Find Scottish Holidays on Facebook

Isle of Arran Travel Guide - Scotland

The beautiful Isle of Arran, meaning "peaked island" in Gaelic with its many picturesque villages is situated off the south-west coast of Scotland. It is a favourite getaway for many Glaswegians and was once a popular destination with Scottish monarchs. The island is divided by the Highland Boundary Fault, a geological division shared by the island and the mainland, which generally makes the north rugged and mountainous and the south more gentle and lowland.

Arran is often referred to as Scotland in miniature, immersed in history with castles and ancient monuments peppered throughout and geographically similar on a smaller scale. Palm trees and other tropical plants grow here in the mild climate, some of which you will find in the Caribbean, New Zealand and China, all thanks to the Mexican Gulf Stream, making it a haven for lots of wildlife. Here you will chance upon red deer, seals, dolphins, basking sharks, golden eagles and maybe even the impressive, recently re-introduced sea eagle.

Isle of Arran Sunset - Picture taken by Jason King Young There are plenty of leisure facilities and activities to choose from with seven golf courses, tennis, golf, yachting, pony trekking, bowling, quad biking, paragliding and cycling to name but a few. You will find all public services that you require on the island including post office, bank and public transport. You can see practically all of Arran in one visit but in spite of that, it lures people here again and again. On the island you can travel back beyond the mists of time and visit prehistoric sites, perhaps the most impressive being the standing stones on Machrie Moor.

There are two vehicle ferries operated by Caledonian MacBrayne, which run from the mainland to the Isle of Arran. There is a direct rail service taking one hour from Glasgow to Ardrossan, where a large ferry leaves, taking you on a relaxing 55 minute journey to Arran's main town of Brodick. Ardrossan is 40 miles by road, a one and a half hour drive from Glasgow. In the summer there are six daily crossings from Monday to Saturday and four crossings on Sundays. Fewer crossings operate over the winter between October and early April. A smaller vehicle ferry leaves Claonaig, 110 miles from Glasgow on the Kintyre Peninsula, taking a pleasant 30 minute journey over to Lochranza at the northern tip of Arran. From Easter until October there are about 10 crossings every day. A limited service operates over the winter. No vehicle reservations are possible. You can get Early Bird Savers or Day Savers which work out slightly cheaper if you have a car and up to 4 passengers. It is always best that you reserve a place on any Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to save disappointment or delays. Caledonian Macbrayne.

Isle of Arran