If you read our previous blog post (Our New Year's Resolutions) you’ll know that Karen’s hoping to go to the Isle of Arran this summer. Although Karen’s family is still planning a visit, Toni managed to beat them to it! As a result, we’re able to bring you folk our Arran recommendations a bit sooner than expected.
Arran is known as ‘Scotland in miniature’, as this wee rock’s geography replicates characteristics present in Scotland's highlands, coastlines and low lands. This, along with the fact that the island ✨ stunning ✨, makes Arran the perfect getaway if you want to tackle a lot of activities in a short period of time.
Our Top Tips:
In order to get to Arran, you have to catch a ferry. We suggest booking as far in advance as possible to have your choice in crossing times. Boarding the ferry is a strict procedure. Physical printed tickets are required (staff will not accept tickets from a mobile), and you have to be checked in at least 30 minutes before your departure time if you want to make the crossing!
In terms of accessibility we highly recommend taking a car to the island. Public transport is incredibly limited (with buses coming by every two hours), meaning that unless your planning and scheduling skills are akin to Monica Geller, you might just find yourself stranded. In addition to this, having transport sorted means you can access the most remote stays and experiences on the island.
Where To Stay:
If you’re planning on self-catering, anywhere on the island will be great for a rental considering the furthest you’ll ever have to drive is an hour. If, however, you’re planning on eating out in the evenings, we suggest staying on the east coast of the island. Here, there are a few bigger settlements, meaning you have a wee bit more choice regarding shops, restaurants and amenities. In addition to this, the views of Holy Isle from Lamlash and Whiting Bay are unbeatable.
If you’re a sucker for a (double cascading!!) waterfall, Glenashdale falls are a must. There are parking spots both north and south of Ashdale Bridge (the beginning of the trail), towards the southern end of Whiting Bay. After around a mile, you’ll make it to a walkway that juts out over the 140 feet cascading falls. From here, after a few photos, you follow the trail onto an access road that leads to the Giants’ Graves. These are the remains of two neolithic tombs which sit on an incredible vista of Whiting Bay. This circular route is perfect for providing stunning views, whilst being accessible enough that it's suitable for the whole family!
When Toni visited Arran she said: 'this route was perfect as, due to a mixture of fitness levels within the group, we thought that climbing Goatfell [the highest point on the island] might be a little bit too challenging! This walk delivered the views in a shorter and less strenuous package.'
Lagg and/or Arran Distillery
If you’re a whisky lover, get yourself over to Arran ASAP. Home to not one, but two distilleries, the new (and highly anticipated) Lagg distillery sits at the south end of the island, whilst the historic Arran distillery is situated in the northern Lochranza. Tastings and tours are available at both distilleries, and so if you want to make a day of it, all you require is a designated driver!
We tried Arran’s whisky and chocolate tasting and had a fab time! We found that, for those of us who are a little newer to whisky (don’t judge us!), this made the tasting a little more approachable. In addition to this, all whisky from Arran distillery is at least 46% ABV, meaning that the flavour profile holds up well against the dilution of a splash of water (for those of us who need it!).
Arran Botanical Drinks
‘What Started off as just another gin company, has morphed and grown into a diverse drinks production all linked by Arran botanicals’
Arran botanicals is a gin producer and drinks venue rolled into one. Home to Scotland’s only on-beach-bar, for those brave enough, outside seating looks onto Brodick Bay from as early as March. And, for when the weather really does take a turn for the worst, you can cosy up by the fire inside their alpine-esk cabin with views of the sand! In addition to serving drinks, the venue also hosts gin tastings and cocktail masterclasses; all of which are informed by local, hand-picked flavours.
P.s. after you’ve had a drink (or two), you can follow the road two minutes north (opposite the pin for Brodick Castle on google maps). Here, if you're lucky, you might catch a peak of some Arran locals (seals) basking on the rocks.
The Drift Inn
And finally, The Drift Inn was our favourite eatery of the whole weekend! This venue is located in Lamlash bay with an incredible view of the Holy Isle. The menu, predominantly made up of seafood and grill style plates, is served up in a warm and inviting atmosphere. To avoid missing out in the busier summer months, we highly recommend booking a table ahead of time!
So there you have it, our non-conclusive guide of Arran! This island really does have (almost) everything, most definitely living up to its name as 'Scotland in miniature'. However, (for the time being) we did notice one problem - a distinct lack of Bon Accord 💔
We know, we're upset too! Until we rectify this problem do not fear, we have the solution. Order directly from us via our website, and take our joyfully juicy drinks with you! With orders over £25 automatically qualifying for free delivery, what are you waiting for!