Dramatic views over the Kyles of Bute, one of Scotland's most scenic driving routes
Your Kintyre hotel viewed from the beach
Enjoy spectacular sunsets over Jura
Your holiday includes a thrilling boat trip to the island of Sanda
This is one of our favourite parts of Scotland
Stop off at the picture postcard village of Inveraray on your return journey
A week exploring the deserted beaches, remote bays and peaceful island escapes in the South of Argyll with your ultimate destination the Mull of Kintyre, made famous by Sir Paul McCartney. You'll find it hard to believe that such an unspoilt area exists within a few hours of Glasgow!
This carefully planned trip includes a visit to Sanda, a tiny, picturesque island popular with puffins and seals. With plenty of time to discover the stunning Kintyre Peninsula and its deserted beaches, dramatic scenery and many historic sites, this break is perfect for those who really seek to get away from it all. Begin with a night on the Cowal peninsula, on the tranquil shores of the Kyles of Bute, enabling you to relax and unwind from day one.
Day One - the Cowal
Your route from Glasgow brings you first to the attractive seaside village of Tighnabruaich, with a choice of routes, either driving by Loch Lomond and over the aptly-named Rest and be Thankful Pass, or by taking the short ferry across the Clyde to Dunoon.
Enjoying spectacular views of the Isle of Bute, this is an imposing Victorian establishment dominating the rocky shore. Look out for the exquisite mosaic floor in the entrance – laid by Italian prisoners of war - and the dramatic display of local art in the public areas. Enjoy a real taste of Scotland in the main restaurant, perhaps sampling the special seafood menu. The hotel’s “Shinty Bar” offers local real ales and is crammed with memorabilia, aptly enough, from the local shinty team.
Day Two - to Kintyre
After a morning's exploration of the area, perhaps including a stroll along the beach at Kilbride Bay, another short ferry crossing brings you to the colourful fishing village of Tarbert. From here you tour the east coast of Kintyre, visiting the beautiful ruins of ancient Skipness Castle, then following the twisting single track road, enjoying views across to nearby Arran, before reaching another fishing village - Carradale.
One of the most hidden of gems, this small hotel is far off the beaten track. Set just back from a little beach, it is very tempting to sit here for hours and soak up the sound of the lapping waves whilst admiring majestic views of the Isle of Arran. Originally built as a guest house in the 1930s to provide accommodation for tourists taking the steamer from Glasgow, the interior has now been transformed to modern standards. Yet it retains many original Art Deco features, with wood-pannelling, stained glass doors and elegant proportions. There are just eight tables in the intimate restaurant, with menus designed to make the most of local seafood and farm produce. Each room is individually designed with personal touches reflecting the owners’ careful attention to detail.
Day Three - exploring east Kintyre
Leave the hotel by the back gate, and a five minute walk brings you to Carradale Bay – a magnificent, south-facing sandy beach stretching for a couple of miles. Carradale village is a picturesque spot with a small harbour and a splash of colourful fishing boats. There are many walks along forest paths in the immediate area or venture further afield and explore more of east Kintyre, including the atmospheric ruins of Saddell Abbey, with beautiful carved stones. Seals bask on rocks along much of the coastline, gannets dive off-shore, and if you're lucky, you may spot an otter or two.
You now continue through Campbeltown to the village of Machrihanish on the west coast, famous for its golf courses and five miles of sandy beach, your base for the next three nights.
This historic hotel was once regarded as the pinnacle of luxury accommodation in the west of Scotland and regularly welcomed captains of industry and their families, who descended on Machrihanish for summer holidays with their steamer trunks and visions of relaxing times on the beach and golf links. Now fully restored, with just 22 rooms and suites, it brings sophistication to the area once again. Imagine waking up in the morning to views of the sparkling Atlantic across to the isles of Islay and Jura, enjoying a hearty Scottish breakfast, and then heading out for a day’s exploring. And when it’s time to kick back, the hotel will please even the most discriminating visitor with its' world-class malt whisky bar, steak house and state-of-the-art Spa.
Days Five & Six
Included within this holiday is a thrilling boat trip to the island of Sanda, just off the south coast of Kintyre. From here you will enjoy panoramic views of Arran, Ailsa Craig and Ireland. As well as an impressive Stevenson Lighthouse and Elephant Rock (you’ll know why it’s called that when you see it!), Sanda is home to puffins (April to July), shearwaters and a large seal colony.
You’ll also have plenty of time to discover the dramatic scenery, rich history and deserted beaches of our favourite Scottish peninsula. You must make the journey to the Mull of Kintyre itself, along a meandering and bumpy single track road. You’ll feel you’ve reached the edge of the world when you come to the end of the road and you never know, the mist might just roll in from the sea! The energetic can walk down the track to the lighthouse, while everyone can enjoy - in less misty weather - views to Ireland, just 12 miles away. In nearby Southend stop to watch for seals and otters and visit the spot where St Columba first landed after leaving Ireland on his way to Iona.
Campbeltown, the main settlement, is home to Springbank whisky, famous for its' traditional production methods and still run by members of the family that founded it in 1828. The tiny island of Gigha also makes a worthwhile day trip – we recommend leaving the car behind at the ferry port and simply walking or cycling, enabling you to soak up the island atmosphere. The community-run hotel is the perfect spot for lunch and refreshing drinks. There is much more to see and do, depending on your interests, and we will tailor recommendations for you.
Return to Glasgow and onwards to home. Your route brings you through the picture postcard village of Inveraray, where you might choose to stop off and visit the castle – still home to the Duke of Argyll, or stretch your legs at Crarae Gardens, featuring wonderful species of rhododendron and azalea.
From late May to late September you can also choose to travel between Campbeltown and Ardrossan on the new direct ferry service (supplement applies).
Tour Scotland's best-kept secrets: the Cowal and Kintyre peninsulas.
£635 per person for April & October, £690 per person for May to September.
All are based on 2 people sharing, for 6 nights on a bed & breakfast basis and include a boat trip from Campbeltown to view the island of Sanda and a ferry from Tarbert to Portavadie for car and passengers.
Add £40 per person to include the ferry between Ardrossan and Campbeltown.
All our touring holidays include a map of Scotland with recommended routes from your specified starting point, suggestions on places to see and visit depending on your personal interests and our expertise to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £8 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
Check availability for: Journey to the Mull of Kintyre
From April to October
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us on 0141 308 8009 from the UK, or toll-free from USA & Canada 1 866 922 8538 and +44 141 308 8009 for all other countries.
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