The Royal Burgh of Rothesay is the principal town on the gorgeous Isle of Bute, just a short ferry ride from Wemyss Bay, or an even shorter ferry ride from Colintraive, via Rhubodach on the north of the island.

Rothesay has for generations provided an ideal holiday destination for Clydesiders, with the Glasgow Fair providing an absolute bustle of activity, with men from the shipyards and heavy industry in Glasgow coming down with their families for the Fair Fortnight. A stroll along the promenade, a dance in the Winter Gardens, a show at the Pavilion, an ice cream from Zavaroni’s – these were all part of the classic Rothesay experience.

Today Rothesay is a bit more sedate, but it has retained much of its charm. The Winter Gardens and Pavilion are still in their original form, now housing the excellent local tourist information centre, while you can play a round of putting on the first class putting green just outside – ideal on a Summer’s day. Rothesay Castle is an excellent property maintained by Historic Scotland, while the local shops and cafes will give you plenty to do even on a rainy day.

Winter Gardens and Pavilion, Rothesay, on the lovely Isle of Bute.

For those looking for a walk in Rothesay, the classic walk is along the promenade, but you can also have amazing walks up past the lovely Ardencraig Gardens and onto Canada Hill, command fantastic views over the Firth of Clyde. Continue on through the Skipper Woods and descend by the famous Serpentine to arrive back in Rothesay town centre. Alternatively, head on round past the Rothesay Pavilion to the Skeoch Woods.

Rothesay is not, however, the only attraction on the Isle of Bute, and arguably the highlights lie elsewhere on the island. Mount Stuart House and gardens are open to the public for most of the year, and are located on the east of the island beside Kerrycroy. Great tearooms can be found at Craigmore and Ettrick Bay, whilst the Kingarth Hotel and St. Blane’s Hotel in the south of the island provide delicious and affordable lunches.

Wonderful sandy beaches can be found all round the island, with the best being at Ettrick Bay, Kilchattan Bay and Scalpsie Bay. Walk up Kilchattan Hill, past the caves and cliffs at Dunagoil, or up to St. Blane’s Chapel. For the more adventurous still, take the wonderful “Lighthouse Walk” to Garrochty Bay from just south of Kilchattan Bay.

Loch Fad and trout fishery provides excellent fishing opportunities for both the course and fly angler, with excellent stocks of rainbow trout, and also some brown trout and perch. Loch Quien is also great for brown trout fishing, whilst there are numerous stretches of rocks and beaches around the island to satisfy the sea angler, with the usual diverse array of species in the Firth of Clyde, Sound of Bute and Kyles of Bute to enjoy.

The Isle of Bute is a real delight, and just 2 hours from Glasgow including the ferry ride, so why not come to this relatively untouched island and enjoy its stunning natural beauty.

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