We arrived late at night, in the dark, and during a torrential downpour, so you can imagine our delight in waking up to the most beautiful views of the Holy Loch and the magnificent Argyll mountains.
We are at Hunters Quay, one of Argyll Holidays’ eight Scottish holiday villages, just a short drive from the town of Dunoon and via a 20-minute sail on the ferry from Gourock.
The open-plan layout of our lodge is stunning. It is modern and the immaculate interior has all the amenities, smart TV, wifi, dishwasher, even a washing machine, but the hot tub is the real show-stopper. There’s nothing quite like star-gazing from a hot tub with a glass of chilled Prosecco in your hand.
Hunters Quay has an elevated position, and in the daytime the panoramic views from our lodge change constantly. Moving clouds, atmospheric light and shade, and a variety of wildlife (oyster catchers among them, a rare sight to us city slickers) provide a mesmerising show, and one difficult to detach from, but if you can drag yourself away, there’s plenty to do here.
We venture out to the village’s leisure centre where the swimming pool and children’s play centre is located. We are warmly welcomed by the staff and it is another lovely welcome in the restaurant and everywhere we visit.
We take a table in the restaurant and are surprised at the variety of choice and quality of the menu. Our server, Peter, is amazing and spends just the right amount of time ensuring we’re happy without intruding. We could have ordered takeaway food to be delivered to our lodge, but love the experience and the welcoming atmosphere.
The next morning, we watch as the kids climb into giant inflatable balls for a spot of zorbing in the pool under the close supervision of Aidan, one of Hunters Quay’s award-winning staff.
Looking after children is a vocation, and Aidan looks like a natural. The kids respond to him so well – there’s no kidding a kid.
Argyll Holidays has several holiday villages in this part of the country and offers everything from luxury lodges to cosy caravans. It can accommodate small groups, big get-togethers and spa breaks – and dogs are welcome. The past year has been difficult for everyone but Argyll Holidays has used the pause to refurbish and re-energise its holiday villages. The parks have been modernised and everything feels slick and professional, while staff are ready and waiting to offer visitors a warm welcome once we are allowed to enjoy our beautiful countryside again.
And when we can, there is lots to entertain the family in this area: galleries, museums and beautiful, unspoiled woodlands and parks.
For the more daring and experienced there’s scuba diving charters, and for those who enjoy a calmer experience, boat tours along the Clyde, visiting castles, lighthouses and trips to the beautiful Inveraray.
Argyll Forrest Park includes a beautiful ancient forest, and is one of the most popular attractions near Dunoon. It has walks suitable for all abilities, including wheelchair users. The landscape is dramatic with views of the Holy Loch and the mountains. There’s a wonderful avenue of old Redwoods and kids love the magical, unspoiled woodlands, stirring the imagination – “Can we go on a bear hunt?”
Nearby is Castle House Museum, a small and popular exhibition about the history of Dunoon. It has beautiful views of the loch. If you visit the garden, look out for the statue of Highland Mary. Apparently Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s Bard,was a fan.
Further afield in Helensburgh, we discovered The Hill House, the famous restored mansion with interiors and furniture designed by Glasgow’s own Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The only remaining substantial example of his works since the devastating Glasgow School of Art fire, this unique house and gardens is well worth a visit.
Our visit to Hunters Quay has been peaceful at times, exhausting sometimes, and every day we’ve done something different. We’ve had a wonderful staycation.
Looking for somewhere to rewind and reflect? Hunter’s Quay could be the place, a place to find yourself.
P.S. The town of Dunoon is said to date back to the 6th Century and sprang up to supply an ancient castle that was built on the rocky headland above. The town was visited by Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1563.
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