Isle of Arran Travel Guide

The Isle of Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde and is the seventh largest island in Scotland. With its rugged coastline, dramatic mountain peaks, impeccable beaches, lush forests, cultural festivals and tasty local produce, what more could you want from this idyllic island.

Arran is sometimes referred to as a mini Scotland, as it is divided into Highland and Lowland areas by the Highland Boundary Fault which runs northeast to southwest across Scotland. The island is rich in natural history and has three endemic species of tree, over 200 species of bird and populations of red deer, red squirrel, badger, otter, adder and common lizard to see. Offshore there are harbour porpoises, basking sharks and various species of dolphin, so don’t forget to take your binoculars.

Header image credit: Colin​​

Isle of Arran

Why visit the Isle of Arran?

If you love the great outdoors then you’re sure to fall in love with the Isle of Arran. It’s packed with activities for all the family; it’ll have you planning your next trip before you’ve even boarded the ferry home. It is a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts with outstanding wildlife, flora, geology, archaeology and history, all packaged in a compact and accessible destination. Travel distances are short so most attractions are within a 30 minute drive.

There is a wide range of outdoor adventure sports available with something to suit every level of experience. A powerboat trip offers great thrills and is a unique way to get close to marine wildlife such as seals, sharks, whales and dolphins. Other available outdoor activities include gorge scrambling, mountain biking, archery, climbing, sailing, sea kayaking, paragliding and orienteering.

Image credit: Saskia Heiltjes​

Getting to Arran

Getting There

From our ferry port in Newcastle take the A69 to Carlisle, then the M6 north and continue on to the A74(M). 

At J12 take the A70 and continue onto the A76, A71 and then the A78 to Ardrossan Harbour where you can catch the car ferry to Arran. Ferry services are operated by Caledonian MacBrayne

Please see their website for the latest ferry timetables and bookings to and from the island.​

Image credit: Adam Wiggins

Why visit the Isle of Arran?

If you love the great outdoors then you’re sure to fall in love with the Isle of Arran. It’s packed with activities for all the family; it’ll have you planning your next trip before you’ve even boarded the ferry home. It is a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts with outstanding wildlife, flora, geology, archaeology and history, all packaged in a compact and accessible destination. Travel distances are short so most attractions are within a 30 minute drive.

There is a wide range of outdoor adventure sports available with something to suit every level of experience. A powerboat trip offers great thrills and is a unique way to get close to marine wildlife such as seals, sharks, whales and dolphins. Other available outdoor activities include gorge scrambling, mountain biking, archery, climbing, sailing, sea kayaking, paragliding and orienteering.

What to See on the Isle of Arran

The fascinating Bronze Age remnants of the Machrie Moor Stone Circles on the west coast of the island are definitely worth exploring. A tour of the Arran Distillery provides the opportunity to discover the secrets behind the distilling process before sampling a dram of malt whiskey or the creamy liqueur Arran Gold. Brodick is the largest village on the island and is home to the great Brodick Castle, Gardens and Country Park, which is the only island country park in Britain. There you can see many different flowers on show, including an internationally acclaimed collection of rhododendrons.

The Isle of Arran Heritage Museum is also well worth a visit. Originally the site of a small school, the present group of buildings includes a farmhouse, cottage, bothy, milk house, laundry, stable, coach house and harness room. The exhibits do a great job of reflecting the social history, archaeology and geology of the island.

Where to stay on the Isle of Arran

Whether you are travelling alone, as a couple, a family or with a group of travellers, there are lots places to stay on Arran, from basic campsites to 5 star luxurious hotel accommodation. For a full list of hotels and accommodation to suit your needs, please visit our partner booking.com.

WE'RE AWARD WINNING​​

It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named as Europe's and the World’s Leading Ferry Operator in the 2015 World Travel Awards. We've won these awards for 5 years running.​​
awards​​​​​​