Sights and Adventures in Inveraray
There are more places to visit near Inveraray than you might think.
As the traditional county town of Argyll, Inveraray overlooks the waters of Loch Fyne and whilst there are plenty of attractions and places to visit in the village itself, there's a lot to explore and discover in the area around the loch and further afield. Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa makes an excellent base for those who wish to day tour, before returning to recharge following a day's adventures.
To the south, lies the Crinan Canal and the rugged coast and beaches of the Mull of Kintyre, whilst to the west and north, mountains and lochs lead the way to Oban, which is in easy reach as the gateway to the Islands off the west coast of Scotland.
The charming town of Inveraray was established in 1745 by the 3rd Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell. The town is a perfect example of Scottish Georgian architecture however dates back much further, as it was made a Royal Burgh in 1638 by King Charles I.
Discover the sights and shops of this traditional town while staying at Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa.
You may have seen this fairy tale castle before, Inveraray Castle has featured on Downton Abbey, the BBCs ‘A Very British Scandal’, ‘An American Aristocat’ and ‘Secret Scotland’. Inveraray Castle, just a short walk from the hotel, is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll who founded the town in 1745. The castle and grounds remain the family home of the current Duke. Visitors are invited inside to learn more about the history of the building and tour the many grand rooms and admire the extravagant décor and furnishings on offer.
Inveraray Jail, completed in 1820, is a 'living museum' where real people portray what life was like in a 19th-century prison. This fascinating attraction offers visitors the unique opportunity to step back in on a journey through the gory history of the late mediaeval judicial system and see what life was like for prisoners within this once overcrowded jail.
Inveraray Bell Tower
Sitting centre in the town is the All Saints Bell Tower, also known as the Inveraray Bell Tower. The tower was commissioned at the end of World War One as a memorial to commemorate the Clan Campbell dead. Today you can visit the building, climbing 176 steps to the top for outstanding views of the town and loch. You can also admire the magnificent ring of the 10 bells within the tower.
Overlooking Loch Awe, the castle is one of the most photographed in Scotland.
Built in the mid 1400’s, it houses the oldest surviving barracks on the British mainland. A stronghold of the Campbells of Glenorchyfor over 150 years, the castle was converted into a garrison stronghold after the first Jacobite Rising of 1689. With Ben Cruachan in the background, the castle makes for dramatic pictures.
Discover the area's rural past at the Auchindrain Township, a well preserved example of a Scottish Highland farm township. You are able to walk through the settlement and see how people of the time lived and worked from the mediaeval period up until the 1960s. Townships like these would have been typical across the Scottish Highlands up until the Clearances in the 18th and 19th centuries.
More than half of the country's rainforest is located in Argyll. Due to the area's mild weather and rainfall, our temperate rainforest, also known as the Celtic rainforest is rarer than a tropical rainforest.
Once occurring across much of Europe’s Atlantic coastline, Scotland has the largest remaining stronghold of the once great rainforest. The rainforest is home to native wildlife and some of the world’s rarest mosses, liverworts and lichens.
Adventures in Inveraray
For an invigorating morning pick-me-up or a refreshing summer dip, our lochside location is perfect for the adventurous wild swimmer. You might even share your swim with local sealife as Loch Fyne is a sea loch where dolphins, otters and seals have been reported.
There are plenty of places nearby for a river dip or loch paddle where you can immerse yourself in the great outdoors.
If you are new to wild swimming, please make sure to go with a group, take necessary safety precautions and stay close to the shore.
For more wild swimming inspiration take a look at our wild swimming in Scotland blog, including another nearby wild swimming spot Loch Awe, in Argyll & Bute.
Explore the sights on horseback with treks through woodlands and pathways, all through Argyll Adventure.
Lead rein rides are available for children from 4 years old and rides through the ground of Inveraray Castle and the shores of Loch Fyne are available for both beginners and experienced riders. Both treks have many opportunities to spot local wildlife.
Getting around Inveraray
Cycling near Inveraray
Whether you are looking for day trails or are passing by on a tour of Scotland, Argyll has many stunning locations for you to venture on your bike. The National Cycle Network, route 78 which forms part of the The Caledonia Way, will allow you to see the Crinan Canal, while the Argyll Forest Park features craggy peaks and hidden glens to explore.
Driving in Argyll
Argyll even has its own version of the NC500 driving route in the Argyll Coastal Route, which passes through Inveraray.
If you’re keen on exploring Scotland’s west coast with views over to the Inner Hebrides, but don’t want the crowds and traffic of the NC500, this is the ideal road trip.
At around 200km, the route ticks off some of the most iconic road trip sights Scotland has to offer, starting with Loch Lomond, straight into Inveraray and Loch Fyne and on to Oban, Glencoe, Fort William and Ben Nevis.
Shopping in Inveraray
The town of Inveraray is full of charming shops for a memento of your time. Take a wander down the centre
- Fyne Malts of Inveraray - stocking many unusual whiskies not found on your local high street.
- Loch Fyne Whiskies - a welcoming environment to browse new drams
- Purdie's of Argyll - a family-run company making soaps, candles and skincare.
- Bonnie Argyll - bespoke Scottish arts and gifts
- The Courtyard - selling arts, crafts and beautiful Scottish gifts.
- MacIntyre's - family-run business with a range of country and walking attire.
- Dewar's Boot Store - next to MacIntyre's and perfect to pick up a pair of wellies or country boots.
For a full list of all the shops in Inveraray, check out our blog post here.