Isle of Bute

Scotland's Adventure Coast

Bute is perhaps the most accessible of Argyll’s islands. Thanks to this, and a balmy climate, it has been a popular holiday spot for well over a century. Rothesay, Bute’s chief town, is a seaside resort brimming with character, cafés and good old-fashioned shops. Follow the coastal road south and you’ll find Mount Stuart, a spectacular palace set amid acres of woodland.

Bute is a lovely place to explore on foot or by bike or via our island bus. Most of Bute’s inhabitants live around the two wide bays on the island’s eastern side, so if you’re looking for peace, solitude and the best beaches, head west. Ettrick Bay is a fantastic stretch of sand, while Scalpsie Bay is home to a seal colony. If forest walks and pretty villages appeal, head north to Port Bannatyne, the Marina, and Kames Bay. Continuing round the corner and before you reach the wee ferry crossing from Rhubodach to Colintraive, you can spend some time exploring the Community Forest. Want to see it all and feeling energetic? Then the West Island Way is a great 25-mile walk that takes you the length of the island.

Gaelic in Scotland

The indigenous language of Argyll contains great richness of expression.  Here we have shared a phrase from local Gaelic poetry about the Isle of Bute.

Donnchamh Caimbealach

Soraidh bhuam don Eilean Bhódach (Farewell from me to the Isle of Bute)

Far am bu nòs leam bhith ’fuireach (Where I was want to dwell)

Thanks to partners CHARTS

Bute 01

Top reasons to visit

ISLANDS 01
Scotland's most accessible island
SEA VIEWS 01
Beaches & sea views
CASTLE 01
Mount Stuart & Rothesay Castle
RESERVE 01
Bute Forest
Gardens 01
Victorian gardens
GIN White 01
Gin distillery

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The Wild Scot

Failte - My name is Perri Hopkinson and I am a Scottish Blue Badge Tourist Guide offering private luxury tours around Scotland. I have boundless energy and e...

Head Office, Portsonachan
Dalmally
Argyll
PA33 1BJ

Tel: +44 7943613334

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CHARTS (Culture Heritage & Arts Assembly, Argyll & Isles)

CHARTS is a growing network of artists, makers, producers and spaces, who value creativity and the impact it has on individuals, communities and visitors to...

c/o Mackay & Co CA
120 George Street
Oban
PA34 5NT

Tel: 01499 305 055

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The Tartan Road

Working all over Argyll & the Isles, we create luxury Scottish holidays tailored exclusively for each client. Specialising in self-drive and chauffeured...

Head Office, Lora Villa
Connel
Oban
PA37 1PD

Tel: +44 (0)1631 402 066

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Kilchattan Bay Kayaking

Kilchattan Bay Kayaking is a friendly kayaking experience, located in a safe and attractive Bay at the southern end of the scenic Isle of Bute on the west co...

The Old Pier
Kilchattan Bay
Isle of Bute
Argyll
PA20 9NW

Tel: 07794 910912

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McKinlay Kidd Ltd

Award-winning specialist tour operator making holidays differently throughout Argyll and the Isles. At McKinlay Kidd, we like to get up close and personal wi...

Head Office, McKinlay Kidd
6/1 (front) The Hatrack
144 St Vincent St
Glasgow
G2 5LQ

Tel: 0141 260 9260

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Mount Stuart Trust

Mount Stuart features magnificent Victorian Gothic architecture and design together with contemporary craftsmanship. The house is surrounded by extensive gro...

Mount Stuart
Isle of Bute
PA20 9LR

Tel: +44 (0) 1700 503877

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Bute Boat Tours Ltd

Join us to experience the most beautiful scenery in Scotland; The Kyles of Bute, Loch Fyne to Tarbert, visit Arran Distillery, and snorkel off the boat. Min...

Rothesay Harbour
Isle of Bute
PA20

Tel: 07486 873114

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Puffer Steamboat Holidays Ltd

Join us aboard VIC 32, the last steam-powered Clyde Puffer - at a steady six knots little can equal the peace of silent steam! Our cruising season is split i...

Boat Address:
VIC 32
Crinan Basin
Crinan
Lochgilphead
Argyll
PA31 8SW

Tel: 07780936407

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Visit Bute

Scotland's Most Accessible Island

Just a short 35 minute ferry crossing across the Firth of Clyde from Wemyss Bay and an even shorter 3 minute crossing at the top of the island from Colintraive on the Cowal Pennisula, Bute is Scotland's most accessible island.

Rothesay, is Bute’s main town, a seaside resort brimming with character, with great places for refreshments and traditional, welcoming shops. It is a striking town stretching along the shores of Rothesay Bay with Rothesay Castle at its heart surrounded by a moat. 

Mount Stuart is Bute’s jewel in its crown. One of the world’s most impressive neo gothic mansions, it is home to the Stuarts of Bute, descendants of the Royal House of Stuart. The flamboyant house and its 300 acres of gardens reflect the artistic interests showcased in its architecture, furnishings and outstanding art collection. 

It is an island of wildlife, adventure, beautiful scenery and great beaches. For beach lovers, the west coast of the island presents three sandy beaches with short walks with way marked features of interest including a bird hide at the south of Ettrick Bay, St Ninian’s Chapel near the Straad.

The West Island Way is 25-mile walk that takes you the length of the island. Most of the island’s towns and villages are on the east with wonderful villas and mansions lining the coast whereas the west is much quieter with sandy beaches and amazing views.

Bute Community Forest which has a number of fascinating trails and ample opportunities to spot wildlife is perfect for those who love the great outdoors and getting up close and personal with nature.

Loch Fad, the ‘long loch’ cuts the island in half along the Highland Boundary Fault and is renowned for its scenic beauty, fishing, boat hire and huge diversity of bird life.

 

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Download Bute's pub trail

From dog-friendly pubs to karaoke nights, the best beer gardens to delicious cocktails - have your fill and download Bute's ultimate pub guide.

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Bute on YouTube

Immerse yourself in all things Bute by watching our dedicated YouTube playlist for food and drink, activities and so much more!

Watch YouTube
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Getting here

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Planning your journey

Start your adventure with a ferry crossing from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay, either as a foot passenger or with your car. The ferry connects with a regular train and bus service to and from Glasgow and there are service buses and bike hire on the island, so why not leave the car behind?

An alternative route is a short ferry link between Rhubodach, north of Bute, and Colintraive at the Cowal peninsula. This can link with the ferry between Hunters Quay and McInroe’s Point near Gourock on the mainland, or you can drive north on the A82 along Loch Lomond joining the A83 then south on the A815 and A886.

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