Looking for things to do with your family between Christmas and New Year? Look no further! From fantastic visitor attractions to outdoor activities galore, you'll find lots of family fun in Argyll. Here are five options for family-friendly Twixmas activities in Argyll.
Step back in time at Inveraray Jail and Courthouse. This fabulous visitor attraction stays open all year round (only closing on Christmas day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day). It’s a great option if you’re looking for something to do with your family over the festive season. You can explore this renovated Victorian prison at your own leisure and meet the actors who portray prison life. Test out some of the corporal punishment methods used in Inveraray Jail – including the whipping table and thumbscrews. The courthouse is a fascinating experience. As you explore, you can hear recordings of an actual 19th-century case based on surviving records. During the winter, Inveraray Jail opens at 10am and closes at 5pm, with the last admission at 4pm.
Portavadie Spa & Leisure
The Spa & Leisure Experience at Portavadie is a great option for a rainy day. Sitting on the shore of Loch Fyne it’s a stunning place to relax, unwind and spend time as a family. You’ll find a 16-metre indoor pool, kids’ splash pool, outdoor spa pools, sauna and a heated outdoor infinity pool. The kids will love it! There’s also the chance to escape and unwind on your own with a gym and stunning spa, which offers bespoke signature treatments. The Leisure Café serves up delicious pizza and ice cream, while the Marina Restaurant is the place to go for sumptuous dining. Portavadie also has a play park and a shop that’s packed with great toys and games. Fancy a stroll? Glenan Wood is just across the road and offers some wonderful woodland walking. It can be muddy though – wellies are definitely recommended! See if you can find the Labyrinth that’s been cut into the grass near the entrance.
Argyll is home to some of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches and they’re not just for the summer! Wrap up and you can enjoy a great family walk on Argyll’s beaches during the festive season. Calgary Bay is a stunning beach on the north-west corner of the island of Mull. It’s backed by an ancient forest complete with a castle. Ettrick Bay on Bute is another top beach spot. This lovely long stretch of golden sand makes for a great stroll and you can warm up with a hot chocolate at Ettrick Bay Tearoom afterwards! Westport Beach on Kintyre stretches for over six miles to Machrihanish and is pounded by Atlantic breakers at this time of year. Head to nearby Glenbarr Stores and Café after your winter walk. Ardentinny Beach in Cowal is a brilliant winter picnic spot, with free parking, toilets and picnic tables. There are also some lovely forest trails here.
Go castle hunting
Argyll is home to 60 castles, and many of them are marvelous ruins that can be explored for free at any time of the year. Visit Tarbert Castle, which sits high above the fishing village of Tarbert, Carnasserie Castle near Kilmartin and Gylen Castle on the Isle of Kerrera. They’re all fascinating ruined castles that look even more atmospheric in the winter! Carnasserie Castle is near Kilmartin Glen, one of Scotland’s richest prehistoric landscapes. Head out to find standing stones, stones circles, cairns and decorated rocks.
Take to the hills and have a mountain biking adventure. There are thousands of miles of trails and forest tracks to explore, with lots on offer for all levels. Argyll Forest Park stretches across much of Cowal and you’ll find some great family-friendly trails here. There’s a whole network of trails from Ardgartan, including the 11km Glenshellish Loop is a good introduction to off-road cycling. The 20k Corlarach Loop starts at Bishop’s Glen near Dunoon is another good family challenge. It takes you through Corlarach Forest along undulating forest track. There are some excellent mountain biking trails in the forests of North Argyll near Oban. Or how about cycling along the Crinan Canal towpath?
Find out more about things to see and do in Argyll.