Have a great day out on the Isle of Bute

We thought it was high time we told you about another great day out.  As you know, we love helping you to spread your wings and discover a bit more of our beautiful countryside.

This time, we want to tell you all about the beautiful Isle of Bute.  It’s close enough that you can be there and back in a day and there’s lots to discover.

Getting to Bute

Ferries to Rothesay, Bute’s main ferry terminal, go from Wemyss Bay, which is about half an hour or so away.  If you fancy a more scenic drive you can head further up the coast to Colintraive and get the tiny car ferry across to Rhubodach on the north of the island.  We’d recommend the longer crossing to Rothesay as it gives you the chance to stretch your legs and have a cup of tea.  The scenery isn’t bad either.

Once you’re there, it’s time to discover some of our highlights.

Rothesay Castle

Rothesay Castle dates back to the 13th century, when it was built to fend off invading Vikings.  It’s had a rich history since then, being occupied by both Robert the Bruce and even Oliver Cromwell’s army.

There have been plenty of jokers who’ve asked when the roof will be finished!  That may be missing but the outer circular wall remains.  The great hall was refurbished in 1900 and now houses displays telling you all about the castle’s history.  You can even pay a visit to the dungeons if you dare.

Bute Museum

The museum is free to enter and just behind the castle so it’s really easy to combine the two.  You can see displays covering the history of the island, along with the geological and natural history.

Ettrick Bay

If exploring the island’s history isn’t for you and you just fancy a walk on the beach, head to Ettrick Bay.  It’s a lovely beach and a favourite with swimmers when the weather’s warm enough.

There’s also a good café if you need to warm up.

Mount Stuart House

Mount Stuart is the real jewel in Bute’s crown and hosted Stella McCartney’s wedding in 2003.  It was built by the 3rd Marquess of Bute in the 19thcentury.  He built his house in the gothic style, which wasn’t popular at the time, and it reflects his passion for nature and even astrology.  We think that this is a place you really need to discover for yourself.  The rooms, from the stunning marble hall to the beautiful bedrooms, have a wealth of detail.  You can explore the house yourself or take one of the tours with the expert guides.

There is so much to see here you could easily make it a day out in itself.  Once you’ve seen the house there are lovely gardens and woods to explore, with views down to the sea.  You can visit Bute Kitchen for lunch or afternoon tea.  If you plan in advance you can also order a picnic to take with you on a ramble through the woods.

To get to Mount Stuart, head south from Rothesay and you’ll pass through the village of Kerrycroy, built to house the workers and, later, the estate staff.  The pier there was purpose built to bring in the Italian marble for the house and chapel.

We hope we’ve inspired you.  If we’ve missed any of your favourite spots please let us know!


Wemyss Bay to Rothesay ferry timetable – https://www.calmac.co.uk/wemyssbay-rothesay-bute-ferry-summer-timetable

Plan your visit to Mount Stuart – https://www.mountstuart.com/