Written by Leonard Gow, Lochgoilhead Holidays
Updated 3 July, 2022
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Finding out about attractions to a new area can be an exciting part of your holiday planning – or you can take the easy option and let someone knowledgable save you all that work. Based on 30+ years of welcoming visitors to the area and listening to their feedback, this is their Top 10.
Note: Some attractions are seasonal so please check before you get too excited about them.
1. Chill, Relax, Breathe…
It may be a surprise to have this as No.1 – but as this is based on years of feedback from guests, it deserves top position.
Repeat visitors say the peace starts as they turn off the Rest and be Thankful and follow the twists and turns of the glen road down to the village. It really is another world. For tips on how to really relax on holiday you can consider: Be organised. Before you even set off, do a bit of research. This is a good place to start. Ditch the technology. Worth a try. Read that book, spend time outside, get active, get creative, eat and enjoy.
If by the time you head home you haven’t done half the things on your holiday list – no matter. Come back and try again.
2. The View Bar & Restaurant, Drimsynie Estate
On often asked question: Where is there to eat in the area? The Drimsynie Estate sits in an elevated position at the head of Loch Goil. They made the most of this beautiful location when they opened The View Bar & Restaurant. I recommend you book a table in advance as they can be busy. Easy to view the menus and book online. DC’s Takeaway is also at Drimsynie.
The Goil Inn is the village pub & Restaurant. Best to book in advance, especially during the holidays. Call: 01301 703208. Since re-opening after the pandemic, with a new team headed by Lesley-Anne, they are getting great support and reviews.
The Boat Shed Cafe is in a superb loch side setting on the road from Lochgoilhead to Carrick Castle. Serving coffee, cake, panini’s and soup. It’s a cafe – no bookings.
3. Hire a boat on Loch Goil
Loch Goil Cruisers offer easy to handle motor boats available for a range of hire times. Visitors love the views from the loch, spotting seals, looking for porpoises, watching the gannets diving – and maybe a bit of fishing. The boats sell out. Advisable to plan ahead and book so you are not left standing on the jetty as everyone else heads off.
4. Follow a trail
Without doubt probably the most feedback I get is from visitors who followed one of the 21 suggestions in my Loch Goil Trails Guide. This was a labour of love. Years spent exploring the hills around this area I wanted to make it easy for visitors to find just the right walk. Be it a meander on the River Walk, a trek around Cormonachan Woodlands, or hauling yourself up Steeple Hill for the view over the loch – there really is a walk here for everyone. If you are in one of my Lochgoilhead and area holiday homes there is a complimentary guide waiting for you on arrival. If you are not, then order a copy and choose your walks in advance.
5. Ardkinglas House, Woodland Garden & Gruffalo Trail
Woodland Gardens and Gruffalo Trail
You may well come across Ardkinglas House if you are researching the area. Chances are, you will not. On the shores of Loch Fyne this is a tucked away attraction that is easy to get to from Lochgoilhead. Ardkinglas House has an interesting history. From April 2022 they are restarting their Friday afternoon guided house tours. If this fits in with your schedule it is worth booking a place so you get the full history of this impressive home. Open all year is The Woodland Gardens & Gruffalo Trail. The youngsters will enjoy following the paths and looking for the Fairy Garden. There are information boards around the gardens so you can make the most of your visit.
Established in 1756 by the 3rd Duke of Argyll, Inveraray is a fine example of Scottish Georgian Architecture on the shores of Loch Fyne. Not only pretty to look at, there is much more to make it worth a visit.
Inveraray Jail and Courthouse is a fun way to learn the history of crime and punishment in times gone bye. Buy your ticket online and save money. Inveraray Castle is not only worth a photograph, you can visit the castle, still the home of the Duke of Argyll, and explore on a number of marked trails. 800 feet above the grounds is Dun Na Cuaiche Watchtower, built as a folly in 1748, where your efforts are rewarded with a spectacular view over the castle, town and loch. It is a good path to the top so with a bit of stamina, you’ll make it.
Back in Inveraray there are galleries, shops, places for a coffee and restaurants.
7. The Cobbler
The Cobbler, also known as Ben Arthur, is one of the biggies around here. At 884m (2,900ft) this is a challenge that delivers wonderful views of the Arrochar Alps as well as unlimited photo opportunities. Start at the large car park at Succoth (charges applies) by Loch Long and follow the good path. Allow 4-5 hours in summer. 10km. Do I really need to say it: check the weather and make sure you have suitable footwear.
8. Cruise Loch Lomond
Just 12 miles from Lochgoilhead is the jumping off point for Cruise Loch Lomond. They make it easy to explore this most famous of Scotland’s lochs. Choice of routes and times leaving throughout the day. Visit their website and find the right trip. Explore further on their waterbus and ferries to get to the less visited parts of the loch.
9. Scenic Drives
Oban, Glencoe, The Cowal Peninsula. Half and full day scenic drives starting in Lochgoilhead. Can it get any easier? There is much to see when you get out the glen. If you want tourist poster Scotland then Glencoe has to top the list. It is an easy and enjoyable day trip. Oban, as the Gateway to the Isles, is always popular. A must stop on the way is the view across Loch Awe to Kilchurn Castle. Iconic Scotland. The Kyles of Bute, The Cowal Peninsula or even a day trip to Edinburgh – they are all covered in the scenic drive suggestions.
10. Fyne Ales
Fyne Ales is an award winning family-owned Scottish Farm Brewery. Easy to miss, it is down a lane at the head of Scotland’s longest sea loch. They have an indoor tap room as well as courtyard seating. If you are a lover of ale then this will not disappoint.