Your route from Glasgow brings you first to the attractive seaside village of Inveraray, with your route taking you past Loch Lomond, then over the aptly-named “Rest and be Thankful Pass”.
A favourite wayside inn for centuries – and in the same family for many generations – this hotel has been sensitively and carefully restored in keeping with the building, its history and architecture. Each room is individual and elegantly furnished and divided between the George itself and the adjacent “First House”, another building of a similar era, but closer to the loch shore.
The hotel has an enviable reputation for ambience, friendliness and fresh cuisine. With its original flagstone floors and roaring log and peat fires, this is a lively haunt for both local characters and visitors alike with a choice of real ales, 100 malt whiskies and an extensive wine list.
Depending on your arrival time, you can enjoy visiting fairytale Inveraray Castle, or wander through its gardens, or explore the town’s historic Gaol, where you can learn more about some of the sadder aspects of the local history.
You continue your drive, following Loch Fyne past Lochgilphead and on to another fishing village, Tarbert, popular with sailors and overlooked by a small, but fascinating castle ruin, once the stronghold of Robert the Bruce. From here you tour the east coast of Kintyre, visiting the beautiful ruins of ancient Skipness Castle, then following the twisting single track road, enjoying views across to nearby Arran, before reaching another fishing village – Carradale.
One of the most hidden of gems, this small hotel is far off the beaten track. Set just back from a little beach, it is very tempting to sit here for hours and soak up the sound of the lapping waves whilst admiring majestic views of the Isle of Arran. Originally built as a guest house in the 1930s to provide accommodation for tourists taking the steamer from Glasgow, the interior has now been transformed to modern standards. Yet it retains many original Art Deco features, with wood-pannelling, stained glass doors and elegant proportions. There are just eight tables in the intimate restaurant, with menus designed to make the most of local seafood and farm produce. Each room is individually designed with personal touches reflecting the owners’ careful attention to detail.
Leave the hotel by the back gate, and a five minute walk brings you to Carradale Bay – a magnificent, south-facing sandy beach stretching for a couple of miles. Carradale village is a picturesque spot with a small harbour and a splash of colourful fishing boats. There are many walks along forest paths in the immediate area or venture further afield and explore more of east Kintyre, including the atmospheric ruins of Saddell Abbey, with beautiful carved stones. Seals bask on rocks along much of the coastline, gannets dive off-shore, and if you’re lucky, you may spot an otter or two.
You now continue through Campbeltown to the village of Machrihanish on the west coast, famous for its golf courses and five miles of sandy beach, your base for the next three nights.
This historic hotel was once regarded as the pinnacle of luxury accommodation in the west of Scotland and regularly welcomed captains of industry and their families, who descended on Machrihanish for summer holidays with their steamer trunks and visions of relaxing times on the beach and golf links. Now fully restored, with just 22 rooms and suites, it brings sophistication to the area once again. Imagine waking up in the morning to views of the sparkling Atlantic across to the isles of Islay and Jura, enjoying a hearty Scottish breakfast, and then heading out for a day’s exploring. And when it’s time to kick back, the hotel will please even the most discriminating visitor with its’ world-class malt whisky bar, steak house and state-of-the-art Spa.
Included within this holiday is a thrilling boat trip from Campbeltown’s attractive harbour, past Davaar Island and on to view the island of Sanda, just off the south coast of Kintyre. From here you will enjoy panoramic views of Arran, Ailsa Craig and Ireland. As well as an impressive Stevenson Lighthouse and Elephant Rock (you’ll know why it’s called that when you see it!), Sanda is home to puffins (April to July), shearwaters and a large seal colony.
You’ll also have plenty of time to discover the dramatic scenery, rich history and deserted beaches of our favourite Scottish peninsula. You must make the journey to the Mull of Kintyre itself, along a meandering and bumpy single track road. You’ll feel you’ve reached the edge of the world when you come to the end of the road and you never know, the mist might just roll in from the sea! The energetic can walk down the track to the lighthouse, while everyone can enjoy – in less misty weather – views to Ireland, just 12 miles away. In nearby Southend stop to watch for seals and otters and visit the spot where St Columba first landed after leaving Ireland on his way to Iona.
Campbeltown, the main settlement, is home to Springbank whisky, famous for its’ traditional production methods and still run by members of the family that founded it in 1828. The tiny island of Gigha also makes a worthwhile day trip – we recommend leaving the car behind at the ferry port and simply walking or cycling, enabling you to soak up the island atmosphere. The community-run hotel is the perfect spot for lunch and refreshing drinks. There is much more to see and do, depending on your interests, and we will tailor recommendations for you.
Return to Glasgow and onwards to home. Our suggested route brings you back the way you came, as far as Tarbert then across Loch Fyne by short ferry to the Cowal. From here you can choose to return to Loch Lomond or cross the Clyde by a second ferry from Dunoon to Glasgow.
From late May to late September, on certain days of the week, you can also choose to travel between Campbeltown and Ardrossan on a direct ferry service (supplement applies if chosen).
Tour Scotland’s best-kept secrets: the Cowal and Kintyre peninsulas.
£595 per person for April & October, £655 per person for May to September.
All are based on 2 people sharing, for 6 nights with three on a bed & breakfast basis and three on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis ( in Carradale), and also includes a boat trip from Campbeltown to view the island of Sanda, and a one way fare for the Tarbert to Portavadie ferry.
Add £30 per person to include the ferry between Ardrossan and Campbeltown.
All our touring holidays include a map of Scotland with recommended routes from your specified starting point, suggestions on places to see and visit depending on your personal interests and our expertise to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £8 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
This holiday is available from April to October
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest-houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.
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