Things To See and Do
Mount Stuart House.
Mount Stuart house is known as the jewel in the crown of Bute. The house itself is arguably the finest piece of domestic architecture to emerge from Britain’s Gothic Revival in the 19th Century. The palace boasts a majestic marble hall, an awe-inspiring chapel, sumptuous accommodation and beautiful rich reception rooms. The stunning gardens are among Europe’s finest, dating back to circa 1718 when the 2nd Earl of Bute laid out the beginnings of the 300 acres of botanical extravaganza that can be enjoyed today.
The House is not the only treasure on the island. You can seal watch at Ettrick Bay, take afternoon tea at the well-known Ettrick Bay Tearooms, explore Rothesay Castle and its rich history, or visit the still-working Victorian public toilets at Rothesay harbour. Or why not visit the villages of Bute where you can discover the birthplace of a Christian saint (St Blane’s near Kingarth) or a tiny piece of England (Kerrycroy, modelled after a quintessentially English village).
For those who enjoy a more active holiday you are spoilt for choice. There is a range of outdoor activities to pursue including walking, fishing, cycling, kayaking, sailing and golfing.
Walkers can tackle the West Island Way, an adventurous route that allows you to see the island in your own time, while Loch Fad in the centre of Bute offers those who love to fish the opportunity to do so in glorious surroundings. Hire a bike from the Bike Shed and take advantage of the flat coastal roads and stunning scenery. Bute is well known for its varied wildlife and you might even catch a glimpse of a red deer or a golden eagle as you cycle. There is a fascinating array of birdlife on Bute, for birdwatchers of all ages, providing a feast for the eyes in the winter months.
Keen golfers can choose from one of Bute’s three golf courses, each with its own challenges but all with spectacular views. And speaking of spectacular views, Bute’s beautiful coastline makes this a perfect choice for sea farers.
Bute offers a choice of marinas and berthing options and is also one of Scotland’s world class sea-kayaking destinations. Whether a novice paddler or a seasoned sea kayaker, you can explore Bute’s varied coastline with Kayak Bute.
Bute enjoys milder climate than many other Scottish islands and one of the best ways to experience it is on an open top bus! City Sightseeing Bute offer tours from the end of May to mid-September and your ticket gives you unlimited travel on the tour bus and on all local West Coast Motor bus services for 24 hours. The warmer climate has also allowed a fine collection of beautiful gardens to flourish: at Ardencraig Gardens and at Ascog.
To find out more about what the island has to offer, please check the following websites:
From Bute the wider region of Argyll with its many events and attractions is only a stone’s throw away on the short ferry crossing at the north end of the island. ( Rhubodach to Colintraive).
Inveraray is a small attractive town, a short 30 minute drive where you can visit the home of the Duke of Argyll (head of Clan Campbell) or tour Inveraray Jail (the living 19th century prison)
Beyond Inveraray there is Argyll Adventure, Auchindrain Township and Folk Museum and Crarae Garden.
Alternativley you can take the circular route across to Tighnabruich and Kames with spectacular views over the Kyles of Bute. Heading out of Kames you arrive at Portavadie where you can enjoy a meal or a coffee at the Marina before catching the short ferry crossing to the picturesque fishing village of Tarbert.
There is plenty to see in the Tarbert before heading up the A83 to visit the southern terminus of the Crinan Canal in Ardrishaig or paying a visit to Kilmartin Glen and Kilmartin Museum before heading back to Bute via Inveraray.