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

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Top reasons to visit

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

Explore Bute

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The Charcoal Huts, Bute Forest

Located in the stunning community-owned Bute Forest, at the northern end of the Isle of Bute, our two off-grid huts offer a truly unique woodland getaway. Th...

The Charcoal Huts, Moss Wood
Bute Community Forest
Isle of Bute
PA20 0QL

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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
PA34 5NT

Tel: 01499 305 055

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City Sightseeing Bute

Our open-top bus tour on the Isle of Bute is a great way to explore this beautiful island.  All you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the fantastic vie...

Guildford Square
Isle of Bute
PA20 9AG

Tel: 01586 559 135

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Mount Stuart Estate - Quien East - Spence Cottage

Quien East is a stunning holiday cottage situated on the west coast of Bute overlooking Scalpsie Bay with the beautiful island of Arran forming a spectacular...

c/o Mount Stuart House
Isle of Bute
PA20 9LR

Tel: 01700 503877

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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
PA33 1BJ

Tel: +44 7943613334

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Bute Yard

Bute Yard is a new, contemporary venue in the heart of Rothesay, Isle of Bute. Home to the Isle of Bute Smokehouse, Isle of Bute Distillery, Coffee and Choco...

61-67 High Street
PA20 9AU

Tel: +44 7365 200 184

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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
PA31 8SW

Tel: 07780936407

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Live Argyll - Rothesay Leisure Centre, Bute

Rothesay Leisure Centre can be found next to the King George V playing fields, within walking distance of the town centre. Dive into a 25 metre swimming pool...

96 High Street
Isle of Bute
PA20 9BN

Tel: 01700 504300

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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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