Dunoon in Scotland is the perfect place to travel if you want to get off the beaten track for a day or two. There are many things to do in Dunoon, located in the Argyll and Bute region, that make it an incredible holiday destination.
Although Dunoon is located on the Cowal peninsula, travel to this country town is reliable and well-priced. You can travel through various public transport services like taking one of the western ferries.
If you are travelling to Dunoon from Glasgow by car and ferry, it should take around an hour and a half to get there, with many splendid attractions as you travel through the Argyll and Bute region. You can also take the train or bus, like West Coast Motors, from Glasgow Central to Gourock and then take one of the Argyll ferries over to Dunoon’s Terminal.
The town of Dunoon and the Argyll region is stocked full of things to do, so make sure to fully explore this destination if you’re ever heading west from Glasgow or Edinburgh!
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Your complete guide to Dunoon
This town has a rich history and one of the locals will be able to tell you all about its origins and feuds between the famous Lamont and the Campbell clans.
Dunoon is the maritime gateway to Scotland’s famous Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.
Although Dunoon is located on the Cowal peninsula, travel links to the town are reliable and well-priced.
If you are travelling to Dunoon from Glasgow by car and ferry it will take around an hour and a half to get there. You can also take the train from Glasgow Central to Gourock and then take the ferry over to Dunoon’s Terminal. Bus trips to Dunoon are also available from Glasgow.
Things to do in Dunoon
Dunoon has lots to offer day-trippers and tourists travelling from all around Scotland. From the large Victorian Dunoon Pier to the excellent selection of craft shops and galleries, enjoy some time resting and relaxing as you experience what Dunoon offers.
This town’s buildings have a rich history, filled with tales of Scotland’s feuding clans, beautiful gardens, natural parks, and diverse wildlife within its coastal waters. You can enjoy a day of engaging with Scotland’s history at the Castle House Museum or visiting the beautiful trees of the Kilmun Arboretum. Dunoon has it all!
There’s a lot to do here, so much so that it’s often difficult to decide what you should be doing. See our list of the top things to do in Dunoon!
Benmore Botanic Garden
While visiting Dunoon, make the short trip to Benmore Botanic Gardens, where you will find one of the most popular botanic gardens in the country!
This is an excellent day out all year round as the Garden thrives throughout the seasons. You’ll never feel as close to nature as when you’re exploring the Botanical Garden, from its lush ferns to towering redwoods.
Once you have finished browsing through this spectacular scenery Benmore has to offer, enjoy a trip to the Courtyard Gallery, which often hosts exhibitions and events.
Puck’s Glen is a magical trail that leads you past many cascading waterfalls and into the mystical woodlands of Scotland. Be on the search for the Ghillie Dhu, the fairy of the woods!
The trail winds through Victorian walkways that walk you up and down the dramatic scenery of the region and is sure to thrill any woodland hiker.
This is one of the most famous tourist spots in the town, and rightfully so – this mystical hill trail is picture-perfect. Get your boots ready and enjoy a walk through this secluded woodland area in Dunoon!
Castle House Museum
Discover the real Dunoon at the Castle House Museum, found near the famous Dunoon Pier. This stunning tourist attraction sits in the heart of the town and many visitors come to Castle House Museum to learn more about Dunoon, its history, and the people that live in the Argyll region.
Learn about the Neolithic settlers of Dunoon and Argyll, the history of the mighty Dunoon Castle, and get lost in the tales of bravery and love when you see the lost artefacts that the Castle House Museum holds. Check out their website for more information on what you can learn!
This Museum offers an unparalleled opportunity to mix yourself into the fascinating tales of Dunoon, so make sure to take some time to visit!
Dive into Water Sports
When visiting Dunoon, take a page out of the local’s books and enjoy the clear coast waters surrounding the Holy Loch Marina.
This part of Scotland is a hotspot for sea kayakers, and if you want to have a go, you can take a tour with Sea Kayak Argyll & Bute, a water sports company that runs guided expeditions around Dunoon’s coast.
Take a step onto the adventurous side and explore the beautiful waters of Dunoon.
Stay Fresh Fest
One for the music lovers, Stay Fresh Fest, is Dunoon’s annual musical festival, supporting local musicians, artists, and charities!
The event, which hosts a range of musical acts from all different genres, happens every September at the Queen’s Hall. You should make it your business to attend at least one of these festivals while in Dunoon.
The atmosphere is electric and all proceeds go to the development of a good cause! Check out their website for ticket prices and more information!
There’s no better way to support the local economy of music and arts in Dunoon than enjoying a drink and listening to some of Scotland’s best musical performances.
Argyll Forest Park
The stunning sights of Argyll Forest Park are some of the best natural views you’ll receive during your time in Scotland. Established in 1935, the Argyll Forest Park is considered one of the oldest in Britain!
Enjoy the vibrant natural walks and discover the many secret paths and gems that this park offers, covering the region between Holy Loch and Arrochar Alps. You may even get the opportunity to see red deer and squirrels along your path!
The country landscapes call you to Argyll Forest Park and it’s always best to listen to what this isle has to say.
Dunoon Burgh Hall
This corner side location is considered the cultural hub for many in Cowal Peninsula and Dunoon. The stunning Burgh Hall hosts galleries and theatre performances, the perfect workspace for the creative minds of Dunoon.
You can visit this centre of interest and enjoy the arts as you drink at Dunoon Burgh Hall’s cafe and Garden! Check out their website for more information.
Dunoon Burgh Hall offers an opportunity to mix with Dunoon’s brightest so don’t squander the chance to chat with locals at this art centre.
Glenfinart Walled Garden
If you’re in the mood for a picnic amidst lush flowers and foliage, then the Glenfinart Walled Garden is the place for you! This serene destination offers the opportunity to stroll through blossoming orchids and fruit trees, with fresh fruit and vegetables to complement your journey.
Don’t miss out on the reflective sensory portion of this beautiful area that allows you to enjoy some peace and tranquillity as you reflect and relax!
Highland Mary Statue
The impressive Highland Mary statue gazes longingly towards Ayrshire, home of her lover Robert Burns. When you visit the Highland Mary State, there’s an air of romance and beauty that can’t be replicated anywhere else in Scotland!
The Statue can be found near the Castle House Museum and sits on a hill, boasting incredible views of Dunoon and overlooking the East Bay onto the Firth of Clyde.
Bishop’s Glen is a hidden paradise found in Dunoon that sits around Bishop’s Glen Reservoir, a tranquil lake that once sourced drinking water for the Cowal Peninsula, and the Argyll and Bute portion of Scotland.
Now the Glen is a place with beautiful views and an incredible place to enjoy some time wandering through the beautiful natural landscapes of Dunoon.
Check Out Wreckspeditions
Wreckspeditions is your one-stop spot for exploring the landmarks of Dunoon that you can’t access on land. They offer brilliant tours of the Firth of Clyde, Wemyss Bay, and the West Coast of Scotland.
You can even dive and uncover the various underwater wrecks and ruins of the West Bay and the surrounding area, which is one journey you should not miss out on while visiting Dunoon.
Clan Lamont Memorial
Hidden in Dunoon is the Clan Lamont Memorial, a remnant of the tragedy of this noble clan in 1646. This Memorial is steeped in the history of Dunoon, especially the wars between the Scottish clans.
The Clan Lamont Memorial commemorates the Dunoon Massacre between Clan Lamont and Clan Campbell and is a hotspot for Scottish history buffs. Pour out a drink to those lost in this war between clans the next time you have an opportunity to visit Dunoon.
Cowal Golf Club
If you’re looking to improve your golf game while on holiday, there’s no better place than to visit the Cowal Golf Club, one of the finest golf clubs in the region!
The 12-holes of this club are sure to have you coming back for more, with stunning views of the Firth of Clyde, the town of Dunoon, and the nearby island of Bute! Check out their website for more information!
After a great game of lowering your handicap, enjoy a quiet drink at the club’s bar.
The Kilmun Arboretum boasts over 150 species of trees worldwide on its grounds, a feat that you won’t see anywhere else in Scotland! This arboreal collection is internationally renowned and one of the best places to spend an afternoon in Dunoon.
Enjoy a meander through silver firs, towering redwoods, and Chilean southern beech with outstanding views of Hunter’s Quay and the waters east of the sanctuary.
Just across from the prolific town of Dunoon sits Lunderston Bay, one of the most popular beach attractions that’s just a ferry hop away from Dunoon.
Locals and visitors love Lunderston Bay, and this part of the West Bay on the Firth of Clyde is usually filled with beach-goers during the summer months.
It’s the perfect place to build a sandcastle with your family underneath the summer sun as you watch the ferries sailing across the waters.
Cowal Highland Gathering
If you’ve ever wanted to experience all of Scotland in one week, the Cowal Highland Gathering is the place to be! This annual event hosts the most extensive collection of Highland games worldwide.
Experience traditional Scottish heritage with world-class pipers, dancers, and athletes who are all are competing to be the best. You can join the nearly 23,000 visitors who come to eat, drink and enjoy Scottish heritage like nowhere else!
The beautiful Holy Loch is situated just north of Dunoon and is home to many great activities and sights. It’s not uncommon to see kayaking, sailboats, and swimmers enjoying the waters of this beautiful sea loch.
Once home to the Holy Loch Base, the naval base was moved and now travelers can fully enjoy the island life atmosphere of the Loch.
The nearby town of Hunters Quay is also the perfect place to enjoy a drink or two at one of the town’s many restaurants that offer incredible views out to the West Bay.