6 Things to Do and See on the Isle of Arran

Photo by Allan Napier/Shutterstock

6 Things to Do and See on the Isle of Arran

Often referred to as 'Scotland in miniature', the isle of Arran offers everything you could hope for in a travel destination. The center of the island is reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, dramatic mountain peaks and stunning landscape while the coastline is lined with towering sea cliffs and beautiful beaches. Tantalizing festivals, ancient castles and Scotch whisky distilleries, there's plenty to do on Arran. One of the easiest Scottish islands to get to, it's also one of the most plentiful.

table of contents

[x] close

6 Things to Do and See on the Isle of Arran

Machrie Moor Standing Stones

Machrie Moor Standing Stones on the Isle of Arran, Scotland

Photo by travellight/Shutterstock

A throwback to ancient civilization, the Machrie Moor Standing Stones have been dated back to 4,000 years ago. They're one of many prehistoric sites in Scotland, and one of the easier to get to spots. There are a total of six sites of stone circles around Machrie on the Isle of Arran, but one of the most impressive is Machrie Moor 2 with its huge towering stone pillars. The stone circles are all in close distance to each other, so can be easily explored together.

Hiking Goatfell

Photo by LouieLea/Shutterstock

At 874 meters in height, Arran's tallest mountain Goatfell is far from the highest in Scotland, but it's prominence as a conical-shaped mountain viewed from the coast is certainly an impressive sight. From the top you'll get some of the most beautiful views in Scotland, on a clear day you can even seen Northern Ireland in the distance.

Allow about five hours to climb up to the top and get back.

Explore Castles

Lochranza Castle, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Photo by Allan Napier/Shutterstock

There are a number of castles and historic buildings on the Isle of Arran but none more impressive than Brodick Castle. A short way from the main village of the island, the castle has stood there since 1510. Full of exquisite rooms to explore and surrounded by extensive, colorful gardens.

While Brodick might be more impressive, Lochranza Castle, at the northern part of Arran, is arguably more beautiful. With the small castle partly in ruins, there's not much to explore, but the backdrop of Arran's northern hilly coastline and the bay that surrounds the castle makes it particularly picturesque.

Coastal Walks

Photo by Carl Jani/Shutterstock

The Arran Coastal Way loops all the way around the Isle of Arran, one of the most beautiful coastal walks in the UK. The whole route is 105 kilometers, but unless you've plenty of time and don't want to miss any of the island's beautiful scenery, there's no need to walk around the whole island. Note that the Arran Coastal Way is made primarily as a walkway and most sections aren't really suitable for cycling.


Isle of Arran beaches

Photo by Stefano Bobini/Shutterstock

Arran has its fair share of attractive beaches along its coastline, those around Kildonan in the south and Pirnmill in the east are some of the most beautiful on the Isle of Arran. While the weather in Scotland doesn't always scream beach vacation, these picturesque strips of sand make for some beautiful walking spots.

Take a Tour of Arran Distillery

Isle of Arran Distillery

Photo by www.istockphoto.com

Like many areas of Scotland, the Isle of Arran is famous for its Scotch whisky. While the Arran distillery only opened in 1995, the island has a long history with whisky production, once home to around 50 distilleries many of them operating under the law.

The main distillery for Arran whisky is located at the north of the island in Lochranza and makes for the perfect place to visit after checking out the castle or taking a nearby hike.

Getting to Arran from the Scottish Mainland

Since there is no airport on the Isle of Arran, the main way of reaching the island is by taking a ferry from Ardrossan, across the Firth of Clyde. The ferry takes just under an hour and arrives in the main village on Arran, Brodick. Getting to Ardrossan by public transport is fairly simple, take the train from the center of Glasgow to Ardrossan Harbour Station. The ferry leaves from right next to the train station.

If you're traveling through the Kintyre Peninsula, there's also a ferry from Claonaig to Lochranza on the north point of the island.