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7 Great Things to Do in Inveraray, Scotland

7 Great Things to Do in Inveraray, Scotland

Inveraray is a quaint 18th-century Scottish town sitting on the banks of Loch Fyne, the longest sea loch in Scotland. We were on our England to the Scottish Highlands Road Trip and were staying in the Trossachs National Park for 4 nights, and as this was so close, it was the perfect place to explore.

Inveraray had lots to discover, from a fairytale castle to charming restaurants, tea rooms and picturesque loch-side views. And not forgetting the chance to sample a wee dram (a shot of Scotch whisky) at Loch Fyne Whiskies for the non-driver – me!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to Get to Inveraray

We had travelled to Inveraray from Ardgarten on the A82/A85 in 30 minutes.

If you are travelling from Glasgow the drive will take you just over two hours with no stops. From Edinburgh, the drive will take just over three hours.

If you don’t have your own transport, then you could rent a vehicle from Europcar.

The drive up to Inveraray is breathtaking with magnificent landscapes, huge mountains and mesmerising lochs that seem to be never-ending. You may find your drive takes longer than planned with all the photo stop opportunities on the way.

Places to Eat in Inveraray

Don’t miss out on a meal at Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Deli; one of a chain of restaurants of the same name located around the UK that originated in Inveraray.

Places to Stay in Inveraray

For a taste of Scottish hospitality, check out some of the best places to stay in Inveraray.

Rudha-na-Craige

Loch Fyne Hotel

The Inveraray Inn

Newton Cottage South

Maggie’s B and B

When to travel to Inveraray

Scotland has very temperamental weather, so expect glorious sunshine one minute and torrential downpours the next.

I travelled in September, and it was definitely a mixed assortment of weather. The plus factor was fewer crowds and no midges (biting insects prevalent in summer).

Winter will see snowfall and so can make a road trip quite difficult. Spring and Autumn are good times to visit in general.

 7 Best Things to do in Inveraray 

Inveraray Castle #1

At the top of our list of things to do in Inveraray was the castle; it was small enough only to need an hour or so to visit but was certainly a fabulous landmark to explore.

The castle is the current home to Ian, Duke of Argyll, and his family. The castle interior tells the story of the Campbell Clan, a close-knit group of interrelated families, especially prominent in the Scottish Highlands. Clan Campbell settled in the area in the early 13th century to watch over the King’s land.

Typical Scottish castle clan heirlooms such as swords, tapestries, furniture, china, and silverware are displayed for visitors to enjoy. Also, the Christmas special of “Downton Abbey” was set here, so fans of the tv series will be delighted to walk in the footsteps of the cast members.

Four conical turrets give Inveraray Castle a similarity to many other fairytale castles in Europe.

Don’t miss the castle’s Armoury Hall, said to be housed in the highest room of any Scottish castle at 21 meters high.

Castle Gardens and Dun Na Cuaiche #2

Set in extensive grounds, the gardens are planted with flowers and plants which thrive in the Argyll climate. Don’t be shocked to see a palm tree growing in the garden of this Scottish castle!

Several woodland walks are located around the garden, but the crowning glory is the strenuous walk up to Dun Na Cuaiche. At the peak, you will find a tower from where the vistas across Inveraray and Loch Fyne are sensational. Allow an hour for the round journey.

Inveraray Town #3

The old town of Inveraray was demolished by the Duke of Argyll in the late 18th century so that the grounds in front of Inveraray Castle could be landscaped. The first buildings of the “New Town” were completed in 1753, and by the early 19th century, Inverary looked much as it does today.

Inveraray is packed with great places to stay (see recommendations above), superb restaurants, great coffee shops, and fantastic visitor attractions for such a small town.

If you haven’t booked accommodation in your next port of call, you may find yourself wanting to stay in Inveraray for longer than a few hours. However, if, like us, the town is just a pit stop on your Scottish road trip then you can still see most of what Inveraray has to offer by visiting the castle and wandering along the quaint high street with its unmistakable black and white-fronted buildings.

If the thought of staying in one of the traditional fishermen’s cottages overlooking Loch Fyne interests you, then check out Newton Cottage for a taste of Scottish character and charm.

If you enjoy a wee dram (taste of whisky), you will enjoy visiting the whisky shops on Inveraray’s high street. Visit Fyne Malts of Inverary and Loch Fyne Whiskies and find out everything you could want to know about whisky!  If you are looking for traditional Scottish gifts and handcrafts, then The Courtyard has a wide selection.

While you are on the banks of Loch Fyne, discover the late 15th-century Inveraray stone cross which once stood in the middle of the Old Town.

Inveraray Jail Museum #4

Housed in a listed building, award-winning, Inveraray Jail was previously a 19th-century prison and courthouse. Men, women and children as young as seven were tried and imprisoned here, with many jailed simply for having mental health issues.

Inveraray jail was left abandoned for 100 years. It was renovated and re-opened in 1989 as a living museum depicting scenes from its past.

Take an audio tour and find out what being incarcerated in the early 19th century was really like.

  • For more information on opening hours and prices visit the official website.
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Loch Fyne Views #5

Loch Fyne, the longest sea loch in Scotland, is famous for its oysters and seafood. It is also a magnet for visitors to Inveraray, offering beautiful vistas such as the ones in my photographs.

Grab a coffee from Campbells Coffee in the main street and find a loch-side bench to sit and absorb the breath-taking scenery all around you. We did exactly that and were totally mesmerised by these commanding panoramic views of the harbour.

Inveraray War Memorial #6

The memorial commemorates the residents of Inveraray who were killed or missing in World War I and World War II. It stands proud beside Loch Fyne and reminds visitors of the lives lost in one small Scottish town.

War Memorial

Inveraray Bell Tower #7

All Saints Bell Tower can be seen for miles along Loch Fyne and, along with the castle, dominates the skyline. If you climb the 176 steps, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Arrochar Alps. If you are lucky, you may hear the 10 bells being rung out across Inveraray.

View to Loch Fyne from Inveraray bell tower
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Escorted Tours to Inveraray and Surrounding Areas from Edinburgh and Glasgow

 

Phoebe

Saturday 4th of December 2021

Scotland has been a revelation, ever since my son started studying at Glasgow Uni in 2017 we've been exploring this beautiful country. We've driven around part of loch Fyne but haven't been to Inveraray itself. One for the next visit!

sue

Friday 3rd of December 2021

I loved my visit last year to the Scottish Highlands but unfortunately missed Inverary & the castle. It sounds & looks lovely though & will add it to my plans for next time. Thanks for highlighting it!

Laureen Lund

Friday 3rd of December 2021

Great itinerary and easy to follow. We had an all too short visit to Scotland a few years ago...returning is high on my list. I'm saving this to refer to when we do. thanks.

Ava

Friday 3rd of December 2021

Even though this may be a small town, it seems there are many things to do worth a visit. Give me history and some water and I'm happy. Oh, and that wee dram wouldn't hurt!

Amy

Friday 3rd of December 2021

What on earth could a seven year old have done to end up in that jail!?

We’re planning a trip to Scotland with the grandkids in a few years. Would this be a good stop with kids?

WhereAngieWanders

Friday 3rd of December 2021

Anything from stealing an apple and they would be put in jail! To be honest everywhere in Scotland is a good place to stop for all the family. I'm sure they would love the castle and of course the stories surrounding the jail. If you want to see my in-depth itinerary on Scotland then you may like to read my 2 weeks in Scotland post - it is based on the road trip we did and there are lots of ideas for all ages.