The following are just a few of the local attractions which we think are particularly special, either from experience or because of their local reputation. They are well worth including in your holiday if you can.
(Where possible, titles can be clicked to take you to that establishment’s own web page.)
This fantastic fish restaurant is one of our favourite places in Oban, but we’re not alone so you are advised to book in advance. Really good seafood “from the pier to the pan as fast as they can!” Not cheap but very generous portions of the most delicious, freshest seafood, so excellent value for money. Friendly, welcoming staff and relaxed, busy atmosphere popular with yachting fraternity, families and anyone who wants good local produce served piping hot and expertly cooked. Great view across the bay too. 01631 563110
We think Coast is currently one of the very best restaurants in Argyll. Immaculately prepared local and Scottish ingredients offered in an immaculately presented restaurant by a husband and wife team who clearly care about cooking and customer service. Well worth a visit for a special occasion. 01631 569900
An amazing tiny restaurant in a converted lookout with fantastic views across Oban bay to Kerrera. The freshest local seafood served simply cooked and delicious at very reasonable prices. On the road out of Oban towards Gallanach and the Kerrera ferry. Phone to book as they only seat 18 people! 01631 566000
If you’re not going too far afield, Kilmartin House Museum (on the way to Lochgilphead) has a very nice cafe for good, wholesome food during the day. This award winning museum featuring the local archaeology and ancient history always seems to be under threat of being closed due to lack of funds, so please go in and buy generously from the cafe and shop! 01546 510278
A magical hotel on its own little island north of Oban. A bit of a drive, but worth it for an exceptional meal in exceptional surroundings. Residents have priority in the restaurant and often fill it up, so phone to book before you get too excited! 01631 720371
This nice fish restaurant recently moved from George Street onto the North Pier, Oban, into a light and airy glass-sided building with fine views past the fishing boats over Oban bay. Good, fresh, West Coast seafood (and other options) at acceptable, if not cheap, prices. 01631 565666
A delightful restaurant tucked well off the beaten track in Tayvallich, at the head of Loch Sween. About an hour from Craobh down a long single track road beyond Bellanoch (south towards Lochgilphead, right at Cairnbaan, follow the canal towards Crinan). 01546 870282
World famous for its seafood, views (and prices!) this is a special experience. Overlooking the basin at the Crinan end of the canal, it is an attractive and busy working/tourist place to visit. There is also a coffee shop for snacks and good home baking during the day. 01546 830261
Another lengthy but pretty drive down the West side of Kintyre to a small Inn serving excellent home-style cooking and selling home produce to take away. 01880 770223
The local pub in Craobh, called The Lord of the Isles, used to go up and down a bit in reputation, especially for food (chefs came and went a bit, making it difficult to predict.) It has now established an excellent reputation, not only for creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, but also for offering excellent restaurant dining and serving tasty bar meals for all the family. 01852 500658
Over the hill in Ardfern – you can drive out of the village, South a mile or so and turn right, or you can walk (and drive at risk of your suspension) up behind Craobh Haven and over the dirt track past Lunga House. A real ‘local’ serving good beer, bar meals and friendly hospitality. 01852 500284
Small, friendly restaurant in Melfort Village (left turn just before Kilmelford, North of Craobh) which serves seafood and other local dishes. Serves the timeshare development here and priced accordingly. 01852 200305
Also in Ardfern, a good wholefood cafe with interesting exhibitions and crafts for sale. 01852 500303
Excellent delicatessen with coffee shop and lunch restaurant in Oban. See ‘Shopping’ below. 01631 566332
World famous as the place to eat West Coast oysters, salmon and other seafood. Now has an extended deli shop as well. A good stop on the way to or from the cottages – Cairndow is at the head of Loch Fyne and about an hour’s drive away from Craobh Haven. 01499 600264
A special hotel on the shores of Loch Awe, North of Oban. Good for afternoon tea as well as dinner. 01866 833211
The Ardanaiseig is a great place for a romantic meal, or just a walk in the gardens and afternoon tea. Many years ago, the 100 acre wild woodland gardens were regarded as one of the natural splendours of Argyll, with rhododendrons, azaleas and other exotic shrubs.. Now sadly neglected, they are being restored in a way which will retain their romantic charm and mysterious atmosphere. 01866 833333
Gardens to Visit
A small National Trust garden just up road which has grown in reputation over recent years. Well worth a visit, especially in late Spring – and we’d like you to support it, please!
Crarae are spectacular hillside gardens with lovely leafy walks. Following closure due to lack of funds a couple of years ago, the National Trust took them over and is currently looking after them and fundraising to keep them open.
Good for the gardens, the afternoon teas and the walks beside Loch Awe.
All three gardens are worth visiting at any time of year, but are particularly splendid in late Spring when the Rhododendrons and Azaleas are in bloom.
Things to do
Farsain Boat Trips
Duncan Phillips takes small groups out around the local islands in his small boat for well spoken-of trips. Seals and Jura’s Golden Eagle are regularly sighted. 07880 714165 firstname.lastname@example.org (£35 per adult, £10 child, for 3-hour trip in 2014).
Lunga Riding Stables are just up the hill behind the village. With Appaloosa horses, they specialise in Western style riding. You can also go for European-style lessons, treks and hacks. 01852 500632
Many people want to add ‘feeling better’ to their holiday enjoyment these days. See our Wellness page for our recommendations on massage, yoga, Zumba and other treatments, therapies and activities available locally.
Craignish Peninsular and other Walks
There are numerous fine walks in the area, many straight from the back door. Scotland is great for walking because, as long as you keep dogs under control and do no damage, you can walk almost anywhere. The books in the cottage give more detail, but we particularly recommend the walk down the coast to the tip of Craignish peninsular.
This expedition from Craobh Haven is a favourite of a good friend of ours, Kay Young. She went on about it so much that we asked her to write up the instructions so that we (and you!) could enjoy it during a stay in the cottages. (Click here, or the title above for full directions)
Did you know the original ‘Scots’ landed in Mid Argyll when they came across from Ireland? This award winning museum, archaeological research and interpretative centre will reveal all. Also has a very nice cafe for good, wholesome food during the day.
We haven’t managed to go on one of these ourselves yet, but they are thoroughly recommended by many of our guests. Fast ‘RIBs’ take you on a cross between a sealife spotting boat trip and a ‘wet-n-wild’ theme park ride! Known as ‘Oban Sea.fari’, but actually based on Easdale Island some way south (towards us!). 01852 300003
Worth a visit just to watch the boats come and go, which they do all day every day in the summer. The towpath from Crinan to Ardrishaig is about 10 miles of easy walking. Just do Ardrishaig to Lochgilphead or Cairnbaan if you can’t face the full stretch!
Just North of Oban on the way to Fort William, the Sealife centre is a good stop on a day out in that direction. Meet a variety of fish and seals at close quarters and have a bite to eat. 01631 720386
Turn right where signposted just beyond Kilmartin heading South, to find an idyllic spot and the nearest decent stretch of sandy beach. Understandably popular on hot days, but beautiful whatever the weather.
A unique experience as you travel in an electric bus deep inside the mountain of Ben Cruachan to see Scotland’s only ‘pump storage’ power station. Interesting, educational and out of the rain.
A well-stocked shop with a wide range of delicatessenry and other kitchen related items, many of which make good souvenirs and presents. Also has a nice tearoom with freshly made snacks and home baking (don’t have lunch anywhere else if you’re in town for a bit of shopping!)
Go to Oban to stock up on supplies – it has big and well-stocked Tesco supermarket. Oban Tesco does ‘Click and Collect’, which might be the easiest way to stock up for the week! Lochgilphead has a smaller Co-op which is not as good.
A collection of shops at the seaside end of the main street of Lochgilphead, selling everything from bacon rolls to fountain pens, including all manner of gifts, toys and souvenirs in between.
Becoming well-known through a thriving mail order trade in oysters, smoked salmon, kippers and prawns, this restaurant and deli is well worth stopping at. Specialities such as ‘Bradan Rost’ can be had for lunch and then bought in the shop to have again. Slightly expensive but a treat. 01499 600264