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‘Miniature Scotland’ – Beautiful places to visit around Arran

© ShutterstockMachrie Moor
Machrie Moor Standing Stones, Arran.

The Isle of Arran is famous for boasting all of the highlights of Scotland – but distilled down into one special island!

Ranging from lush countryside, to dramatic mountainous highlands, Arran really does live up to its nickname of ‘Scotland in Miniature’.

Attracting visitors from all over the world every year, we explore the best places to visit on the island.

1. Brodick Bay

Brodick Bay © Shutterstock
Brodick Bay.

Visitors arriving in Arran by the ferry from Ardrossan are greeted by the stunning Brodick Bay.

Mountain views, accompanied by a sandy beach fringed with grass, Brodick Bay is an enchanting flavour of what’s to come.

2. Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle © Shutterstock
Brodick Castle.

Nestled in foliage at the foot of Goat Fell mountain, Brodick Castle is located just 1.5 miles outside of its namesake port.

The impressive castle we see today was constructed in 1844.

With a strategic location looking out over the Firth of Clyde, the castle was the ancient home of the Dukes of Hamilton.

Brodick Castle and its surrounding gardens are a true highlight on a tour of Arran, with guided tours of this National Trust for Scotland site being strictly limited in number due to the size of the rooms.

The gardens here date back to the early 1930s and are the perfect place for a wander.

Taking you past some well-maintained displays, the grounds lead onto some lovely walking trails though neighbouring lush landscapes.

3. Lamlash

Lamlash © Shutterstock
Lamlash.

The largest village on Arran, and arguably one of the prettiest, Lamlash is an ideal scenic walking spot.

Full of welcoming island charm, visitors can enjoy walks around the village, ranging from easy to more strenuous.

Many keen walkers spend time in the village while they take on the Arran Coastal Way, a 65-mile circular route around the whole island.

4. Whisky Distillery

In the early 19th century, Arran had over 50 whisky distilleries, although the majority of them were illegal.

Independently owned, the Isle of Arran Whisky Distillery started producing at their Lochranza-based distillery in the 1990s.

In 1998, the first cask of Arran Single Malt Scotch Whisky was opened by actor, Ewan McGregor – the first legal dram on the island for over 160 years!

Expertly led tours of the distillery will take you on a journey of discovery.

The distillery’s Visitor Centre has won multiple awards, cementing its status as one of the country’s top attractions.

5. Lochranza

Lochranza © Shutterstock
Lochranza.

Along with being home to the distillery, Lochranza village has a fascinating history alongside stunning, surrounding scenery.

As well as the dramatic ruins of Lochranza Castle, the village is known for the row of historic cottages – the ‘12 Apostles’.


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A few miles along the coast in the village of Catacol, the cottages were once home to sailors, each featuring their own unique centrepiece window.

The sailors’ wives were able to signal to their husbands when they were out at sea by placing a candle in their respective windows.

6. Goat Fell

Goat Fell © Shutterstock
Goat Fell.

At over 800m, Goat Fell is the highest mountain on Arran and perhaps one of the most recognisable.

A very popular hike, climbers are rewarded with stunning views when they reach the summit.

Not only can you see across the island, but also further out to the Firth of Clyde and beyond to Ardrossan.

7. Machrie Moor Standing Stones

Machrie Moor Standing Stones © Shutterstock
Machrie Moor Standing Stones.

This fascinating archaeological site at Machrie Moor is home to iconic standing stones and stone circles, as well as burial cairns and cists, and hut circles.

The stone circles date back to approximately 2000 BC and were associated with religious ceremonies of Neolithic and Bronze age farmers who once lived on the moor.

Just north of Blackwaterfoot, these mysterious monuments are well worth a visit.

8. Glen Rosa

Glen Rosa © Shutterstock
Glen Rosa.

Visitors to Glen Rosa will not only experience some of the most stunning scenery in Arran, but also in the whole of Scotland.

The area’s idyllic natural beauty looks like a scene from the label of a prized whisky bottle.

Visitors can meander along the track and bridges until they find the ‘Blue Pool’ – perfect for a spot of wild swimming after a walk!

Safe to say, Glen Rosa even rivals the iconic and majestic Glen Coe!

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