See & Do

The Royal an Lochan

Events in Cowal and Argyll

Argyll and Cowal are always a hive of activity with plenty of local events taking place throughout the year that entertain and delight local residents and national and international visitors alike.

If you are planning a trip to Scotland this year and are looking for some fun things to do during your stay, check out our seasonal events.

Events in Cowal and Argyll

Artwork at the Royal

The Royal an Lochan has always been a champion of local artists as we have their artwork adorning the walls of our restaurant and lounges and are active supporters of the many art galleries in and around Tighnabruaich, Cowal and Argyll.

The Harbour Gallery at The Royal

We have joined forces with local artist Stuart Herd and his Harbour Gallery in Tarbert and Ullapool to show over 150 pieces of artwork which are available for sale all year round in the Harbour Gallery at The Royal.

Stuart is a prolific artist who sells his work throughout the UK.

His speciality is detailed realism style landscape and seascape canvases and while the subjects of his paintings predominantly feature the landscapes of Argyll he often ventures further afield throughout Scotland to paint with the result that his portfolio contains a rich variety of Scotland’s scenery.

The works on show in the hotel includes around 40 Stuart Herd original paintings as well as framed and mounted Stuart Herd prints, framed vintage original memorabilia, including local charts, maps, travel literature and adverts, and as a whole reflects the huge range of art work sold at The Harbour Gallery in Tarbert.

For more information about Stuart Herd and to see examples of his art work including original paintings, framed and mounted prints and more visit the Harbour Gallery website.

Website (Click here)

The Harbour Gallery at The Royal

Anne Hewitt

Tighnabruaich based Anne Hewitt is a self taught artist who relocated to Argyll from London to enjoy a more relaxed, rural lifestyle and is now a professional artist working from her art studio in Tighnabruaich.

She is inspired by the wonderful scenery of Argyll and her paintings of evocative seascapes –wild or calm, yachts and trawlers surrounded by seabirds battling the elements, beaches, gleaming water and the local wildlife really capture the area’s natural atmosphere and bring Argyll to life.

Anne works mostly with oils for the richness and depth of colour and although she is a versatile artist with a keen eye for detail she is always interested to learn how other artists work and to try out new methods and techniques.

A selection of her work is on display at her art studio in Tighnabruaich, on her website Anne Hewitt Artist and also in the Hotel as part of a continuous exhibition of art in association with Stuart Herd’s The Harbour Gallery in Tarbert.

Anne Hewitt

Sea Glass Jewellery

Also on display and for sale in the Hotel is the beautiful and unique handmade jewellery created by Jane Ross of Seaglass From Scotland.

Each piece is made from materials found on Scottish beaches and shorelines, some from the beach at Tighnabruaich right in front of the Royal an Lochan, which Jane cleans up and varnishes to enhance the finish and depth of colour.

As Jane says “every piece of seaglass, ceramic and seashell has been handpicked from the beach or shore designated –guaranteed”which she has fashioned into eyecatching pendants that really stand out with their attractive and vibrant colours.

Website (Click here)

Sea Glass Jewellery

Historical sites in Cowal and Argyll

The Royal an Lochan at Tighnabruaich is within easy reach of many fine historical sites in Cowal and Argyll. We’ve highlighted some that can be part of a great day out when staying at our hotel. We hope you enjoy them.

Inveraray Castle, Argyll

Inveraray Castle lies on the shores of Loch Fyne and is amongst the finest of stately homes in Scotland. The castle, completed in 1790, is the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Argyll, Chiefs of the Clan Campbell.

The castle with its magnificent Armoury Hall, State Dining Hall and Tapestry Drawing Room together with the gardens are open to the public and there is a tearoom and gift shop.

Website (Click here)

Inveraray Castle, Argyll

Achnabreac Cup and Ring Marks

Achnabreac Forest is the site of recently discovered prehistoric art believed to be around 5,000 years old. In 2008, following a storm, cup and ring marks were revealed on a rock in the forest.

This is a rare and treasured site sitting high above Kilmartin Glen around 2 miles north of Lochgilphead. The site is well signposted and has full public access.

The Forestry Commission has further information about the Achnabreac cup and ring marks.

Website (Click here)

Did You Know?

  • The building of Inveraray Castle, home to the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, commenced in 1746 and was inspired by a sketch from the architect Vanbrugh who designed both Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard.
  • Kilchurn Castle at Loch Awe was abandoned after a tower was struck by lightning. The tower’s remains can still be seen in the courtyard.
  • Cup and ring marked rocks considered to have been in place for over 4000 years can be found in Achnabreac, Lochgilphead.
  • Auchindrain Township Museum is the nearest to a complete example of any Highland Farm Township that has survived.
  • On a high hill above the village of Crinan you can find an Iron Age Fort called Castle Dounie.
  • Kilmartin village has over 350 ancient monuments within six miles of its centre and of them 150 date back to prehistoric times.

Did You Know?

Auchindrain Township Museum

Auchindrain Township Museum is the nearest to a complete example of any Highland Farm Township that has survived and is situated on a 22-acre site, deep in the stunning Argyll countryside.

The museum is open daily from 1 April to 31 October and at limited times from November until March. Learn more about the Auchindrain Township Museum.

Website (Click here)

Castle Dounie

Castle Dounie is what remains of a stone fort dating back to the Iron Age, on a high rocky knoll above Crinan. There are terrific views from here towards Jura and Mull and north to Ben Nevis.

This can be found on the Castle Dounie Circuit which is a 4 mile walking route starting from Crinan harbour. Find out more about Castle Dounie.

Website (Click here)

Kilmartin Glen and Museum

The Kilmartin Museum is located in Kilmartin Glen in Argyll where visitors to the glen and surrounding areas can see prehistoric and historic artefacts dating back 4500 years.

The museum provides free guided walks through Kilmartin Glen and its archaeological digs as well as talks on local natural history.

It’s one of the most atmospheric archaeological sites in Scotland and as you wander through the standing stones and cairns throughout the glen you really get a sense of the ancient history of the area.

Website (Click here)

Kilmartin Glen and Museum

Walking & Climbing

The Royal an Lochan is ideally situated for those wishing to walk and climb in the Cowal Peninsula and Argyll. Hills, forest and coastline on the doorstep or within easy reach. Here are some suggestions for some great outdoor adventures.

The Cowal Way

The Cowal Way runs right past us and there are two sections that you can try from the hotel.

Tighnabruaich to Portavadie –6 Miles (10 Km) undulating trails and stunning views.
Tighnabruaich to Glendaruel –11 Miles (18 Km) gentle walking through varied scenery.

Website (Click here)

The Cowal Way


One of the most famous Munros in Argyll:Ben Cruachan.
The Munros are distinct Scottish mountain summits over 914.4 m (3000 ft).

There are 282 Munros in Scotland with 19 of these rising in Argyll –the highest being the beautiful Ben Lui at 1130 m (3707 ft).

Most of the Argyll Munros are within a scenic 1.5 to 2 hour drive from the hotel, including Ben Lui and Ben Cruachan.

Website (Click here)



The Corbetts are distinct peaks in Scotland that are between 762.0 and 914.4 m (2500 &3000 ft)

There are 13 Corbetts in Argyll and most are within an easy 1 to 2 hour drive from the hotel.
Find out more about Corbetts in Argyll.

Website (Click here)


An idyllic spot on Loch Fyne, perfect for a leisurely walk.
Cowalfest is a10-day walking festival during October and is one of the largest and most varied walking festivals in Scotland, with more than 60 walks led by knowledgeable walk leaders.

You’re bound to find a walk suitable for your age and ability and there are walks that cover interest areas of wildlife, bird watching, drama, photography, art, history, heritage, folklore, tai chi, great gardens, great houses and some great hill walks including the opportunity to tackle The Cowal Way over 6 days

Website (Click here)


Coastal and Forest Walks

Tighnabruaich has its own coastline and hilly backdrop and the Tighnabruaich Loop is an excellent family walk that leads you up above the village, with wonderful views of the Kyles, and then takes you back along the shore. You can start and finish the walk directly at the hotel, heading towards the boatyard at Rhubbann.
Find out more about walks in the Tighnabruaich area

Ostel Bay (Kilbride Bay) offers a pristine beach within easy reach of the hotel. It’s only a short distance by car and then a short walk to the secluded dunes with a great views over the the Island of Arran.
More information about Ostel Bay (Kilbride Bay).

Tighnabruaich is on the the edge of the Argyll Forest park. Established in 1935 this is Britain’s oldest forest park and offers amazing forest walks suitable for all ages and abilities.
Find out more about Argyll Forest walks.

Benmore Guided Tours & Explorer

Benmore Gardens run guided tours starting in March and run through to the end of October so why not join a tour and take in the history, plants and seasonal highlights of Benmore.

Walking tours run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays while the Benmore Explorer Tour runs on Wednesdays and Thursdays taking a limited number of people around the gardens on a people carrier which is ideal for those with mobility restrictions.

Website (Click here)

A Trip to Dunoon

Dunoon, some 26 miles from here, is our nearest town. There is a bus service twice a day, otherwise you can travel by car and some of you may have travelled this way from Glasgow and will know the road. As most roads in this area are single track in some places, please bear in mind the local traffic and pull over to let faster traffic go by. The locals say thank you by a flashing both or a single indicator.

Things To Do In And Around Dunoon
In and around Dunoon there is a lot to do. There is the Castle House Museum where there is a plethora of history, the high street with some usual and unusual high street shops.  To the north of Dunoon is Benmore Botanic Garden, described as a magnificent mountainside garden with its famous avenue of giant redwoods. There are also a number of forestry walks in the area, and an outdoor pursuits centre, Quadmania, and on the way back a trip along the side of Loch Ecktowards Strachur is a lovely end to the day.

A Trip to Loch Fyne

How about a nice round trip by car, taking up most of the day with various things to see and do on the way? Take the ferry from Portavadie to Tarbert, which leaves at quarter to the hour in the summer. It will take you approximately 10 minutes to drive to Portavadie and the sailing is about 30 minutes.

Once in Tarbert, you will see Prentice Seafoods in the building on the quay where the ferry docks. This is where we purchase our seafood. If you travel into the town there are numerous small shops galleries and eateries, and from here you can travel north up the A83 to Inveraray. Passing by Auchindrain where you will find a museum with a Highland township dating back to 1533.
Once in Inveraray, you can visit Inveraray Castle with its magnificent displays of armoury and step back in time with an interactive experience at Inveraray Jail, and many of the shops within this old walled town.
Heading further north to Cairndow, you will come to the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar with garden centre and various walks. It is advisable to book ahead if you wish to eat here as it gets very busy in the Summer and at weekends. In the same vicinity, you will find Fyne Ales Brewery, where we get our local ales from, this lovely small brewery and cafe have won various awards for their ales.
Heading south now towards Strachur, you will find Ardkinglas Estate. There are some lovely gardens and things to do here, and in Strachur there is the Smiddy Museum and Craft Shop, and there are also various walks.

After this exhausting day, just head on back to the comfortable surroundings of The Royal an Lochan.

A Trip to the Isle of Bute

Head out of the hotel going north to Colintraive and you can pick up the ferry to the Isle of Bute. Whilst here maybe you could visit the Heritage Centre and the local Community Garden designed by the well known Scottish gardening programme The Beechgrove Garden.
 Head out of the hotel going north to Colintraive and you can pick up the ferry to the Isle of Bute. Whilst here maybe you could visit the Heritage Centre and the local Community Garden designed by the well known Scottish gardening programme The Beechgrove Garden.
Mount Stuart
 If you travel further south you will get to Mount Stuart House, a Victorian Gothic house described as an ‘architectural fantasy’. Everyone who visits comes back rating it very highly. You view the house by guided tours only, but these are very informative, although if you are visiting on a Saturday it is well worth ringing ahead as the house is closed if they have a wedding. The gardens are also a delight.
Tour of Bute
 Head out of the hotel going north to Colintraive and you can pick up the ferry to the Isle of Bute. Whilst here maybe you could visit the Heritage Centre and the local Community Garden designed by the well known Scottish gardening programme The Beechgrove Garden.

Kyles and Mid Argyll Tour by Car Itinerary

The area around the southern part of the Cowal Peninsula and the Kyles of Bute is both rugged and beautiful with many varied landscapes and scenic views. To fully appreciate this hidden gem in Scotland’s landscape take to the road for a day tour by car.

We suggest taking a circuitous route heading first to Ardlamont, round to Millhouse and Portavadie, up to Kilfinan and on to Otter ferry, across to Clachan of Glendaruel then down Loch Riddon and the Kyles of Bute back to Tighnabruaich.

Tighnabruaich to Ardlamont
Road signs at Tighnabruaich
Take the B8000 south and follow it for a few miles down the side of the Kyles of Bute. It’s a wonderfully scenic drive with views down the Kyles to the Firth of Clyde and across to the Isle of Bute. In the warmer months you can see seals, porpoises, dolphins and a wide variety of seabirds including diving gannets that have flown up from Ailsa Craig.

Ardlamont Point
Just before you reach Ardlamont you can stop and take the footpath to Ardlamont Point where there is a viewpoint that affords fantastic views of the Firth of Clyde, Arran and the Kintyre peninsula. Archaeologists and history fans will also be interested in the fort and cup and ring marks nearby

Ardlamont to Millhouse
Continue on to Ardlamont, famous for Ardlamont House which was once the seat of the Clan Lamont. Just past Ardlamont is Kilbride Bay (also known as Ostell Bay) with its a beautiful crescent shaped sandy beach. To visit the Bay, park in the nearby lay-by, then it’s a 10-15 minute walk.

Drive north to the village of Millhouse. Millhouse is known for its Powder Mill which made gunpowder. Today, the Mill is in ruins as it stopped making gunpowder in 1921 after making it for over 80 years.

Millhouse to Portavadie
Take the road east to Portavadie. Portavadie was originally built as an oil rig construction facility but was never used. Today there is a marina on the site which sits beside the demolished village of Polphail. To the south of Portavadie there is a ruined chapel and some standing stones.

Millhouse to Kilfinan
If you choose not to visit Portavadie, continue on the B8000 north until you reach the village of Kilfinan where you can visit the beach at Kilfinan Bay or enjoy a walk through Kilfinan Forest.

Kilfinan to Otter Ferry
From Kilfinan it’s a short drive to Otter Ferry on the shores of Loch Fyne. The ferry that used to connect both shores of Loch Fyne no longer operates and apart from the Oyster Catcher Bar, the area’s main feature is a shingle spit that stretches for a mile onto the loch and makes for an interesting walk.

Otter Ferry to Glendaruel
View from the Tighnabruaich Viewpoint down the East Kyle to Bute
From Otter Ferry head back along the B8000 but take first left onto the C11. The road climbs steeply through forest and moorland eventually arriving near the summit of Cruach nan Tarbh where there is a viewpoint overlooking Loch Fyne and the Kintyre peninsula. After descending the hill you will reach Clachan of Glendaruel.

Glendaruel to Tighnabruaich
Turn right at the end of the C11 onto the A886. After a few hundred yards turn right onto the A8003 signposted to Tighnabruaich. As you follow the road that climbs up a craggy hillside, Loch Riddon comes into view and after a few miles stop at the Tighnabruaich Viewpoint for one of the best views of the day down Loch Riddon and the Kyles of Bute, the Isle of Bute itself and beyond to the Firth of Clyde. From there it’s just a short 10 minute drive back to Tighnabruaich and the Royal an Lochan.

Kyles and Mid Argyll Tour by Car Itinerary

The Tighnabruaich Viewpoint

One of the highlights of travelling the beautiful road to Tighnabruaich is stopping off at the Tighnabruaich Viewpoint on the approach to Tighnabruaich.

View from the Tighnabruaich Viewpoint down the East Kyle to Bute
It’s a scenic drive at the best of times with plenty of rugged Scottish scenery and wildlife to spot along the way but the real jewel in the crown is the viewpoint that never fails to amaze and inspire.

As you climb steadily on the A8003 from Clachan of Glendaruel you head south following Loch Ridden’s western shore. Eventually you arrive at the Tighnabruaich Viewpoint and are rewarded with a truly breathtaking view. At the viewpoint is a little lay-by with a bench and map with information about the landmarks you can see from the viewpoint and history of the area.

As you stand there at a height of 500ft the view extends down the East Kyle with the Cowal mainland to the left and the Isle of Bute to the right. It’s a perfectly balanced view of sea, land and sky with the Burnt Islands dotting the Kyle at the northern end of Bute. The Colintraive to Rhubodach ferry makes it’s 5 minute crossing every half hour and during the summer months the paddle steamer Waverley can be seen weaving its way through the Kyles and islands. Looking beyond the Easy Kyle is the Firth of Clyde and just visible is the town of Largs on the Ayrshire coast.

So next time you’re on the road to Tighnabruaich you owe it to yourself to stop at the viewpoint. You won’t regret it.

The Tighnabruaich Viewpoint

Activities in Tighnabruaich, Argyll

Boat Trips
DC Marine are a small business established in 2006 and the only locally owned and run boat trip operation in the Kyles of Bute. They operate the converted Motor Fishing Vessel Morag from the Pier in Tighnabruaich, Cowal Peninsula, Argyll.
Our trips cater for holidaymakers, friends of locals or people staying in the area and can be tailored to meet you and your family’s needs. There are regular set departures times or you can book to charter the whole boat for periods of one hour.
The Morag can accommodate 10 passengers and the trips invariably capture the spectacular views of the area from the sea, and give fantastic close up opportunities to see seals, porpoises, and many sea birds that inhabit the Kyles of Bute. A commentary on local history and folklore is provided.

Outdoor Activities
Argyll Adventure offer a wide range of outdoor activities for both children and adults, these include laser clay pigeon shooting, climbing walls and paint ball games. Quadmania run superb quadbike treks as well as archery and clay pigeon shooting sessions.

In the hills above the village there is a testing 9-hole golf course at Kyles of Bute Golf Club. Visiting golfers are also welcome at Cowal Golf Club in Dunoon and Rothesay Golf Club on the Isle of Bute.

Horse Riding
Ardlamont House in Kames offers horse riding and carriage rides. Call 01700 811198 for details and bookings.

Slightly further afield, riding is available in Tarbert at Highland Horse Riding and on the Isle of Bute at the Rothesay Riding Centre (01700 504971).
Shooting and Stalking
Winston and his co-stalkers are hugely experienced in leading stalkers on successful shoots all over the Cowal Peninsula and throughout Argyll. Stalking is available all year round and can be arranged by contacting Winston Churchill Stalking.

The local angling club regularly stock three attractive hill locks with brown and rainbow trout, day permits are available at the hotel. In the summer mackerel can be caught from the Tighnabruaich Pier and sea fishing can be arranged locally.
Sheltered in the lee of the Isle of Bute, the Kyles of Bute offer relatively safe sailing waters for small boats and the Tighnabruaich Sailing School runs day-boat courses to suit all levels.
The Cowal Way runs right past us and there are two sections that you can try from the hotel.

Tighnabruaich to Portavadie –6 Miles (10 Km) undulating trails and stunning views.
Tighnabruaich to Glendaruel –11 Miles (18 Km) gentle walking through varied scenery.
The Royal an Lochan is located the National Cycle Network –Route 75. National Route 75 connects Leith in east Edinburgh with Portavadie on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll, via Glasgow and Tighnabruaich using the ferry between Gourock and Dunoon.

Then you can stop off at the Royal an Lochan for well-earned rest, food and refreshments. Get more information from Sustrans

Historic Sites
Kilmodan Church and Kilmodan Carved Stones –Glendaruel The site of an 18th Century church built on the site of the original early 17th Century church, dedicated to St Modan, an early Celtic saint who lived around the time of St. Columba. The Kilmodan Sculptured Stones comprise nine late-medieval West Highland grave-slabs and one post-Reformation grave-slab (dated 1636).
Garden Walks
Dunans Castle –Glendaruel. The castle is set in 16 acres and is currently undergoing restoration. The woodland garden features a ravine walk that takes you through ancient woodland and past a waterfall and a marshland boardwalk through a wildflower meadow.

Activities in Tighnabruaich, Argyll

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