Oban, Argyle & Bute

Introduction to Oban, Argyle & Bute

Known as the Gateway to the Isles, Oban is the largest town in Argyll & Bute and boasts breathtaking scenery and stunning seafood.

Located on the beautiful west coast of Scotland within Argyll & Bute, Oban is surrounded by breathtaking mountains, lochs and islands which create stunning panoramic views that have inspired artists, authors and poets for centuries. 

While Oban is often described as a gateway to the Isles and the renowned landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, there's plenty to discover and enjoy when you explore this small, yet interesting town. Be sure to walk through the town centre and enjoy a bite to eat in the charming cafés and award-winning restaurants, visit McCaig's Tower - the town's most famous monument - and sample fine single malt whisky at the local distillery. 

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Inveraray Castle, Scotland

Tour A - Inveraray Castle

  • Visit the family home of the Duke of Argyll
  • Admire the impressive Inveraray Castle, with its fairy tale-like turrets
  • Browse the castle’s treasures, which include tapestries, armoury and portraits
Price£55.00-£65.00
DurationApproximately 4 1/2 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

Step back in time with a visit to one of the most famous castles in Scotland, home to the Dukes of Argyll, the chief of Clan Campbell.

Enjoy a scenic drive from Oban to Inveraray, travelling along the shores of the narrow Loch Etive to Taynuilt, with its fine views over mighty Ben Cruachan.  Drive over the Pass of Brander past Loch Awe and see the striking ruins of Kilchurn Castle before arriving at Inveraray in the wooded Glen of Aray on the unspoilt shores of Loch Fyne.  A short distance from the picturesque town of Inveraray stands the imposing castle.  Enjoy a brief historic overview of the small town and local area before heading to the castle.

In 1743, Archibald – Earl of Islay – became the 3rd Duke of Argyll and initiated one of the most imaginative restoration projects ever undertaken in the Highlands. The present castle replaced a 15th century tower house, and the Royal Burgh of Inveraray was re-established a kilometre (half a mile) to the south. The present castle was designed by London architect Roger Morris, and it is believed that the design of the building may have been inspired by Sir John Vanburgh, the architect behind Blenheim Palace. The magnificent interior was completed between 1770 and 1789

Enjoy a visit to this splendid castle, one of west Scotland’s most popular attractions. As you explore this estate, view the magnificent displays of weaponry, tapestry and art before enjoying a stroll through the delightful gardens.

 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking at the castle, and there are approximately 20 steps to negotiate to access the first floor, therefore unfortunately this tour is not recommended for wheelchair users. The drive takes approximately one and a quarter hours each way – a toilet stop will NOT be made en route. Please note that winding roads will be encountered during the drive, therefore this tour is not recommended for guests who suffer from travel sickness.


Arduaine Garden, Scotland

Tour B - Arduaine Garden

  • Arduaine Garden is a must-see attraction for all green-fingered enthusiasts
  • Stroll through the tranquil garden, and browse its world-class collection of plants
  • Appreciate the idyllic scenery 
Price£60.00-£70.00
DurationApproximately 3 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

Explore the Scottish National Trust site of Arduaine, a beautiful coastal garden boasting a variety of colourful flora.

Travel south along the stunning coastline towards Loch Melfort, passing lush valleys and smaller lochs, before arriving at the charming National Trust for Scotland’s Gardens of Arduaine.  Once three small farms, the site was purchased by James Arthur Campbell in 1903 and the resulting gardens were tended by his family until 1992. The Gulf Stream creates a micro-climate along this coast, enabling rare plants to survive readily and so offers rare delights for gardeners.

Arduaine is home to a range of plants including water lilies, azaleas, magnolias and great trees. During your visit, you will see that the impressive 20 acre garden is also renowned for its impressive collection of rhododendrons, which include many tender species and hybrids which flourish in this mild, moist climate. 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that your guide will provide you with an introduction to the garden, and then you will be free to explore independently, therefore the majority of walking on this tour is at the discretion of the individual. However, to get the most out of this tour, there is a moderate amount of walking involved. All participants must be able to board and disembark the coach unaided. Please note that winding roads will be encountered during the drive, therefore this tour is not recommended for guests who suffer from travel sickness. Please note that National Trust members and non-members will pay the same price for this tour.

 


Kilmartin Glen, Scotland

Tour C - Kilmartin Glen – Scotland’s Stonehenge

  • Discover the most prehistoric site on the Scottish mainland
  • Step back in time as you visit the Kilmartin House Museum of Ancient Culture
  • Uncover the ancient funerary and ritual site of Temple Wood Stone Circle
Price£55.00-£65.00
DurationApproximately 4 1/2 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking

On this tour, explore the area surrounding the village of Kilmartin in Argyll, which is rich in ancient monuments and is often referred to as ‘Scotland’s Stonehenge’.

Your journey will take you south along the beautiful coast before heading inland where you will travel back over 5,000 years to discover the mystery of Kilmartin Glen. 

Upon arrival, travel back more than 5,000 years in time to discover the mysteries therein. The area is home to hundreds of monuments including cairns, megaliths, inscribed stones and hilltop forts. Although their origins and meanings remain uncertain, in many cases their alignment and orientation cause people to link them with the cycle of the seasons and the movements of the sun, moon and stars.

Enjoy a visit to Kilmartin House Museum which, with its excellent displays, will set the scene and provide you with an insight into the life of the inhabitants of the Glen. Next, you will walk to visit three prehistoric monuments in Kilmartin Glen – the Nether Largie standing stones, Temple Wood with its stone circles, and the Nether Largie South Cairn. Learn of the history and theories behind these remarkable monuments and their place in this unique landscape.

 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, some of which will be over uneven ground. For reference, the walk at Temple Wood can be over wet and muddy terrain. Unfortunately this tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Please note that winding roads will be encountered during the drive, therefore this tour is not recommended for guests who suffer from travel sickness. The tour may operate in reverse order.

 


McCaigs Tower, Scotland

Tour D - Oban Walking Tour & Distillery

  • Discover the lovely town on Oban on foot
  • Sample a ‘wee dram’ of Oban Whisky
  • Admire the views from McCaig’s Tower
Price£25.00-£35.00
DurationApproximately 4 hours
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking

On this tour visit on foot the picturesque seaside town of Oban know as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’ and taste some of the local tipple!

On arrival at the pier you will be met by your guide who will accompany you to Oban Distillery where you will enjoy a guided tour, allowing you to experience the stages of production of Scotland’s national drink.  No distillery tour would be complete without the opportunity to taste the final product...  Slainte! 

After your tour of the distillery, begin your guided tour of Oban.  Walk with your guide up the steep hill to McCaig’s Tower, commissioned by a local banker and philanthropist to provide winter work for the local stonemasons.  The steep climb is well worth the effort for the views over the busy harbour and out to the nearby islands.  Returning to the seafront, your guide will take you to visit St Columba’s Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Argyll and the Isles.  The simple interior of the Cathedral contrasts with its bold exterior of pink Peterhead and blue Inverawe granite.

At the end of the tour you might want to explore this bustling seaside town further or return to the pier with your guide.

 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? The walking tour of the distillery will last approximately one and a half hours and the tour of Oban will be approximately two and a half hours including a steep ten minute walk to McCaig’s Tower. We do not recommend this tour to guests with limited mobility or in wheelchair users. Oban can be explored independently, however this tour offers the benefit of being escorted by a fully qualified guide.

 


Glencoe, Scotland

Tour E - Scottish Highlands & Glencoe

  • Admire the Great Moor
  • Visit the majestic Glencoe
  • Travel along the banks of Loche Linnhe
Price£45.00-£55.00
DurationApproximately 4 hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

Departing Oban, your coach will take you through the picturesque scenery of the Pass of Brander and around the tip of Loch Awe with views of Kilchurn Castle before continuing to Tyndrum where a short stop is made for a photo opportunity.

Continuing on, your route climbs to Rannoch Moor; the Great Moor is one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe, before you are taken into the majestic Glencoe – the scene of the infamous 1692 massacre and now a centre for serious mountaineering providing some of the finest climbing and walking in Scotland.  A stop is made at the award-winning Glencoe visitor centre to learn more about the history, geology and nature of this region. 

Leaving the visitor centre you continue along Loch Linnhe.  It is here you will see the islands of Lismore and Mull as you follow the shoreline of this stunning sea loch.  You will pass Castle Stalker, a tower house situated on its own islet set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains before arriving back in the coastal town of Oban and your awaiting ship.

 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This is predominately a scenic sightseeing tour, with little walking. The amount of walking undertaken at the Glencoe Visitors Centre is at the discretion of the individual. 

 


Glenfinnan, Scotland

Tour F - Glenfinnan Scenic Drive

  • Enjoy the delights of the Scottish countryside by coach
  • Travel along the shores of Loch Linnhe
  • Visit the charming village of Glenfinnan
Price£70.00-£80.00
DurationApproximately 5 hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

Sit back, relax and admire the stunning Scottish landscape.

Departing Oban, travel North through some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery. You will pass through a series of small villages whilst gazing out to islands, including one with a castle on it; Castle Stalker, brought to fame by the Monty Python Team, appearing in their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

You will continue along the shores of Loch Linnhe through the region of Lochaber until you reach Fort William, the largest town in the West Highlands and home to the U.K.’s highest mountain – Ben Nevis. From here, continue west, and after a short drive you will reach Glenfinnan Village, best known for the railway viaduct, part of the legendary West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig. The West Highland Line itself is famous for the Jacobite Steam Train which operates during the tourist season. The beautiful viaduct is featured in a Harry Potter movie and that’s why it’s also referred to as “Hogwarts Express Line”. You will pause at the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre, which you can explore at your own pace, climb the wee hill behind the Visitor Centre for a better view of the viaduct or walk to the Glenfinnan Monument, erected in 1815 as a tribute to the Jacobite clansmen who fought and died in the cause of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

You will then return along the same road to Oban and your awaiting ship.

 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? The walking with this tour is at the discretion of the individual, so this tour is suitable for guests with limited mobility or in wheelchair users. However you must be able to board and disembark the coach unaided.

 


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