Located at the apex of Loch Gilp, Lochgilphead in Scotland is your passage into the Kintyre Peninsula and beyond! This village lies in the Scottish Highlands and is a great place to discover the attractions in the region, among many things to do in Lochgilphead itself.
Lochgilphead, the administrative centre of Argyll and Bute, is an excellent base of operations for exploring the Kintyre Peninsula. You can enjoy the curated selection of facilities like shops, theatres, hotels, and excellent accommodation options like the Stag Hotel or Bank Park. And for people passing through, Lochgilphead has many excellent amenities like petrol stations and convenience stores to stock up!
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Things to do in Lochgilphead
If you plan on staying, the beautifully planned settlement of Lochgilphead has a wide variety of attractions and things to do when you visit.
Lochgilphead sits on a branch of the larger Loch Fyne and hosts many excellent water sports activities. Looking over Loch Gilp, you’ll likely see water skiers, swimmers, sunbathers, and a great range of other activities.
Nearby, you can visit fascinating sites like the Crinan Canal, the Scottish Beaver Trail, and more fantastic locations that show off the bountiful nature of Scotland. Stick with us as we cover the top things to do in Lochgilphead.
Hailed at ‘Britain’s Most Beautiful Shorcut’, the Crinan Canal cuts a path from Crinan to Ardrishaig, Argyll and Bute.
The canal also cuts through Lochgilphead, meaning you can enjoy outstanding boat trips that inform you of the history behind the channel while experiencing the most beautiful views of the Scotland countryside.
This stone fortress has been on top of this particular outcropping since the Iron Age and has even had Gaelic Kings use it as a bastion to defend themselves.
The fortress is worth the hike up to reach, with incredible views out to the Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve and the surrounding area.
The beautiful Killmore Castle is utterly stunning and a great example of 19th-century architecture in this part of the country.
You can enjoy great loop walks around Kilmory Castle, with views of the gorgeous mansion as you explore. The mansion was built by a single eccentric builder, Sir John Powlett Ode, over fifty years, and you too can see this labour of love while in Lochgilphead.
Achnabrek Rock Art
Near Cairnbaan in Argyll and Bute sits the awe-striking Achnabrek Rock Art.
Here you can uncover some of the most amazing Neolithic art that harkens back to ancient Scottish inhabitants. If you want a nature hike with some fascinating art to discover, look no further than a trip to see this fascinating attraction.
Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve
The beautiful heartland of the Moin Mhor National Nature Reserve is one of the most popular places to visit while in Lochgilphead.
There is a wide array of excellent trail routes that take you through extraordinary sights of wildlife and anture. You can see towering trees, mossy hummocks, and shallow pools rising in a peaty dome.
The Achnabreac Forest is part of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, where the original nation of Scotland began to flourish.
A journey through this mysterious woodland will treat you to sightings of ancient runes and marked stones. You’ll also find that the Achnabreac Forest will be one of your favourite tourist hot spots if you love the outdoors, but don’t miss regardless of how long you plan to stay here.
Knapdale Scottish Beaver Trail
Come and meet the Beavers of Knapdale!
In 2009, this area near Lochgilphead was chosen for a unique project – reintroduce a wild beaver population back into western Scotland! These beavers brought initially from Norway have flourished over their 10+ years of inhabitance and are now an excellent attraction near Lochgilphead.
The swing bridge in Lochgilphead is a sight to behold – beautiful architecture and an elegant design.
Nearby, you can enjoy a coffee next to the Crinan Canal as you watch the ships and boats sail past. The Cairnbaan Bridge is a great place to stop by if you have a half hour to spare in between the other sights of Lochgilphead.
Lochgilphead derives its name from the Loch Gilp, which it sits at the head of, but that isn’t the only thing that the loch contributes to this planned town.
There are plenty of outdoor pursuits for you to undertake on the loch’s waters, like jet biking, water skiing, and many more. Loch Gilp is also an excellent place for just a casual beach day or fishing; the choice is yours!
The Egg Shed
The Egg Shed is a new and contemporary take on the many different types of heritage and visitor centres you can see all around Scotland.
Located within the town of Ardishaig, the Egg Shed boasts great exhibits and art galleries all around ‘Britain’s Most Beautiful Shortcut’.
Come and see this beautiful Bronze Age Cairn; it’s one of the most immersive ways to experience Scotland’s distant past.
There are plenty of information boards that tell you the mysterious origins of this burial cairn, although if there is a ceremonial or spiritual purpose, it still remains a mystery. Discoveries are being made at Dunchraigaig even after its reveal, which may lead to parts being closed off on occasion.
Arichonan Clearance Village
The haunting ruins of Arichonan are a great attraction if you’re a lover and mystery and history.
The site has fine views down Caol Scotnish and is an incredible ruin to explore and uncover the reason behind the clearances. To reach the village, you have forest paths that will make travel easy, and it’s worth setting aside a morning to see.
You can visit one of Scotland’s oldest castles, at least on the Mainland, while you’re visiting Lochgilphead – Castle Sween!
The architecture of Castle Sween goes back to the 1100s, which went on to be occupied for over 500 years! From its vantage point, you can also see the nearby Isle of Jura, Loch Sween, and the Inner Hebrides – a view worth climbing for!
The attraction may be closed on occasion, so always make sure to double-check when you next go!
Keills Chapel and Cross are made up of more than 40 individual carved stones, painstakingly made and built into this picturesque building.
One of the most significant attractions at this chapel is the Keills Cross, a free-standing cross that has been on the premises since the year 700!
Lunga Riding Stables
Based on the west coast near Lochgilphead, the Lunga Riding Stables are an incredible way to enjoy the many wondrous tourist attractions here.
You can try a riding lesson to see if horse riding gels with you, or go for a longer trail ride and delve deep into the Scottish Highlands. You can explore mid-Argyll, Bute, Argyll, or the north-east side of the region to a full extent on horseback.