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From Arran in the Firth of Clyde to the romance of the Isle of Skye, the western seaboard has islands which vary from the traditional holiday playground to the wild and empty. A good network of ferry services makes getting around straightforward and will give you the freedom to hop from island to island.
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From the Ayrshire port of Ardrossan take the ferry to Arran. This island, sometimes called ‘Scotland in Miniature’ because it has features of both Highland and Lowland Scotland, has been a popular holiday destination for generations. Brodick Castle and Country Park is a popular attraction and the island also has an excellent heritage museum. Take time to drive round the island by the coast road, with a distillery, castle and prehistoric sites to visit including atmospheric standing stones on Machrie Moor; also fine mountain views, including Goat Fell, to the north. In addition, fresh local produce is an island feature and there is also a Taste Trail. Overnight Arran.
Leave the island by the Lochranza to Claonaig ferry. Back on the mainland, called Kintyre, take the road north to Kennacraig for the ferry to Islay, arriving at Port Ellen. Islay is noted for whisky distilling and there is a choice of distilleries to visit, one being Bowmore Distillery, north of Port Ellen. Take the road westward for the Museum of Islay Life, return east for Loch Gruinart a nature reserve with fine seascapes, seals and geese in winter. Overnight Islay.
Travel east for the short ferry crossing from Port Askaig to Jura. This island has one road, one distillery, one hotel, few people and lots of red deer. Visit it for a flavour of the wild and remote. A sign lets you know where the public road stops! – and beyond this is the remote farmhouse where the writer George Orwell wrote his futuristic novel ‘1984.’ Either stay overnight on Jura or return to Islay.
Leave Islay from Port Ellen, ferry returns to Kennacraig. Travel north to Lochgilphead towards Oban. Cross from Oban to Craignure on Mull. Torosay Castle lies only a few minutes east of the ferry quay, with Duart Castle further round the bay. Many visitors travel west for the Ross of Mull and the beautiful island of Iona. Overnight on the way at Bunessan or Fionnphort.
Cross on the foot passenger only ferry to Iona. Explore the island, its abbey and beaches, then return to Mull, going back east. If time permits loop around the west coast of the island, enjoying wild coastal scenery by Loch na Keal and Ulva, then travel via Calgary for Tobermory. There is a museum, distillery, craft shops and a gallery in this attractive little town, founded originally as a fishing station. Overnight Mull.
Leave Mull on the ferry from Tobermory to Kilchoan, continuing on through the beautiful scenery of the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Travel via Salen for the ‘Road to the Isles’ and the ferry port of Mallaig. Cross to Armadale on Skye. Visit Armadale Castle Gardens and Museum of the Isles, then, go north and overnight in Broadford area.
From Broadford, travel to Elgol and views of the Cuillin Hills. Return to Broadford and travel to Portree, the island’s main town. Continue north – magnificent scenery at several points, notably the Quiraing. Circle west, and then continue west for Dunvegan Castle. Return to the mainland, crossing on the Skye road. Overnight in the area.
Please note a few of the routings in the Outer Hebrides do not operate on Sundays. This would affect the final form of any islands itinerary.
The above package includes:
All hotels will be 3 star or above.
Best of Scotland Holidays offer a variety of tours including Tours of Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales, Whisky Trails, Honeymoon Packages, Castle and Garden Tours, Island Hoping, Walking Holidays and much more - something to suit everyone!
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