Glasgow is the cultural heart of Scotland, brimming with exceptional museums and galleries, stunning architecture and fantastic places to eat and drink. But why not experience more? The beautiful west coast island of Bute is a mere hop and a skip away, and it’s packed with culture too. Here are eight reasons why your short break should twin Glasgow with Bute.
#1 Go hunting
The Hunterian in Glasgow’s west end is Scotland's oldest public museum. Collections include scientific instruments, Roman artifacts and the world’s largest permanent display of the work of James McNeill Whistler. Don’t miss the Mackintosh House, a meticulous assemblage of interiors from the Mackintoshes’ Glasgow home.
#2 Modern times
The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) may be housed in an 18th-century neoclassical building in Glasgow city centre, but the work inside is entirely contemporary. You’ll find an exciting range of modern art from international and Scottish artists.
#3 Beacon of creativity
The former Glasgow Herald building, the first public commission completed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, makes a brilliant home for The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture and Design. Check out the galleries and the Mackintosh Interpretation Centre before making your way to the viewing platform for immense views over Glasgow.
#4 Dig in
Glasgow’s bursting at its culinary seams with phenomenal places to eat and drink, many in stunning renovated buildings. Have lunch at Mackintosh at The Willow on Sauchiehall Street. For dinner try Hutchesons City Grill, a bustling eatery set in one of Scotland’s most iconic buildings, Hutchesons Hall. Head to the Horse Shoe Bar on Drury Street for some after-dinner drinks.
Stay at the Blythswood Square Hotel, a fabulously elegant hotel at the heart of Glasgow.
#5 Gothic revival
Mount Stuart is a spectacular neo Gothic mansion and the ancestral home of the Marquess of Bute. It features magnificent architecture and design together with contemporary craftsmanship. It was one of the most technologically advanced houses of its age and the first home in the world to have a heated swimming pool. Fancy a stroll? Mount Stuart is surrounded by 300 acres of grounds and gardens.
#6 Capture the castle
Built by the Stewart family to defend against invading Vikings, Rothesay Castle is a magnificent ruin standing at the centre of Rothesay, Bute’s principal town. The circular curtain wall makes it unique in Scotland.
#7 Take a ride
Hop on board the West Coast Tours open top bus for a sightseeing tour of Bute. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views as you follow the coastal route looking out for beautiful Ettrick Bay and the seal colony Scalpsie Bay.
#8 An Argyll feast
Bute is awash with great-tasting produce and you’ll find lots of eateries serving up this local food in stunning locations, from beachside cafés to neighbourhood bistros. Have lunch at Mount Stuart’s Bute Kitchen and head to Harry Haw’s in Rothesay for dinner.
Stay at the Victoria Hotel in Rothesay on Bute. This family-owned hotel is full of character and many of the rooms have cracking views over the Firth of Clyde.
The Scotrail train journey from Glasgow to Wemyss Bay takes around 50 minutes. From here, the CalMac ferry crossing to Rothesay on Bute takes about 45 minutes. The best way to travel around the island is by bus with West Coast Motors.