castles, and woodland walks waiting to be discovered at every turn. In this guide you’ll find a hand-picked selection of historic sites…

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