If you love culture then you need to discover Argyll’s book festivals and art trails

Calling all cultural explorers! Argyll is bursting with creativity, with many artists, writers and makers living and working here. You can delve deeper and have a cultural adventure by experiencing Argyll’s diverse book festivals and art trails. Here are some of the Argyll book festivals and art trails that you can’t miss!

Book festivals

Argyll hosts a fantastic range of book festivals. They take place is beautiful locations, including some of Argyll’s loveliest islands. You can expect a warm welcome and an intimate atmosphere at Argyll’s book festivals.

Bute Noir – 2nd to 4th August 2019

The island of Bute hosts Bute Noir, a fabulous crime writing festival that brings together some of the biggest names in crime fiction. Ian Rankin and Ann Cleeves will headline this year’s event, along with Mark Billingham, Denise Mina, Stuart MacBride, Chris Brookmyre, Ruth Ware and Mick Herron.  Events are held in various venues in Rothesay, including Bute Museum, Print Point bookshop, and the Discovery Cinema.

Buye Noir

Islay Book Festival – 29th August to 1st September 2019

The Islay Book Festival takes place on Hebridean island of Islay and is a real community affair. It grew out of a small book club in the village of Port Ellen into a thriving, volunteer-run event that attracts a colourful mix of authors, poets, and storytellers, including Ali Smith, Ruth Rendell, Val McDermid, Iain Banks, Julia Donaldson, Mairi Hedderwick and more. Enjoy sessions on crime, historical and contemporary fiction, children’s events, school visits, poetry, performances, workshops, and lots more – all on Scotland’s beautiful whisky isle!

Tarbert Book Festival – 26th to 28th October

The fishing village of Tarbert on the Kintyre peninsula hosts the Tarbert Book Festival, celebrating books and reading. A wide range of writers, mainly Scottish, taking part. There’s a varied programme, with author talks, workshops, school events and more.


Colonsay Book Festival – 2020 date to be announced

You’ve just missed this year’s Colonsay Book Festival, but it’s one for the list for next year. This must be one of the most remote literary events in the UK! It’s held on the beautiful island of Colonsay every spring. It may be small, but the two-day event always attracts big names from the Scottish literary scene. This year’s participants included Anne Cleeves, Sarah Maine and Robin A Crawford, author of Into The Peatlands.

Write By The Sea – 14th & 15th March 2020

This new book festival promises to be a cracker. Held on Argyll’s Secret Coast, just a couple of hours from Glasgow, it will celebrate writing that’s shaped by the sea and inspired by the coast.

Art trails

Argyll is home to a vibrant community of artists and makers. These art trails are a great way to meet the artists and discover their work, as well as explore the landscape that inspires them.  

ArtMap Argyll – 23rd to 26th August and 31st August to 1st September

The ArtMap Argyll art trail takes you to studios right across Argyll, from Campbeltown at the foot of Kintyre peninsula in the south to Inveraray and its castle in the east to the pretty coastal villages of Tayvallich and Crinan on the west coast. Around 50 artists take part, with diverse art forms including weaving, printmaking, design, sculpting, textile and glass artists and woodworking the list is endless. Most of the studios are situated in stunning locations, imaginative spaces and unusual buildings.

ArtMap Argyll

Bute Art Trail – 20th to 21st July

The Isle of Bute Artists' Collective run the Bute Art Trail each year. Follow the trail of yellow balloons to discover the artists and craftspeople of Bute and see where they work. A huge range of creatives take part, including artists, jewellery makers, wood turners, candlemakers and textile artists.

Bute Open Studios

Cowal Open Studios - 27th to 30th September

Follow the Cowal Open Studios art trail deep into the Cowal peninsula and discover the artists, painters, potters, weavers, sculptors, furniture makers, jewellers and photographers who live and work here. See what’s behind closed doors and garden gates, meet the artists and view some wonderful work.

Cowal Open Studios

Check out our events diary for more inspiring events.