Top Things to Do in Inveraray: Ultimate Travel Guide to Scotland’s Seaside Gem

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Nestled on the western shores of Loch Fyne, Inveraray is a picturesque town in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its charming Georgian architecture and stunning landscapes, Inveraray is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure. Here are some top things to do in Inveraray, restaurant recommendations, and other aspects of the town that make it a wonderful place to visit.

1. Explore Inveraray Castle

One of the most iconic landmarks in Inveraray is the majestic Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell.

This fairy-tale castle, with its turrets and crenellations, is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens.

Visitors can tour the castle’s opulent interiors, which house a vast collection of historic artifacts, including weapons, tapestries, and artworks.

The castle grounds are perfect for a leisurely stroll, offering spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and Loch Fyne.

2. Visit Inveraray Jail

Inveraray Jail

For a fascinating glimpse into Scotland’s penal history, a visit to Inveraray Jail is essential.

This award-winning museum provides an immersive experience of life in a 19th-century prison.

Visitors can explore the old courthouse, cells, and interact with costumed guides who bring the history of the jail to life.

The exhibits include stories of former inmates, offering a sobering yet intriguing perspective on the justice system of the past.

We didn’t venture inside due to the limited time that we had and the fact that the weather was too glorious to spend any time indoors, but I believe that it was priced at around £15/per adult.

Peter & Lauren Recommended Stay

We personally recommend a stay at the stunning Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa. With outdoor jacuzzi and sauna overlooking Loch Fyne.

3. Enjoy the Scenery at Loch Fyne

Views over Loch Fyne with Lauren sitting on a bench

Loch Fyne, known for its serene beauty and rich marine life, is a paradise for nature lovers.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities such as kayaking, sailing, and fishing. The loch is also famous for its seafood, particularly its oysters, which can be savoured at the local restaurants.

Taking a leisurely walk along the loch’s shores or simply relaxing and soaking in the views are also highly recommended.

4. Stroll Through Inveraray’s Town Center

The town center of Inveraray is a delight to explore, with its quaint shops, cafes, and historic buildings.

The white-washed Georgian architecture gives the town a unique charm.

Don’t miss a visit to the Inveraray Bell Tower, where you can climb to the top for panoramic views of the town and Loch Fyne.

The tower houses a set of ten bells, which are the second heaviest change ringing bells in the world.

Peter & Lauren Recommended Stay

We personally recommend a stay at the stunning Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa. With outdoor jacuzzi and sauna overlooking Loch Fyne.

5. Inveraray Maritime Experience

Given its location on Loch Fyne, Inveraray has a rich maritime heritage.

The Arctic Penguin, a historic iron sailing ship moored at the town pier, is part of the Inveraray Maritime Experience.

Visitors can explore the ship and learn about Scotland’s maritime history through engaging exhibits and displays.

6. Take a Scenic Drive to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Inveraray serves as a great base for exploring the surrounding region.

A scenic drive to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is highly recommended.

The park offers breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and opportunities for wildlife spotting.

It’s an ideal day trip for those looking to immerse themselves in Scotland’s natural beauty.

7. Experience Local Culture and Festivals

Inveraray hosts several cultural events and festivals throughout the year that showcase the town’s vibrant community spirit.

The Inveraray Highland Games, held in July, is a highlight, featuring traditional Scottish sports, music, and dance.

Visitors can also enjoy local markets, music festivals, and art exhibitions that reflect the rich cultural heritage of the area.

Restaurant Recommendations in Inveraray

Inveraray is home to several delightful eateries that offer a taste of local cuisine and more.

Here are some top restaurant recommendations:

1. The George Hotel

A historic establishment with a warm and inviting atmosphere, The George Hotel offers a menu that features locally sourced ingredients.

Specialties include seafood dishes such as scallops and mussels, as well as traditional Scottish fare like haggis.

The cozy pub area is perfect for enjoying a dram of whisky by the fire.

2. Ocho

We stopped here for lunch before we were due to check into our hotel for the day and what a lovely surprise it was.

The place was quite quiet to begin with but very quickly filled up.

The food was excellent and definitely one that we would personally recommend visiting if you get the chance to.

3. Samphire Seafood Restaurant

Located on the shores of Loch Fyne, Samphire Seafood Restaurant is renowned for its fresh and sustainably sourced seafood.

Diners can enjoy stunning views while savouring dishes like grilled lobster, pan-seared scallops, and Loch Fyne oysters.

The restaurant also offers a selection of fine wines to complement the meal.

4. Brambles Cafe & Bistro

For a more casual dining experience, Brambles Cafe & Bistro is a great choice.

This charming eatery serves a variety of dishes, from hearty breakfasts to delicious lunches and dinners.

Their homemade cakes and pastries are a must-try, and they offer a range of vegetarian and gluten-free options.

We spent a good while just enjoying the suntrap that is round the back and seemed to go unnoticed by many who opted to eat inside instead.

5. The Cottage Restaurant

The Cottage Restaurant offers a cozy dining experience with a focus on traditional Scottish cuisine.

Their menu features dishes such as venison, beef, and fresh seafood, all prepared with local ingredients.

The friendly atmosphere and attentive service make it a favourite among visitors and locals alike.

6. Loch Fyne Oysters Bar

Just a short drive from Inveraray, the Loch Fyne Oysters Bar is a seafood lover’s paradise.

Located at the head of Loch Fyne, this restaurant offers a wide range of seafood dishes, from fresh oysters to smoked salmon.

The relaxed setting and beautiful views make it a perfect spot for a leisurely meal.

There’s also a lovely deli attached to the building that lets you buy many locally produced goods for takeaway.

Getting to Inveraray

By Car

Inveraray is conveniently located on the A83, making it easily accessible by car.

It is approximately 60 miles from Glasgow, and the drive takes about 1.5 hours.

The scenic route offers stunning views of Loch Lomond and the surrounding mountains.

By Public Transport

For those relying on public transport, regular bus services operate from Glasgow to Inveraray.

West Coast Motors offers a direct route, providing a comfortable and scenic journey.

The nearest train station is in Arrochar and Tarbet, about 13 miles away, where you can catch a bus or taxi to Inveraray.

Accommodation Options

Hotels

  • Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa: A luxurious option with stunning views, a spa, and an indoor pool. (Our personal recommendation).
  • The George Hotel: A historic hotel with charming rooms and excellent dining options.
Peter & Lauren Recommended Stay

We personally recommend a stay at the stunning Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa. With outdoor jacuzzi and sauna overlooking Loch Fyne.

Bed and Breakfasts

  • Brambles of Inveraray: Offers cozy rooms and a delightful bistro.
  • Thistle House Guest House: Located nearby in St. Catherines, providing a tranquil setting with beautiful loch views.

Self-Catering

  • Inveraray Hostel: Ideal for budget travellers and those who prefer self-catering options.
  • Local Cottages: Several cottages in and around Inveraray offer a home-away-from-home experience.

Why Inveraray is a Great Place to Visit

Inveraray’s charm lies in its combination of historic significance, natural beauty, and welcoming atmosphere.

The town’s scenic location by Loch Fyne provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Its well-preserved architecture and historical sites offer a journey back in time, while the surrounding landscapes provide endless opportunities for outdoor activities.

Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Inveraray has something to offer.

Its friendly locals, delightful eateries, and unique attractions ensure that every visitor leaves with fond memories and a desire to return.

So, pack your bags and set out to discover the enchanting town of Inveraray, a true Scottish gem.

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