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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Daly

Day trips from Ruskin Lodges

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Although there are plenty of things to do in the immediate area, Ruskin Lodges are a great base to explore the wider Argyll region. You can head south and west to visit the islands and coast, east along the Clyde into the Big City (Glasgow) or north and east to the glens and glorious Loch Lomond.

Isle of Bute

The interior of Mount Stuart House
Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute. By Gary Campbell-Hall licensed under CC BY 2.0

A short ferry trip from Colintraive, the Isle of Bute is a beautiful island located in the Firth of Clyde. Known for its stunning scenery and historic attractions, Bute has been a popular tourist destination for many years. The island boasts beautiful beaches, rugged hills, and charming towns and villages, making it an ideal location for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and water sports. Visitors can also explore the island's rich history, with highlights including the 13th-century Rothesay Castle and the Victorian-era Mount Stuart House.

Mount Stuart House is a stunning Victorian Gothic mansion located on the Isle of Bute, Scotland. Built between 1880 and 1900 for the 3rd Marquess of Bute, it is one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the country. The house is renowned for its exquisite interiors, which include intricate wood carvings, stained glass windows, and a magnificent marble staircase. Visitors can explore the house's many rooms and learn about the history of the Bute family, who played an important role in the development of the island. The house is set in extensive gardens and grounds, which feature beautiful landscaped gardens, woodland walks, and a collection of rare plants and trees. Today, Mount Stuart House is open to the public, and visitors can enjoy guided tours of the house and gardens, as well as a range of events and exhibitions.


Inveraray high street
Inveraray's Georgian main street. By Juan Sáez licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Inveraray is a small town located on the western shore of Loch Fyne, a pretty 40 minute drive or bus journey from the lodges. It has a population of approximately 600 people and is known for its impressive Georgian architecture and beautiful setting.

One of the main attractions in Inveraray is Inveraray Castle, a stunning castle built in the 18th century in a Gothic Revival style. The castle is open to the public and visitors can explore the many rooms, including the impressive armoury and the tapestry room. The castle also has beautiful gardens and a gift shop.

Another popular attraction is the Inveraray Jail Museum, which is housed in an 18th-century prison. The museum offers visitors the chance to experience what life was like for prisoners in the 19th century. There are interactive exhibits, including a courtroom and a cellblock, as well as a gift shop and café.

Inveraray is also home to several other historic buildings, including the Inveraray Parish Church, which dates back to the 1790s, and the Inveraray Bell Tower, which was built in 1737 and houses the town's clock and bells.This charming town, located about 30 miles from Dunoon, is home to the impressive Inveraray Castle and the fascinating Inveraray Jail museum.

Visitors can also enjoy scenic walks along the shore of Loch Fyne or climb up to the Dùn na Cuaiche monument which has spectacular views of the area. Reward yourself with a meal at one of the local inns or cafés.

Portavadie and Tarbert

Tarbert seafront
Tarbert seafront. By Matt Buck licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The twisting road to Portavadie takes you through some gorgeous landscapes and viewpoints. Watch out for places to stop and taken in the scenery. Leave your car at Portavadie and take the short ferry ride to Tarbert, on the east coast of the Kintyre Peninsular.

The village is divided by East Loch Tarbert and West Loch Tarbert, both of which offer views of the surrounding hills and islands. The village is a popular destination for tourists, with many shops, restaurants, and cafés along the waterfront. Tarbert Castle, which dates back to the 13th century, is located on a hill overlooking the village and offers stunning panoramic views of the area. The village is also known for its annual seafood festival, which celebrates the local seafood and fishing industry.

Tip: if you're lucky, Prentice Seafood will be open. It is located in the stone warehouse to your right as you arrive in Tarbert and has the freshest seafood, direct from the boats. Langoustines, crab and scallops are a must-try! Pick up your dinner on your way home after a day exploring the village.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond. By Alexander Savin licensed under CC BY 2.0

Loch Lomond is one of Scotland's most famous and picturesque lochs, and is just over an hour's drive from the lodges. There are lots of activities to enjoy:

  1. Water sports including kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and wakeboarding.

  2. There are regularboat tours available that take visitors around the loch and provide stunning views of the surrounding scenery.

  3. There are several hiking trails around Loch Lomond, ranging from easy to more challenging routes. The West Highland Way, which runs from Milngavie to Fort William, passes through the area.

  4. There are several golf courses in the area, including the Carrick and Loch Lomond Golf Club, which has hosted the Scottish Open.

  5. Cycling is a great way to explore the area, with several cycle paths and routes available.

  6. Loch Lomond is home to a variety of fish, including salmon, trout, and pike, making it a popular spot for (licensed) fishing.

Tighnabruaich, Otter Ferry and Loch Fyne

Castle Lachlan on Loch Fyne
Castle Lachlan on Loch Fyne. By (c) Abigail Daly

A favourite trip of ours is a clockwise circular tour taking in several lovely locations. You drive to Otter Ferry via Tighnabruaich, then continue north where you can stop at Castle Lachlan before reaching Strachur and finally driving south along Loch Eck to get back to the lodges. There are lots of picnic spots, parking areas and walking routes along the way.

Tighnabruaich is a pretty spot with an art gallery, some great places to eat, and some good walks. Our favourite spot for food, however, is the Oystercatcher at Otter Ferry. It features local produce, is dog friendly, and has outdoor seating to enjoy views of Loch Fyne.

Tip: the roads in this area are twisty and with lots of blind corners. You might find locals - who know the roads much better - appear quickly behind you. Pull over at the next lay-by and let them past. There is a road that goes more directly to Otter Ferry and cuts out Tighnabruaich - your satnav may direct you this way. However, be aware that the road surface is quite poor and is single-track with some steep climbs. Don't attempt it if your nerves, driving or car isn't up to it and be prepared from some awkward reversing if you meet someone coming the other way! You have been warned...

Ardkinglas Estate, Cairndow and Loch Fyne

Ardkinglas Estate, Cairndow
Ardkinglas Estate, Cairndow. By (c) Abigail Daly

This is a great day-trip for the whole family. Ardkinglas Estate includes the Gruffalo Trail, a fairy village and some newly-installed slides all set in a glorious valley woodland. We visited over the summer with family friends and the kids loved it. The house itself is open for tours only but if you can book a slot or attend one of the cooking classes, it is enchanting.

There are lots of lunch options: the Cairndow Stagecoach Inn on the shores of Loch Fyne has a large grassy outdoor seating area. Of course, there is the famous Loch Fyne Oysters where you can eat in or take produce home for later. While you're in the area, pop in to the Tree Shop next door or Fyne Ales, an award-winning brewery.

Kilmartin Glen

The prehistoric monuments found in Kilmartin Glen are of international importance. It takes just one and half hours to drive there and is well worth the effort. Read the blog post about Kilmartin's history.

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