“If only we’d known how much there is to see and do in the area, we’d have planned to stay longer”
This is the most often repeated sentiment in visitor books from B&Bs, hotels and self-catering properties in the Heart of Argyll. To help you plan your holiday or visit to the Heart of Argyll; we’ve compiled a Heart of Argyll bucket list.
Bury yourself in History
Head to Kilmartin Museum. The wonderful interactive exhibit as you enter the museum will introduce you to the local landscape. The exhibit will help you identify the locations of all the wonders the Glen has to offer. There are ancient burial sites, standing stones, rock art, Duns, Forts, Castles all waiting to be explored.
Every Wednesday afternoon during the summer period there is a guided walk through Kilmartin Glen.
Pick up your copy of the amazing book “In the Footsteps of Kings” by Sharon Webb. It is a fascinating combination of local guidebook and walking/cycling routes. It sets the Heart of Argyll in context, introduces you to the archaeological monuments, unique landscape and natural history. The book also includes local tips as well as providing a very practical guide to 25 routes organised into four distinct areas. You can find the book in The Kilmartin Museum shop or The Argyll Book Store in Lochgilphead, you can also order a copy in advance – visit www.kilmartin.org. All proceeds go towards furthering the work of the museum.
If social history is of interest, the Highland Farm Township museum at Auchindrain provides an insight into rural life in the Heart of Argyll. It’s also a starting point for a forest drive and an exhilarating circular walk.
While away the time with Wildlife
If you like wildlife and are interested in the natural world, the obvious place to start is Heart of Argyll Beaver and Wildlife Visitor Centre. The highly knowledgeable staff at the centre can also fill you in on local things to see and do after you have explored the way-marked trails and exceptional viewpoint, sat quietly in the wildlife hides, discovered the beaver signs, viewed the webcam footage or taken part in a themed event exploring different aspects of the natural world throughout the summer months.
Immerse yourself in Water
If boats and water are your thing, starting at the Steamer Terminal the towpath of the Crinan Canal offers you a fabulous opportunity to explore this wonder of late 18th and 19th century engineering. The canal links Loch Fyne to Loch Crinan. It was created as an alternative to the lengthy and unpredictable sea passage around the Mull of Kintyre. Along the 9 miles of Scotland’s most beautiful shortcut, you can discover the stunning surroundings of the Add Estuary and local coastlines. Alternatively, just sit and while away the hours watching boats navigating the locks.
There are more watery adventures to be had with amazing boat trips. Leaving from Crinan Harbour, Ardfern Yacht Centre or Seil Island you can take a trip to the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool. This magnificent tidal whirlpool is the third largest in the world. The trips immerse you in incredible wild coastal scenery and provide fabulous opportunities for spotting wildlife. The highly-experienced skippers navigate the local islands and inlets searching for eagles (golden and sea), whales, porpoises, dolphins, seals, basking sharks and amazing seabirds.
If you want to literally immerse yourself in water, the infinity pool at Portavadie Spa overlooking Loch Fyne is hard to beat. And there are plenty of opportunities for enjoying the crystal clear tidal waters of Loch Fyne, Loch Crinan, Loch Craignish, Loch Sween, Loch Caolisport or the Sound of Jura from a variety of easy-access pebbly coves and beaches.
Get back to Nature
There are fascinating nature reserves throughout The Heart of Argyll, each offering unique experiences plus some beautiful easy walking and picnic spot options.
Take to the waters in a sea kayak with experienced guides or join local photographers on their specialist trips on land and sea to experience The Heart of Argyll up close!
If you like your outdoors a little more ‘managed’ the Designed Landscape of the National Trust for Scotland Crarae Gardens, on Loch Fyne, is a plant hunters paradise. Emulating a Himalayan gorge with stunning rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias amongst immense trees from all continents, this garden is a special place.
Go wild and Explore
Take a B road trip. Meander along routes off the beaten track that lead you to Castles, Chapels, ancient grave stones, abandoned villages, stunning coastal views, sparkling white beaches and rock pools.
You’ll also find local artists, galleries and exhibitions in the most unlikely of places!