Isle of Arran
Yet that twee slogan is stating an important truth about Arran’s accessibility, scenery and charm. It’s very accessible, being easily reached from England and central Scotland, you don’t have to drive another 3 hours to Oban harbour or beyond. But equally, it’s not too accessible. It’s not blighted by hordes or tacky “attractions”. The one-hour ferry crossing is just enough to feel mainland life slipping away from you, and once you get around to the west side, with the view of Kintyre, you really are in another place. The scenery is Highland, but on a compact scale – it’s sparse and haunting, but not bleak. You can enjoy seeing and doing things, or just chill. You’re not in the remote Hebrides here (they start the other side of Kintyre) and you can always get yourself to Brodick if you’re missing something essential, like dental floss or a mobile signal. If you reckon your busy schedule may only allow one visit to a Scottish island in your lifetime, then you need to come to Arran, perhaps more than you yet realise.
Arran has no air service. You’ll almost certainly arrive on the ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick (Gaelic Tràigh a' Chaisteil), the village that is the island’s transport hub. This southern part of the island is lowland in nature, with the bulk of the accommodation and amenities. From Brodick the main road south leads to Lamlash (Gaelic An t-Eilean Àrd) which is the main population centre and has the hospital and council & law offices; so if you have official business on Arran, it’ll probably involve a meeting here. Lamlash also has the best anchorage for small craft, with its bay sheltered by Holy Island, to which there are boat trips. The last large village is Whiting Bay then, as the road rounds the southern tip at Kildonan, the island becomes much wilder.
Heading north from Brodick, a couple of miles brings you to Brodick Castle, and the start of the main footpath to the top of Goat Fell. The main road hugs the coast north through Sannox and Corrie then crosses lonely moors to Lochranza, with its stump of castle, whisky distillery and a ferry jetty. So here is the other route into Arran, via the short crossing from Claonaig in Argyll. The road now turns south along the west shore and is quiet – old maps show it as an A-road, but this stretch has been declassified to a lane. Small places along the way include Pirnmill, Catacol, Machrie, Blackwaterfoot and Kilmory, then you circle back through Kildonan into lusher country.
For weather information on the island check the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) for the Western Highlands which includes Isle of Arran.
The TIC is
Only by boat. The only practical way to reach Arran is on the ferry, almost always by the Ardrossan-Brodick route. Thus, getting to Arran means getting to Ardrossan, which is well-connected with Glasgow. There is also a short ferry crossing between Lochranza and Claonaig in Argyll, described below, but this is a very long way round, best considered as part of a road tour of the Western Highlands and Islands. Both routes are operated by Caledonian McBrayne (CalMac) and run year-round, weather permitting. See their website for times, prices, terms and bookings, or call 0800 066 5000. The ferries are often booked up in summer, especially for the weekend get-away and the Sunday-Monday return.
The Ardrossan-Brodick ferry sails 8 times a day in summer, 5 in winter. It can usually carry around 100 cars and 1000 passengers, and has toilets, play area, lounge, tourist information desk, bar, café and restaurant; there is disabled access. Extra peak-period sailings may be on smaller vessels, with size limits for vehicles. Return fares are around £30 for a car, £7.50 per passenger including the driver, and £3.80 per child 5-15; toddlers, bicycles and dogs go free. Make sure your car is at the pier 30 minutes ahead (toilets, café and waiting area at both ports), or your space may be re-allocated to someone else; foot passengers are okay till ten minutes ahead. The crossing takes 50 min, but reckon an hour from cast-off to driving onto the jetty at the other end. People sometimes take a round-trip without landing, enjoying a scenic lunch on the way. But unless it’s filthy weather, do stay on deck and watch for marine life: dolphins, porpoise, seals and basking sharks are not uncommonly seen. For day-trippers, a tour coach sometimes meets the morning ferry at Brodick and takes you round the island’s main sights then back in time for an afternoon return sailing – enquire at the tourist desk on board.
There is a long stay car park at Ardrossan harbour, approx £4 per day. So if you're only staying a couple of days, don't have much luggage and don't plan to venture beyond Brodick/Lamlash, consider parking up and coming across as a foot passenger.
The Lochranza-Claonaig ferry sails 8 times a day in summer, taking 30 min. In winter Claonaig jetty is too exposed, so instead there’s a single daily crossing between Lochranza and Tarbert, taking 90 min. The ferry is a small ro-ro with room for 18 cars and 150 passengers; there’s a small lounge and toilets (and none at the harbours). Return fares are around £19 for a car, £5.60 per passenger including the driver, and £2.80 per child 5-15. From Claonaig you can day-trip to Skipness on foot, and to Tarbert by bike, see “Go next”. However most travellers will either be taking a single ride to tour Kintyre and the Western Highlands, or playing “hopscotch” across several islands – Calmac themselves use that word for ferry itineraries that aren’t simple singles & returns.
On summer Saturdays only, the 07:00 Campbeltown-Ardrossan ferry calls at Brodick, so this is an alternative way to return from Kintyre to Arran. The westbound ferries from Ardrossan to Campbeltown don’t call, so from Arran you have to sail Lochranza-Claonaig to reach Kintyre.
Arran is also visited by other ships in summer, but these are excursion cruises not ferries. A charming example is the paddle steamer “Waverley”, the world's oldest sea-going paddle ship, in her 1947 LNER livery. In 2019 her boiler failed, and fundraising started for a replacement.
Brodick Ferry Terminal
By road, obviously. The “main road” circles the island: it’s the busy A841 on the east side between Lochranza, Brodick and Whiting Bay, and just a lane – but perfectly driveable – from Whiting Bay round the west side back to Lochranza. Two small and scenic roads climb across the hills in the middle. The “String Road” or B880 runs from Brodick to Blackwaterfoot. The “Ross Road” is that quintessential Highland experience, a narrow single track lane with passing places, unsuitable for large vehicles (thus, no bus service). It wends and winds from Lamlash to re-join the main road between Kilmory/Lagg and Sliddery. Especially in the quieter parts of the island, people are often happy to pick up hitch-hikers who don’t look too weird or muddy, but passing traffic can be very sparse.
By carFill up the tank before coming over! – It’s a large island and you’ll probably do more mileage than you expected. Filling stations on Arran are few and expensive: Brodick, Lamlash and Whiting Bay are your best hope.
Car hire is available from the petrol station at the ferry terminal in Brodick. Cars cost from £25 per day, and range in size from a two-seater Smart to a seven-seater Vauxhall Zafira. Tel: +44 1770 302121. Also from Arran Motors in Brodick & Whiting Bay (listed), and from Blackwaterfoot Garage, Tel +44 1770 860277.
- Arran Taxis & Tours are on +44 1770 700520 in Brodick, mobile +44 07967 587481, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pick up their card on the ferry, they'll use the reverse as your receipt.
phone: +44 1770 302839 (in Brodick), +44 1770 700345 (in Whiting Bay)Car rental is offered in Brodick and Whiting Bay. Booking in advance is recommended.
By busBus routes all start from Brodick ferry terminal and ply all the island roads, except the Ross Road which is too narrow and unpopulated. So you can get places by bus, but you might not get much of a view through the mud-splashed windows. Buses are operated by Stagecoach West Scotland, under the aegis of SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) so bus stops and timetables may carry either logo. See online for the full timetable. Printed timetables are on the ferries, at Brodick ferry terminal, on the buses themselves and from convenience stores. An English over-65 bus pass isn’t valid in Scotland. The regular bus services are:
- 321 Brodick - Corriegills (just a school bus, runs once per day on schooldays only)
- 322 Brodick - String Road - Blackwaterfoot (M-Sa roughly hourly, 5 on Sunday)
- 323 Brodick - Lamlash - Whiting Bay - Kildonan - Lagg - Blackwaterfoot (M-Sa roughly hourly to Whiting Bay, with six continuing to Blackwaterfoot; Sun six to Whiting Bay and four to Blackwaterfoot)
- 324 Brodick - Castle - Corrie - Sannox - Lochranza – Pirnmill - Blackwaterfoot (M-Sa 7 per day, four on Sunday)
This means that trips around the island can be put together by changing at Blackwaterfoot:
- 324 + 322 for North Island circuit via String Road
- 323 + 322 for South Island circuit via String Road
- 324 + 323 to go all the way round.
The buses don’t carry bikes.
All buses are “Hail and Ride” – they’ll stop for you anywhere. Don’t set off back too late, as few buses run after 21:00.
Arran has a Rural MyBus scheme, an on-demand supplement to regular buses, organised by SPT. See Scotland#Get around for eligibility rules. Since Arran has a bus service on just about every road that a bus can drive along, there's little call for it on the island, but there's a useful mainland connection (M22 once a day M-Sat) from Irvine via Stevenston and Saltcoats to meet the ferry at Ardrossan.
By bicycleBicycles travel free on the Calmac ferries. Bikes can be hired from several locations in Brodick (listed); also from Kinloch Sports Club in Blackwaterfoot, and from the Sandwich Station in Lochranza. The main road from Brodick to Corrie is too busy for an enjoyable ride; but if your lungs and sinews can take it, the String Road and Ross Road are sublime.
phone: +44 1770 302377 or +44 7717 845755 (mobile)address: Shore Road, Brodick KA27 8AGWith mountain bikes, hybrids, electric, and children's tag-alongs.
phone: +44 1770 303349address: Brodick KA27 8BZMountain bike rental offered throughout the year. Also offers guided mountain bike tours (seasonal).
- Brodick Cycles opposite the library on the main road do repairs and spares; they don't do bike hire. They're open Apr-Oct M-Sa 09:00-13:00, 14:00-17:00 and Nov-March Th-Sa 10:00-13:00.
phone: +44 1770 302636address: Rosaburn, Brodick KA27 8DPIn an old farmstead at the northern edge of town, covers Arran's geology, archaeology and social history.
phone: +44 1770 302202address: Brodick KA27 8HYThis splendid pile is Arran's top sight, re-opened in April 2019 after lengthy restoration. It dates to 14th C but most of what you see is grand baronial Victoriana. Plus gardens and country park (same hours & admission). There's also accommodation within the castle grounds, see "Sleep". The castle normally closes Nov-March but in 2019 opening is extended to 22 Dec.
phone: +44 1770 302353address: Cladach, Brodick KA27 8DEThere is an independent restaurant facing you in the main driveway, but walk around the corner to the brewery itself for some generous free beer tasting and the opportunity of buying 8-pint jerry cans of some excellent real ale. Although it does not hold a licence, you're permitted to drink your purchase on the adjacent picnic tables. 45-min tours are daily at 11:00 and 14:00.
Going south from Brodick, Lamlash has fishing trips, indeed you can hire your own boat. The main attraction is Holy Island sheltering Lamlash Bay. In summer, boat trips run roughly hourly from Lamlash, for bird-watching, hikes over the small island, and great views over the Firth towards Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre. And, last thing you expected to find here, there’s a Tibetan Buddhist community. At the northern end where the boats land is the "Interfaith Centre", with visitor information and a café, open in summer more or less whenever the boat trips are running. The track down the island is dotted with Buddhist iconry then at the southern end is the retreat, where monks live in seclusion and you can’t visit. This community is often loosely described as a monastery, though that term properly only applies to their mother house, the Samye Ling Monastery above Garvald in Dumfriesshire.
Going north from Brodick along the main road to Lochranza, see the caves at Corrie. Pony-trekking is available at Sannox (see “Do”).
- : the track starts from the Shore Road in the middle of the village, and they're best visited as part of a steep trek to the top of the hill. Parking at the foot of the trail is very limited.
The road then leaves the coast and crosses the moors to Lochranza. Here find Lochranza Castle, the Arran Distillery, and the jetty for the ferry to Claonaig.
address: LochranzaA 13th-century bastion rebuilt in the 16th century and now just a masonry shell. Dramatic setting on the shingle spit of the village harbour, enfolded by hills and with views out over Kintyre. Usually freely open in summer to visitors and sheep, so watch where you step. If locked, ask for the key at the town hall.
phone: +44 1770 830264address: Lochranza KA27 8HJArran's first modern whisky distillery, established in 1995. Their main product is the unpeated "Isle of Arran" single malt, in various cask finishes and ages. They also produce a peaty (20 ppm) malt whisky, "Machrie Moor", in small quantities as this involves closing and washing out the main product line. See also "Eat" listing for Casks cafe here. Their new distillery in Lagg in the south of the island makes a heavily peated (50 ppm) whisky - after maturation this will go on sale from April 2022.
Pirnmill has one of the best beaches on Arran. In the hills behind, see the hamlet of Penrioch and the abandoned houses of High Pirnmill. You can get a car or bike up the track as far as Penrioch, otherwise walk.
All over Arran, but especially richly down this western side, there are prehistoric monuments: standing stones, burial cairns, and the like. The main sites are signposted, but use a good Ordnance Survey map (Landranger 69 or Explorer 361) to discover your own. Some are on private land so if there's no sign or access path (eg the Auchencare Stone near the turnoff for Old Byres) then just admire them from the lane. Otherwise feel free to wander in, whenever; there's often no-one else around. They're about 3000 to 4000 years old, Neolithic-going-on-Bronze-Age, good examples being the Auchagallon stone circle and the Kilmory cairn. The outstanding, unmissable group is the Machrie Moor Stone Circles - if you were secretly disappointed by “the Stonehenge Experience”, come here to reconnect with your inner Ancient Brit.
Machrie Moor Stone CirclesAn impressive rugged circle of cairns, with others here and there across the heath. Can be boggy, stout boots recommended. The associated site 1 km west is Moss Farm Stone Circle.
From Machrie the String Road cuts across the hills to Brodick (there are signs for Balmichael Visitor Centre, but it's closed). Or continue south along the coast through Blackwaterfoot to Kilmory. Here by a disused church another scenic route branches off, the narrow Ross Road over to Lamlash. Just below Kilmory a track leads down to Cleat’s Shore, said to be a naturist / nudist beach. But how can anyone tell? – since it’s usually deserted apart from the cows, being draughty, dung-splattered and without any amenities. The name “Cleat’s Shore” isn’t recognised by Google Map, and the narrow access track has to date repulsed the camera car, so it should be nice and quiet if you decide to get your kit off.
Near the south tip of Arran is Kildonan, with another good beach, plus great rock formations. The small island with a lighthouse 1 km offshore is Pladda: it's privately owned and can't be visited. The coast road now turns north to Whiting Bay and resumes duty as the A841.
Arran is a great place for walking and hiking. OS Landranger map 69 covers the entire island. All the coast is walkable, though the Brodick – Corrie section is too close to the main road to escape the traffic noise. For hiking suggestions (including GPS coordinates and route descriptions) see Walk Highlands hiking guide.
The unmissable walk is the ascent of (Ben Govar), the island’s highest mountain, at 874 metres (so it’s a “Corbett”, it doesn’t qualify as a “Munro”). The usual ascent is from Cladach near Brodick Castle gates. This trail is well-waymarked and well-trodden, and will take 5 or 6 hours there & back. Nothing technical, but there’s a long scramble of scree near the summit. A steeper but shorter route ascends from Corrie, past some fine waterfalls, and you could use the bus to climb one way and descend the other. The view from the top sweeps over Ayrshire, Galloway, Ailsa Craig, Kintyre, Islay & Jura, Bute, and the hills above Loch Lomond. That’s on a clear day of course. On a misty drizzly day, let’s hope you took a compass bearing before you plunged into the gloom.
Glen Cloy just south-west of Brodick is a good scenic walk, 1.5 miles starting by Auchrannie resort to the bowl of surrounding hills.
From Lamlash, you can walk north along the coast to . This is 2 miles (or 3 km) from central Lamlash, or you can drive to within half a mile. Usual beach life: birds, seals, squidgy things in rock pools – and you might spot a nuclear submarine, as their base lies further up the Firth. There’s also the remains of a boom defence signal station from World War II.
A number of walks start from Whiting Bay: the Giants Grave (1½ mile round trip), the Glenashdale Falls (7 mile round trip) and Kings Cross Point (3 miles round trip).
The Coastal Way is a set of paths for walking around the entire island along the coast divided into 12 sections. The coastal section between North Sannox and Lochranza is not suitable for bikes as it involves light scrambling especially around the Cock of Arran.
Play golf at one of the island’s many courses:
phone: +44 1770 860226address: Shore Road, Blackwaterfoot, KA27 8HAAn unusual 12-hole course, so you should get round in a couple of hours. Seaside links with beautiful scenery.
phone: +44 1770 840329address: Machrie KA27 8DYSome of the best snacks and drinks around! Also good for a game of golf: nine holes and you go round twice, par 66, 4200 yards.
phone: +44 1770 830273address: Lochranza, KA27 8HLNine holes, par 34, 2332 yards, often with deer standing in your line of play.
phone: +44 1770 700487address: Whiting Bay KA27 8QTCourse is 18 holes, par 63, 4092 yards; also a nine-hole round, par 31, using holes 1-4 and 14-18. Starter box with changing room, clubhouse with restaurant and bar. Snooker table in its own room.
- There is a mini-golf course and a crazy golf course in Brodick.
- The Five Ferries is a cycle route of 51 miles, starting in Ardrossan, crossing Arran to Kintyre then Bute and back to the mainland at Wemyss Bay (less commonly done in reverse). There are steep gradients along the route and it's often done as a charity challenge. From the first ferry landing at Brodick you'll have 75 min to cover 14 miles to catch the second ferry at Lochranza, otherwise your day unravels. You'll feel confident at the ten mile mark, then you encounter the two mile climb out of Sannox. A Calmac ticket for all five ferries is £14, no booking needed but warn them if there's a large group of you - this is important for the small Lochranza ferry, assuming you catch it.
phone: +44 1770 303349address: Brodick KA27 8BZOffers guided activities such as climbing, kayaking and mountain biking. Weather forecasts are posted every day.
phone: +44 1770 600544address: LamlashA range of falconry related activities for those who would like to get a little closer to birds of prey.
phone: +44 1770 810222address: North Sannox KA27 8JDBooking is strongly recommended.
phone: +44 1770 860466address: Blackwaterfoot KA27 8EUPony trekking & hacking. Booking in advance is recommended.
phone: +44 1770 303899address: 2 Coastguard House Kildonan KA27 8SDParagliding, solo or tandem, intro days and longer courses.
- Bowling Greens, Lamlash and Brodick - Visitors are welcome to these seasonal facilities, you are asked to wear flat shoes. There is normally someone on hand to show you how to play if you've never tried before. The greens are only open in good weather to avoid wear. £3 per adult £1.50 for concessions.
- Go for a swim at the Auchrannie Resort (Brodick) or the Kinloch Hotel (Blackwaterfoot). The minimum ages to swim solo are 12 at the Auchrannie and 17 at the Kinloch.
- Live music: See Arran Events for events throughout the year. These include:
Screen MachineMobile cinema that tours the Highlands and Islands. It visits Brodick once a month, parking at the Auchrannie Resort.
Arran Mountain FestivalThe next event is 15-18 May 2020.
phone: +44 1770 303777address: Kames Corner, Brodick KA27 8BUChinese takeaway.
phone: +44 1770 302656address: The Pier, Brodick KA27 8AUPopular fish & chip shop, so you might be waiting a while.
The Coffee Potaddress: Whiting Bay KA27 8QLSnacks and good light meals, reasonably priced.
phone: +44 1770 840329address: Golf Club, Machrie Bay KA27 8DYExcellent meals, especially the venison burgers. Breakfast, sandwiches and cakes.
phone: +44 7810 796248address: Lochranza KA27 8HLOffers excellent freshly made sandwiches, snacks and drinks.
Clubhouse Grillphone: +44 1770 860777address: Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club, Blackwaterfoot KA27 8HAIt's okay, but the good chef moved on a couple of years ago.
phone: +44 1770 700308address: Whiting Bay KA27 8PRExcellent bistro menu, featuring local produce. Vegetarians well catered-for. Delicious chilli.
phone: +44 1770 700357address: Whiting Bay KA27 8QHSmall hotel, the restaurant serves Scottish food and home-made pizza.
phone: +44 1770 830264address: Arran Distillery, Lochranza KA27 8HJOffers good lunch and, of course, whisky!
phone: +44 1770 830600address: Lochranza KA27 8HJEvening meals, all home-made. Not licensed, BYOB.
phone: +44 1770 850240address: Pirnmill KA27 8HPOffers excellent food, menu rotates every 2 weeks. Unlicensed, BYOB without corkage fee.
phone: +44 1770 840608address: Old Byre Showroom, Machrie KA27 8EBServes excellent burgers, chips and drinks, plus Turkish haggis. Licensed.
phone: +44 1770 302234address: Brodick KA27 8BZScottish tapas. Fine dining in casual atmosphere. Dress code: smart casual.
phone: +44 1770 302234address: Brodick KA27 8BZSeafood and grill. Top quality casual dining, excellent food.
phone: +44 1770 302169address: Alma Rd, Brodick KA27 8BDExtensive blackboard selection.
- See also "Sleep" listings: most hotels have public bars with food.
- Cruize Bar & Brasserie is within the Auchrannie Spa Resort, open daily 07:30-23:00.
address: Brodick KA27 8BYIt has a nice atmosphere (upper part is in former glasshouse), pub quizzes and the most insanely tiled toilet block in the world. Music at weekends. Extensive selection of food.
Food and groceriesStock up before you come over on the ferry! There’s a Asda in Ardrossan right by the pier.
Brodick has two Co-op supermarkets and Lamlash has one, all open daily from 07:00-22:00.
Whiting Bay has two grocery stores, one at the Gulf petrol station, and one in the village centre which also has hot food to go and a deli. Just outside Whiting Bay, Kirkend Nurseries sells exotic & hard-to-get food and old-fashioned sweets as well as plants.
Kildonan Hotel has a shop selling basics such as bread, milk and tinned food.
There is a “farmers' market” at the Kilmory Community Hall on the last Saturday of every month (and the last Saturday in September is the annual fete).
Blackwaterfoot has a grocery store, open daily (but closed from 13:00 on Wednesday). The Kinloch Hotel Bakery sells pizzas (closed Wednesday and Sunday). Galbraiths are the Butchers Shop here.
Pirnmill Village Store and Post Office has food and alcohol for those on a self-catering budget.
Lochranza campsite sells basics.
Arts and crafts
address: Machrie KA27 8EBShop selling clothing and souvenirs. Next to Cafe Thyme.
The Whinsaddress: off Newton Rd, Lochranza KA27 8JFA fantastic little shop that makes and sells the famous Arran Stonemen. On the hillside on the north side of the loch, you can drive along nearby Newton Rd but it's a pleasant walk.
phone: +44 1770 870310address: Cloined, Kilmory KA27 8PHHandmade woodwork and stoneware pottery.
phone: +44 1770 302928address: The Pier, Brodick KA27 8AUCharity shop.
phone: +44 1770 302788address: Home Farm, Brodick KA27 8DDVisit the shop or order hampers online. Among others, they make a delicious blue cheese. No tours, but you can watch the cheese making through a large window.
Hostels and bunkhouses
phone: +44 844 4932152address: Brodick14-bed self-catering facility next to Brodick Castle. It appears to be closed, as is the castle.
- Brodick Bunkhouse Alma Rd, Brodick KA27 8BE, dorm bed £25 ppn.
address: Kilmory KA27 8PQRooms with 3, 4 and 8 beds. Facilities include: self catered kitchen dining room, free wifi, tiny community bar downstairs.
phone: +44 1770 600468address: Altachorvie, Lamlash KA27 8LQOpen Feb-Oct.
phone: +44 1770 830631address: Lochranza KA27 8HLOpen March-Oct. Hostel with 13 rooms, 6 en-suite. With large self catering kitchen, 2 dining rooms and 2 guest lounges, laundry facilities, a drying room, cycle storage is available. There are 2 computers and wifi available, £3 an hour.
CampingIn addition to the sites below, there are many quiet places where you can wild camp legally, thanks to the Right to Access laws.
phone: +44 1770 600251 (Mar-Sep), +44 1770 600634 (Oct-Feb)address: Cuddy Dook Cordon, Lamlash KA27 8NQGood facilities, but very midgey at times!
phone: +44 1770 820320address: Kildonan KA27 8SEOpen March-Oct. Lovely site with its own private beach where seals haul out. 2 camping pods and a gypsy caravan sleep 2, The site has a small shop where the site owner, a fisherman, sells his catch, and a few basic grocery items. There's a hotel with public bar close by. Decent purpose-built toilet/shower block, laundry facilities, and a covered BBQ area.
phone: +44 1770 830273 (calls between 09:00 and 19:00 if possible)address: LochranzaOpen from Easter to Oct 21. Tent pitches and pods. It also has a small shop selling limited goods and a tearoom which sells home baking.
Glen Rosaaddress: Glen Rosa Lane, Brodick KA27 8DFA quaint campsite with excellent views located a few miles up a paved cart track. No caravans or RVs allowed, but you can make campfires and bring pets. Part of the campsite is prone to flooding.
phone: +44 1770 870515address: Old Manse, Kilmory KA27 8PKWhat it says on the lid: glamping! In Mongolian Yurts! In Arran!
phone: +44 1770 302234address: Auchrannie Road, Brodick KA27 8BZOffers 3 types of accommodation - 5
phone: +44 1770 600844address: Shore Rd, Lamlash KA27 6LU3-star hotel. Restaurant / bistro with pizza oven, does takeaway, open daily 17:00-20:30.
phone: +44 1770 600559address: Lamlash KA27 8LY3 star hotel, also has Bistro (daily to 20:30) and bar (to 23:00).
phone: +44 1770 810273address: Shore Rd, Corrie KA27 8JBGood 2-star accommodation, bar is open to non-residents.
phone: +44 1770 830223address: Lochranza KA27 8HL3-star offering varied accommodation all en suite. Good value home-cooked bar food, snacks, teas, coffees etc. The bar has a enviable selection of Scotch whisky - they may still have some Easan Biorach 15 Year Old, produced at the nearby distillery as a limited edition for the hotel.
phone: +44 1770 850294address: Pirnmill KA27 8HP3-star guest house, open March - Oct.
phone: +44 1770 860444address: Blackwaterfoot KA27 8ET3-star, recently refurbished. With indoor swimming pool and great food. 2 Bars. Food is available 12:00-20:30 daily.
phone: +44 1770 860202address: Blackwaterfoot KA27 8EUOpen Easter thru Sept.
Self-cateringLots available dotted along the shore road.
phone: +44 7767 225958address: Shannochie KA27 8SJA secluded self-catering cottage with stunning views over the sea and Ailsa Craig. No pets.
- Brodick Castle Lodge: outbid in your attempt to buy the castle? But you can still hire the gamekeeper's lodge within the grounds, with 3 double rooms and 2 twins, from £720 a week but usually £1200+. They can supply a maid and a chef if you wish. Lettings are managed by Cottages & Castles tel +44 1738 451 610.
Why on earth would anyone need the internet, when the island's newspaper Arran Banner comes out every Friday? But just in case, Mobile and Wifi access is decent on the ferry from Ardrossan and around the main settlements of Brodick, Lamlash and Whiting Bay. It becomes patchy further out, and (as of mid-2019) on the west side from Blackwaterfoot to Lochranza it’s barely one bar - you'll manage a call but not internet. Enquire ahead about signal strength at your accommodation. If it’s poor, will your life unravel, or will you finally discover what holidays are meant to be like?
Places with public internet and Wifi in Brodick include:
- Library (open Tu 10:00-17:00, Th F 10:00-19:30 and Sa 10:00-13:00) and the Arran Store just outside the ferry terminal.
Computer Shopphone: +44 1770 830343address: BrodickThis shop offers a range of computing goods and internet access (£1/hr), also good if you run short of a fuse as nowhere else on the island seems to sell them.
Out of town try the Auchrannie Resort (08:00-late 7 days a week), the Best Western Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot and the Lochranza Hotel.
STD code for the island is 01770. There are Post Offices in Brodick, Lamlash, Whiting Bay, Pirnmill and Blackwaterfoot. The village halls in Lochranza and Kilmory and the Kildonan Hotel offer a limited Post Office service on certain days.
Consider however: you are going to be on an island with no air service. In bad weather the ferries could be cancelled for days. Have you got enough of your regular medications, and how close is your partner to going into labour?
There are three pharmacies on Arran: in Brodick (+44 1770 302250), in Lamlash (+44 1770 600275) and in Whiting Bay (+44 1770 700584). They are all closed on Sundays.
Be reassured that if there is an emergency, the blue-light services and first responders will be well-equipped to deal with it. Don’t be put off coming because you’ve got a dicky heart or similar.
In case of emergency, call 999.
Consider this advice for temporary residents (including tourists).
Returning by the usual route to Ardrossan, there's no reason to linger there, but in Alloway near Ayr is the Robert Burns Heritage Park. From Girvan there are summer boat trips to Ailsa Craig.
The ferry from Lochranza to Claonaig lands you within 3 miles of Skipness castle, and ten miles from Tarbert, so they can both be visited on day trips from Arran. Stretching south for 40 miles is the Kintyre peninsula, with the small island of Gigha just west, and the Mull seemingly almost within shouting distance of Northern Ireland. From Tarbert there’s a ferry to the Cowal peninsula, a scenic route back to Glasgow. Tarbert also has ferries to Islay (from which you reach Jura), and to Colonsay. If you want Hebrides (which in Arran you didn’t get), find them here.