After a failed attempt at going to Arran for my birthday (the ferry was cancelled thanks to good old Scottish weather), I finally went this month! It was a whirlwind 24 hour trip, but we managed to squeeze a lot in. Here’s a rundown of our trip and all you need to know if you’re considering a quick trip to Arran.
HOW TO GET THERE
Unless you fancy a very cold swim, the ferry is your best bet. From Ardrossan to Brodick, you can be back on land in just under an hour! You’ll find a selection of food and drinks on the ferry, and you’ll also get a great view if you choose to brave the wind and stand out on deck. It’s doggy friendly too, so naturally I spent most of the hour dogspotting. I spotted a grand total of 20 dogs on the ferry back which made going home that little bit easier!
WHERE TO STAY
Brodick has several hotels and B&Bs to choose from, but we stayed in The Auchrannie Resort. While it’s definitely not the cheapest hotel, we really enjoyed our time there. We had vouchers for the hotel so decided to treat ourselves to one of their executive rooms. This gave the added benefit of a huge room and access to an outdoor hot tub with a great view! You also get a Nespresso machine in your room which is any coffee lover’s dream. When we weren’t out and about, the majority of our time was spent in the hot tub, so I’d definitely say it’s worth the extra cost.
Despite having 3 restaurants, there was a definite lack of vegetarian options which was a bit disappointing. However, we opted for Cruize Bar and Brasserie and managed to find something in the end. The portions are huge, so I can’t fault them on that! I didn’t even come close to finishing my meal.
WHAT TO DO
This Scottish island might be small, but we didn’t struggle for things to do in Arran! Just for reference, we didn’t take a car, so everything I mention is within walking distance!
The smell of Arran Aromatics will likely draw you in… Our hotel room actually had a few complimentary Arran Arromatics products for us to enjoy, so I didn’t buy any on this occasion. However, it’s worth going in for the smell alone! They’re a one stop shop for all your bath and body product needs, and they’re cruelty free yay!
Brodick Castle was closed when we visited, but it’s definitely still worth going to. You can explore the surrounding gardens, and there’s also a huge playpark if you’re there with kids! I’d love to go back in the future when the castle is open to the public.
James of Arran Chocolate Shop – Now we all know I love a bit of chocolate, but this shop was a bit of a let down for me… I thought the chocolates were a bit overpriced, and I didn’t see anything too exciting, but if you’re a chocolate lover then it might be worth a visit to get your chocolate fix! I read on their website that you can watch them make their chocolate in store which I think would be really interesting. Maybe next time!
Go for a walk! Well this doesn’t need much explanation, does it? I love going for a good walk anywhere, but I enjoyed it even more in Arran. The scenery is beautiful, so you can’t go wrong with an aimless wander around the island.
If I’m being honest, The Rosaburn Ducks were my highlight of the trip. On the little walking path to Brodick Castle, you’ll find a small bridge full of ducks. The majority of them are rescues and were hand reared by the owners of a nearby house. You can buy little bags of duck food on the bridge, and the ducks will eat it from your hand (much to my delight).
Arran Cheese Shop aka my idea of heaven. I left with a big bag full of cheese and a much lighter purse. There’s lots of samples, so you can try before you buy! The caramelised onion cheddar was our favourite, hence why we left with 3 of them. You can even see the cheese being made through a large window in the shop which was really cool!
Arran Brewery might look small, but it’s worth a visit if you like beer! In their visitor centre, you can sample any of the beers on draft as well as buying them in bottles to take home. You can also arrange a paid tour of the brewery, but we sadly didn’t have time for that. Definitely something to do next time!
If you’re looking for a nice pub lunch, The Wineport is right next door to the brewery. Reasonably priced and quickly made food, I have no complaints about this cute little pub! It’s a great place to stop and rest your feet. They also have a great selection of locally made alcohol, including beer, whisky and gin.
Last but definitely not least… Fiddlers‘ Music Bar and Bistro was our final stop before heading for the ferry, and I wish we’d discovered it sooner! They regularly have live music in the bar, and it had a really nice atmosphere. I enjoyed a big Arran Gin and tonic with plenty of garnish before heading home.
That’s a wrap! I really enjoyed my 24 hour trip to Arran and would love to go back to explore more of the island.
Have you been to Arran before? Do you have any recommendations for next time? I’d love to know!
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