Spring is here and summer will be around the corner before we know it. If you are planning your holiday and wondering what to do in the area, you will be amazed by the choice. Argyll is rich with splendid castles to visit, now open again for the season. The glorious Gardens of Argyll are in full swing with flowers and plants putting on their best displays in the warmer weather. And if you like your whisky or want to find out more about it, then there are fantastic world-renowned distilleries to visit.
Aside from the permanent attractions and activities, there will also be plenty to do this spring and summer with fairs, festivals, yachting events, whisky month, etc. Let’s see if we can inspire you….
Fyne at Forty Festival (12th & 13th May): Loch Fyne Oysters will mark their 40th anniversary with a special “Fyne at Forty” weekend festival.
Over the two-day “Fyne at Forty” event, festival goers will be given access to areas normally closed to the public, such as the oyster sheds where each oyster is graded, purified and hand-checked for freshness before being dispatched to one of many customers around the world.
There will be champagne tours of nearby historic Ardkinglas House, and you can test your chef skills in the oyster shucking competition or practise your navigation with our treasure hunt amidst the fantastic Loch Fyne scenery.
An evening ceilidh will take place on Friday 12 May followed by a spectacular fireworks show over the loch.
Campbeltown Malts Festival (23rd – 25th May): celebration of Springbank, Glengyle and Glen Scotia malt whiskies, all produced in Campbeltown, with stalls, crafts, tastings, live music and much more.
Scottish Series (25th-28th May): four days of yachting, cruising and racing in and around Tarbert, with parties for the sailors but plenty of atmosphere in the pubs and hotels of Tarbert for everyone else. Great to watch and fun to be around.
Islay Festival of Music and Malt (25th May – 2nd June): During the last week of May, Islay welcomes visitors from across the world for a week-long celebration of the island’s unique culture, music and world-renowned single malt whiskies.
Fèis Ìle is a great way to discover the peaty delights from the distilleries of Islay and the neighbouring Isle of Jura. Each distillery holds its own open day, where you’ll find special events, and the week is full of traditional music, ceilidhs, children’s shows, guided walks and outdoor activities.
Waverley trips: the Waverley is the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer and a beautiful ship. In the spring and summer months, it takes passengers on mini cruises and day trips around the Scottish Isles and West Coast. It is a treat you won’t want to miss, one that will appeal across generations. The Waverley sails in and out of Oban and Campbeltown, as well as along Argyll’s Secret Coast to and from Glasgow and all the way up to Skye. Trips around Scotland run from late May to late August.
June is the ‘great outdoors’ month. If ever you needed an excuse to go out and explore the myriad of outdoor activities around Arduaine, Oban and Argyll, June is the time for it. We are truly spoilt on that front so take your pick from walking, climbing, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, horse riding, etc…. The list is endless.
Fyne Fest (1st – 3rd June): Well, it all started with beer, with the festival taking place on the grounds of the Loch Fyne Brewery attached to the estate of the same name. Together with live music and great local food, it is three days of entertainment in a great location. A good local festival to try out.
Island hopping: Ever heard of Hopscotch? No, it isn’t only a game to be found in the school playground, it is also the opportunity to go and discover the 20-odd islands that are part of Argyll and the Isles. Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries offer island hopping tickets which allow you to plan your journey around the isles, be it a day trip, one or two nights, or a full holiday of island hopping. With many sailings out of Oban, you will find Loch Melfort is a good base to explore the Inner Hebrides. You can also push on from there to Skye and the Western Isles. Islay is a good island to visit for a day trip, with year-round sailings.
Tarbert Seafood Festival (7th & 8th July): a celebration of the beautiful produce coming out of the waters of Loch Fyne, this is a must if you enjoy your seafood, with stalls and tastings from local businesses along the harbour, as well as the crowning of the Seafood Festival Queen and procession to the sound of bagpipes and more family activities. Great for the whole family.
Tiree Music Festival (13th – 16th July): It has been voted Scotland’s best small music festival on a number of occasions and combines a great music line-up with a wonderful island adventure. A really lovely place to be.
July is Highland games month and you will have a few local options including Inveraray, Mull (19th July) and Taynuilt (21st July):
Inveraray Highlands games (17th July): Inveraray Castle grounds host the traditional mix of pipe bands, Highland dancing competitions, track and field races, and caber tossing. There is plenty to do for the whole family and it is a lovely day out.
West Highland Yachting Week (27th July – 3rd August): Taking in three very local venues, Craobh, Oban and Tobermory, this is a large racing event (over 750 competitors) with a full calendar of activities, including music (and a ceilidh or two) and plenty of food. A really good week to be celebrating sailing and our wonderful coastline.
So there we go, this is just a taste of what you can do locally. Although you can never spend too much time relaxing at the hotel… Enjoy the season!