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Rothesay Travel Guide - Scotland

Rothesay is the main town on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. This town's history dates back hundreds of years, even before 1400, when it received Royal Burgh status by King Robert III. It was a popular tourist resort, even in Victorian times and was home to many wealthy industrialists. You can reach Rothesay by taking a ferry from Wemyss Bay. The town enjoys a long association with the Royal Family, as the heir to the throne has always been known as the Duke of Rothesay. This tradition continues with Prince Charles currently holding that title. However, there is no land entitlement with this title and the main landowner on the island is the Marquis of Bute.

The most prominent feature of Rothesay is its castle, which is located in the centre of the town. This castle dates back to the 13th century and after the Stewarts gained control of the Scottish throne, the family spent a lot of time at this castle. As a result, the town has long had an association with the Stewarts. The castle was burned in 1685, and remained in ruins until the early 19th century. At this time, the Marquis of Bute began restoring the castle, but it was not until the 1960's that the restoration work was completed and the castle was passed over to the Historic Trust of Scotland. Rothesay Castle is unique among the castles of Britain because of its circular structure and the fact that it still has a moat.

Rothesay Bay at Dawn photo taken by Kevin Steel The many periods of Rothesay's history can be seen in the architecture of the buildings in the town. The remains of a medieval church called St. Mary's Chapel are still visible on the grounds of the Rothesay High Kirk. During the 17th century this chapel served as the Cathedral of the Isles. History lovers and naturalists will also want to visit the Ascog Hall Fernery and Garden. This is a sunken Victorian fern house that dates back to the late 1800's. It features a glazed iron roof and the fernery boasts more than 80 different species of ferns.

Mount Stuart House and Gardens is another must see that every visitor should have on his/her itinerary. This magnificent Victorian mansion is surrounded by 300 acres of gardens that will really refresh your spirit. The house is the home of the present Marquis, who is also famous as the Formula 1 racing driver, Johnny Dumfries. Learn about the history of the steamers on the Clyde with a visit to the Bute Museum, which also has a section devoted to the archaeology of the island. St. Blane's Chapel, near Dunagoil, is a breathtaking site and will bring out your photographic talents in the many photos that you take.

Engage in walking, fishing and golf as just some of the activities that you can enjoy when you visit Rothesay. Here you will find friendly people who are always willing to stop and chat. Drop into the pub for a drink or a meal and take in some of the traditional music that will set your toes to tapping. With the range of accommodations that Rothesay offers, you will not have any difficulty finding rooms to suit your taste and budget.

All Rothesay photographs © Kevin Steel