Culture & Discovery
Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park (The National Trust for Scotland). (NB: Brodick Castle is closed throughout 2017 for fire safety improvements but the gardens and country park are fully open). The quintessential Victorian Highland estate, Brodick Castle is dramatically set against the backdrop of Goatfell mountain with stunning views over Brodick Bay. There are landscaped gardens, woodland trails, wildlife ponds and waterfalls. Brodick Castle is packed full of treasures too – it’s renowned for its impressive collections of period furniture, silverware, porcelain, paintings and sporting trophies.
Lochranza Castle, a rare medieval hall house, now a fascinating ruin where the poor folk were imprisoned in the gloomy 'pit'.
Machrie Standing Stones dating back to 2000 BC. Top tip: experience the stones at sunset and immerse yourself in the ancient setting.
Torrylin Cairn, Kilmory. A Neolithic chambered cairn, with four compartments visible.
Giant's Graves, Whiting Bay, a prehistoric burial site with spectacular views of the village and coastline.
King's Caves, Machrie. King's Cave is the place where, according to legend, Robert the Bruce took refuge after murdering a rival. This action divided the Scottish nobility and Bruce is said to have hidden in the cave whilst things quietened down. The legend continues that he watched a spider struggling to make a web and that this inspired him to continue his own struggle.
Early Christians used the site and Christian and Pictish symbols have been found carved on the walls.
Arran Heritage Museum. Originally the site of a small school, the present group of buildings were a croft and smiddy, and include a farmhouse, cottage, bothy, milk house, laundry, stable, coach house and harness room. The exhibits reflect the social history, archaeology and geology of the island.
Arts & Crafts
Arran Art Gallery displays over 2,000 pieces of original artwork, sculpture, wood and glass, artisan jewellery prints and cards, many from local artists. Arran Art Gallery boasts one of Scotland's largest selection of affordable contemporary artworks that range from original paintings, limited editions and printmaking, sculpture, Artisan silver jewellery, hand-blown and fused glass pieces, photography and quality ceramics. The gallery is owned by resident artist, Nick Giles who works from his studio in the summer months and migrates to Sydney, Australia for the winter season where he develops his artistic practice in painting, ceramics and wildlife photography.
Arran Open Studios, a weekend event where you can come and meet the artists, venture behind the studio doors to find out about their methods and inspiration. View, buy or commission work. Wander from studio to studio through the beautiful Arran landscape taking time to sample the ‘artists’ recommendations.
Kilmory Workshop, handmade woodwork and stoneware pottery workshop.
Arran Ceramics is owned by Simon Thorburn who has been a potter on Arran for many years. He specialises in hand thrown stoneware and Raku. There is also a 'hands-on' experience available for children and adults to have a go at decorating a pot. Located at the 'Duchess Court' shops, near Cladach, Brodick.
Island Porcelain, a beautiful collection of fine hand painted porcelain pieces depicting wildlife on and around the isle of Arran. Available in selected craft venues and shops around the island and online.
Brodick Castle Gardens, a Victorian walled garden, a pond garden, the national collection of rhododendrons, the ice house, the recently excavated lime kiln and the fairytale-like Bavarian summerhouse.
Scotland's Open Gardens events - Dougarie Lodge is open to the public one day a year. There is a beautiful terraced garden in a castellated folly built in 1905 to celebrate the marriage of the 12th Duke of Hamilton's only child to the Duke of Montrose. Good selection of tender and rare shrubs and herbaceous border. Cream teas in the 19th century boathouse overlooking the Kilbranan Sound.
A Special Place
The Holy Isle and Centre for World Peace
A small ferry boat from Lamlash pier will take you to the Holy Isle where you will be greeted by a friendly monk with a short introduction to the island. You can hike to the top of the island for breathtaking views of the Arran ridges or take a gentle stroll along the coastline to see the rock carvings. There are free-roaming Hebridean ponies, goats and sheep; seals and a large variety of seabirds. The boathouse offers hot drinks, local crafts and books. A unique and perfect place to unwind.
(Top tip: Visit the Old Pier Tearoom by the Lamlash Pier to stock up on a tasty picnic before you catch the ferry).