There are several amazing things to do on Arran for avid hillwalkers, enthusiastic golfers, passionate mountain bikers, foodies, and everyone in between, from towering hills and magnificent fairways to excellent forest paths and many local foodie havens.
1. Experience the Coastal Way in Its Entirety
The Arran Coastal Way is a 65-mile (105-km) walking trail that circles the entire island of Arran and is likely the most well-known attraction on the island (or the most well-known thing on Arran if you like hiking).
You pass through cities, villages, boats, animals, beaches, bays, cliffs, caverns, historical sites, warm people, and all the things that people love about Arran along the way. I suggest taking a hike from Lochranza to Sannox if you only want a taste of the route and don’t want to complete it. Approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles).
2. Ride a bicycle around the entire island
You can ride a bike around the island’s circumference if you like to ride rather than hike. This route, which is (of course) restricted to using roads rather than footpaths, is a little less than half the distance of the walk, coming in at a total of 55 miles (88.5km).
It’s also a fantastic choice if you’re short on time because you can do it in a single day if you’re used to multi-day cycling. Several of the features we previously highlighted will be visible, and you’ll have more time to stop along the way for sightseeing, dining, and drinking.
3. Much more rambling and pacing
There are so many excellent routes and treks in Arran. The trek up Goatfell, the island’s highest peak, is the most well-known. Its length of 874 meters (2,870 ft) strikes a fair balance between difficult and feasible.
You also get coasts, castles, national parks, little lochs, historic sites, valleys, villages, and several unexpectedly difficult (and remote) summits, separate from Goatfell and the perimeter walk we’ve just discussed.
4. Go to Many Beaches
Naturally, Arran has a lot of beautiful beaches because it is an island.
You can find everything you could possibly desire from a shoreline among them, including family-friendly beaches, grass-backed sands, fish and chip shops, tiny communities, cliffy crags, watersports, picnic areas, and more. Even a nude beach can be found on the island.
5. Greetings from a Few Animals
Arran is perhaps one of the best places in Scotland to witness a wide variety of wildlife in a constrained area. Red deer (who like to hang out right next to Lohcranza’s campsite), red squirrels, badgers, otters, and seals can be found on the island in various locations.
Buzzards, golden eagles, and other large birds can be found on the Isle of Arran. But marine life is the major draw for most visitors; depending on your location and timing, you might encounter dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, and minke whales.
6. Visit a Few Castles
The Isle of Arran features only three castles, which may come as a surprise to some people considering how many there are in other regions of Scotland. The best and most well-known is unquestionably Brodick Castle, which dominates the local town and offers a wealth of activities on and around its grounds.
You may find games, gardens, waymarked walks, costume performers, and a ton of entertaining, kid-friendly excursions at Brodick Castle. One of the island’s most well-known attractions, it is a popular day trip due to its accessibility and popularity.
The other two castles on the island are Kildonan Castle and Lochranza Castle, all of which are now in ruins. The latter is barely more than a moss-covered lump of bricks on a little cliff, whereas the former is at a stunning location just above a loch’s shoreline.
7. Explore Every Wonderful Village
Scotland is one of the best countries in the world for visiting charming and quaint villages. There are still some fantastic locations on Arran, even if the majority of my favorite Scottish settlements are on the mainland.
The largest town on the island and the ferry port is Brodick, which is the most well-known. You also get Blackwaterfoot, Arran’s most important settlement on the western side of the island, and Lamlash, the administrative center of the island.
8. See the Standing Stones at Machrie Moor
Many Neolithic sites, historic structures, stone circles, standing stones, and strange cemeteries can be found throughout Scotland.
The Machrie Moor Standing Stones are among the most well-known of the country’s historic locations. Standing stones, stone circles, and burial cairns can be found there, which is on the western side of the island. The site’s earliest components date back to 3500 BC.
They have historically been used for funerals, entombments, parties, rituals, and possibly a ton more things. Instead, they’re now well-liked for trekking, taking pictures, and exploring the desolate moors they call home.
You are welcome to visit the location whenever you choose since it is only a collection of stones. And there are neither admission costs nor scheduled opening hours.
9. Explore a Few Museums
Arran has numerous fantastic sites to visit and is generally underappreciated for museums.
The most well-known is the Isle of Arran Heritage Museum, which has displays on village life, antique farming implements, items from the Bronze Age, the island’s history, and the common people who contributed to the island’s current state. The museum also offers some fantastic kid-friendly interactive exhibitions.
The Coast Exploration Center offers information on all the marine life that can be found on and around the island, as well as creatures, critters, diving, and snorkeling. You also have the Kildonan Museum, Arran Art Gallery, and the exhibits at Brodick Castle, in addition to these two well-known museums.
10. Take on the Mainland
Many mainland Scotland is extremely well-liked by tourists. Nonetheless, the southern reaches of its western coastlines receive very little attention.
I suggest visiting Ayr, Stranraer, Portpatrick, Drummore, Galloway Forest Park, Glentrool, or really any of the beaches or seaside communities once you get off the ferry from Brodick to the mainland (or before you get on the ferry from the mainland to Brodick).
Visit the Holy Island, a curious tiny island tucked between Arran and the Scottish mainland, for an enigmatic compromise. There are goats, Buddhist monks, wild ponies, and a so-called “Center for Global Peace and Health” there, which has a population of about 30 individuals.