10 Must Visit Attractions on Bute

Michael Hayes

Mount Stuart

A flamboyant Victorian Gothic House set in parkland planted with species from all over the world. The Crichton-Stuarts held extensive lands in Wales and elsewhere, and became even richer from developing industry around Cardiff. The 19th C 3rd Marquess wanted to recreate the Middle Ages to his own specifications, and restored Cardiff Castle and nearby Castle Coch. Mount Stuart was his next project. It's built in warm red sandstone, with a notable marble hall and chapel, and richly decorated. In 2016 a Shakespeare First folio was discovered in the library.

Mount Stuart is opened from Mid March to Mid December is a popular wedding venue. Adult admission is £13 and parking is onsite.

Rothesay Tourist Information

In the heart of the town, a short walk from the ferry terminal at the centre of the the putting green. This is a free tourist information point and museum. Interactive exhibits will keep the kids entertained and the story of the island through the ages will be fascinating to adults.

Rothesay Castle

In the heart of the town, a short walk from the ferry terminal. This is a "compound" castle, unusual for Scotland, first built in Norman times. It has a circular curtain wall: four towers were later added, of which only the "Pigeon Tower" survives. It was well smashed up by Cromwell, and then again during the Monmouth Rebellion. From the 19th C the Marquesses of Bute made considerable efforts to restore it - or at least to their spec for what the Middle Ages ought to have looked like. Lots of restoration work has been going on. Access is for an Adult £5.

Seals of Scalpsie Bay

Scalpsie Bay is also on the west coast of the island and the beautiful and secluded bay with reddish sand is the perfect home to seals. Over 200 seals call the bay home.

Scalpsie was used for a variety of military purposes in WWII. The timber posts sunken into the sand are the remains of WWII anti-glider defences as the area was thought to be a possible landing site for a German invasion. The small cottage above the beach was more recently used up until the Cold War as a listening post for enemy submarines patrolling the Firth of Clyde. Scalpsie has two viewpoints; one is called Seal View below the road from which a colony of some 200 seals can be observed on the rocks to the north of the bay. The other viewpoint is set above the road and commands a fantastic panoramic view of Arran and the Holy Isle. The whole area is waymarked and pathed to all the sites of interest.

Serpentine Road

The Serpentine Road snakes its way through the heart of Rothersay. When you reach the top you will be greeted with fantastic views across the water towards the mainland.

The road is Scotlands own little version of the famous Lombard Street in San Francisco.

Loch Fad

The deep loch is stocked with trout, and pike, perch and roach which makes it a popular spot for fishing. Rowing boats and rods are available for hire. In summer 2018 Bluebird K7, the restored speedboat of Donald Campbell (1921-1967), undertook trials here after a lengthy restoration process. Loch Fad Day ticket (5 fish) £25.

Ettrick Bay

Ettrick Bay on Bute's west coast is a large sandy beach. Easily accessible by car or bus. The bay is popular on a summers day to take a dip in the water. The tea room at the bay is a popular spot for lunch.

Bute Brewing Co.

Conceived in 2014 by Aidan Canavan, a biologist by training, Bute Brew Co. is situated in the centre of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. The Brewery is open for visitors so you can come in and see how we make the beers, sample the beers in our bar and beer garden. You can also buy bottles to take home or as a fantastic gift for someone if your feeling generous! Beer is available on draft or bottle in most of the pubs and restaurants around the island.

Victorian Toilets

Yeah for real. These toilets are well worth a visit. 40p entrance. The male toilets are a fantastic, working, look back to the Victorian days. As these are working toilets ladies can only enter if they are not in use.

Putting Green

A trip to the seaside isn't complete until you've taken a round of putting in. Compete at the front surrounded by the lovely gardens and fountain.

Going to Bute? Download Pocket Leap to have more great content in the palm of your hand, even when there's no signal.