Isle of Arran
Situated off the west coast, the Isle of Arran, often referred to as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, offers tourists the best of Scotland in a compact and accessible area. With a geography that varies from the mountainous terrain of the north to the rolling, pastoral landscapes of the south, the island is a haven for both outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a quiet retreat.
Positioned in the Firth of Clyde, Arran is the seventh-largest Scottish island at 43,210 hectares, and it’s split in the middle by the Highland Boundary Fault which is the reason why the north and south sides are so different. While the south is home to lowland forests, the north is home to a magnificent mountain range, the high point (no pun intended) being Goatfell at 2,867 feet (874 metres).
Arran’s coastline, meanwhile, is a dramatic contrast of rocky cliffs and secluded bays, interspersed with golden sand beaches which provide opportunities for coastal walks and wildlife spotting.
With a mild climate influenced by the Gulf Stream, Arran enjoys warmer weather than most parts of Scotland which makes it perfect for exploring year-round, as can be seen in the gardens of Brodick Castle which manages to grow a thriving collection of tropical plants.
The island is also dotted with picturesque villages, each with its own unique charm. Most tourists begin their exploration of the island in Brodick, its biggest settlement and the location of the main ferry terminal. Whiting Bay, with its gorgeous beach, and Lochranza, noted for its castle and whisky distillery, are also worth a visit, as is Lamlash, the island’s second-largest settlement which provides breathtaking views across the bay to the Holy Isle.
From a tourism perspective, the Isle of Arran offers an abundance of attractions. History enthusiasts can explore the island’s rich past at Brodick Castle or visit the mysterious Machrie Moor stone circle. For whisky connoisseurs, a trip to the Lochranza Distillery is a must as visitors can tour the facility and sample a selection of single malts afterwards.
Nature lovers, meanwhile, will be in their element on Arran. The island is home to an array of wildlife including red deer, golden eagles, seals, red squirrels and otters. For those who love getting away from it all in the great outdoors, the Arran Coastal Way is a popular choice as it offers a 65-mile circular route around the island’s beautiful coastline.
Arran is also famous for its local produce and no visit can be considered complete without popping into the island’s cheese shop, brewery, and Arran Aromatics which sells handmade soaps and body treatments.
Find places to visit and things to do on the Isle of Arran with these visitor guides.
The Arran Coastal Way is a circular cycling and walking route around the perimeter of the Isle of Arran on Scotland’s west coast. This easy-going trail rewards visitors with stunning views at every section of its 65-mile length and there are plenty of opportunities to deviate onto nearby attractions along the way.
Brodick is the main village on the Isle of Arran which is situated on the west coast of Scotland. The town lies halfway along the eastern side of the island where it overlooks Brodick Bay and Goatfell mountain. It is the arrival point for most visitors due to the ferry port but is popular in…
Brodick Castle, former seat of power of the Dukes of Hamilton, is a grand 19th-century castle located a few miles north of the town of Brodick on the Isle of Arran. The castle is surrounded by an exceptionally large and well-maintained garden and country park and is currently managed by the National Trust for Scotland.
Goatfell is an 874-metre mountain on the Isle of Arran on Scotland’s west coast. The mountain (designated a Corbett) is one of four on the island and is located three miles west of Brodick Castle. Although Goatfell is the highest point on the Isle of Arran the walk to the summit is quite easy with…
Holy Isle is located close to the eastern shore of the Isle of Arran on Scotland’s west coast. This small (one square mile) island has a rich religious history dating back hundreds of years and the tradition of quiet seclusion continues to this day thanks to the Centre for World Peace and Health located on…
The Isle of Arran on Scotland’s southwest coast is home to popular attractions including Goatfell mountain, Brodick Castle, Brodick town and Machrie moor. Discover this stunning island with this comprehensive guide and learn why it truly lives up to its nickname ‘Scotland in miniature’.
The forests of Arran offer some of the best mountain biking routes of any of the west-coast islands and any cycle ride is almost guaranteed to include sightings of Arran’s famed red squirrels. The most popular wooded areas are; Brodick Castle, Dyemill, Glenrickard, King’s Cave, North Sannox and South End.
The village of Lochranza on the Isle of Arran is located in an exceptionally picturesque area on the north of the island. Although it is mostly visited for the small ferry terminal that connects the island to Claonaig on the mainland, Lochranza is also worth visiting for its tourist attractions. The village lies at the…
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