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 four 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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Useful Information about Inveraray
How to Get to Inveraray
We 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 transport of your own, 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 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.
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 a mixed assortment of weather. The plus factor was fewer crowds and no midges (biting insects prevalent in summer).
Winter will see snowfall, making a road trip quite tricky. Spring and Autumn are good times to visit in general.
Best Things to do in Inveraray
At the top of our list of things to do in Inveraray was to visit the castle; it was small enough only to need an hour or so to visit but was undoubtedly 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
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.
- For more information about the castle and the Duke of Argyll, visit the Inveraray Castle website.
The Duke of Argyll demolished the old town 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 has excellent 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 want to stay in Inveraray for longer than a few hours.
However, if, like us, the town is just a pit stop on a Scottish road trip, then you can still see 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 staying in one of the traditional fishermen’s cottages overlooking Loch Fyne interests you, 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 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
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 like.
- For more information on opening hours and prices, visit the official website.
Loch Fyne Views
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 like those in my photographs.
Grab a coffee from Campbells Coffee in the main street and find a loch-side bench to sit and absorb the breathtaking scenery around you. We did exactly that and were 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 II. It stands proud beside Loch Fyne and reminds visitors of the lives lost in a tiny Scottish town.
Inveraray Bell Tower
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 ten bells being rung out across Inveraray.
- For more information, visit the Inveraray Bell Tower Website
Escorted Tours to Inveraray and Surrounding Areas from Edinburgh and Glasgow