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)

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Top reasons to visit

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Scotland's most accessible island
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Beaches & sea views
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Mount Stuart & Rothesay Castle
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Bute Forest
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Victorian gardens
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Gin distillery

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One Marine Place

1 Marine Place
Ardbeg
Isle of Bute
PA20 0LF

Tel: 07812371262

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The Commodore

12 Battery Place
Rothesay
Isle of Bute
PA20 9DP

Tel: 01700 502178

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Helmi's Cake & Café

East Princess Street
Rothesay
Isle of Bute
PA20 9DL

Tel: 01700 504551

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Harbour Flat

Rothesay
Isle of Bute
PA20

Tel: 01700503906

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Bay Apartment

Rothesay
Isle of Bute
PA20

Tel: 01700 503906

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Musicker Café

High Street
Rothesay
Isle of Bute
PA20 9BB

Tel: 01700 502287

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The Jam Jar

Canada Hill
Rothesay
Isle of Bute
PA20 9EH

Tel: 01700 501840

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India Pavilion

Argyle Street
Rothesay
PA20 0AT

Tel: 01700 504988

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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!

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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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