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Visiting the Cowal area
Cowal is well known as the gateway to the Scottish Highlands, and is little over an hour from Glasgow. Take some time out and escape to this idyllic part of Scotland which is a haven for wildlife and outdoor activities, but also has great restaurants, pubs and festivals.

The ferry trip across the Firth of Clyde is a fine introduction to the Cowal Peninsula. To the north the mountains surrounding the sea lochs of Loch Long and Loch Goil provide a stunning backdrop as the ferry arrives at the town of Dunoon, which has a great choice of shopping and eating out. Built around two sheltered bays, and with wonderful views over the water, Dunoon is also the seaboard gateway to the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

For such a small part of Scotland, there is an amazing contrast in the landscape throughout the Peninsula. North Cowal is distinctively rugged and remote, with Loch Eck surely one of the most breathtakingly picturesque stretches of water in Europe. South East Cowal is the home of Cowal’s only major town, Dunoon, the location of amazing historic botanical gardens with a coastline indented with sea lochs and peppered with many lively small communities. South West Cowal is "Argyll’s Secret Coast", a remote and beautiful stretch of Cowal Coastline taking in the spectacular Kyles of Bute and the picturesque town of Tighnabruaich.

It is a great area for outdoor activities, especially sailing, as well as excellent hospitality, yet is less than two hours from the central belt of Scotland.

Visiting Cowal Information
Photo Gallery

Views Around the Cowal
Kyles of bute -Waverley - -Wee Kirk -
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Loch Eck
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Visitor guides
Visit Scotland
Visit Scotland’s guide to the Isle of Bute and the Cowal Peninsula.
Visit Cowal
A great guide to what to see and do in Cowal, including events and festivals.
Visit Glendaruel
Find out about things to do and places to see in Glendaruel, known as ’A Gentler Highlands’.
Western Ferries
Car & passenger ferry operator sailing between Hunter’s Quay, Dunoon and McInroy’s Point, Gourock.
Places to visit
Benmore Gardens
We urge you to visit Benmore when you come on your Argyll holiday. It’s a magnificent woodland garden set in the stunning Cowal Peninsula. Its 140 acres, entered via a Giant Redwood Avenue forming one of the finest entrances to any botanic garden in the world, contain a wide collection of flowering trees and shrubs including over 300 species of rhododendron – quite a sight in summer.
Ardkinglas Woodland Garden
Situated on the shores of Loch Fyne, against a spectacular background of mountain and forest, Ardkinglas House is an architectural treasure. Ardkinglas Woodland Gardens are open all the year round with an outstanding collection of plants and trees, including the tallest tree in Britain. There are several lovely walks throughout the gardens and the wider estate.
Mount Stuart Isle of Bute
Bute is a gem of an island and home to Mount Stuart, the astounding Victorian gothic mansion. The grounds are well worth a walk around too.
Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell. It’s an iconic building and a must on any Argyll holiday.
Inveraray Jail
The jail is a living museum and one of Scotland’s top visitor attractions. Kids love it because actors portray life in a 19th-century prison.
Waverley Paddle Steamer
Step aboard the Waverley, the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world. You can take day, afternoon or evening cruises from a number of Argyll ports.
Castle House Museum
It’s worth taking a look at the Castle House Museum, one of Dunoon’s most historic locations. The gardens are lovely and a great spot to have a picnic.
Things to do
Fyne Ales Brewery and Shop
The Brewery is sitiuated at the head of Loch Fyne on the A83.
There is a shop which offer a range of t-shirts and gifts and OF COURSE the full range of Fyne Ales!
You can now take a tour at our brewery with one of our expert brewers. Located in an old cattle shed, our fantastic range of beers are made in a remarkably tight space requiring lots of planning, organisation and hard work from our brewing team. Great levels of care and attention go into each and every brew with only the best ingredients from around the world used and fresh water straight from the surrounding hills.

With a tour, one of the brewers will take you around the working brewery and show you what it takes to make their multi award winning beers. With every stage of what it takes to turn water, malt, yeast and hops into our unique beers fully explained. At the end of the tour you will get the chance to have a tutored tasting through each of their beers.

With the brewery being very busy, it is best to book ahead so they can arrange a time for one of their brewers to give the tour.
Quad Bike Trek
OK, so it might not be peaceful, but it’s a lot fun. The trails are a combination of forest, farmland and open hillside in Argyll with spectacular views over the lochs.
Tighnabruaich Sailing School
Learn to sail in one of the most beautiful parts of the west coast of Scotland. The Kyles of Bute is perfect for dinghy sailing, with its sheltered waters and stunning views.
Ardentinny Outdoor Centre
At Ardentinny Outdoor Education Centre, thousands of children and young people have had the opportunity to discover that they can achieve much more than they thought. From finding the courage to abseil from steep cliffs to learning how to steer a canoe through the (not so high) waves of Loch Long, such challenges and new things to learn make a visit at our centre an unforgettable experience.
Cowal Golf Club
The Cowal Golf Club course is a James S. Braid designed, 18 hole, 6063 yard mature parkland course laid out above the Firth of Clyde on the Cowal peninsula.
Holy Loch Sailing Club
The club is situated in the village of Sandbank on the east side of the Holy Loch adjacent to Holy Loch Marina, just a couple of miles from Dunoon on the A885.
Portavadie Marina
Situated on Loch Fyne, Portavadie Marina is one of the UK’s most modern marinas, with deepwater, sheltered berthing and stunning purpose-built facilities.
Forestry Commision Scotland
Trails rise above the Firth of Clyde. They start just above Dunoon from Kilbride car park and run all the way along the hills down to Ardyne car park at Toward Point on the tip of the peninsula. You can walk, cycle, pony trek or just dawdle along numerous waymark routes. The views are glorious, the trails rich in wildlife and you can choose a long or short outing.
Holy Loch Marina
Competitive rates for long and short term berthing, storage and handling.
Velvet Path Trekking Centre
Beach and forest rides for experienced riders, riding courses, trail riding and excellent pony trekking for beginners. Specialist in riding for the disabled. TRSS and RDA approved.
Eating and Drinking Out
Portavadie Marina
Make sure your Argyll holiday includes a trip to Portavadie Marina. For award-winning food with panoramic views of Loch Fyne, it’s unbeatable. Fresh, locally sourced produce is the name of the game. It’s a striking building in a striking setting and you’ll get a warm Scottish welcome – kids and all.
Coylet Inn
This 17th-century coaching inn has a stunning location on the banks of Lock Eck. It dishes up delicious home-made food made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Loch Fyne Oyster Bar
No Argyll holiday is complete without a trip to the world-famous Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, with its great food and views at the head of Loch Fyne. You can enjoy seasonal treats from pan-fried salmon with cockles and mussels to local vension in a red wine casserole. The fresh seafood platter is unbeatable.
The Royal an Lochan
This is a fantastic place in Tighnabruaich to relax and unwind. The views over Loch Fyne and down the Kyles of Bute are stunning. Open fires, superb seafood, good wines and malts –– everything that you would expect from a hotel on the west coast of Scotland.
Inver Cottage
Inver Cottage Restaurant and coffee house is a restored croft on the shores of Lachlan Bay, Loch Fyne. It’s the perfect place to unwind and sample some superb cooking based on local produce. Work up an appetite with a quick walk round to the ruined Lachlan Castle.
The Creggans Inn Hotel
We love the Creggans. It’s an historic country inn on the banks of Loch Fyne in Strachur and offers true Scottish hospitality (and not to mention award-winning food, a fabulous wine list and a great selection of whiskies).
Kames Hotel
This is a superb waterside pub and restaurant in Kames, near Tighnabruaich, over looking Loch Fyne. It does great bar snacks, lunches and evening meals, and there’s an al fresco dining area – perfect for a summer’s evening. It also has live music nights.
The Pier, Guest House Bistro and Gallery, Kilmun
It’s been described as a ‘wee, hidden gem’, and we can’t put it better than that: local ingredients, fantastic seafood, top-quality service and an art gallery to boot.
Colintraive Hotel
Splendid lodge style Hotel, formerly a hunting lodge for the Marquis of Bute, the Colintraive Hotel dates back to the 1850’s and now still retains its original character. The hotel is located near the shores of the Kyles of Bute and has magnificent views over to the Island of Bute.
This beautiful Hotel is now under the ownership of Patricia Watt who has fully refurbished the hotel to its former glory. A warm welcome awaits all who visit this lovely area. Families and pets welcome.

Galleries and Artists
Elaine Clark
Elaine is an Argyll artist who works in glass, sculpture and life drawings. Her unique art works are inspired by nature, colour, light, landscape and the human form.

If you would like to find out more about Elaine`s work, or are interested in placing a commission, you can contact her by email at
Blairmore Gallery
Browse the work of some of Scotland’s top artists and enjoy a cup of fair-trade tea or coffee.
Fyne Studios
Also known as ‘The Hidden Gallery’, you’ll find Fyne Studios deep in the Argyll countryside. It’s well worth the effort though. The work is inspired by the wild and rugged Scottish landscape along with the ever changing weather and dramatic lighting that is only seen in the west coast of Scotland.
Johanna Fleming, Design Collection
Scottish-born artist and designer Johanna Fleming roots her prints in the natural world, capturing her unique drawing style that hovers between dream and reality.

Johanna is inspired by the insect world which often features crisp outlines of wispy leaves and velvety flower petals, seductively intertwined with looped vines that trail alongside weightless butterflies gently opening their wings
Cowal Highland Gathering, Dunoon 27th-29th August 2015
The largest and most spectacular Highland Games in Scotland. It’s the home of the Pipe band Championship. The climax of the event sees the 130+ pipe bands get together and salute to the Chieftain. The sight and sound of 2,500 pipers and drummers playing ‘Highland Laddie’ in unison is an unforgettable experience.
Cowalfest, Dunoon and surrounding area - 2nd to 11th October 2015
Walk wild and free with this annual walking and arts festival. It’s a great way to explore this beautiful part of Argyll on foot.
Loch Fyne Food Festival 16/17th May 2015
Here’s your chance to sample the very best of the west – good food, wine and entertainment. All the food featured is from Argyll producers and the ales are supplied by Fyne Ales.
Tighnabruaich Gallery
The small but perfectly formed gallery lies in the heart of Tighnabruaich backing on to the beautiful Kyles of Bute. It specialises in contemporary Scottish artists and hosts a series of exhibitions throughout the year so the walls are constantly changing.
Local Businesses
A local cover band that will get your party jumping.
Waterside Property
Estate agency based in Dunoon
Supplier of products and services to the UK energy efficiency and home safety sectors. Fulfilment, call centre.
Stewart Mcnee Builders
Local builder.
Cowal Building Supplies
Western Ferries
The short crossing from McIlroy’s Point in Gourock to Hunters Quay in Dunoon.
Delicate Essence
Delicate Essence is a busy, family-run Delicatessen located at the Dunoon Golf Club.
Fyne Photography
Specialising in landscapes, flower-portraits and weddings. Also one-to-one tuition for budding camera enthusiasts.
Fyne Ales Scotland
Local ales brewed at the head of Loch Fyne. Visit the brewery shop to learn more about our quality local beers.
Tents and Events
Marquee hire and event support.
Here We Are
A community development resource.

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