things to do

Ben Durinnis House provides a quiet and secluded spot from which to enjoy the solitude and the beauty of the West Highlands. This is a superb area for outdoor enthusiasts and there are many deserted bays and beaches to be discovered further up Loch Etive that make for excellent picnic sites. However, if you fancy a more energetic break then there are a wide range of activities and tourist attractions to make your holiday here your best yet!


Only 30 minutes away is the bustling town of Oban – the gateway to the islands. The town has a wide range of shops from the usual high street names to an eclectic mix of high quality scottish gifts and crafts. The ferry terminal offers day trips to visit Mull, the beautiful holy island of Iona or to see the magnificent Fingal’s Cave on Staffa. Oban also boasts an excellent distillery and some fine restaurants. Each summer the town comes alive with a host of festivals, attracting bagpipers, highland dancers and traditional musicians and singers from all over the world. Visit the Tourist Information Ventre at the start of your stay for lots of ideas for days out and things to do in the Oban area.

Boat Trips

Sea-life Adventures

Experience a whale watching boat trip on board Porpoise II, including trips through the infamous Corryvreckan Whirlpool. This area is exceptional for wildlife watching. It is a hot spot for porpoise, dolphins, minke whales and basking sharks. Bird watching highlights include sea eagles, golden eagles and puffins, while otters, seals, and deer can be seen along the shore. The purpose built “Porpoise II” is Britain’s most powerful wildlife charter boat. This huge boat offers unparalleled stability, safety and comfort, including an onboard toilet. Watch videos in the heated wheelhouse, or enjoy the fresh sea breeze on the deck of this spacious boat. The cruises are suitable for the whole family. More information is available on Sea-life Adventures website.

Loch Etive Cruises

Loch Etive Cruises give visitors a chance to see for themselves this little known loch from the water. They operate from March to November from Kelly’s Pier near the Bonawe Iron Furnace. They offer two hour cruises leaving at 10.00am and 12.00pm and 3 hour cruises leaving at 2.00pm every day except Saturday.

The trip includes awesome veiws of Ben Cruachan (1126m), Ben Starav (1078m) and Beinn Trilleachan (839m). The north end of Loch Etive is dominated by the view up Glen Etive to the twin mountains of Buachaille Etive Mor and, to its west, Buachaille Etive Beag. The north ends of these twin ridges dominate the upper parts of Glen Coe. Impressive wildlife includes sights of seal colonies, golden eagles and red deer.

Note that booking is necessary. Please call 07721732703 working hours and 01866 822430 evenings.


A little further afield is the excellent Sea.fari adventure, located in Easdale, about 30 minutes drive south of Oban. It offers an excellent wildlife experience combined with an exhilarating ride in a well equipped and modern RIB. Tours include visits to the Gulf of Corryvreckan, home of the World’s Third Largest Whirlpool (or tidal flow), whale and dolphin watching, a short boat trip to the nearest seal colony or a full day boat tour to the Garvellach Islands or Colonsay. See for more information.

Coastal Connections

Setting out from Oban, their 11metre covered ribs provide a comfortable way to see the local marine wildlife and sights. Their ‘Wildlife and Castles’ Tour last approximately 2 hours and the route takes in the sights of Oban’s Dunollie Castle, Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull and Gylen Castle on the island of Kerrera. Or take a day trip to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, leaving you time to explore the village and enjoy lunch in one of the local cafes or restaurants. See their boat trips website for more information, and their charter options.

Scottish Sealife Sanctuary

Nestling in a mature spruce forest on the shores of beautiful Loch Creran the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary is home to some of the UK’s most enchanting marine creatures. The aquarium has a dazzling array of multi-dimensional aquarium displays housing everything from shrimps and starfish to sharks and stingrays.

The centre also boasts an SOS seal rescue facility which includes a busy Seal pup nursery and you can find out about the work involved in caring for the numerous stray, sickly or injured seal pups which they receive every year.

Every day there is a range of talks and feeding demonstrations from the sanctuary’s team of marine experts. Almost everything is undercover so it is an excellent rainy day activity, with a children’s play area plus nature trails and forest walk outside.


It is possible to take day trips to visit Mull, the beautiful holy island of Iona or to see the magnificent Fingal’s Cave on Staffa. For more information please visit or


Walkers are spoilt for choice with the area offering a wide variety of coastal, forestry walks, strolls through historic castles and more serious hill climbing options.

Argyll enjoys a mild climate due to the influence of the Gulf Stream so consequentially, it boasts some stunning gardens within easy reach of Oban. On the northern shores of Loch Etive, there is Ardchattan Priory Garden, which was once a gathering place of the Gaelic speaking Scottish Parliament. To the south, visitors can walk around the extensive gardens of Ardmaddy Castle (featured on the Beechgrove Garden in 2009).

An easy and achievable hill to climb is Ben Lora, which begins in the village of Benderloch and can be walked up and down in around 2 hours. It offers spectacular views over Ardmucknish Bay, great views over to Mull, and it can be fun watching the small aircraft turning towards Connel Bridge to land at the airstrip in Connel.

With over 20 Munros within an hour’s drive from Ben Duirinnis and most hills boasting spectacular views of the sea and views out to the islands, hillwalking can be a breathtaking experience. For the more experienced hillwalker, Ben Cruachan overlooking Loch Awe is a very popular climb, with Ben Nevis and the Mamores, excellent day trips.

Please note that anyone attempting hills should be well equipped with navigation skills as the weather can change quickly and it is not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day.


A great day out for the family, is to head for the virtually traffic-free islands of Kerrera or Lismore. Kerrera is only 7km long, with mainly good but some rough tracks, and home to only about 30 people. The ferry crossing runs from Gallanach, which is a short drive or 3km cycle along the coast road from Oban.

The big sister to Kerrera, Lismore is long and narrow, at 16km in length and just 2km in width and a population of around 180. This day trip starts with ferry trip from Oban or Port Appin. There are many picnic spots and tourist attractions on this island and the roads and tracks are very quiet. If you don’t have a bike but still want to cycle, Lismore Bike Hire (Tel. +44 (0) 1631 760 213) will deliver a bike anywhere on the island. Alternatively, if you are taking the Port Appin Ferry, you can hire bikes at Port Appin Bike Hire (Tel: +44 (0) 1631 730 391.

Another great day trip on 2 wheels is a 19km cycle on quiet single track roads from Taynuilt to Oban. The best way to do this is to leave a car in Oban and take your bikes on the train to Taynuilt. From Taynuilt station, take the B road by the Taynuilt hotel, which is part of National Route 78. The route was used in history when the ancient kings were taken to Iona from the Palace of Scone and there are many ancient forts and cairns by the roadside.


There are many fine gardens in the area, but the closest one is only a few miles from us at Ardchattan Priory, where you can enjoy their gardens as well as the historic ruins.



Glencruittin Golf Club – A James Braid designed 18 hole golf club close to the centre of Oban

Tel. +44 (0) 1631 562868, Website:

Dalmally Golf Club – An enchanting, picturesque 9 hole course, nestling between Ben Cruachan and Ben Lui and beside the banks of the meandering River Orchy.



Sea Kayaking Scotland, based nearby in Benderloch take beginners, intermediate and experienced paddlers out for day, weekend or week trips in the area.

01631 720192 website:

National Kayaking School – Oban is one of the premier Sea Kayaking Destinations in the World with numerous sheltered areas for beginners & tideraces for experts, and superb scenery and wildlife.

Tel. +44 (0)8456 436054, Website:


The Ice Factor – A little further afield in Kinlochleven is the biggest indoor ice climbing facility in the world. The Ice Factor features the UK’s largest articulated rock climbing wall and a competition-standard bouldering hall, making it the perfect place to practise, train and learn every conceivable mountaineering skill.

Tel. +44 (0) 1855 831100, Website:

Local Castles

Dunstaffnage Castle – Open April-September 9.30am-5.30pm Tel. +44 (0)1631 562465

Ardmaddy Gardens – Spectacular gardens open all year round dawn till dusk. Tel. +44 (0)1852 300353, Website:

Places to eat

Oban has been branded the ‘Seafood Capital of Scotland’ and is renowned for the variety and quality of seafood landed in the harbour. There are great seafood restaurants in Oban offering a wide range of styles and menus.

The Oyster Inn, Connel Bridge. Tel. +44 (0)1631 710666 Website:

The Pier House, Port Appin. Tel. +44 (0)1631 730302 Website:

The Airds Hotel, Port Appin. Tel +44 (0)1631 730 236, Website:

Eeusk Fish Restaurant, North Pier, Oban. Tel +44 (0) 1631 565666, Website:

Waterfront Restaurant, The Pier, Oban. Tel. +44 (0) 1631 563110, Website:

Piazza, North Pier, Oban. Tel. +44 (0)1631 563628, Website: