Inveraray, Argyll, Scotland: A Visitor's Guide
Inveraray Boasts Scenery to Take Your Breath Away
Inveraray is a small, picture-postcard town on the shores of Loch Shira and Loch Fyne, in Argyll on the West Coast of Scotland. It is no more than two hours' drive from the centre of Glasgow, yet creates the impression - surrounded by the lochs and the mountains as it is - of being in a magical land all of its own.
This site is a guide to first of all getting to Inveraray, what to do and see when you arrive there and how to enjoy the beauty of the town and its surrounding area to the full extent. I very much hope you enjoy what you see and read and will some day make the journey to discover this place for yourself - I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Video Slideshow of Loch Fyne around Inveraray
Inveraray can be reached by road from any of the UK's major population centres via a choice of two main routes. For example, if travelling from Glasgow, you may choose to follow the M8 to the Erskine Bridge, followed by the A82 along the banks of beautiful Loch Lomond and the A83 over the Rest and Be Thankful, straight in to Inveraray. If travelling from Edinburgh, your chosen route may take you up the M9 as far as Stirling, followed by the A85 in the direction of Callander and onwards via Tyndrum and Dalmally to Inveraray. The scenery along this latter route is especially awe inspiring, so all drivers: concentrate on keeping your eyes on the road, or stop in a convenient place to best admire it.
The Ancestral Home of The Duke of Argyll
Inveraray Castle is the present home of the XIII Duke of Argyle, Chief of the Clan Campbell, and his family. It is situated to the immediate north of the town and is open to the public from April to October each year. The castle grounds, however, are open all year round and offer a variety of mapped walks of various lengths.
Although planning and design of the castle began in 1720, due to a complex series of circumstances, its construction wasn't actually completed until 1789. It is an unusual blend of various architectural disciplines and features but the overall impression thus created is of a typically Scottish stately home.
If you want to know more about Inveraray Castle, its history, its occupants and its attractions, visit its dedicated website by clicking on the link below:
The Argyll Hotel, Inveraray
The Argyll Hotel is the first hotel and one of the very first buildings you will come to as you enter Inveraray from the direction of Glasgow on the main A83 road. It is more than 250 years old, one of the oldest buildings in the town, and was originally a Coaching Inn following the redesign and rebuilding of Inveraray in the mid eighteenth century at the instigation of the 3rd Duke of Argyll.
The hotel affords magnificent views across both Loch Shira and Loch Fyne, boasts a plush and comfortable bar with a real, open fire, conservatories, dining areas and function rooms, as well as of course a selection of bedrooms, including many with stunning views of the lochs and surrounding mountains.
The George Hotel, Inveraray
The George Hotel on the Main Street is the most centrally located hotel in Inveraray and the first one I actually ever visited. I remember a friend and I deciding one night some years ago following a day's fishing from the pier that it offered the absolute best pint of Tennents Special ale in the West of Scotland - and believe me, we were at the time more than qualified to pass such judgement!
The George was originally two separate houses following the rebuilding of Inveraray, and subsequently separate churches for the English and Gaelic speaking communities, before the two properties were combined in 1860 by a direct descendant of the present owner to form the basis of what the hotel has become today.
The darker side of the town
Inveraray Jail is located in the centre of the town, next to The George Hotel, and backs on to the shore of Loch Fyne. It is now a museum, open to the public every day of the year except Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Completed in 1820, the Old Jail was subject to severe over-crowding, with men, women and children from all over Argyll serving time here for a variety of offences. Given that one thirteen year old young hoodlum actually served thirty days here for the "capital" crime of stealing a turnip, one cannot help but wonder what devilish punishments the court of the day would have bestowed upon the juvenile delinquents of modern times!
I spent little more than an hour perusing this extremely educational museum but it was more than long enough to give me some insight as to what the conditions must have been like almost two centuries ago.
The Loch Fyne Hotel and Spa, Inveraray
The Loch Fyne hotel is located on the very outskirts of Inveraray, on the far side of the town from Glasgow. It is located right on the main road heading for Campbeltown and affords magnificent views across the loch.
The hotel boasts its very own Health Spa which includes a swimming pool, steamroom and sauna as well as both an internal and an external jacussi. The facilities are free to residents and available to non-residents for a very reasonable 4.00 per adult per day. There is also a spacious bar, restaurant and bistro.
The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Restaurant
The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Restaurant is located a few miles north of Inveraray on the main A83 road to or from Glasgow. It sits right at the head of Loch Fyne and in the space of twenty-five years has grown from the smallest of concerns to become a business now operating UK wide and beyond.
The Oyster Bar began life in the early 1980s by producing and selling that one product but now caters for all types of fresh seafood, local game and meats, as well as a whole host of other delicious delicacies. Dine in the restaurant, buy from the shop, or even order online to have your purchases delivered right to your door - the same high quality applies regardless of which option you may choose.