Accommodation, cottages to rent and attractions
They offer nearly 80 different cottages and houses to rent on Arran, in the main centres such as Brodick and Lamlash, as well as Lochranza and Balckwaterfoot and along the west coast. You can filter by price, the type of house you need or the features you want, and check the extensive reviews before you book.See all
Here you can browse over 50 cottages and other types of accommodation on Arran, including many in each small settlement and many in the countryside. Choose from family-friendly cottages or luxury cottages, many with open fires or woodburners, and enclosed gardens. Being Arran, most houses have sea views.Read More
To make the most of your visit to a wonderful walking destination like Arran, consider downloading the Ordnance Survey app for your phone or tablet. For a small annual subscription, get all the Landranger and Explorer maps, discover ready-made walking routes, and download the maps so they work even with no signal. See your location right on the map. Our resident hillwalker says 'The best app I've ever used'.OS map app details
History, archaeology, activities, places, walking and climbing
The island of Arran has always been an attractive destination for visitors. This is from Ward Lock’s ‘Complete Guide to Scotland’, published just after the second World War :
''Arran is the largest and most picturesque of the islands of the Firth of Clyde. For the antiquary there are tumuli and monoliths of considerable interest; the flora embraces some rare mountain plants; and for the geologist the island displays a greater succession of strata than any other part of the British Isles of equal extent….. Every visitor to the island will of course climb Goat Fell.''
Well, perhaps not every visitor! The ‘tumuli’ would today be called chambered cairns and the ‘monoliths’ would be called standing stones or stone circles. Arran is often referred to as ‘Scotland in miniature’ – the Lowlands being the flatter pastures of the south of the island, and the Highlands being the north of Arran, with its mountains (including Goat Fell, Beinn Tarsuinn, Cir Mhor and Beinn Nuis), glens, corries and lochs. The island is easily reached by ferry from Ardrossan – it is only an hour over to the town of Brodick – and by way of a summer only ferry into Lochranza from Claonaig on Kintyre. The whole island only has a permanent population of under 5,000 people.
Attractions and what to see on Arran
1. Machrie Moor stone circles
These are to be found near Tormore on the west side of the island (NR 91016 32447 and around) – you will need to walk in from the road- and there are six circles in all, some more spectacular than others, as well as chambered cairns and ancient field systems, dating to the Neolithic and Bronze ages. Some of the circles have been excavated, and there are information boards at the site. Other ancient sites in the area include Drumadoon Doon (NR 88652 29255), an Iron age fort on a hill on the coast which can be reached by walking from the village of Blackwaterfoot.
2. Holy Isle
This is a dramatic small island off the east coast of Arran. You can get there on a ferry in the summer months. It is now a Tibetan Buddhist retreat, but open to all visitors for day trips from Lamlash. Outside of the retreat centres the island is a nature reserve, with grey Eriskay ponies and Soay sheep to be seen.
3. Glen Sannox
This glen is located to the north of Brodick and immediately north of Goat Fell. It is one of the most accessible and attractive (or wildest) of Arran’s glens and a must visit if you like to walk to beautiful places with a remote and untouched feel.
4. Brodick Castle (NTS, entry fee)
Now open again after an expensive renovation, Brodick Castle is more of a stately home than a castle, you can visit and see how the upper classes of Scottish society lived in the 19th century, and walk around the large grounds with their colourful gardens. You can also spot red squirrels from the custom-built hide. The Isle Be Wild woodland playground will keep the kids entertained while you visit the café.
This is an attractive village and a great place to stay on the north side of the island of Arran. Attractions here include the ‘Isle of Arran Distillery’, which offers tours and a ruined 13th century castle with free entry. The Ward Lock guide writer was moved to raptures and slight exaggeration by his visit: “The scenery within the neighbourhood of Loch Ranza, with its background of greensward, wild ravines, and cloud-reaching mountains, is justly reckoned the finest in Scotland.’
6. Cycle touring
It is possible to ride round the whole island, following the coastal roads, and there are many places bicycles can be hired for day trips. All route descriptions and information about cycling on the island are available at arranbikeclub.com.
7. Goat Fell
Though at 874 metres it is lower than a Munro (which is at least 3000 feet or 914 metres high) Goat Fell is a challenging hike, which can take up to 7 or 8 hours return. There are tremendous long distance views from the summit when the weather is clear (you can see Ireland and the Isle of Man), and you may see buzzards or golden eagles (take your binoculars). As with all high Scottish mountains, the weather can be very changeable, and cold and windy even in summer, so take adequate clothing. Slightly to the north Caisteal Abhail (859m) is also a rewarding hike.
If you want to check everything Arran has to offer for walkers and climbers, see the Arran page of Walkhighlands.com, which gives routes and times for walks in the Brodick area and around Goat Fell (19 of them), walks in the Lochranza area and the Pirnmill hills (11 walks), and in south Arran, Lamlash, and around Whiting bay (16 walks).
8. Golf on Arran
The island has seven golf courses, situated at Brodick (18 holes), Lamlash (18), Lochranza (9), Corrie (9), Machrie (9), Shiskine (12, really) and Whiting Bay (18).
9. Food and Drink Trail
Newly added to Arran’s attractions for visitors, the taste of Arran cooperative has created this trail in which you can visit bakers, cheesemakers, a creamery and a choclatier, as well as a whisky distillery. You will need a car, though buses will take you to all the producers also. Details at The VisitScotland Brodick iCentre on the pier.
10. The Arran Coastal way
This is a long-distance (107 kilometers /66 miles) walking trail along Arran’s coastline, opened in 2003. The starting point is on Brodick pier, but it can be started or joined at any point of course, and it is clearly waymarked. Sections are actually along some of Arran’s beaches. You will have a chance to see otters, basking sharks, seals as well as many times of locally nesting seabirds, including gannets. The whole route is marked on the Ordnance Survey maps, and timings for each section and descriptions of what to expect are given here: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/arran/arran-coastal-way.shtml. They suggest the full distance can be walked in 7 days.