The beautiful Isle of Arran in Scotland has the perfect combination of everything you want from a holiday destination. You can experience a gorgeous coastline with sandy beaches, hike up dramatic mountains, and even attend local festivals. There’s no doubt that there are an extraordinary amount of things to do in Arran.
The isle is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde and is often referred to as “Scotland in Miniature” because many of the beautiful landscapes of the Scottish Mainland can all be found on Arran.
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Things to do in Arran
There are so many things to do in Arran, Scotland that it’s daunting deciding how exactly you should plan your holiday there. Our comprehensive list of the top things to do in Arran will help you plan your trip!
Getting to the Island of Arran is an easy venture thanks to the public transport and ferry terminal operated by Caledonian MacBrayne.
Whoever said travel is the worst part of your vacation has never been on one of the beautiful ferry rides offered by Caledonian MacBrayne. Gorgeous views of Machrie Bay and Broad Bay greet you as you make your way to the north and south shore of Arran.
Enjoy a splendid ride aboard public transport as you have never experienced before when you travel to the island of Arran.
Brodick Castle and Country Park
One of the most famed attractions on the north side of Arran is Brodick Castle and Country Park. This magnificent Castle is surrounded by gardens, waterfalls, and expansive woodlands, which make it of the most beautiful places to visit while on Arran.
The Castle is owned by the National Trust of Scotland and holds a collection of artefacts that would delight any keen historian.
You can venture into the Castle and enjoy the enhanced visitor experience with mood lighting, visual exhibits, and a Victorian arcade! History buffs will enjoy browsing through the history of the Castle’s period furniture, silverware, and paintings.
This quintessential Castle makes for a great day out with the family while you’re on the Isle of Arran. You will get sucked into its detailed past in no time.
Island Cheese Company
A visit to the Island Cheese Company on the Isle of Arran will awaken your inner turophile and make you want to taste all of the Company’s finest cheddars and relishes.
This shop is situated on a former dairy farm and creates almost 1500 cheeses every day with a diligent hand-made process that creates only the most high-quality cheese.
You won’t want to stop trying the tasty local produce that you can only experience while visiting the Island Cheese Company on the Isle of Arran.
Enjoy an afternoon on the east coast on the Isle of Arran when you visit the sublime Brodick Bay, a serene bay with stunning views of Goatfell, gently rolling waves, and the sounds of nature all around you.
Come to Brodick Bay to spend some time watching the sun across the sky as you soak in its rays and experience peace away from the bustling towns of Scotland.
This beautiful bay is flanked by Brodick Castle at its north end and the pretty village of Brodick on its south end, making it the perfect picnic spot on your journey between attractions.
You won’t regret including this bay in your day trips. It’s the best way to get the whole family together for a calming day in the sun!
The Lochranza Distillery, or Arran Distillery, has been brewing some of the finest Scotch single malt whisky right on the northern half of the Isle of Arran since 1995.
This Arran Distillery uses water that’s been filtered naturally over several waterfalls, the best grain from the Scottish islands, and a thorough ageing process that treats the senses unlike anywhere else in Mainland Scotland.
The Arran Distillery offers informative tours for small groups at their world-class facilities and an engaging selection of whisky tastings at their cafe during the festive season.
As you’re heading north, a visit to Arran Distillery is definitely what the doctor ordered for whisky enthusiasts or anyone who wants a deeper look into the distilling process.
Isle of Arran Heritage Museum
Founded in 1976, the Isle of Arran Heritage Museum is one of the best ways to learn about the history, archaeology, genealogy, and fascinating geology of the Isle of Arran.
Explore the grand displays from the Bronze age, trace your Scottish heritage, or see recreated exhibits of early island life while you visit this amazing location that prides itself on maintaining the rich history of the Isle of Arran.
You won’t want to miss out on this authentic look into the area’s deep heritage as you travel around the beautiful island of Arran in Scotland.
You’ll find the picturesque Kildonan Beach right on the end of the southern half of Arran. Considered by many visitors to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Scottish islands, the Kintyre Peninsula, and the coast beyond it.
When the sea level is low, the waves recede and give you ample room to explore the low tide pools and make the most of the dazzling sunlight. You may be lucky enough to be graced with the presence of local seals who love to lounge on the beach just as much as you do!
With other spectacular scenery in the area, like Kildonan Castle, and luxury self-catering accommodation, Kildonan Beach in South Arran is the perfect way to end a long day of travel.
Machrie Moor Standing Stones
Near the west coast of Arran, a visit to the Machrie Moor stone circles will no doubt fill you with curiosity and intrigue as you marvel at these over 6000-year-old stone circles.
It’s theorised that this particular attraction was the centre of many rituals in the Neolithic period, but no one truly knows the purpose of the Machrie moor standing stones for certain.
Don’t miss out on one of the most peculiar attractions on the west coast of Arran, whose mystery will draw you in and make you wonder what secrets it hides.
Lamlash Golf Club
One of Lamlash’s foremost attractions, the Lamlash Golf Club offers you the opportunity to tee off at one of the best golf courses on the Isle of Arran.
Lamlash is considered the largest village on Arran and holds a golf course that offers stunning views of the nearby Kintyre Peninsula and the north shore of Mainland Scotland.
The 18-hole golf course boasts splendid views of Lamlash Bay and the surrounding coast & wilderness, while the natural sloping terrain of Arran provides a great challenge to those that truly want to test their mettle.
Don’t miss out on the Club’s cafe and restaurant after spending a fruitful day lowering your handicap on some of the best golf courses on Arran.
Experience a one-of-a-kind golf course while you’re in Arran, only available at the Lamlash Golf Club.
The Drift Inn is one of the best places to enjoy a wide variety of excellent seafood and grill.
The Inn prides itself on its use of the freshest local produce, which ensures a rotating selection of the best fish from the coast of Arran, fruit & vegetables, and venison.
The Drift Inn is one of several hotels on the island’s south end. From its distinct blue benches, you can see the gorgeous views of the bay and the distant Holy Isle.
A quick trip down to the Drift Inn is a must while you’re on the Isle of Arran. It’s a dining experience you won’t soon forget.
North Sannox Pony Trekking
North Sannox Pony Trekking is a family-owned farm that offers one of the best ways to explore the countryside landscapes of Arran. Live out your ranger fantasies as you wander the green pasture trails of Arran while riding some of the most well-behaved horses & ponies on Arran.
You can choose to explore the wilderness for up to 2 hours and capture the many beautiful sights and vistas that are only able to be reached while on horseback.
You won’t regret spending some time with friends and family riding through Arran in Scotland when you visit North Sannox Pony Trekking.
One of the more tranquil and secluded beaches on the north-east side of the Island of Arran is Sannox Beach — a perfect place to appreciate the sandy shore, gently rolling waves, and picturesque horizon of the island.
Sannox Beach is easily accessible through a variety of footpaths that lead you to this hidden gem of Arran. Its location allows you and your family to enjoy a private day together away from the sights and sounds of the city.
While visiting the grand Sannox Bay, make some time for the beautiful Sannox Beach as well.
For those who crave a hearty meal on their journey through Arran and Scotland, travel no further than the traditional Stags Pavillion in the heart of Lochranza.
This delectable restaurant venue boasts classic British and Scottish foods like lamb, soups, mussels, and venison. This is paired with a fine selection of local brews and impeccable service, which means you’re likely to make more than one trip to this excellent culinary attraction.
Stags Pavillion is worth going out of your way for, but you’ll likely stop by while visiting the beautiful town of Lochranza, so make a reservation as soon as possible.
As you head out to the west coast of Arran, be sure to stop by King’s Cave. This seafront cave was said to be used as a church in the 18th-century and a refuge for King Robert the Bruce. It’s now one of the highlighted Arran destinations near Blackwaterfoot.
Within the cave’s iron gated entrance you can see a collection of rocks piled to resemble traditional Scottish headstones and hear the amplified crashing waves of the ocean behind you. When the sea level is higher, you can even see seawater slowly flowing into the Cave!
Take a quick detour while on Arran’s west coast and see one of the most fascinating historical sites while visiting the island.
Nothing quite beats the sunset views of Blackwaterfoot Beach, an experience that is heralded as one of the most romantic while you’re on the west coast of Arran in Scotland.
The sandy beaches of Blackwaterfoot offer uncontested views of the ocean and beyond, which acts like a mirror that reflects the setting sun and forms a sun path that urges you to walk down it.
The nearby town of Blackwaterfoot is also a perfect place to stay while visiting Arran, with a tennis club, two hotels, and gorgeous views of the coast!
This beach on the south-west coast of Arran is perfect for couples on holiday who want to spend some time together amidst beautiful landscapes and a peaceful atmosphere.
Sitting snuggly within Lamlash Bay on the south end of Arran, the Holy Isle is a special place to visit while you’re travelling around the island. The holy island prides itself on being the centre for world peace and health, offering a variety of retreats and courses to those who want to set aside some time and regather their lost calm and serenity.
These retreats and courses promote Buddhism, meditation exercises, yoga, and mindfulness, which aim to rebalance the mind, soul, and body in a world that is adept at disrupting them.
You can even experience the wonders found in the Saint Molaise Cave, where the Christian saint was said to be hidden in the 6th-century.
The Holy Island can be visited to take one of their excellent retreats and courses but it’s said that simply visiting the beautiful holy island is enough to calm and reassure you while you’re on holiday.
The staggering Goatfell is the tallest mountain in all of Arran. It is part of a mountain range that dominates the northern half of Arran, towering at nearly a kilometre tall.
For any budding hikers, climbing this summit takes about 2 to 5 hours, so you should set aside an entire morning to do so. Be sure to take short breaks. The views from the top of the summit are sublime and make the hiking and climbing to reach it worth every single step.
You can experience a wide range of wildlife as you climb, from walking amongst red squirrels to sitting amongst the golden eagles as they nest atop the beautiful summit of Goatfell.
The name comes from the Scottish word for Goat Mountains, but there is, unfortunately, no amusing folktale of how a goat fell off these mountains to entertain guests by the fireside.
Nevertheless, Goatfell is one of the most visited destinations in Arran and allows for a view of the entire island once you make the trek up its sides.
Arran Art Gallery
If you fell in love with the Isle of Arran while on holiday, a trip to the Arran Art Gallery is the perfect place to take something home to remember your journey.
The Gallery has a collection of the beautiful moments of Arran put onto canvas by highly talented artists from the Island. Your purchase funds the growth of artistry in Arran and is an excellent cause to support while browsing through the many fine artworks.
Speak to the small friendly team of art appreciators who run the gallery about what you’re looking for and ask just about anything else about the beautiful artwork on display.
The Arran Art Gallery is the perfect way to commemorate your journey through this beautiful south Scottish island.
A perfect outing with the family, the Octopus Visitor Centre found in Lamlash provides the best combination of learning and entertainment your child could ever want.
At the Centre, you can explore the amazing sea life of the Island of Arran, even with the option to touch a number of the flora and smaller fauna in certain exhibits. The Centre also boasts a few cunning octopuses, whose intelligent eyes reveal an otherworldliness.
The Octopus Centre is the perfect location to enjoy with family and friends and offers an opportunity to discover the incredible wildlife hidden in the ocean surrounding the island of Arran in south Scotland.
If you want an expert guiding your route through Arran and the ability to traverse even the rockiest of the terrain that the island has to offer, look no further than the Mogabout. This large offroad vehicle-based tour takes you all over Arran in the most exciting way possible.
The Mogabout tour team is a crew of guides that will give you the hidden knowledge of sights in the north and south of Arran that only a local would know. Learn about the fascinating history, Gaelic culture, and intriguing geology while you summit hills and rugged coastline in their offroad behemoth of a vehicle.
You will likely never get the opportunity to experience north and south Arran quite like you will aboard the Mogabout, so don’t miss your chance.
Arran Outdoor Centre
You can find the amazing Arran Outdoor Centre in Lamlash, North Arran, with its unique and eye-catching built-for-purpose facilities.
The Centre offers incredible ways to experience the outdoors, with hiking trails, abseiling, sailing, canoeing, team-based challenges, and even more exhilarating activities!
You’ll find a supportive community at the Outdoor centre, with experienced people that will guide you every single step of the way through the outdoor activities you will face throughout your time at the outdoor centre.
If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to visit the Arran Outdoor Centre in Lamlash.
Taste of Arran
For premium tasty local produce, look no further than a visit to the Taste of Arran. Savour the finest collection of cheeses, chocolates, cold cuts, and ice cream, all with a local twist.
When you experience the big tastes from this small Scottish island, you’ll no doubt want to take a few samples with you wherever you’re heading next.
The Taste of Arran is part of a collective of shops along with Arran Butcher, Torrylinn Creamery, and more, so you’re always in good hands whether you’re on the north or south side of the island!
The ingredients used in each of the amazing selections that Taste of Arran offers are collected from the island’s produce, livestock, and farms and made passionately by local artisans.
While you’re visiting the Island of Arran, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not seeing and sampling one of the lovely Taste of Arran shops in Scotland. We highly recommend the delectable Torrylinn Creamery!
One of the most popular walking trails on the Isle of Arran is Glen Rosa, a 5-mile loop that takes you through some of the most stunning views of the mountain ranges around Arran, including the towering Goatfell.
You’ll want to carve out an entire morning or evening for this spectacular route since the guided walks can take between two to three hours to traverse. It’s well worth the endeavour as, along with the sights of the trail, you will also see the beautiful Blue Pool & Waterfall, a popular destination to take a swim in after the long trail.
If you’re in the mood for more entrancing walks after Glen Rosa, you should try the hidden Glen Iorsa near Goatfell.
Glen Rosa shows off the natural beauty of the rugged Arran island terrain in a way that you can’t experience anywhere else on the island.
Just above Whiting Bay in south Arran is one of the most fascinating Neolithic cairns known as the Giants’ Graves. These ancient tombs are massive and evoke imagery of slumbering giants laid to rest in their stone beds.
You can admire these bits of south Arran’s ancient history as you explore the woodland forests on marked paths, which give stunning views of Whiting Bay and the natural beauty that Arran offers.
The Giants’ Graves mark a side of history that is rarely seen on the island, along with a mythical twist, and should be one of your must-see destinations while you’re here.
Eas Mor is one of the most dramatic waterfalls you’ll see, dropping from a staggering height into the pool below. This is one attraction that you won’t want to miss while you’re on Arran.
The walking trail up to Eas More (sometimes called Paradise Falls) is easy and perfect for visitors who are more interested in seeing sights rather than being bogged down by travel.
Travelling and seeing the beauty of Paradise Falls is one of the highlights of the natural beauty found on Arran, so make sure to spend some time revelling in these sights.
Kingcross Viking Fort
If you want to immerse yourself in the bygone era of Vikings and conquest, look no further than the Kingcross Viking Fort near Lamlash Bay.
This viewpoint grants amazing views of Lamlash, Whiting Bay, and Holy Isle while offering you an insight into the tactical advantages such a place could’ve given Vikings.
Marked by a burial cairn, the viewpoint also boasts traditional Viking burial mounds and teaches those who come across this hidden gem a little bit about how the Vikings laid claim throughout the Isle of Arran.
This Viking Fort is one of the hidden Island of Arran destinations, so consider yourself one of the lucky few who can experience its magical atmosphere when you visit the Fort.
Rosa Burn Ducks
Near Brodick Castle lies an incredible opportunity to spend some time with the local ducks, geese, red squirrels, and swans of Arran. This attraction is easy to miss, so keep an eye out while you’re in the area for an unforgettable experience.
The ducks populate the ponds and woodlands year-round, with other seasonal visitors like swans and geese appearing at specific parts of the year.
The Rosa Burn Ducks are the perfect attraction to enjoy with children and are sure to brighten up your day for whatever you tackle next!
Whiting Bay Beach
If you’re in the mood for a beach day while vacationing on the small island of Arran, look no further than Whiting Bay Beach. This beautiful sandy beach offers a little something for everyone who visits. Surfing, walking, and swimming are all fantastic ways to spend time here at Bay Beach.
You can stop by and enjoy the expansive shallow bay at one of the cafes near the beach, or bring a picnic basket yourself and have a day out with the whole family. The Bay also offers a look into the wildlife of Arran, such as the beautiful golden eagles.
Whiting Bay Beach is the perfect destination to enjoy the gorgeous sunny days that the island of Arran offers, so don’t miss out on this sublime experience when the sun is out.
Other Things To Do in Scottish Isles
- Things to do in Harris
- Things to do in Isle of Lewis
- Things to do in Isle of Skye
- Things to do in North & South Uist
- Things to do in Portree
- Things to do in Stornoway