Inveraray Castle, the Jail and a Fyne ‘flight of beers’:
Just a 20 minute drive from Ardbrecknish by Loch Awe is Inveraray Castle, ancestral home to the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell, and one of Scotland’s leading visitor attractions. Built in Gothic revival style in the late 18th century, the castle is characterised by its fairytale-like towers. A tour of the castle offers a fascinating historical insight from the magnificent Armoury Hall and its vast display of arms to the State Dining Room, where royalty have been entertained through the centuries, to the Picture Turret. Round off your tour via the castle tearoom and gift shop, where the young Duke and Duchess can often be seen serving and chatting to visitors. The castle and its extensive gardens and grounds welcome visitors between April and October
For the more energetic, take the path through the Castle estate and up to the summit of Dun na Cuaiche to visit the watchtower that affords stunning views across the castle, town and along Loch Fyne. Or simply stroll through the Castle’s woodland past the many follies and exotic fauna.
The adjacent town of Inveraray on the western shore of Loch Fyne is notable for its remarkably well preserved Georgian architecture; in fact the entire town was relocated and rebuilt under instruction of the fifth Duke of Argyll between 1772 and 1800. An award-winning attraction, Inveraray Jail is history brought to life with real people portraying life in a 19th Century Scots prison. Your trip starts with the ‘Torture, Death and Damnation’ exhibit!
If you wander through the town, you’ll also come across the birthplace of author Neil Munro, whose comedy tales of the fictional Para Handy, skipper of a 1930’s West Coast puffer called the Vital Spark, captured perfectly the wry humour and life of the times. In fact a replica of the Vital Spark is berthed at Inveraray Pier.
Strongly recommended is lunch or dinner, or just a pint, in the splendid George Hotel. A very original and characterful 18th Century Scots coaching inn, The George is exactly what you would hope for; a roaring fire, live traditional music, flagstone floors, a huge array of Scots ales and whiskies. And the food is both excellent and great value.
A short drive down the loch side, no more than 15 minutes, takes you to Loch Fyne Ales brewery and visitor centre. Here you can sample their award-winning craft beers such as Jarl, Hurricane Jack or the aptly named Vital Spark. Order a ‘flight’ of 1/3 pint samples and buy some ales to take home for your designated driver to enjoy later.
Here’s your itinerary:
- From Ardbrecknish drive back up the loch side past Cladich to join the A819 and
- turn right to Inveraray.
- A 15 minute drive takes you to Inveraray
- To the left of the town is the entrance to Inveraray Castle
- After visiting the castle and its grounds – allow 3 hours – a short hop back into the town to visit Inveraray Jail
- A short 15 minute drive along the A83, crossing over the iconic Aray Bridge and hugging the loch side, to Loch Fyne Ales
- Back to Inveraray for dinner in The George Hotel
- Return back up the A819 to the Cladich turn-off and down the loch side to Ardbrecknish
More things to do on a trip to Inveraray and Loch Fyne:
- Have lunch and shop at the world famous Loch Fyne Oyster Food Bar and Deli near Cairndow. Their award-winning Loch Fyne kippers are worth the trip alone.
- Shop in the popular Edinburgh Woollen Mill
Google Map route of this day trip itinerary: