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Based in central Scotland? Try Argyll’s best family daytrips!

Based in central Scotland? Try Argyll’s best family daytrips!
Argyll & The Isles is closer than you think! If you live in central Scotland, you can be out of the city and enjoying the best of ‘Scotland’s Adventure Coast’ in less than an hour. With fantastic walking, cycling and watersports on offer, not to mention beautiful beaches, idyllic islands and a fascinating history, Argyll is the perfect day trip destination. So the next time you’re wondering what to do with the kids at the weekend, head to Argyll and make some magical memories. Here are our top five family day trips to Argyll from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

An island escape
Bute is considered the most accessible of Argyll’s islands. It’s just 50 minutes away from Glasgow by road or rail, followed by a 35-minute CalMac ferry crossing from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay. It’s a gem of an island. The Victorians left their mark with splendid architecture and glorious gardens. Add to this fabulous walking and cycling and the wonderful Mount Stuart and you have all the ingredients for a one-day island adventure. It also has some rather lovely beaches. Ettrick Bay on Bute’s west coast is a glorious stretch of golden sand with stunning views of Arran. On a warm day, you can paddle or swim in the clear waters. The facilities are great, with car parking, toilets, picnic areas and a children’s play area. At the start of the beach Ettrick Bay Tearoom serves up ice cream, excellent lunches and mouth-watering cakes.

Head to the hills
If you’re looking for a day on the hills, you can’t beat the Arrochar Alps, the mountain range clustered around the head of the Loch Long. They offer some of the best walking in Argyll, and include the famous Cobbler, one of Scotland’s most iconic – and best loved – peaks. If you don’t fancy taking on the big peaks, that are plenty of easier walks on offer near Arrochar. The Succoth Circuit is a short circular way-marked route along forest paths and tracks. Arrochar is just an hour’s drive from Glasgow. Arrochar also lies on the West Highland Line, so you can get there by train too. Further along the road at the head of Loch Fyne you’ll reach Ardkinglas Woodland Gardens, a spectacular garden set against a background of mountain and forest. It’s a lovely place to walk and is also home to The Gruffalo Trail.

Take to the water
Head to Loch Lomond, the largest freshwater loch in the UK, to enjoy a wealth of wonderful watersports. Enjoy truly breath taking Highland scenery as you try kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing and more. Can you Experience offers boat and paddle board hire from its base at Loch Lomond Shores in Balloch, just a 40-minute drive from central Glasgow. They also offer two-hour guided trips in open-top canoes to explore the west shore of Loch Lomond – perfect for a family day out!

Saddle up
For a horseriding day trip in Argyll, visit Argyll Adventure, based just south of Inveraray on the shore of Loch Fyne. Pony rides, scenic treks and fast rides for experienced riders are all part of the offering. Argyll Adventure offers other outdoor activities too, including paintballing, climbing and bungee trampolines. You can mix and match your activities and spend a couple of hours or the whole day.

A day in Dunoon
Dunoon has become something of a magnet for mountain bikers. The town is surrounded by large tracts of beautiful forest. Hop off the ferry (bikes go free on both Western Ferries and passenger-only Argyll Ferries) and you can cycle to Bishop’s Glen in under 10 minutes. As well as technical trails you’ll find routes that all the family can tackle. The 20k Corlarach Loop starts at Bishop’s Glen and takes you through Corlarach Forest along undulating forest tracks. Other top places for mountain biking near Dunoon include Glenbranter, Ardgartan and Glenmassan. Or if you prefer four wheels to two, check out Quadmania, a five-star quad-biking centre near Dunoon. Benmore Botanic Garden and Pucks Glen just outside Dunoon are fantastic places to visit with kids.

Delve deeper
If your family loves history, then they’ll love Inveraray. This bustling town is a classic example of an eighteenth-century planned town with a stunning setting on Loch Fyne. You’ll find some fantastic historic buildings, all within striking distance of each other. Visit Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell, and Inveraray Jail, a living museum and one of Scotland’s top visitor attractions. Just a short drive from Inveraray lies Cruachan Power Station buried deep within Ben Cruachan one kilometre below the ground.

Need some more inspiration? Take a look at Mark Beaumont’s video about Glasgow’s proximity to Glasgow.

Photo: Ettrick Bay on Bute by MT Photography
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Ettrick Bay by MT PhotographyThe CobblerGruffalo Trail
Horseriding with Argyll AdventureBikes on ferry at Dunoon Benmore Garden
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