50 things to do in Argyll this summer
Argyll Holidays launched its #LoveArgyll campaign his summer, asking people to share why they love Argyll so much and to post selfies and scenic pics online. They'll also be offering great prizes throughout the summer, from a luxury hot tub lodge break to a bottle of champagne. To kick off, here's their guest post on 50 things to do this summer in Argyll.
1. Bag a munro
Climbing a mountain is one thing, but in Scotland there are 282 mountains with a summit of more than 3000ft, including 19 right here in Argyll & the Isles. These can be tricky to navigate, but are certainly rewarding when you get the views from the summit. Click here for more information.
2. Shoot some zombies
Don’t worry – we don’t mean literally! Argyll Adventure - based just outside Inveraray – offer hours of endless fun with their zombie-themed Paintball & crossbow games. They’ve also recently invested in a state-of the-art indoor laser storm venue, perfect for families, hens & stags, or groups of friends. You can book here, with Argyll Holidays guests receiving 10% discount.*
3. Sample local food & drink
We’ve a delicious range of food & drink producers on our doorstep, from locally reared venison and Scottish Atlantic halibut, to cheeses, jams and home ground coffee. Food from Argyll brings together suppliers from across the area, and not only have they opened a fab new café in Oban, but we’re delighted to offer their hampers as an optional extra to all our holiday guests. Click here for more info.
4. Strip the willow at a traditional Scottish ceilidh
No trip to Scotland’s West Coast is complete without an evening spent at a ceilidh. The traditional Gaelic gathering offers the opportunity to enjoy a drink and a dance, whilst getting a little dressed up on your holidays. You can find a list of upcoming ceilidhs (and other events) here.
5. Compete in a Highland games
Taking place in Dunoon from 24th-26th August, Cowal Highland Gathering attracts the finest athletes, dancers, pipers and drummers to battle it out for the championship titles. Competitors can sign up here, but don’t worry if you don’t want to take part, the games also attract thousands of spectators annually. Tickets can be purchased here.
6. Visit a famous Castle
Towering at the edge of the quaint town of Inveraray, this iconic Castle is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell and a must-see visitor attraction on the West Coast of Scotland. You can tour around the castle, or simply take a trip around the beautiful gardens. Argyll Holidays guests receive 20% discount* on admission, and you can find more info here.
7. Attend a music festival
Argyll and the islands are not short of family-friendly music festivals, celebrating traditional West Coast music, and offering a chance to soak up the Scottish culture. The popular EDF is a little further afield but offers fantastic music in breathtaking surroundings, whilst the Argyll Gathering have announced a huge line-up for the highly anticipated first year of their event. Best of the West Festival is also perfect for all ages, and offers something to do later in the year. And if you fancy a trip to Campbeltown, why not give MOKfest a visit?
8. Feed a Highland cow
Get up close to our hairy Highland friends - adorable ‘Heilan coos’ can be spotted throughout Argyll, and are often the highlight of many visitors’ trip to the local area. Click here to find out more about Highland cattle.
9. Go on a loch cruise
What better than witnessing the sheer beauty surrounding the famous ‘Bonnie banks’ than from the loch itself? Cruise Loch Lomond in Tarbet, and Sweeney’s Cruises on the east side of the loch both offer breath-taking cruises, with 15% discount for Argyll Holidays guests*. Cruise Loch Lomond have recently added to their fleet as well, so it really is the perfect time to try them out! Bike hire is also available from their Tarbet base.
10. Have a treetop adventure
TreeZone offers an adrenaline rush from the treetops overlooking Loch Lomond. Featuring zip wires, balance beams and tight ropes, this is truly an unforgettable experience. More good news; Argyll Holiday guests get 10% off* their visit to TreeZone, so you can try out a new experience for less.
11. Treat yourself to a massage
We all know it can hectic on holiday, so why not relax and revitalise after a long day of activities? With a range of holistic and beauty treatments, The Treatment Rooms are guaranteed to help you unwind.
12. Admire the West Coast sunset
With summer comes longer evenings, and often breath-taking sunsets. There are many spots in Argyll that make for the perfect location to sit back and catch a glimpse of the stunning colours in the sky as the sun disappears below the horizon – check them out here.
13. Take a pony ride
Fancy a pony ride in some of the most stunning surroundings? Argyll Adventure offer scenic treks alongside Loch Fyne, as well as faster rides, and even lessons, making it perfect for all levels of expertise. Argyll Holidays guests receive 10% off rides.*
14. Embark on a doggy adventure
Grab a poo bag, a handful of treats, and embark on an adventure with your four-legged friend. With an abundance of local tracks, streams, woodland and even caves, they’ll be in doggy wonderland! Read all about walking in Argyll.
15. Go wild swimming
You can try loch swimming in a wetsuit or go in search of somewhere quieter – there are many rivers, waterfalls and pools waiting to be explored in Argyll, and there’s nothing more refreshing than going for a dook on a warm day. Read more about safe wild swimming.
16. Wakeboard on Loch Lomond
If you’re into the adrenaline rush then you might want to try this - Loch Lomond Wakeboard is Scotland’s first purpose-built wakeboard school and they guarantee you the ride of your life, on the calm waters of Loch Lomond. Argyll Holidays guests enjoy 20% off wakeboarding excursions & lessons.*
17. Sample award-winning seafood
Loch Fyne Oysters are renowned for supplying delicious seafood across the world, but their small oyster bar on the banks of Loch Fyne is where it all started, and we simply couldn’t put together a list without mentioning them. Pop into the restaurant for a bowl of the most delightful haddock chowder, hand dived scallops or crispy oysters with horseradish.
18. Enjoy a singalong in a local bar
What better than sitting back with a cold beverage in your hand, whilst enjoying some live music? The Goil Inn in Lochgoilhead hosts live music evenings most Fridays, with regular jam-sessions from local acoustic performing residents ‘The Goilers’ providing the perfect evening singalong.
19. Get out on two wheels
Cycling is one of the best ways to explore Argyll - with striking scenery, off-road trails and quiet country roads, you’ll be experiencing cycling and mountain biking at its very best. Bike hire is available from Drimsynie Estate in Lochgoilhead and Hunters Quay in Dunoon. View our favourite routes here.
20. Go on a romantic stroll
While visiting Argyll, you’ll want to make sure you take full advantage of the magnificent landscape. With plenty of routes for walking and exploring, you can truly truly immerse yourself in the great outdoors, and some of the most romantic locations in the world.
21. Visit an island
Argyll has 25 inhabited islands – more than any other region in the country. Cal Mac run regular ferry services to most of these islands, meaning you can visit as part of a day trip. Add to this the rich history that these islands possess, and the fact there’s so much to explore, and it’s easy to see why this is an essential ‘to-do’ when visiting the area. Visit the Cal Mac website for a full list of destinations.
22. Board the Waverley steamer
The iconic Waverley is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. Magnificently restored with towering funnels, timber decks, gleaming varnish and brass, it offers the perfect opportunity to explore the lochs & islands off the West coast of Scotland. Argyll Holidays guests enjoy a kids-go-free incentive* (not Saturdays). View timetables.
23. Tour a working brewery
Located at the head of Loch Fyne, Fyne Ales state-of-the-art brewery offers guided tours to see exactly how their wonderful beers are made, as well as tutored tasting. Afterwards, you can sit in their courtyard and enjoy the sun with a pint of your favourite beer – we recommend Jarl!
24. Meet the birds of prey
Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre is situated in a stunning location within the Lomond Shores complex. If you are looking for a Bird of Prey encounter then this is the place to head - there are over thirty five birds of prey and owls, so why not get close to these amazing creatures? Argyll Holidays guests receive 20% off entry.*
25. Scale the heights
The giant custom-built climbing wall at Hunters Quay Holiday Village offers a great deal of fun for all ages (well most ages… it’s ages 7+), and is a popular attraction. Users can choose whether to take a climbing lesson, or go for it freestyle – it’s completely safe, but can prove trickier than it looks!
26. Hit the beach
Golden sands and light blue seas: some of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches can be found across the coastline of Argyll and the Isles. Whether it be the two-mile stretch of Machir Bay in Islay, or Ostel Bay on Argyll’s Secret Coast, it’s the perfect opportunity to have a picnic, go a stroll, or fly a kite. View a complete list of beaches in Argyll here.
27. Explore glorious gardens
In a magnificent mountainside setting on the Cowal Peninsula lies Benmore, an enchanting Garden steeped in history and surrounded by dramatic scenery. The park is managed by experienced rangers, and offers a host of guided walks, explorer tours and kids activities.
28. Go fishing
Argyll is well known for being a fishing paradise, with its well-stocked shores, lochs and rivers attracting many keen anglers, and there's no shortage of opportunities. Inverawe Country Park just past Loch Awe offers trout lochs and salmon rivers for all levels. The fantastic instructors can even offer lessons, getting you hooked on a life-time hobby.
29. Try your hand at Archery
Ready? Aim. Fire! Let an experienced Archery leader show you how to shoot a high performance bow with accuracy and hit the gold with ease, at Drimsynie Estate or Hunters Quay. With fun, games and competition, there is something in the sessions for everyone
30. Sledge down a river
River sledging is big in the US and New Zealand, but it’s relatively new to the UK, so it’s fair to say that this activity is creating a lot of excitement around Loch Lomond. In Your Element are the new activity provider on the ‘bonnie banks’, and this is perfect if you’ve got the taste of adrenaline and adventure. Even better, Argyll Holidays guests get 10% discount.*
31. Travel under a mountain
On the face of it, the trip to a power station that generates up to 440MW on the National Grid might not seem that exciting. However, add to this the fact that the hydro station is hidden deep inside the Ben Cruachan ‘hollow mountain’, and it makes for a fantastic adventure. The guided tour will take you deep inside the mountain, as the experienced guides tell you all about the fascinating history behind this engineering feat. You can read more here, plus Argyll Holidays guests get an exclusive discount*.
32. Sample tubing
Okay, so it’s not technically in Argyll, but it’s not far to travel, and we just couldn’t put together a list of things to do without mentioning tubing at Glencoe Mountain. What is tubing you ask? It involves sitting on a rubber ring, and sliding down an artificial ski slope - great fun for all ages! Find out more.
33. Experience life behind bars
…don’t worry, they’ve promised they’ll let you out! Stepping through the doors of Inveraray Jail is stepping back in time to a 19th-century prison. Experience what life was like for the men, women and children who were locked up here. Explore the historic buildings and meet the costumed characters who animate the past in this unique living museum. Find out more.
34. Visit a whisky distillery
You don’t have to be in to your malt whiskies to know how special they are throughout Argyll and the Isles. With 14 world-class distilleries dotting what’s known as the ‘whisky coast’, there’s nothing quite like taking a tour, and finding about the history and culture behind this industry – and, of course - sampling a dram straight out the cask. Find your nearest distillery.
35. Chill in an outdoor pool
Brand new to the shores of Loch Fyne, Portavadie’s leisure and spa complex offers the ultimate in relaxation – you can chill out and watch the world pass by, in a heated outdoor therapy pool, right on the edge of the loch, appreciating all that Argyll has to offer – bliss!
36. Get close to the sea life
The Scottish sea life sanctuary near Oban, and the sea life Loch Lomond aquarium both offer the chance for groups to get up close to the local sea life. The two attractions host a series of events over the summer (check them out here), as well as live talks, feedings and the opportunity to hold some of these interesting creatures.
37. Tone up
Want to tone up over your holiday in Argyll? Look no further than Quay Fitness. Offering classes including Freestyle Aerobics, Pilates, Zumba, Kettlebells and much more, this is a fantastic way to shape up over the summer. Check the latest timetable here.
38. Have a picnic with a view
There’s no shortage of locations in Argyll which are easily accessible, but allow you to admire the views up high. Pick a local spot, (this site is good), pack a picnic and set off with your family for a lunch with a stunning view.
39. Get the Hot Tub experience
You know the saying “there ain’t no holiday like a hot tub holiday?” Okay, we just made that up. But what better way to chill out on a break to Argyll, than in a private hot tub watching the world pass by? Argyll Holidays’ Hot Tub collection is all about luxury and indulgence, and can add that extra something special to your holiday.
40. Have a BBQ
It’s not been a proper summer until you have a BBQ – right? Dig out your portable BBQ and get the burgers sizzling, or head to the shops and grab a couple of disposables. If you don’t fancy the cooking yourself, you can head along to one of the regular local BBQ’s.
41. Follow a Gruffalo trail
Ardkinglas Woodland Garden lies in the small village of Cairndow and is renowned for its fine collection of conifer trees. The new Gruffalo Trail will be sure to capture the imagination of your little ones, as they embark on an adventure, following the mouse to find the Gruffalo. A perfect family day out.
42. Enjoy first class leisure facilities
The indoor heated swimming pools at Drimsynie Estate and Hunters Quay can be used to relax in, to keep fit or to have fun throughout your stay in Argyll. Or why not relax and indulge yourself in the modern sauna, steam room or Jacuzzi? After all, you deserve to relax whilst on holiday. More information here.
43. Experience quad biking
If the idea of an off-road, mud-churning adrenaline adventure excites you, then look no further than getting out on the quad bikes at Drimsynie Estate. The Quad trails are simply breath-taking – you will enjoy panoramic views over Lochgoilhead whilst blasting through the open hillside and rugged forest terrain. Click here for more information.
44. Dine out
Dining out is an essential part of a holiday, or a trip away. So it’s important that you browse around, and pick a café or restaurant that suits your taste buds. Hunters Bar & Grill – at Hunters Quay Holiday Village, Drimsynie Estate’s Rob Roy Lounge, and The Goil Inn all offer delicious bar meals prepared by experienced chefs. Whether you’re after West coast fish & chips, or spicy Mexican enchiladas, you’ll be sorted.
45. Captain your own boat
Nestled on the shores of Loch Goil, Loch Goil Cruisers have a fleet of day boats for hire that are perfect for enjoying the stunning scenery, the diverse wildlife, on-board picnic-ing and fishing. Take your own boat out with friends or family come rain or shine, and enjoy all that this stunning loch has to offer. Guests of Argyll Holidays can take advantage of the free fishing rod hire.* More information.
46. Attend a sheep show
Argyll is rich in farm life, so you can do worse than to attend a local sheep show to revel in the local culture. Taking place at Corrow Farm on 22nd July, Argyll Holidays 50th Anniversary Sheep Show offers just that – with sheep dog trials, sheep shearing demonstrations and even a good old-fashioned tug ‘o war, you’ll be sure to have a great time.
47. Go on a roadtrip
What better than grabbing the keys, jumping in the car, and going on a roadtrip? Well, there’s plenty of country roads and fascinating drives throughout Argyll. We’d recommend the secret coast, which is an area of natural beauty, consisting of wild and rugged land (and sea), perfect for a photo opportunity. More information on Argyll's Secret Coast.
48. Play a round of golf
There are ample opportunities for a round of golf within Argyll & the Isles, with some of the most scenic and well-kept courses in a country that’s home to the famous game. Drimsynie Estate is home to its very own 9-hole golf course overlooking Loch Goil. This great little course spans 3604 yards, is a Par 62 and is open all year round. More details can be found here.
49. Tour a farming township
Step back in time and discover Scotland’s rural history at Auchindrain, just a short drive from Inveraray. Auchindrain is the most complete and well-preserved example of a Scottish Highland farm township, and offers an insight into way of life for inhabitants of the this area, deep in the hills of Argyll. Read more here.
50. Walk on Water
With Argyll Holidays WaterWalkerz, you can experience a thrill like no other. Located at Hunters Quay & Drimsynie Estate, try and try again to walk, balance and run inside a giant inflatable ball on the water – it can be trickier than it looks!