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Isle of Arran

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===By thumb===
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Thanks to the scarcity of bus services in many areas of the island, hitchhiking is a good way of getting around. The road that runs round the perimeter of the island is a good source of cars for hitchhiking. Locals ranging from grandmothers to transit van drivers will try and squeeze you in, and are a great source of information and conversation to boot. Even the police on the island will gladly give you a lift (provided they're not busy), so don't be afraid to thumb anything that passes by. There are only a few roads around the island, making hitchhiking from one village to another simple. Be aware that in inclement weather cars may be few and far between.
Thanks to the scarcity of bus services in many areas of the island, and total lack of public transport on the Ross Road, hitchhiking is a good way of getting around. The road that runs round the perimeter of the island is a good source of cars for hitchhiking. Locals ranging from grandmothers to van drivers will try and squeeze you in, and are a great source of information and conversation to boot. Even the police on the island will gladly give you a lift (provided they're not busy), so don't be afraid to thumb anything that passes by. There are only a few roads around the island, making hitchhiking from one village to another simple. Be aware that in inclement weather cars may be few and far between.

Revision as of 14:11, 10 July 2013

For other places with the same name, see Aran (disambiguation).
Brodick bay with Goatfell in the distance

The Isle of Arran is situated in south-western Scotland, in the Firth of Clyde near Glasgow. Measuring approximately 167 square miles (433 km2) in area, it has a population of approximately 5,000. Arran is the seventh largest island in Scotland, but is not technically one of the Hebrides, being the one of the southernmost of the Scottish islands. Widely referred to as 'Scotland in Miniature', Arran offers visitors a compact and easily accessible island that mimics the geology of mainland Scotland, with a sparsely populated and mountainous northern half and a flatter, more populous southern half. Located close to Glasgow and Scotland's Ayrshire coast, Arran is a popular and easily accessible tourist destination.


Map of the Isle of Arran
  • Lamlash is Arran's main population centre. The only high school on the island is located here, and it is also the location of the island's hospital and council offices. The boat to Holy Island departs from Lamlash.
  • Brodick is another large settlement and is the island's principal point of entry, with multiple daily ferry sailings to and from Ardrossan on the mainland. Outside the ferry terminal is the bus station. Nearly all bus services on the island terminate here, to interchange with each other and to link with the ferry. The village has a couple of supermarkets and a number of other shops, plus a variety of accomodation and restaurants.
  • Blackwaterfoot is the largest village on the west coast of the island. Has a hotel and B&B, a pub serving real ale, a tiny harbour and a garage with the only petrol station north of the String Road.
  • Kilmory is a small village on the south coast. It has a village hall with regular farmers markets and a bunkhouse. Accessible via the Dyemill forest cycle track from Lamlash & Whiting Bay.
  • Lochranza is the main settlement in the north of the island, and is the terminal for the "other" ferry to the mainland, from Claonaig. Lochranza Bay and Castle feature in probably the most famous "picture postcard" view of Arran. It's common to see deer coming down to the water in the evenings.
  • Catacol in the north of the island is a small hamlet famous for the Catacol Bay Hotel. You can also look at (but not go inside) the Twelve Apostles, which is a unique row of terraced houses.
  • Pirnmill is a quiet village with one of the best beaches on the island.
  • Whiting Bay is a nice-looking village south of Brodick with a large white sand beach. It has a putting green and bowling green and three well stocked groceries shops (Village Shop, Bay Stores and Kirkend Nurseries, the latter growing its own fruit and vegetables). There are a variety of other amenities, including galleries, DIY shops, two petrol stations, a furniture and carpet shop and a massage and reiki treatment business. There are several places to eat here too.
  • Corrie is a picturesque village situated five miles north of Brodick, strung out along the coast for about a mile. One of the routes up Goat Fell starts from here.
  • Machrie is a small hamlet on the west coast of the island, best known for the stone circles at nearby Machrie Moor and Auchagallon.

Other destinations

View of Holy Isle across Brodick bay from Goat Fell

Holy Island (known locally as the Holy Isle)

The sole inhabitants of Holy Island are Buddhist monks, who moved in after a vision of the Virgin Mary persuaded the previous owners to sell it to them. During the summer tourist season, a boat takes visitors roughly every hour from 10AM to 5PM, though the monastery itself is not accessible to the public as it is used as a place of retreat (Monks stay there for 4 years). The walk up the backbone of the island offers beautiful views of Lamlash and the Scottish mainland.


The Isle of Arran is often described as 'Scotland in Miniature', offering the scenery of the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands on one Island, in the North and South respectively.

The northern part of the island is a National Scenic Area, it is easy to understand why!

Arran is known for its high proportion of ethnically-English residents, many of whom are retirees. As a result, Whiting Bay is often known, tongue-in-cheek, as 'Little Yorkshire.'

Note that if the ferry is not running, the shops will not get any newspapers until the ferry starts running again. The local shop assistants have been known to get annoyed by people asking if they have any newspapers before they even arrive onto the island.

Get in

By boat

The only practical way to reach Arran is by using one of the two ferry services operated by Caledonian MacBrayne [8]. The ferries run between:

Ardrossan (mainland) - Brodick (Arran)

Name: MV Caledonian Isles and MV Isle of Arran
Facilities on Board: Toilets, children's play area, observation lounge, tourist information desk, disabled access, bar, coffee bar, restaurant, gift shop (combined coffee bar/gift shop/bar on MV Isle of Arran)
Vehicle capacity: MV Caledonian Isles 120 cars; MV Isle of Arran 76 cars (other vehicles can be accommodated) N.B. It is prudent to book in advance
Passenger capacity: MV Caledonian Isles 1000; MV Isle of Arran 448
Duration of Trip: 55 minutes
Runs all year: MV Caledonian Isles - Yes; MV Isle of Arran - May to September only
Train link mainland: MV Caledonian Isles Yes; MV Isle of Arran most sailings, all services run to Glasgow Central. Note that the ferry waits for the train, but the train does not wait for the ferry if it is running late

Single fares cost around £6.50 in the summer and £5 in the winter, with a return being double that. Saver returns, which are only valid for 5 days, are available and cheaper than a normal return.

From the 28th of May onwards, the MV Isle of Arran will operate from Ardrossan to Campbeltown once per day, three days a week, with the Saturday sailing from Campbeltown to Ardrossan stopping in Brodick en route [9].

Claonaig (mainland) - Lochranza (Arran)

Name: MV Loch Tarbert
Facilities on Board: toilets, small passenger lounge
Vehicle capacity: 18 cars (other vehicles can be accommodated)
Passenger capacity: 150
Duration of Trip: 30 minutes
Runs all year: March - October only
Trainlink mainland: No

Prices on the Claonaig - Lochranza ferry are slightly lower than on the Ardrossan - Brodick ferry, but it is not worth it if you are coming up from the south owing to the long distances involved.

Be warned that services can be cancelled or diverted due to bad weather - the 0700 ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick is frequently cancelled in the winter months owing to the ferry having to dock in Brodick for the previous night.

Reduced services run on Sundays and ouside the summer season. Between the end of March and the end October, there is an extra Friday evening ferry between Ardrossan and Brodick which does not run for the rest of the week.

Between the end of October and the end of March, a ferry runs once a day between Lochranza and Tarbert. Passengers and cars MUST book in advance for this ferry. Pick up a timetable or go to the Calmac website for further details.

The paddle steamer Waverley [10] also calls at the island 3 times per week from June to September. Services run from Ayr, Largs, Glasgow and other places, check the website for further details.

In addition to the above ferries, Arran Power and Sail[11] run two services using RIB powerboats;

  • Largs to Brodick; £30 each way
  • Glasgow to Brodick; £60 each way

They also operate all the way to Ardrossan on request; see the website for further details.

By plane

The nearest airports to Arran are Glasgow Prestwick[12] and Glasgow International[13] on the mainland. Prestwick is situated 32 miles to the south of Glasgow, International is 15 miles west of the city. From Prestwick you can travel by train to Kilwinning (en route to Glasgow Central) and change for Ardrossan Harbour and ferries to Brodick. Alternatively bus 585 (operated by Stagecoach Western) travels directly from the airport to Ardrossan Princes Street, a short walk from the ferry terminal. Taxis from Prestwick Airport to Ardrossan Harbour are also available for about £15. From Glasgow International a bus operates to Paisley Gilmour Street railway station, for rail connections to Ardrossan Harbour.

By bus

To Ardrossan

Stagecoach Western
  • The number 11 bus from Kilmarnock runs frequently Monday to Saturday and every 20 minutes on Sunday.
  • The 'Clyde Coast' 585 service runs from Ayr and Glasgow Prestwick International Airport in the south and Greenock, Weymss Bay (for the Isle of Bute) and Largs (for Cumbrae) in the north every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 2 hours on Sunday.
  • The X36 express bus runs from Glasgow every hour Monday to Saturday and every 2 to 4 hours on Sunday. Most services terminate on nearby Princes Street, however two services per day Monday-Saturday run through to the ferry terminal - check the timetable for details.

Timetables for the above services can be found here [14].

Other operators
  • JAS Transport [15] operate the number 50 bus from Largs to Ardrossan up to 6 times per day.

To Claonaig

Tarbert and Tarbet
On the 926 bus service from Glasgow to Campbeltown, there are two stops called Tarbert and Tarbet, which is next to Loch Lomond. If you don't make it clear to the driver of the bus, you could be 50 miles away from your destination before you know it!

  • West Coast Motors [16] operate the 448 bus from Lochgilphead and/or Tarbert to Skipness via Kennacraig (for Islay) and Claonaig (for the Lochranza ferry) three times per day Monday to Saturday, check the website for further details. Most buses connect with ferries to Arran. Bicycles are also conveyed on the bus for free.
  • Scottish Citylink/West Coast Motors operate the 926 service from Glasgow to Campbeltown up to five times a day, but only 1 service connects with a bus heading for Claonaig, see the West Coast Motors website for more information. Get off the bus at Tarbert or Kennacraig and get on the 448 bus as mentioned above to Claonaig. Note that buses are in West Coast Motors livery.
  • West Coast Motors operate the 423 bus from Oban to Lochgilphead, at least one of which per day offers sufficiant connection time to get to the 448 bus in Lochgilphead. The service runs Monday to Saturday. Check the WCM website for more details.

By train

From Glasgow

Trains [17] run direct from Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Harbour several times a day. Many, but not all, services running to Ardrossan Harbour are timed to connect with CalMac [18] ferries to Brodick. Both the train and ferry can be delayed if the other is late running. Combined train/ferry tickets to Glasgow can also be bought at the ferry terminal in Brodick, and combined tickets to Brodick can be bought from any railway station or on the train. Note that the 1650 train from Glasgow splits at Ardrossan South Beach, so you will have to be in the front 3 cars of the train: pay close attention to departure screens before boarding the train.

From Ayr and Prestwick Airport

Trains run frequently from Ayr and Prestwick Airport to Kilwinning, where you can get on another train to Ardrossan. A few trains per day also come from Stranraer (for Northern Ireland).

By car

There is no bridge link to Arran and you must take the ferry, however both CalMac ferries carry cars (as well as vans, trucks, buses, bikes...), and the paddle steamer Waverley can also carry bicycles. Note there is an extensive long term car park at Ardrossan Harbour, and there is also a small car park in Claonaig. Also note that there is no LPG on the island either.

Get around

By car

There are three main roads on the island: the main road that runs around the coast (known as the A841 between Lochranza-Brodick-Whiting Bay and the C147 between Lochranza-Blackwaterfoot-Kildonan-Whiting Bay), the 'String Road' that runs from Brodick to Blackwaterfoot (the B880) and the Ross Road that runs from Lamlash to a point between Kilmory/Lagg and Sliddery.

The latter is mainly a narrow single track road with passing places and not on a standard to allow larger motorhomes on it. As the name suggests, passing places exist solely to allow oncoming vehicles to pass. The normal protocol is that the car closest to the next passing place must stop and give way to the oncoming vehicle. They are not for parking in. If you want to stop to take photographs, use a designated layby or parking spot. Use discretion in the winter as the road can become impassable due to snow and ice.

Do not impede the progress of a car following closely behind or appears to be driven aggressively - it could well be a doctor, first responder or a lifeboat worker trying to get to an emergency. Remember you are on holiday, but the locals are working and have a far greater knowledge of the roads than you. Always slow down and signal left, or pull into the next available passing place, to allow faster vehicles to pass if it is safe to do so.

Maps are widely available all over the island if you have not got your own.

Petrol stations are available in Brodick, Lamlash, Whiting Bay and Blackwaterfoot. Fuel is hideously expensive on Arran - it can be as much as 15p-20p per litre more than on the mainland. If you are planning to be on the island for any more than a couple of days, it pays to fill up before leaving the mainland.

Bear in mind that there is an advisory speed limit of 30mph between Brodick and Lochranza - the road is narrow and there have been some fatalities on this road in the recent past.

Car hire is also available from the petrol station at the ferry terminal in Brodick. Cars cost from £25 per day, and range in size from a two-seater Smart to a seven-seater Vauxhall Zafira. Tel: 01770 302121. Cars are also available from Blackwaterfoot Garage with similar conditions. Tel 01770 860 277.

By bus

You don't need a car or bike to explore Arran, with an extensive and fairly reliable bus service covering most of the island (however, be warned that the bus windows can sometimes be filthy and impede your view). Services are operated by Stagecoach Western [19], although because of the local authority area it's not unusual to see bus stops and timetables carrying the logo of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) [20], who oversee and subsidise public transport on Arran. A single day 'Rover' ticket costs £5.40, although beware that fares and timetables change with the seasons.

A full timetable can be found online [21] and printed timetables are available on all buses, on board the ferries, at the ferry terminals and from most of the convenience stores. The services are:

  • 321 Brodick - Corriegills (service only runs once per day on schooldays only)
  • 322 Brodick - String Road - Blackwaterfoot
  • 323 Brodick - Lamlash - Whiting Bay (- Lagg - Blackwaterfoot)
  • 324 Brodick - Lochranza - Blackwaterfoot
  • 324/322 North Island Circle
  • 323/322 South Island Circle
  • 324/323 Island Circles
  • The Open Top Castle Bus (Whiting Bay - Lamlash - Brodick - Brodick Castle)

Most buses connect in Brodick with the CalMac [22] ferry to Ardrossan. Check timetable notes carefully, as some late evening buses only run on Fridays during the summer. Few buses run after 7PM.

Note that many of the 323 services on Mondays to Saturdays and some on Sundays terminate at Whiting Bay. Check the timetable for details.

Be advised that some services are not very frequent - other than the 323 services terminating in Whiting Bay, the buses tend to operate every three hours or so. Check the timetable carefully, especially if you need to make a vital connection.

All buses on Arran are 'Hail and Ride' - you can flag down the bus anywhere where there is not a bus stop.

The Castle Bus only runs Sunday-Thursday during the summer holidays, and then weekends until the end of October. The Castle is also served by the 324 bus - albeit it does not run into the grounds of the castle itself. Timetables are available locally and on board the Caledonian Isles.

By tour bus

Stagecoach operate Island Tours that run Mon-Fri only from June to August. They connect with the 09:45 ferry from Ardrossan, and a full day tour connects with the 16:40 ferry back. You can also get a half day tour that gets back to Brodick for the 13:50 ferry back, but you do not get to see the north of the island. Timetables are available on the Caledonian Isles and from Brodick Ferry Terminal.

A new company, Mogabout [23], operate tours to the more remote parts of Arran using a converted Unimog. Details can be found on their website.

By motorcycle

Arran is an adrenaline junkie's paradise when it comes to motorcycles! The roads are narrow, heavilly potholed (so much that Arran is the 'pothole capital' of the UK!) and often you come across 40 ton logging trucks! And after all that, the rewards are magnificant, with breathtaking views during the sunshine! As an added bonus, a motorcycle can be brought over to Arran for half the cost of a car! Even though the roads are "goin' tae pot", it's still a very big adventure for even the seasoned motorcyclist!

By bicycle

Hiring a bike is recommended to travel some routes, such as the Ross, that the bus doesn't take. In Brodick, bike hire is available from the Boathouse and Arran Power and Sail on the shore and Arran Adventures next to the Auchrannie. In Blackwaterfoot you can no longer hire a bike from the Kinloch Sports Club. Cycling over the Machrie Moor Road from the String Road to Machrie on a calm, sunny day is not to be missed...

Be extra careful when cycling on the narrow Brodick-Corrie road as there have been some fatalities there in the recent past.

By taxi

Taxi services cover the entire island and you may find that booking ahead is a good idea as they get very busy in peak season. If you are travelling alone it is best to ask for a quote when booking, as prices can be very steep depending on where you want to go - it is actually cheaper to rent a car than get a return taxi fare from Brodick to Lochranza.

By thumb

Thanks to the scarcity of bus services in many areas of the island, and total lack of public transport on the Ross Road, hitchhiking is a good way of getting around. The road that runs round the perimeter of the island is a good source of cars for hitchhiking. Locals ranging from grandmothers to van drivers will try and squeeze you in, and are a great source of information and conversation to boot. Even the police on the island will gladly give you a lift (provided they're not busy), so don't be afraid to thumb anything that passes by. There are only a few roads around the island, making hitchhiking from one village to another simple. Be aware that in inclement weather cars may be few and far between.


  • Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park [24] is undoubtedly Arran's proudest and most photogenic historic building, and is open to the public seven days a week, although due to constrained finances only (slightly more expensive) guided tours are available inside the castle on Fridays and Saturdays - however these include excellent histories and details from knowledgeable docents. Opening hours - Castle: 1 Apr to 31 Oct, Sun-Thurs 11–4.00 (closes 3.00 in Oct); Country Park: all year, daily 9.30–sunset; Reception Centre, Shop and Walled Garden: 1 Apr to 31 Oct, daily 10–4.30, 1 Nov to 21 Dec, Fri/Sat/Sun 10–3.30. A Brodick Castle Day Out ticket is available from any ScotRail staffed station within Strathclyde or ScotRail Telesales. This ticket includes: Return rail travel from any Strathclyde rail station to Ardrossan Harbour, return ferry travel to Arran, return bus connection with Stagecoach Western from Brodick Pier to Brodick Castle and admission to Brodick Castle.
  • Arran Brewery, Brodick - located at the base of the footpath towards Goat Fell. There is an independent restaurant facing you in the main driveway, but walk around the corner to the Brewery itself for some generous free beer tasting and the opportunity of buying 8 pint jerry cans of some excellent real ale! Although not technically holding a licence, you can get away with drinking on the adjacent picnic tables.
  • Distillery at Lochranza
  • Visit the Clan Horse Arran farm park [25]
  • Lochranza Castle is partially ruined and the interior is accessible, its setting beside the sea in Lochranza is quite stunning. The castle gate key may be attained at the local village hall if the gate is locked.
  • There are great rock formations and a lighthouse at Kildonan
  • Ailsa Craig is an island a good few miles from Arran and can be seen from the south end of the island (e.g Kildonan), however, the only way to get there is on an organised trip from the Ayrshire mainland or Campbeltown.
  • Seals are often visible in the sea around Arran
  • The fairies in the garden on Holy Isle
  • Standing stones, stone circles and cairns are grave markers (some very large) dotted all over the island. An Ordnance Survey map (Landranger 69 or for more detail Explorer 361) will help you locate them. The best-known are at Machrie Moor, near the village of Machrie. It will take you 20 minutes or so by foot through sheep pastures to reach the large circle of standing stones, so appropriate footwear is advisable.
  • Golden Eagles can be seen over the mountainous north of the island, as well as diving birds around the coast, hen harriers towards the south, ravens widespread, many deer throughout the island and even red squirrels can be occasionally sighted. Many 'migrating birds have been reported between the seasons, including waxwings and crossbills. Some more nnorthern birds have also been known to become windswept southwards, for example the white-tailed sea eagle and long-tailed skuas.
  • Torrylinn Creamery, Kilmory, 01770 870240, [1]. 10AM - 4PM. Cheese shop/viewing gallery/picnic area. Traditional cheese making (Dunlop Cheddar) using 100% Arran milk, since 1947.
  • Island Cheese Company, Home Farm, Brodick, Isle of Arran, KA27 8DD, 01770 302788, [2]. Visit the shop at Duchess Court or order Arran hampers online.
  • Corrie Caves - approx 2/3 into the village, can be accessed from the Shore Road, and is best visited as part of a steep trek to the top of the hill. There is even an old, rusty car in one of them! Note that parking is very limited.


  • Kildonan and Pirnmill are generally regarded as the best beaches on the island
  • Cleat's Shore is Scotland's only officially designated naturist beach (there are only 11 in the whole of the UK). Unlike all the other official naturist beaches, don't expect to actually see anyone else at all, nudist or otherwise!
  • Lamlash - mostly stony, however there are several sandy stretches
  • Brodick - the best beach is situated on the west side of the town, the other beaches nearer the ferry terminal are nearly all rocks


  • Hands on Hawking, Lamlash, 01770600544. A range of falconry related activities for those who would like to get a little closer to birds of prey.
  • Guided Geology Walk - Local guiding service Operates out of Lochranza all year round


  • Arran is a very popular destination for walking. The breadth of terrain and scenery offers a great variety of different types of walking within a small area.
    • Goat Fell is the highest mountain on the island, and can be climbed from Brodick. Recommend tackling in the morning; it can be achieved in half a day. On clear day the views from the top are fantastic, including the Ayrshire and Galloway coasts, Kintyre, other islands including Jura, Bute, Islay and Ailsa Craig, and the coast of Ireland. Fit day-trippers could make it to the summit and back down to the ferry in a day. Its all walkable, with some light scrambling near the summit.
    • The Corrie route up Goatfell is steeper and passes some lovely waterfalls. It's possible to use the bus to get to Corrie and use this route to the summit, then continue over the summit to descend into Brodick.
    • Glencloy, near Brodick has some great scenic walks
    • A number of walks start from Whiting Bay: the "Giants Grave" (1.5 mile round trip), the "Glenashdale Falls" (7 mile round trip) and round "Kings Cross Point" (3 miles round trip).
    • Clauchlands Point is about 3 km from the centre of Lamlash. Simply follow the coast to the north-east. If you have a car, you can actually park less than 1km from the point. Good view of Holy Island and the Scottish mainland and sometimes passing nuclear submarines on their way to and from their base on the Clyde. It's quite common to see seals relaxing on the rocks and there is a large amount of bird life. Shrimps can be gathered in the rock pools at low tide. You can also explore the abandoned boom defence signal station from World War II.
  • Golf at one of the islands many courses
    • Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club [26], Blackwaterfoot. 12 hole course - beautiful scenery. Ranked 99th in the World's Top 100 Golf Courses.
    • Machrie Bay Golf Course and Tearoom [27], Machrie - some of the best snacks and drinks around! Also good for a game of golf
    • Lochranza 18 Hole Golf Course [28]- Normally open from April until mid October each year
    • Whiting Bay Golf Club. 18 holes, Starter box with changing room, Clubhouse with Restaurant and Bar. Snooker Table in its own room.
    • There is a mini-golf course and a crazy golf course in Brodick.
  • Bowling Greens, Lamlash and Brodick - Visitors are welcome to these seasonal facilities, you are asked to wear flat shoes. There is normally someone on hand to show you how to play if you've never tried before. The greens are only open in good weather to avoid wear. £3 per adult £1.50 for concessions.
  • Pony Trekking is available in Blackwaterfoot and North Sannox.
  • Sea Fishing Trips, Lamlash - limited places available so a very good idea to book ahead at the caravan on Lamlash Pier
  • Go for a swim at the Auchrannie (Brodick) or the Kinloch (Blackwaterfoot). The minimum ages to swim solo are 12 at the Auchrannie and 17 at the Kinloch
  • Quad biking at Balmichael Visitor Centre - by trek.
  • Helicopter rides, also at Balmichael
  • Boat hire, Lamlash - £20 for a 4 person boat for 2 hours, £30 for a 6 person boat for 2 hours. Fishing rods are also available for hire. The views from the centre of Lamlash Bay are well worth the money


  • Arran Folk Festival, Various locations around the island, [3]. Annual event which has been running since 1990. This popular, well-run festival takes place in the first week of June and attracts some of the biggest names in the Scottish folk music scene, as well as showcasing local artists.
  • Mobile Cinema - the 'Screen Machine', a traveling cinema in the back of an articulated lorry that tours the Scottish islands parks up outside the Auchrannie Resort in Brodick once a month.
  • The Balmichael Visitor Centre [29] is a 4 star visitor attraction, but most of the stores are currently closed at the present time. More information can be found on the website.
  • Take the ferry from Lamlash to Holy Isle. See the wild ponies, goats, seals. Have tea with a Buddhist monk.
  • Pottery Workshop, Kilmory


As a major tourist destination, there are many good eateries on the island:

  • eighteen69, Auchrannie Hotel, Brodick [30]- fine dining in casual atmosphere; 2 AA Rossettes. Expect to pay £50 for a 3 course meal! Dress code: smart casual.
  • Brambles Brasserie, Auchrannie Hotel, Brodick [31]- top quality casual dining, excellent food.
  • Creelers of Arran [32] - seafood resteraunt and shop at Duchess Court Shops. Very Pricey!!
  • The Brodick Bar - Extensive selection on the blackboard Monday - Saturday, Also Very Pricey!!
  • Lochranza Hotel[33] Offers good value home cooked food using the best of local produce, snacks, teas, coffees etc. Phone 01770 830223 for further details.
  • Lamlash Bay Hotel, Lamlash [34] - newly opened hotel and restaurant. It also has a unique pizza bar. Open 7 days.
  • The Distillery, Lochranza [35] - offers good meals and, of course, whisky!
  • Catacol Bay Hotel [36]- extensive food list with many local dishes, decent prices, the best service around. See the Catacol section.
  • The Ormidale in Brodick - another extensive selection of food.
  • The Lighthouse Tearoom, Pirnmill - offers excellent food. People come from all over the island just to eat here! Try a world famous meringue as well!
  • Machrie Bay Tearoom - excellent meals, especially the venison burgers!
  • Old Byre Cafe, Machrie - at the Showroom. Serves excellent burgers, chips and drinks.
  • The Glenisle Hotel, Lamlash - New chef in bistro style restaurant. Daily specials
  • Shanghai Chinese Takeaway, Brodick - the only Chinese takeaway on the island. Opposite the small Co-op and open everyday from 4PM to 10-11PM
  • The Coffee Pot, Whiting Bay - snacks and very good light meals - good service, reasonably priced.
  • Hooked and Cooked, Brodick - the fish and chip shop opposite the ferry terminal. Open daily. Expect to wait for ages to get a fish!
  • The Sandwich Station, Lochranza - offers excellent freshly made sandwiches, snacks and drinks. Outside the ferry terminal.
  • Stags Pavilion (Lochranza). Breakfasts Lunch and evening Meals, all homemade, open 7 days. BYOB!
  • Coast Café Bistro, Whiting Bay, 01770 700 308. Excellent bistro menu, featuring local produce. Vegetarians well catered for. Delicious chilli.


At least one Pub is in most Villages, some have two or more.

  • Lochranza Hotel[37] Bar has a enviable selection of Scotch whisky. Off Sales available. Home of Eason Biorach single malt whisky.

The Catacol Bay Hotel has one of the best range of drinks on the island. Nothing too expensive, but it has one of the best atmospheres around

Cruize Bar [38] at the Auchrannie Spa Resort offers a good range of drinks (also serves good food), open 7 days, comfortable surroundings and occasional party nights.

Another at the Ormidale Hotel, Brodick. It has a nice atmosphere (upper part is in former glasshouse), pub quizzes and the most insanley tiled toilet block in the world.

There is also a pub with real ale at the Blackwaterfoot Lodge.


Prices of goods tend to be higher than on the mainland, with the exception of most of the goods sold at the big Co-op supermarket in Brodick.

Although the more touristy establishments and the supermarkets will accept cards, some of the smaller businesses impose charges and/or restrictions on low value transactions (typically a minimum spend of £5 or £10) or not accept cards at all. There are few ATMs on the island - with the exception of the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland in Brodick, they are all located within shops so don’t rely on them being available when you want them. Other than the ones at the banks and the big Co-op in Brodick, the ATMs will charge withdrawal fees.

Food and Groceries

  • Arran is home to three Co-op supermarkets - a big one in Brodick and two small ones in Brodick and Lamlash.
  • Whiting Bay is home to two local grocery stores - one at the 'Gulf' petrol station and one in the village centre. The one in the village centre also has hot food for sale and a well-stocked delicatessen.
  • The excellent Kirkend Nurseries just outside Whiting Bay sells exotic and hard-to-get food as well as over 30 different types of old-fashioned sweets in addition to plants.
  • Blackwaterfoot has a local grocery store that is open daily (only open 9AM until 1PM on Wednesday)
  • Kinloch Hotel Bakery, Blackwaterfoot - a fantastic bakery that also sells pizzas. Not open on Wednesday and Sunday.
  • Pirnmill Village Store - the only proper village shop between Brodick and Blackwaterfoot if you are coming via the North of the Island.
  • Contrary to older guidebooks, there are no other proper grocery stores anywhere else on the island other than the above places. However, basic provisions such as bread, milk and tinned food can be obtained from the Kildonan Hotel, and from the campsite and the Sandwich Station in Lochranza. As an alternative, there is a Farmers Market in Brodick on Auchrannie Road every Friday.

Arts and Crafts

  • Old Byre Showroom, Machrie - great souvenirs can be bought here. A cafe opened here recently, serving some of the best burgers and other meaty meals on the island! They also own the Sheepskin Shop in Brodick
  • Craft shop, Corrie - in the centre of the village.
  • The Whins, Lochranza - a fantastic little shop that makes and sells the famous 'Arran Stonemen.' Located on the side of the hill on the north side of the bay. Quite a long but interesting walk from the main part of the village, you are likely to meet sheep and maybe deer on the way.
  • Brodick Farmers Market - every Friday on Auchrannie Road from 0800 to 1800.


  • Shop at Arran Adventure Centre at the entrance of the Auchrannie Resort offering guided activities such as climbing, kayaking and mountainbiking- weather forecasts posted everyday
  • ArCaS charity shop - outside the Ferry Terminal in Brodick
  • Jolly Molly - gift shop in Brodick [39]


Camping at Kildonan, with Pladda Isle and Ailsa Craig visible in the distance

Camping, Hostels, Bunkhouses

  • Lochranza Youth Hostel [40]- Now re-opened following a major refurbishment, it is rated as a 4 star hostel by Visit Scotland and remains the only youth hostel on the island. The hostel has 13 rooms, 6 of which are en-suite. Furnishings are very new and very modern, including a large self catering kitchen, 2 dining rooms and 2 guest lounges. Internet access, laundry facilities, a drying room and cycle storage are available. During Scottish holiday periods it becomes fully booked early, so if you wish to stay, plan in advance. If you wish to visit during the winter period they are open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
  • Corrie Croft Bunkhouse [41] - has 28 beds. From £14pppn
  • Kilmory bunk house (self catering accommodation).
  • Dormitory and private accommodation is available on the Holy Isle [42].
  • Campsite with 18 Hole Golf Course, Lochranza [43]- Normally open from April until mid October each year
  • Seal Shore Camping & Touring, Kildonan, Isle of Arran, KA27 8SE (About 12 miles south of Brodick. Follow the main road through Lamlash and Whiting Bay. As you get to the south coast of the island, look out for signs for Kildonan to the left from the main road), +44-1770-820320 (), [4]. Lovely site with its own private beach. The name is not a misnomer as you can regularly see seals playing offshore and sometimes hauling out to bask on the rocks. The site has a small shop where the site owner (a registered fisherman) sells his catch, and a few basic grocery items. There's a hotel with public bar close by. Decent purpose-built toilet/shower block, laundry facilities, and a covered BBQ area for when the weather isn't so good. As well as the campsite there's also a bunkhouse.
  • Middletons Campsite [44] - located at Cordon (Lamlash). Good facilites, but VERY midgey at times!
  • Glen Rosa [45] - a quaint campsite with excellent views located a few miles up a paved cart track. Follow signs for Blackwaterfoot (B880) when leaving Brodick and the turn off for Glen Rosa is located on the B880 after the B880/A841 junction. No caravans/motorhomes allowed, but you can make campfires and bring pets. Part of the campsite is prone to flooding. £4 per night.
  • In addition, there are many quiet places where you can wild camp, legal thanks to the 'Right to Access' laws.


  • Auchrannie Resort [46] in Brodick offers 3 types of accommodation - 5* Luxury self catering lodges, 4* traditional country house hotel and 4* modern spa resort - excellent range of on-site services including 2 swimming pools and extensive health and lesiure facilities.
  • Lochranza Hotel[47] offers varied accommodation all ensuite. The on-site Bar has a enviable selection of Scotch whisky offers good value home cooked bar food, snacks, teas, coffees etc. Phone 01770 830223 for further details.
  • Catacol Bay Hotel [48], Catacol. Accommodation prices starting at £20 per person per night during the low season (October to March). This hotel is particularly convenient if you are travelling to/from the north of Scotland, as the hotel is close to the Lochranza ferry terminal. There is also a Sunday Buffet here as well. The hotel also has a free courtesy bus service to Pirnmill and Lochranza for 2 people or more, so you can get the first ferry from Lochranza easily if you haven't got a car or if you don't want to get up at 6am to catch the bus.
  • Best Western Kinloch Hotel [49], Blackwaterfoot. With (rather chilly) indoor swimming pool and great food. 2 Bars.
  • Corrie Hotel - good accommodation, with a friendly bar which is also open to non-residents.

Self Catering

  • Jenny & Keith at Seacliffe Cottage, Dippen (not far from Whiting Bay), [5]. A lovely cottage with sea views open all year round.
  • Inverkeilor Holiday Cottage, Manse Road, Brodick (300 metres from the beach), [6]. A secluded cottage with private garden right in the heart of Brodick, available all year round.
  • Firth Cottage, Shannochie, KA27 8SJ(On the coast, close to Kildonan), [7]. Firth Cottage is a charmingly restored early 19th century building with stunning panoramic views of the Ayrshire coast, Ailsa Craig and Mull of Kintyre.

Stay safe

Arran is very safe and is largely free of serious crime, and the police presence on the island is relatively sparse. Most crime on the island is of the petty variety; word spreads fast about any form of crime which has taken place. Police presence increases during summer season, usually to patrol the island's roads which are prone to accidents by inexperienced visiting drivers.

Wild animals, such as deer, sheep and pheasants, may suddenly appear on the road in front of you whilst driving. This is especially true between Sannox and Lochranza. Be wary of this hazard, especially at night.

When out rambling or walking on the hills the rules are the same as on the mainland - always inform someone (preferably the police or mountain rescue) of your planned route and what time you are expected to return - and don't forget to inform them of your safe return. Mobile phone reception is patchy in some areas, especially in Brodick and Lamlash. Vodafone, Orange/T-Mobile and O2 have the best coverage.

If you intend to ramble on the hills between July 1 and October 20, you might want to consider using the Hill Phones service [50] in order to avoid any deer stalking activity that might take place that day.

Ensure you have sufficient food, water and suitable clothing for any walking trip - western Scotland has notoriously changeable weather and inclement conditions can quickly close in from seemingly nowhere.



  • A comfortable locally compiled online Guide of accommodation and food and drink establishments, as well as of shops, visitor services and attractions can be found on the Isle of Arran Tourism Directory [51].
  • Computer Shop, Brodick - to the East of the main Co-op this shop offers a range of computing goods and internet access (£1/hr), also good if you run short of a fuse as no where else on the island seems to sell them. Tel: (01770) 830343
  • Brodick Library has computer and internet access, open Tuesday 10AM-5PM, Thursday and Friday 10AM-7:30PM and Saturday 10AM-1PM.
  • Free WiFi is available at the Brodick Library, the Auchrannie Resort (from 8AM till late 7 days a week) [52], the Best Western Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot [53], the Lochranza Hotel [54] and the Catacol Bay Hotel [55].
  • The Arran Store, outside the Ferry Terminal in Brodick, also offers internet access

Post Office

There are Post Offices in Brodick, Lamlash, Whiting Bay, Blackwaterfoot and Pirnmill. In addition, the Kildonan Hotel and the village halls in Lochranza and Kilmory offer a limited Post Office service on certain days.

Get out

In summer, take the ferry from Lochranza to Claonaig and walk or cycle the 2.5 miles along the coast to Skipness, see the travel guide for more information.

Holy Island is also a good day out, see the Holy Island travel guide for further details.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!