Best Time to Visit: Summer
In the middle of our recent 4 day holiday to Isle of Arran, Yoda said “This is a nice honeymoon destination, isn’t it?” She is quite right, it had all the perfect elements for a romantic getaway or even a honeymoon. Arran is so good that we rue the fact that the Best of Scotland post does not mention it 😦 Let’s explain why Arran has all the ingredients.
- A remote & exotic location: Boy is Arran remote. We travelled the whole day from England to get here. The minimum time needed to get here from Glasgow Central is 3 hours. But the catch is that there are only up to 7 buses a day so your public transit game needs to be on point to make sightseeing work. Arran is also called “Scotland in Miniature” as it has a lot of topographical features packed in 1 island which covers the exotic bit.
- Room with a view: On a honeymoon, you possibly want to live somewhere intimate with a view to die for & a nice bath tub. Luckily when we were hunting for a place to stay, we found a flat called Tigh Na Blair in Corrie which advertised itself exactly that way. The flat was so perfect that it’s an entirely valid holiday to spend all 4 days inside & see this view from the living room.
Apart from that we cooked in the flat & played Scrabble to relax.
- Take romantic walks in spectacular scenery: Here is the good bit of the trip where you want to see sights that you’ll reminisce about in the future. We’ll let the pictures do the talking.
- Go on adventures together: Many couples enjoy the occasional a physically exerting day out. Goatfell is a Munro that’s 2866 feet tall & is a lot of fun to climb (featured image). Glen Sannox & Glen Rosa are gateways to many epic climbs & fantastic valley walks by themselves. The Standing Stones of Machrie are 4000 years old & are in moors that need an hour’s walk to see fully. Kayaking & fishing are readily available on many places on the island. There is something for everybody. We personally did the Goatfell climb to end up just before the scrambling bits & walked through Glen Sannox. We also had lunch in the middle of a waterfall which was quite an experience.
- See some unique local (Scottish) sights: You made your way to Scotland, hence you should definitely check off seeing a castle & a whisky distillery. Luckily the village of Lochranza at the northern tip of Arran has both of these in close proximity. The Lochranza castle is a ruined castle & hence no one lives in it. It looks so romantic in a distinctive Scottish way.
Once you have taken enough pictures, walk down the road for 15 minutes to reach Isle of Arran’s top tourist destination, the wee Isle of Arran distillery. Scotland has some great whisky but Isle of Arran is in the upper bracket of Scotch in our opinion. The smells of a distillery are distinctive & what you’ll remember. They run the gamut of tours from the basic distillery tour (which we took) to guided tastings. Book in advance for the latter to avoid disappointment. Dalek is a big whisky fan & he was fanboying on seeing a distillery which was in operation.
- Summary: We had one of our best trips visiting Isle of Arran and cannot recommend it highly enough. There were periods where we were comparing views with Greece, Switzerland & Norway (based on the bits we’ve seen pics of). In good weather, it’s as good as any other destination in the world.
Public Transit Logistics:
- First reach Glasgow (fly to Glasgow International / Prestwick) or take the train to Glasgow Central / Glasgow Queen Street.
- Take the Glasgow Central – Ardrossan Harbour train from Glasgow Central or Paisley Gilmour street (if flying into GLA). Get off at Ardrossan Harbour. If flying into Prestwick, take the bus 585 to Ardrossan Ferry Terminal.
- Take the CalMac ferry to Brodick. Trains connect very well with the ferry. Arrive at Arran.
Getting around: As mentioned earlier, there are only up to 7 buses a day so it good to plan ahead what you’ll see and which bus you’ll catch next. A day pass is £5.60 & is great value. Use the full schedule to plan your day trip (we did Corrie->Lochranza->Machrie->Blackwater->Brodick->Corrie in a day).
Tip: If not staying in Brodick & using only public transit, buy groceries from Coop food in the 10 min gap that the bus schedule allows.
Tip: Visit the Arran butcher in Blackwaterfoot to get some meat & the best haggis we have had in Scotland.