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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Isle of Arran

Isle of ArranIsle of Arran View slideshow
The delightful island of Arran lies 12mi/19.2km off the Ayrshire coast and measures 20mi/32km in length, 11mi/17.6km in width.

Arran - Ferries

Several car ferries a day cross to Brodick from Ardrossan. In summer there are also ferries between Claonaig (Kintyre) and Lochranza.

Brodick, Scotland

Goatfell from Brodick Bay on the Isle of Arran.
The String (A841), as the locals call it, follows the coast right round the island. Situated on the east coast overlooking a bay of the same name lies Brodick (pop. 860), the island's main port with a jetty for ferries and the starting point for the island tour.

Brodick Castle Gardens and Country Park

2mi/3km north of Brodick stands the red-sandstone Brodick Castle. It was once the home of the dukes of Hamilton and is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Originally built in the 13th C to defend the Clyde estuary it has undergone many changes since, with the most recent alterations taking place in the middle of the 19th C. Six paintings by James Pollard hang in the Victorian entrance hall, while the chambers upstairs, designed by James Gillespie Graham, contain a fine collection of period furniture, silver, porcelain and ivory, together with more paintings, including sketches and portraits by Thomas Gainsborough, landscapes by William Turner and two pictures by Antoine Watteau. Colorful rhododendron bushes, azaleas, magnolias and some rare trees flourish in the extensive parkland.

Glen Rosa

A detour along the pretty valley of Glen Rosa is well worth the effort.

Holy Island

The tiny island of Holy Island (1mi/1.6km in length) lies 5mi/8km to the south of Brodick off Lamlash Bay. The changing landscape, dominated by a hill (1,030ft/314m), is ideal for bird life and the island has become a popular spot for ornithologists. According to legend St Molaise, a pupil of St Columba, lived here and the walls and roofs of the caves in the west of the island are covered with runic symbols and inscriptions that date from different periods. A 7ft/2m sandstone block marked all around with man-made indentations is revered as the saint's seat of judgment.

Lamlash, Scotland

Lamlash (pop. 620) is the second-largest village on the east coast. It is a popular resort with a sailing school, yachting club, fishing center and an attractive sandy beach.

Whiting Bay

At the southern end of Lamlash Bay lies the village of Kingscross and beyond here is Whiting Bay and a golf course. Just a little further south the road passes two waterfalls near Glen Ashdale.

Kildonan Castle

Kildonan Castle was once a royal hunting lodge when Arran belonged to the royal family. Scottish kings often came here to hunt the imported red deer. The dilapidated castle stands in an exposed but picturesque spot with a view over the sea.

Bennan Head

Bennan Head marks the southern tip of the island and the Struey Rocks are well worth a closer look. The 82ft/25m deep "Black Cave" extends almost 150ft/46m under the cliff.

Lagg

Carry on through Lagg, a peaceful resort with the pre-historic Kilmory Cairns, and on to Sliddery where the remains of a watchtower on Castle Hill overlook the western Firth of Clyde. The pretty valley of Glen Scorrodale leads back across the island to Lamlash.

Blackwaterfoot

Blackwaterfoot with its twelve-hole golf course, riding center and good watersport facilities is situated on the south-west coast looking out to Kilbrannan Sound.

King's Hill & Cave

King's Hill lies to the north of Drumadoon Bay. The caves in the vicinity were used as hideaways by Robert the Bruce and his men at the beginning of the 14th century. The biggest of the caves is called King's Cave after Scotland's national hero.

Machrie Moor Standing Stones

To reach the six Bronze Age stones (granite, old red sandstone) known as the Machrie Moor Standing Stones turn inland about 3mi/4.8km further north near Tormore, taking Moss Farm Road by Machrie Water. The stones are thought to date from ca. 1600 B.C.

Auchagallon Stone Circle

About 2.5mi/4km further north from Machrie Moor stands another prehistoric site. The Auchagallon Stone Circle by Machrie Bay now consists of about fifteen red sandstone blocks.

Lochranza, Scotland

The ruins of Lochranza Castle.
The ferry port of Lochranza lies beyond Auchencar and Catacol. A golf course and the 400-year-old ruins of Lochranza Castle, once a hunting lodge for Scottish kings overlook the pretty bay. Cock of Arran, another 2mi/3.2km past Lochranza, is the northernmost tip of the island.

Glen Sannox Corrie

Leave the northern coast and follow Glen Chalmadale through to Sannox Bay on the east coast. Glen Sannox leads inland from here to become one of Arran's wildest glens. The dramatic landscape that can be viewed from Fallen Rocks along the north coast emerged during the last Ice Age. Return to Brodick (6mi/9.6km) via Corrie with its golf course and trekking center.

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