Isle of Arran
- For other places with the same name, see Aran (disambiguation).
The Isle of Arran is situated in south-western Scotland, in the Firth of Clyde near Glasgow. Measuring approximately 167 square miles (433 km²) in area, it has a population of approximately 5,000. Arran is the seventh largest island in Scotland, but is not technically one of the Hebrides, being southeast of the Kintyre peninsula, and, in fact, one of the southernmost of the Scottish islands. Widely referred to as Scotland in Miniature, Arran offers visitors a compact and easily accessible island that displays the full diversity of the geology of mainland Scotland, with a sparsely populated and mountainous northern half and a flatter, more populous southern half. Located close to Glasgow and Scotland's Ayrshire coast, Arran is a popular and easily accessible tourist destination.
- Lamlash — Arran's main population centre. The only high school on the island is located here, and it is also the location of the island's hospital and council offices. The boat to Holy Island departs from Lamlash.
- Brodick — another large settlement and the island's principal point of entry, with multiple daily ferry sailings to and from Ardrossan on the mainland. Outside the ferry terminal is the bus station. Nearly all bus services on the island terminate here, to interchange with each other and to link with the ferry. The village has a couple of supermarkets and a number of other shops, plus a variety of accommodation and restaurants.
- Blackwaterfoot — the largest village on the west coast of the island. Has a hotel and B&B, a pub serving real ale, a tiny harbour and a garage with the only petrol station north of the String Road.
- Kilmory — a small village on the south coast. It has a village hall with regular farmers markets and a bunkhouse. Accessible via the Dyemill forest cycle track from Lamlash and Whiting Bay.
- Lochranza — the main settlement in the north of the island, and is the terminal for the "other" ferry to the mainland, from Claonaig. Lochranza Bay and Castle feature in probably the most famous "picture postcard" view of Arran. It is common to see deer coming down to the water in the evenings.
- Catacol — a small hamlet in the north of the island famous for the Catacol Bay Hotel. You can also look at (but not go inside) the Twelve Apostles, which is a unique row of terraced houses.
- Pirnmill — a quiet village with one of the best beaches on the island.
- Whiting Bay — a nice-looking village south of Brodick with a large white sand beach. It has a putting green and bowling green and three well stocked grocery shops (Village Shop, Bay Stores and Kirkend Nurseries, the latter growing its own fruit and vegetables). There are a variety of other amenities, including galleries, DIY shops, two petrol stations, a furniture and carpet shop and a massage and reiki treatment business. There are several places to eat here, too.
- Corrie — a picturesque village situated five miles north of Brodick, strung out along the coast for about a mile. One of the routes up Goat Fell starts from here.
- Machrie — a small hamlet on the west coast of the island, best known for the stone circles at nearby Machrie Moor and Auchagallon.
- Holy Island (known locally as the Holy Isle) — The sole inhabitants of Holy Island are Buddhist monks, who moved in after a vision of the Virgin Mary persuaded the previous owner to sell it to them. During summer tourist season, a boat takes visitors roughly every hour from 10AM to 5PM, though the monastery itself is not accessible to the public, since it is used as a place of retreat (Monks stay there for 4 years). The walk up the backbone of the island offers beautiful views of Lamlash and the Scottish mainland.
The Isle of Arran is often described as Scotland in Miniature, offering the scenery of the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands on one Island, in the North and South respectively. The northern part of the island is a National Scenic Area and it is easy to understand why!
Note that if the ferry is not running, the shops will not get any newspapers until the ferry starts running again. So, don't ask anyone before 9AM "Have you got any papers?"
There is a tourist information center in Brodick at The Pier (opposite the ferry terminal). Open all year. +44 1770 303774 or +44 1770 303776.
The local newspaper is the Arran Banner.
Check the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) for the Western Highlands which includes Isle of Arran.
The only practical way to reach Arran is using one of the two ferries operated by Caledonian McBrayne (CalMac). The ferries run between:
- Ardrossan (mainland) — Brodick (Arran). This service is run by the MV Caledonian Isles which has space for 100 cars (it is prudent to book in advance; other vehicles can be accommodated) and up to 1000 passengers. The trip takes 55 min. Facilities on board: Toilets, children's play area, observation lounge, tourist information desk, disabled access, bar, coffee bar, restaurant. Train link mainland: ScotRail provide an hourly service to Glasgow Central. Note that the ferry waits for the train, but the train does not wait for the ferry if it is running late. In the summer MV Saturn used to provide a summer relief service in July and August. It was replaced by the larger MV Isle of Arran for the six week period in 2013. Between the end of March and the end October, there is an extra Friday evening ferry between Ardrossan and Brodick which does not run for the rest of the week.
- This service runs all year (Beginning of April - end of October: summer timetable, end of October - beginning of April: winter timetable). Price for foot passengers: you can buy a 5 day saver return for around £10.50, with single fares being roughly £5.75.
- Claonaig (mainland) — Lochranza (Arran). This service is provided by the MV Loch Tarbert which has space for 18 cars (other vehicles can be accommodated) and 150 passengers. There are toilets and a small passenger lounge on board. The trip takes 30 min. No trainlink on the mainland. Between the beginning of November and the beginning of April this ferry departs from Tarbert (Loch Fyne) instead of Claonaig (passengers and cars MUST book in advance for this Tarbert-Lochranza ferry by calling +44 1880 730253).
- This service runs all year, but changes the mainland port in the later part of the winter schedule (Beginning of April - end of October: summer timetable, end of October - beginning of April: winter timetable). Prices are slightly lower than on the Ardrossan-Brodick ferry, but the saving is not worth it if you are coming up from the south, owing to the long distances involved.
Be warned that services can be cancelled or diverted due to bad weather - the 0700 ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick is frequently cancelled in the winter months owing to the ferry having to dock in Brodick for the previous night. Reduced services run on Sundays and ouside the summer season.
Arran Power and Sail run two services using RIB powerboats: Largs to Brodick costs £30 each way, and Glasgow to Brodick costs £60 each way. They also operate all the way to Ardrossan on request.
There is no airport on the island. The nearest airports are Glasgow Prestwick and Glasgow International on the mainland.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport (IATA: PIK) is situated 32 miles to the south of Glasgow. From Prestwick you can travel by train to Kilwinning (en route to Glasgow Central) and change for Ardrossan Harbour and ferries to Brodick. Alternatively bus 585 (operated by Stagecoach Western) travels directly from the airport to Ardrossan Princes Street, a short walk from the ferry terminal (see below). Taxis from Prestwick Airport to Ardrossan Harbour are also available for about £15.
Glasgow (International) Airport (IATA: GLA) is 15 miles west of the city. From Glasgow International a bus operates to Paisley Gilmour Street railway station, for rail connections to Ardrossan Harbour.
The following buses are operated by Stagecoach (West Scotland):
- The number 11 bus from Kilmarnock runs frequently Monday to Saturday, and every 20 minutes on Sunday (see timetable).
- The 585 service (ClydeCoaster) runs from Ayr and Glasgow Prestwick Airport in the south and Greenock, Weymss Bay (for the Isle of Bute) and Largs (for Cumbrae) in the north every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 2 hours on Sunday (see timetable).
- The X36 express bus runs from Glasgow (Buchanan Bus Station) every hour Monday to Saturday and every 2 to 4 hours on Sunday (see timetable). Other express buses are available Monday to Friday during peak times.
Tarbert and Tarbet
On the 926 bus service from Glasgow to Campbeltown, there are two stops called Tarbert and Tarbet, the former by Loch Fyne, while the latter is next to Loch Lomond. If you don't make it clear to the driver of the bus, you could be 50 miles away from your destination before you know it!
- West Coast Motors operate the 448 bus from Lochgilphead to Tarbert, Kennacraig (for Islay), Claonaig (for the Arran ferry) and Skipness infrequently Monday to Saturday, check the website for further details. Most buses connect with ferries to Arran. Bikes are also conveyed on the bus for free!
- Scottish Citylink/West Coast Motors operate the 926 service from Glasgow to Campbeltown three times a day, but only 1 (2 if you fancy walking the 5 miles from Kennacraig to Claonaig or if you want to look around Tarbert for a few hours) service connects with a bus heading for Claonaig, see the West Coast Motors website for more information. Get off the bus at Tarbert and get on the 448 bus as mentioned above to Claonaig. Note that buses are in West Coast Motors livery.
- West Coast Motors operate the 423 buses from Oban to Lochgilphead, which offer sufficient connection time to get to the 448 bus in Lochgilphead. They run Monday to Saturday. Check the WCM website for more details.
Trains run direct from Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Harbour several times a day. Departures to and from Glasgow are timed to connect with CalMac ferries to Brodick (see above). Some trains to Ardrossan Harbour connect with ferries, and both the train and ferry can be delayed if the other is late running. Combined train/ferry tickets to Glasgow can also be bought at the ferry terminal in Brodick, and combined tickets to Brodick can be bought from any railway station, sometimes saving on the equivalent combined cost of train and ferry tickets. Note that the 1650 train from Glasgow splits at Ardrossan South Beach, so you will have to be in the front 3 cars of the train: pay close attention to departure screens before boarding the train.
From Ayr and Prestwick Airport
It is possible to do a day trip from Edinburgh (although staying overnight on Arran will be much more relaxing). Take the first train from Edinburgh Waverley station at around 7:00 to Glasgow Queen Street, walk to Glasgow Central and take the train to Ardrossan. From there take the ferry to Brodick. Bring your bike along, which is free on all trains and ferries. The travel time for one direction is about 3h30min. Leave Arran with the ferry at around 19:00 to make it back to Edinburgh. For exact travel times use the travel planner.
There is no bridge link to Arran, and you must take the ferry. However, both CalMac ferries carry cars (as well as vans, trucks, buses, bikes...), and the paddle steamer Waverley can also carry bicycles. Note there is an extensive long term car park at Ardrossan Harbour, and there is also a small car park in Claonaig. Also note that there is no LPG on the island either.
There are three main roads on the island: the main road that runs around the coast (known as the A841 between Lochranza-Brodick-Whiting Bay and the C147 between Lochranza-Blackwaterfoot-Kildonan-Whiting Bay), the String Road that runs from Brodick to Blackwaterfoot (the B880) and the Ross Road that runs from Lamlash to a point between Kilmory/Lagg and Sliddery). The latter is mainly a narrow single track road with passing places and not on a standard to allow larger motorhomes on it. Maps are widely available all over the island if you have not got your own. Be aware that there are no petrol stations north of the String Road except in Blackwaterfoot. Also, bear in mind that there is an advisory speed limit of 30 mph between Brodick and Lochranza.
- Car hire is available from the petrol station at the ferry terminal in Brodick. Cars cost from £25 per day, and range in size from a two-seater Smart to a seven-seater Vauxhall Zafira. Tel: +44 1770 302121.
- Cars are also available from Blackwaterfoot Garage with similar conditions. Tel +44 1770 860277.
- Arran Motors, ☎ +44 1770 302839 (in Brodick), +44 1770 700345 (in Whiting Bay). In Brodick: Mon-Sat 8:00-17:30, Sun 10:00-17:00; in Whiting Bay: Mon-Fri 9:15-17:15, Sat 9:15-16:00, Sun closed. Car rental is offered in Brodick and Whiting Bay. Booking in advance is recommended.
You don't need a car or bike to explore Arran, with an extensive and fairly reliable bus service covering most of the island (however, be warned that the bus windows can sometimes be filthy and impede your view). Services are operated by Stagecoach (West Scotland), although because of the local authority area it's not unusual to see bus stops and timetables carrying the logo of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), who oversee public transport on Arran. A single day Rover ticket costs £5.60, although beware that fares and timetables change with the seasons.
A full timetable can be found online and printed timetables are available on all buses, on board the ferries, at the ferry terminals and from most of the convenience stores.
The regular services are:
- 321 Brodick - Corriegills (service only runs once per day on schooldays only)
- 322 Brodick - String Road - Blackwaterfoot
- 323 Brodick - Lamlash - Whiting Bay (- Lagg - Blackwaterfoot)
- 324 Brodick - Lochranza - Blackwaterfoot
Scheduled round-trips can be made with the following bus route combinations. This might involve changing the bus in Blackwaterfoot:
- 324/322 North Island Circle (via String Road)
- 323/322 South Island Circle (via String Road)
- 324/323 Island Circles
Seasonal routes are:
- The Open Top Castle Bus runs between Ashdale Bridge at Whiting Bay, Lamlash, the Brodick Ferry Terminal and Brodick Castle)
Most buses connect in Brodick with the CalMac ferry to Ardrossan. Check timetable notes carefully, as some late evening buses only run on Fridays during the summer. Few buses run after 9PM.
Note that many of the 323 services on Mondays to Saturdays and some on Sundays terminate at Whiting Bay. Check the timetable for details.
Generally, bikes cannot be carried on the buses, but in the off-peak season a friendly driver may let you take your bike on board, but don't count on it.
All buses on Arran are 'Hail and Ride' - you can hail the bus anywhere where there is not a bus stop.
The 324 bus stops in Lochranza once every 3 hours or so in each direction.
The Castle Bus only runs Sunday-Thursday during the summer holidays, and then weekends until the end of October. The Castle is also served by the 324 bus - albeit it does not run into the grounds of the castle itself. Timetables are available locally and on board the Caledonian Isles.
There are also Island Tours that run Mon-Fri only from June to August. They connect with the 09:30 ferry from Ardrossan, and a full day tour connects with the 16:40 ferry back. You can also get a half day tour that gets back to Brodick for the 13:50 ferry back, but you do not get to see the North Island. Timetables are available on the Caledonian Isles and from Brodick Ferry Terminal.
MyBus Arran is an on-demand bus for the entire island (provided by SPT and the British Red Cross). It operates Mon-Fri, schooldays 9:00-17:00; Sat, school holidays 8:00-17:00 (drop off by 17:30). You have to book a journey with this bus one working day in advance (call +44 845 128 4023 or +44 141 352 5570 between Mon-Fri 09:30-15:00 to make the booking or book online). Regular bus fares apply. For general MyBus enquiries call +44 845 128 4025 or +44 141 333 4586.
Arran is an adrenaline junky's paradise when it comes to motorcycles! The roads are narrow, heavily potholed (so much that Arran is the 'pothole capital' of the UK!) and often you come across 40 ton logging trucks! And after all that, the rewards are magnificent, with breathtaking views during the sunshine! As an added bonus, a motorcycle can be brought over to Arran for half the cost of a car! Even though the roads are "goin' tae pot", it's still a very big adventure for even the seasoned motorcyclist!
Hiring a bike is recommended to travel some routes, such as the Ross, that the bus doesn't take. In Brodick, bike hire is available from
- Arran Bike Hire, The Shorehouse, Shore Road, Brodick, ☎ +44 1770 302377, +44 7717 845755 (mobile), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. £15 for 1 day (other offers available).
- Arran Adventures, Brodick (next to the Auchrannie Resort), ☎ +44 1770 303349. Bike rental offered throughout the year. Also offers guided mountain bike tours (seasonal). £15 for 24 hours (other offers available).
- Brodick Cycles, Roselynn, Brodick (Opposite Brodick Library. If you come from the ferry, turn right onto the main road along the water, pass the big Coop supermarket on the left, the small Coop on your right and continue from there for another 100m. It is on your left.), ☎ +44 1770 302460, e-mail: email@example.com. Summer: Mon - Sat 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 5:00, Winter: Thu - Sat 10:00 - 1.00 and 2:00 - 4:00.
In Blackwaterfoot you can hire a bike from the Kinloch Sports Club. Cycling over the Machrie Moor Road from the String Road to Machrie on a calm, sunny day is not to be missed...
In Lochranza you can hire a mountain bike from The Sandwich Station from £6.00.
Be extra careful when cycling on the narrow Brodick-Corrie road as there have been some fatalities there in the recent past.
Taxi services cover the entire island, and you may find that booking ahead is a good idea as they get very busy in peak season. If you are travelling alone it is best to ask for a quote when booking, as prices can be very steep depending on where you want to go - it is actually cheaper to rent a car than get a return taxi fare from Brodick to Lochranza.
- Corrie Cabs, ☎ +44 7517 356 985. Offers ferry pick up and taxi service around the island. Arrange a taxi before 22:00 if you need transport at night.
The road that runs round the perimeter of the island provides great coastal views on a clear day (aside from the rather hilly area between Tomore and Blackwaterfoot). While narrow, it is mostly well paved and easy to navigate. This road is also a good source of cars for hitchhiking. Locals ranging from grandmothers to transit van drivers will try and squeeze you in, and are a great source of information and conversation to boot. Even the police on the island will gladly give you a lift if you are lucky enough (provided they're not busy), so don't be afraid to thumb anything that passes by. There are only a few roads around the island, making hitchhiking from one village to another simple. Be aware that in inclement weather, cars may be few and far between.
- Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park, Brodick, ☎ +44 1770 302202. Opening hours - Castle: 1 Apr to 31 Oct, Sun-Thurs 11–4.00 (closes 3.00 in Oct); Country Park: all year, daily 9.30–sunset; Reception Centre, Shop and Walled Garden: 1 Apr to 31 Oct, daily 10–4.30, 1 Nov to 21 Dec, Fri/Sat/Sun 10–3.30. Is undoubtedly Arran's proudest and most photogenic historic building. Brodick Castle is featured on the back side of The Royal Bank of Scotland £20 banknotes. It is open to the public seven days a week, although due to constrained finances only (slightly more expensive) guided tours are available inside the castle on Fridays and Saturdays - however these include excellent histories and details from knowledgeable docents. A Brodick Castle Day Out ticket is available from any ScotRail staffed station within Strathclyde or ScotRail Telesales. This ticket includes: Return rail travel from any Strathclyde rail station to Ardrossan Harbour, return ferry travel on the Caledonian Macbrayne ferry from Ardrossan Harbour to Brodick Pier, return bus connection with Stagecoach Western from Brodick Pier to Brodick Castle and admission to Brodick Castle. Adults £12.50, concessions £9.
- Arran Brewery, Brodick (Located at the base of the footpath that goes up Goat Fell), ☎ +44 1770 302353, e-mail: Sales@arranbrewery.co.uk. Summer: Mon - Sat 10:00 - 5:00pm, Sun: 12:30 - 4:30pm; Winter: Mon - Sat 10:30 - 4:30pm, Sun: closed. There is an independent restaurant facing you in the main driveway, but walk around the corner to the brewery itself for some generous free beer tasting and the opportunity of buying 8 pint jerry cans of some excellent real ale! Although not technically holding a licence, you can get away with drinking on the adjacent picnic tables. A brewery tour is offered at 2:00pm every day lasting for about 45 minutes. Adults: £4.00, children: £1.00.
- Arran Distillery, Lochranza (Uphill from Lochranza village), ☎ +44 1770 830264, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours at 11.45am and 2.30pm. Arran's only whisky distillery. Established in 1995. Standard tour £7.50.
- Lochranza Castle, Lochranza. Open Apr-Sep. Partially ruined and its setting beside the sea in Lochranza is quite stunning. The interior is accessible: the castle gate key may be obtained at the town hall in Lochraza if the gate is locked. Believed to be a 16th century reconstruction of an earlier building.
- Heritage Museum, Rosaburn, Brodick, KA27 8DP, ☎ +44 1770 302636. Adults £4.
- Corrie Caves. Approx. 2/3 into the village, can be accessed from the Shore Road, and is best visited as part of a steep trek to the top of the hill. There is even an old, rusty car in one of them! Note that parking is very limited.
- Ross Road. This road runs from Lamlash to Lagg (Kilmory). This road offers fantastic scenery. It has a decent surface and is suitable for cars or bikes (though it is pretty steep so make sure you have plenty of gears!). As the road is mostly single-track, it is not really suitable for larger motorhomes. There's no public transport along the Ross Road, though you should be able to hitch passing cars fairly easily. Use discretion in the winter, as the road can become impassable due to snow and ice.
- Standing stones, stone circles and cairns. Prehistoric grave markers, some very large, dotted all over the island. An Ordnance Survey map (Landranger 69 or for more detail Explorer 361) will help you locate them. The best-known are at Machrie Moor, near the village of Machrie. It will take you 20 minutes or so by foot through sheep pastures to reach the large circle of standing stones, so appropriate footwear is advisable.
- There are great rock formations and a lighthouse at Kildonan.
- Pirnmill offers for great views of Kintyre, has nearby hills, spectacular sunsets (the sky can turn into very strange colours at times!) and a long, quiet beach with few, if any, people around.
- Seals are often visible in the sea around Arran.
- Golden Eagles can be seen over the mountainous north of the island, as well as diving birds around the coast, hen harriers towards the south, ravens widespread, many deer throughout the island and even red squirrels can be occasionally sighted. Many migrating birds have been reported between the seasons, including waxwings and crossbills. Some more northern birds have also been known to become windswept southwards, for example the white-tailed sea eagle and long-tailed skuas.
- Ailsa Craig is an island a good few miles from Arran and can be seen from the south end of the island (e.g. Kildonan), however, the only way to get there is on an organised trip from the Ayrshire mainland or Campbeltown.
- Kildonan and Pirnmill are generally regarded as the best beaches on the island.
- Cleat's Shore is Scotland's only officially designated naturist beach (there are only 11 in the whole of the UK). Unlike all the other official naturist beaches, don't expect to actually see anyone else at all, nudist or otherwise!
- Lamlash - mostly stony, however there are several sandy stretches
- Brodick - the best beach is situated on the west side of the town, the other beaches nearer the ferry terminal are nearly all rocky.
Arran is a very popular destination for walking and hiking. The breadth of terrain and scenery offers a great variety of different types of walking within a small area.
- Goat Fell. The highest mountain on the island (874 metres). It can be climbed from Brodick. Recommend tackling in the morning: it can be achieved in half a day. On clear day, the views from the top are fantastic, including the Ayrshire and Galloway coasts, Kintyre, other islands including Jura, Bute, Islay and Ailsa Craig, and the coast of Ireland. Fit day-trippers could make it to the summit and back down to the ferry in Brodick in a day. From Cladach allow 5-6 hour return, if you are very fast you might do it in 4. Its all walkable, with some light scrambling near the summit. Alternatively, you can take the route from Corrie which is steeper and passes some lovely waterfalls. It's possible to use the bus to get to Corrie and use this route to the summit, then continue over the summit to descend into Brodick.
- Glen Cloy (Just south-west of Brodick) has some great scenic walks.
- A number of walks start from Whiting Bay: the Giants Grave (1.5 mile round trip), the Glenashdale Falls (7 mile round trip) and round Kings Cross Point (3 miles round trip).
- Clauchlands Point. About 3 km from the centre of Lamlash. Simply follow the coast to the north-east. If you have a car, you can actually park less than 1 km from the point. Good view of Holy Island and the Scottish mainland and sometimes passing nuclear submarines on their way to and from their base on the Clyde. It is quite common to see seals relaxing on the rocks, and there is a large amount of bird life. Shrimps can be gathered in the rock pools at low tide. You can also explore the abandoned boom defence signal station from World War II.
- Coastal Way. There are paths for walking around the entire island along the coast divided into twelve sections. (The coastal section between North Sannox and Lochranza is not suitable for bikes as it involves light scrambling especially around the Cock of Arran).
- Guided Geology Walk. Local guiding service. Operates out of Lochranza all year round.
- If you are in Pirnmill go walking into the hills and see the hamlet of Penrioch and the abandoned houses of High Pirnmill. The best way to get around and explore the area is by foot. Cars can also be taken up the gravel track to Penrioch, which is about half a mile up the hill behind the village.
There are many great hiking suggestions (including GPS coordinates and route descriptions) for the entire island on the Walk Highlands hiking guide.
Play golf at one of the islands many courses:
- Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club, Shore Road, Blackwaterfoot, KA27 8HA, ☎ +44 1770 860226. 12 hole course - beautiful scenery. Ranked 99th in the World's Top 100 Golf Courses.
- Machrie Bay Golf Course and Tearoom, Machrie, ☎ +44 1770 840329. Some of the best snacks and drinks around! Also good for a game of golf.
- Lochranza 9 Hole Golf Course, Lochranza, KA27 8HL, ☎ +44 1770 830273. Normally open from April until mid October each year.
- Whiting Bay Golf Club, Whiting Bay, KA27 8QT, ☎ +44 1770 700487. 18 holes, starter box with changing room, clubhouse with restaurant and bar. Snooker table in its own room.
- There is a mini-golf course and a crazy golf course in Brodick.
- Hands on Hawking, Lamlash, ☎ +44 1770 600544. A range of falconry related activities for those who would like to get a little closer to birds of prey.
- North Sannox Pony Trekking, North Sannox, KA27 8JD, ☎ +44 1770 810222. Open all year (depending on weather conditions), Sun closed. Booking is strongly recommended. £25 for 1h track, £45 for 2h.
- Cairnhouse Stables, Blackwaterfoot, ☎ +44 1770 860466. Open all year. Pony Trekking. Booking in advance is recommended.
- Arran Adventure Centre, Brodick (At the entrance of the Auchrannie Resort), ☎ +44 1770 303349. Only between Easter and October. Offers guided activities such as climbing, kayaking and mountain biking. Weather forecasts are posted every day.
- Flying Fever, Strathwhillan Farm, Cott 2, Brodick, KA27 8BQ, ☎ +44 1770 303899. Paragliding courses and tandem flights.
- Bowling Greens, Lamlash and Brodick - Visitors are welcome to these seasonal facilities, you are asked to wear flat shoes. There is normally someone on hand to show you how to play if you've never tried before. The greens are only open in good weather to avoid wear. £3 per adult £1.50 for concessions.
- Sea Fishing Trips, Lamlash - limited places available so a very good idea to book ahead at the caravan on Lamlash Pier
- Go for a swim at the Auchrannie Resort (Brodick) or the Kinloch Hotel (Blackwaterfoot). The minimum ages to swim solo are 12 at the Auchrannie and 17 at the Kinloch.
- Quad biking or Helicopter rides at Balmichael Visitor Centre - by trek.
- Boat hire, Lamlash - £20 for a 4 person boat for 2 hours, £30 for a 6 person boat for 2 hours. Fishing rods are also available for hire. The views from the centre of Lamlash Bay are well worth the money
- Arran Mountain Festival. In May.
- Arran Folk Festival, Various locations around the island. Annual event which has been running since 1990. This popular, well-run festival takes place in the first week of June and attracts some of the biggest names in the Scottish folk music scene, as well as showcasing local artists. The same link also provides information about other cultural events throughout the year.
- Screen Machine. Mobile Cinema - a traveling cinema in the back of an articulated lorry that tours the Scottish islands parks up outside the Auchrannie Resort in Brodick once a month.
- Traditional Music Nights. Every Tuesday at the Catacol Bay Hotel and one Saturday per month at the village hall in Pirnmill. Details for the Pirnmill session can be found in the Pirnmill store and on the noticeboard outside.
There are many good eateries on the island. From the 5 Star Kilmichael Country House Hotel, the Auchrannie (both in Brodick), the Trafalgar Restaurant (Whiting Bay), the Kildonan Hotel (Kildonan), the Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot to the Restaurant at the Distillery in Lochranza. Many hotels offer food options (see Sleep).
- Casks Cafe, Lochranza, ☎ +44 1770 830264. From the Arran Whisky Distillery. Offers good meals and, of course, whisky!
- The Lighthouse Restaurant, Pirnmill, KA27 8HP, ☎ +44 1770 850240. Tue-Sun 10:00-16:00 and 17:00-21:00, Mon closed, open on bank holidays. Offers excellent food. People come from all over the island just to eat here! Try a world famous meringue as well! BYOB without corkage fee.
- Shanghai, Brodick (Opposite the small Co-op), ☎ +44 1770 303777. Sun-Thu 16:30-22:30; Fri, Sat 16:30-23:00. In summer season: open daily, in winter season: closed on Mondays. Chinese Takeaway. Around £6-7.
- The Coffee Pot, Whiting Bay. Snacks and very good light meals - good service, reasonably priced.
- Hooked and Cooked, The Pier, Brodick, ☎ +44 1770 302656. Open daily. Mon-Thu, Sun: until 21:00; Fri, Sat: until 23:00. The fish and chip shop opposite the ferry terminal. Expect to wait for ages to get a fish!
- Machrie Bay Tearoom, Machrie Bay, KA27 8DZ, ☎ +44 1770 840329. Winter: daily 10:00-16:00, summer: daily 9:00-18:00. Excellent meals, especially the venison burgers. Breakfast, sandwiches and cakes. Sandwiches £4, burger £7.50.
- The Sandwich Station, Lochranza (Outside the ferry terminal), ☎ +44 7810 796248. Mon-Sat 9:00-17:00, Sun closed. Offers excellent freshly made sandwiches, snacks and drinks. Around £3-4.
- The Fairways, Blackwaterfoot (At Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club), ☎ +44 1770 860777. Daily 10:30-17:00 (last food order at 16:00). £4-7.
- Cafe Thyme, Machrie (At the Old Byre Showroom), ☎ +44 1770 840608. Daily 10:00-17:00. Additionally in summer season: Mon-Sat evening until 22:00. Serves excellent burgers, chips and drinks. £9-16.
- Coast Café Bistro, Whiting Bay, ☎ +44 1770 700308. Mon, Thu-Sun 10:00-16:00; additionally on Fri, Sat 18:00-late; Tue, Wed closed. Excellent bistro menu, featuring local produce. Vegetarians well catered for. Delicious chilli. Around £11-15.
- Felicity's at Eden Lodge, Whiting Bay, ☎ +44 1770 700357. Daily 10:00-late. Scottish food, and home-made pizza. New restaurant that opened in 2015. They used to run the restaurant at the Shiskine Golf And Tennis Club. Dinner mains: £9-18.
- , Lochranza, ☎ +44 1770 830600. Mon closed at lunch time, Wed closed all day. Breakfasts, lunch and evening meals, all home-made. BYOB. Main course £10-13.
- eighteen69, Brodick (At the Auchrannie Resort), ☎ +44 1770 302234. Dinner only. Scottish tapas. Fine dining in casual atmosphere. Dress code: smart casual. Tapas dishes at around £7-8 with 3-4 dishes per person recommended.
- Brambles, Brodick (At the Auchrannie Resort), ☎ +44 1770 302234. Seafood and grill. Top quality casual dining, excellent food. £15-20.
- Creelers of Arran, Brodick. Seafood restaurant and shop at Duchess Court Shops. Very pricey.
- The Brodick Bar & Brasserie, Brodick, ☎ +44 1770 302169. Extensive selection on the blackboard Monday - Saturday. Also very pricey.
There is at least one pub in most villages - some have two or more. Some hotels also offer bars and other drinking options (see Sleep).
- Cruize Bar (At the Auchrannie Spa Resort). Open 7 days. Offers a good range of drinks (also serves good food), comfortable surroundings and occasional party nights.
- Ormidale Hotel, Brodick. It has a nice atmosphere (upper part is in former glasshouse), pub quizzes and the most insanley tiled toilet block in the world. Music at weekends. Extensive selection of food.
Food and Groceries
- Brodick and Lamlash are home to three Co-op supermarkets - two in Brodick and one in Lamlash. All three are open daily from 7:00-22:00.
- Whiting Bay is home to two local grocery stores - one at the 'Gulf' petrol station and one in the village centre. The one in the village centre also has hot food for sale and a well-stocked delicatessen.
- Blackwaterfoot has a local grocery store that is open daily (only open 9AM until 1PM on Wednesday).
- The excellent Kirkend Nurseries just outside Whiting Bay sells exotic and hard-to-get food as well as over 30 different types of old-fashioned sweets in addition to plants.
- Kinloch Hotel Bakery, Blackwaterfoot - a fantastic bakery that also sells pizzas. Not open on Wednesday and Sunday.
- Pirnmill Village Store and Post Office, Pirnmill, ☎ +44 1770 850 235. Offers food for those on a self-catering budget. Alcohol is also available. It is the only 'proper' village shop between Brodick and Blackwaterfoot if you are coming around the north of the island, and the staff are helpful and friendly.
- The Kildonan Hotel and the Lochranza campsite have shops selling basic provisions such as bread, milk and tinned food.
- There is a farmers' market at the Kilmory Community Hall on the last Saturday of every month (note that the last Saturday in September is the annual fete).
- Galbraith Butchers in Blackwaterfoot.
Contrary to older guidebooks, there are no proper grocery stores anywhere else on the island other than the above places.
Arts and Crafts
- Old Byre Showroom, Machrie. Great souvenirs can be bought here. A cafe opened here recently, serving some of the best burgers and other meaty meals on the island! They also own the Sheepskin Shop in Brodick.
- Craft shop, Corrie (In the centre of the village).
- The Whins, Lochranza. Open from 10am to 6pm daily. A fantastic little shop that makes and sells the famous 'Arran Stonemen.' Located on the side of the hill on the north side of the bay. Quite a long but interesting walk from the main part of the village, you are likely to meet sheep and maybe deer on the way.
- Pottery Workshop, Kilmory, ☎ +44 1770 870310.
- ArCaS, Brodick (Outside the Ferry Terminal in Brodick). Mon-Sat 11:00-16:00, Sun closed. Charity shop.
- Jolly Molly, Shore Road, Brodick. Gift shop.
- Isle of Arran Cheese Shop, Home Farm, Brodick, ☎ +44 1770 302788. Visit the shop at Duchess Court or order Arran hampers online. Among other cheeses they make a delicious blue cheese. They do not offer tours but you can watch the cheese making through a large window.
Hostels / Bunkhouses
There are three budget establishments which have dorms.
- Shore Lodge, Brodick, ☎ +44 844 4932152, e-mail: email@example.com. 14-bed self catering facility situated beside the Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park grounds. The lodge is located 2.3 miles from Brodick by road or 1.5 miles across the beach on the Fisherman’s Walk (allow 30 minutes walking). Facilities include: sitting room with wood-burning stove, fully equipped kitchen and dining room, drying room, six WCs, free fast wifi. It it highly recommended to book before arrival as these are the only dorms in Brodick. £20.
- Lochranza Youth Hostel (SYHA), Lochranza, ☎ +44 1770 830631. 13 rooms, 6 of which are en-suite. Facilities include: a large self catering kitchen, 2 dining rooms and 2 guest lounges, laundry facilities, a drying room, cycle storage is available. There are 2 computers and wifi available, however costing £3 an hour. During Scottish holiday periods it becomes fully booked early, so if you wish to stay, plan in advance. If you wish to visit during the winter period they are open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Note: there is no shop in Lochranza so stock up in Brodick before you leave. The bus takes roughly 40 minutes from Brodick to Lochranza. Dorms from £14, rooms from £30.
- Kilmory Lodge Bunkhouse, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Located on the second floor of Kilmory Hall. Rooms with 3, 4 and 8 beds. Facilities include: self catered kitchen dining room, free wifi, tiny community bar downstairs. It takes approximately 50 minutes to Kilmory from Brodick by bus. £20.
In addition to the options below, there are many quiet places where you can wild camp, legal thanks to the Right to Access laws.
- Lochranza Caravan and Camping Site, Lochranza (Close to the distillery), ☎ +44 1770 830273 (calls between 9:00 and 19:00 if possible). Open from March 20th to October 30th. 9 Hole Golf Course nearby. It also has a small shop selling limited goods and a tearoom which sells excellent home baking.
- Seal Shore Camping & Touring, Kildonan (About 12 miles south of Brodick. Follow the main road through Lamlash and Whiting Bay. As you get to the south coast of the island, look out for signs for Kildonan to the left from the main road), ☎ +44 1770 820320, e-mail: email@example.com. Lovely site with its own private beach. The name is not a misnomer as you can regularly see seals playing offshore and sometimes hauling out to bask on the rocks. The site has a small shop where the site owner (a registered fisherman) sells his catch, and a few basic grocery items. There's a hotel with public bar close by. Decent purpose-built toilet/shower block, laundry facilities, and a covered BBQ area for when the weather isn't so good. As well as the campsite there's also a bunkhouse.
- Middleton's Caravan & Camping Park, Cordon, Lamlash, ☎ +44 1770 600251 (Mar-Sep), +44 1770 600634 (Oct-Feb). Good facilities, but very midgey at times!
- Glen Rosa. A quaint campsite with excellent views located a few miles up a paved cart track. Follow signs for Blackwaterfoot (B880) when leaving Brodick and the turn off for Glen Rosa is located on the B880 after the B880/A841 junction. No caravans/motorhomes allowed, but you can make campfires and bring pets. Part of the campsite is prone to flooding. £4 per night.
- Auchrannie Resort, Auchrannie Road, Brodick, ☎ +44 1770 302234. Offers 3 types of accommodation - 5* Luxury self catering lodges, 4* traditional country house hotel and 4* modern spa resort - excellent range of on-site services including 2 swimming pools and extensive health and lesiure facilities.
- Clisham B&B, Pirnmill, KA27 8HP, ☎ +44 1770 850294. 3 star guest house. Open between Mar - Oct. £37 per person per night in double/twin room (£45 for single occupancy), reduced rates if staying three nights or longer.
- Lochranza Hotel, Lochranza, ☎ +44 1770 830223. Offers varied accommodation all ensuite. The on-site bar has a enviable selection of Scotch whisky offers good value home cooked bar food, snacks, teas, coffees etc. Home of Eason Biorach single malt whisky.
- Catacol Bay Hotel, Catacol, ☎ +44 1770 830231. This hotel is convenient if you are travelling to/from the north of Scotland, as the hotel is close to the Lochranza ferry terminal. Extensive food list with local dishes at decent prices. They also offer a Sunday Buffet. On most Tuesdays, there is a folk session which you can join in with your instrument. The hotel also has a free courtesy bus service to Pirnmill and Lochranza for 2 people or more, so you can get the first ferry easily if you haven't got a car or if you don't want to get up at 6AM to catch the bus! High season: £35-£65 per room; low season: £30-£50 per room including breakfast.
- Best Western Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot, ☎ +44 1770 860444. With (rather chilly) indoor swimming pool and great food. 2 Bars. Food is available 12:00-20:30 daily.
- Corrie Hotel, Corrie, ☎ +44 1770 810273. Good accommodation, with a friendly bar which is also open to non-residents. £38-42 per person for B&B.
- Lamlash Bay Hotel, Lamlash (Directly next to the Co-op supermarket), ☎ +44 1770 600844. Newly opened hotel and restaurant. It also has a unique pizza bar. Open 7 days.
- The Glenisle Hotel, Lamlash, ☎ +44 1770 600559. New chef in bistro style restaurant. Daily specials. Food: last orders at 20:30. Bar open until 23:00.
- Blackwaterfoot Lodge, Blackwaterfoot, ☎ +44 1770 860202.
- Jenny & Keith at Seacliffe Cottage, Dippen (Not far from Whiting Bay). A lovely cottage with sea views open all year round.
- Inverkeilor Holiday Cottage, Manse Road, Brodick (300 metres from the beach). A secluded cottage with private garden right in the heart of Brodick, available all year round.
- Firth Cottage, Shannochie (At the south tip of the island), ☎ +44 7767 225958, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A secluded cottage with stunning views over the sea and Ailsa Craig
- Meadow Cottages, Pirnmill (at the south end of the village), ☎ +44 1770 850236. 4 star, self-catering.
- Computer Shop, Brodick (To the East of the main Co-op), ☎ +44 1770 830343. This shop offers a range of computing goods and internet access (£1/hr), also good if you run short of a fuse as no where else on the island seems to sell them.
- Brodick Library has internet access, open Tuesday 10AM-5PM, Thursday and Friday 10AM-7:30PM and Saturday 10AM-1PM.
- Free Wireless Access is available at Auchrannie Resort (from 8AM till late 7 days a week), the Best Western Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot, the Lochranza Hotel and the Catacol Bay Hotel.
- The Arran Store, outside the Ferry Terminal in Brodick, also offers internet access.
There are Post Offices in Brodick, Lamlash, Whiting Bay, Pirnmill and Blackwaterfoot. The village halls in Lochranza and Kilmory and the Kildonan Hotel also offer a limited Post Office service on certain days.
In case of emergency, call 999.
Consider this advice for temporary residents (including tourists).
There are three pharmacies on Arran. One in Brodick (+44 1770 302250), one in Lamlash (+44 1770 600275) and one in Whiting Bay (+44 1770 700584). They are all closed on Sundays.
- Skipness — In summer, take the ferry from Lochranza to Claonaig and walk or cycle the 2.5 miles along the coast to Skipness. It makes a great day out.