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Butetiful Bute

Butetiful Bute

A five day tour of western Scotland visiting stunning gardens & historic mansions


A five day tour of western Scotland visiting stunning gardens & historic mansions


Bute lies in the Firth of Clyde. The only town on the island, Rothesay is linked by ferry to the mainland. The interior of the island is hilly, though not mountainous, with conifer plantations and some uncultivated land, particularly in the north. Loch Fad is Bute's largest body of freshwater and runs along the fault line.

The western side of Bute is known for its beaches, many of which enjoy fine views over the Sound of Bute towards Arran and Bute's smaller satellite island Inchmarnock. 

In the north, Bute is separated from the Cowal peninsula by the Kyles of Bute. The northern part of the island is more sparsely populated, and the ferry terminal at Rhubodach connects the island to the mainland at Colintraive by the smaller of the island's two ferries. The crossing is one of the shortest, less than 300 metres (330 yd), and takes only a few minutes but is busy because many tourists prefer the scenic route to the island. North Bute forms part of the Kyles of Bute National Scenic Area, one of 40 in Scotland.



Dunoon is a resort town situated on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll. It sits on the Firth of Clyde to the south of Holy Loch and to the west of Gourock. Dunoon Pier was built in 1895 & prior to the late 1960s, fleets of paddle steamers brought holidaymakers ' doon the watter' from Glasgow to it and numerous other piers on the Clyde. Until June 2011 the pier was used daily by Caledonian MacBrayne, who ran a regular car-ferry service to Gourock and by the PS Waverley, the last surviving sea-going paddle steamer. Overlooking the pier is a large statue to Robert Burns' love, Highland Mary, also known as Bonny Mary O' Argyll, which is located on Castle Hill, just below the remains of the 12th-Century Dunoon Castle very little of which remains today.

The Kyles of Bute, sometimes knows as Argyll's Secret Coast, is the passage between the charming Scottish villages of Tighnabruaich and Kames on the mainland of Argyll, and the north end of the Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde. Dubbed "Secret Coast", because unless you are specifically heading this way, you are unlikely to run into this remarkably beautiful part of the world. At their widest less than two miles across, the Kyles narrow to just a few hundred yards at Rubha Ban (pronounced roo-baan). Tighnabruaich is a Gaelic name meaning "the house on the hill". Aptly named, as the steep hills rising above the shoreline have many "houses on the hill". Whether you are approaching by road, driving along the narrow and twisty road chiseled and blasted out of the hillside, or sailing up the Kyle, you are met with spectacular views. There are several lay-bys with viewpoints along the road, and on a clear day there are great views of Bute, Arran and the Ayrshire coast.

Benmore Botanical Gardens

Benmore with its magnificent mountainside setting is a joy to behold. Its 49 Hectares/120 acres boast a world-famous collection of flowering trees and shrubs including over 300 species of rhododendron and over one third of the world’s hardy conifer species plus fine collections from North and South America, the Orient and the Himalaya. Visitors are welcomed by an impressive avenue of Giant Redwoods, arguably one of the finest entrances to any botanic garden in the world. Established in 1863, these majestic giants now stand over 50 metres high. The Garden is glorious throughout the seasons, from the vibrant blooms of rhododendrons and azaleas in early spring, striking Eucryphias of late summer and breathtaking displays of rich autumn fruit and foliage. Seven miles of trails throughout the garden lead to beautiful locations such as the magnificently restored Victorian fernery with over 70 species of fern, the newly renovated Golden Gates. Geographic plantings from Bhutan with its oak pavilion, the Chilean Viewpoint Refuge situated in the Monkey Puzzle forest of Benmore, the Japanese Valley and Tasmanian Ridge to a dramatic viewpoint at 450 feet overlooking the surrounding mountains and Holy Loch.


Mount Stuart House

Mount Stuart House on the east coast of the Isle of Bute, is a Neo-Gothic country house with extensive gardens. The spirit of nineteenth-century invention is embodied in Mount Stuart – a feat of Victorian engineering, this neo-gothic mansion was one of the most technologically advanced houses of its age. Truly a house of firsts, we believe Mount Stuart was the first home in the world to have a heated indoor swimming pool, and the first in Scotland to be purpose built with electric light, central heating, a telephone system and a Victorian passenger lift. Most of which are, quite remarkably, still in use today. Mount Stuart hosts an incredible collection of both exotic and native flora spanning several spectacular gardens, each set against the dramatic backdrop of the Firth of Clyde. Bask in the individual characters of each, from mysterious woodlands to vibrant landscapes, as you wander around our occasionally peculiar policies. ('Policies' is a peculiarly Scottish word which refers to the pleasure grounds around a mansion.) Wildflower meadows and a distinctly west-coast shoreline wilderness provide an apt contrast to the carefully composed beauty of our lawns and gardens. The lower policies can be explored from the shore walk, leading you through a mixture of both broadleaf and conifer, indigenous and international trees.


Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle is an estate house near Inveraray in Argyll, western Scotland, on the shore of Loch Fyne, Scotland’s longest sea loch. It has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell since the 17th century. The 13th Duke and his family live in private apartments occupying two floors and set between two of the castle's crenellated circular towers. Recent renovations included the installation of the house's first central heating. The castle is believed to be haunted by the "ghost of a harpist who was hanged in 1644 for peeping at the lady of the house." The sound of a mysterious harp playing has been reported by visitors to the castle.



Day 1

A morning departure from Penrith as we travel via Dumfries to the seaside town of Ayr, time at leisure for lunch before we head to Wemyss Bay and the afternoon sailing to Rothesay and our hotel for the next 4 nights, the Glenburn. Dinner in the hotel.


Day 2

Today we have a spectacular drive over the Kyles of Bute to Dunoon, situated on the beautiful Cowal Peninsula and the maritime gateway to the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, we have some time at leisure before an afternoon visit to the Benmore Botanical Gardens, these enchanting gardens date from the mid 1800’s, the magnificent mountainside setting is a joy to behold and the 120 acre site boasts a world-famous collection of flowering trees and shrubs including over 300 species of rhododendron and over one third of the world’s hardy conifer species plus fine collections from North and South America, the Orient and the Himalaya. We retrace our steps to Rothesay and dinner at the Glenburn.

B, D

Day 3

This morning we visit the impressive Gothic mansion of Mount Stuart House. A lavish palace that is testament to the Stuart’s flamboyance, explore the sumptuous interior of the castle and wonder at the marvellous 300 acres of landscaped gardens and woodlands. In the afternoon, we enjoy a scenic tour of the island before we arrive back in Rothesay, where we spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Day 4

This morning, we take a ferry from Rhubodach to Colintraive from where we travel along the shores of the tranquil Loch Fyne to Inveraray Castle & Gardens, where we enjoy a guided tour. After free time for lunch we have a spectacular journey via the 'Rest and be Thankful' viewpoint to beautiful Loch Lomond and then on via Erskine Bridge to Wemyss Bay and the ferry back to Rothesay. Final dinner at the Glenburn.

B, D

Day 5

We leave our hosts at the Glenburn and take the morning ferry back to the mainland and head into Glasgow, here we have some time at leisure and a visit to the award winning Riverside Museum. We depart mid afternoon for the remainder of the journey back to Cumbria.


B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Glenburn Hotel

If you like the idea of a break on the island haven of Bute, The Glenburn Hotel is a grand and elegant choice for your stay.


The hotel is set in a prime position above delightful terraced gardens and was originally constructed in 1892 as Scotlands first hydropathic retreat. It commands fabulous views overlooking Rothesay Bay and the Cowal Peninsula.


Within the hotel you will find 119 bedrooms each with en suite bathroom, toiletries, 32-Inch Flat Screen LED TV, phone, hair dryer, kettle, tea & coffee making facilities.

The Glenburn offers a variety of dining options to both staying guests and passing diners. The long-serving Head Chef takes pride in the use of Scottish produce, and where possible sources local products to provide the variety and unique flavours he brings to his menus, the dining room menu varies on a daily basis to help keep things fresh for staying guests.


Relax with a drink in the bar after dinner or enjoy a unique and varied programme of top class live entertainment in the beautifully restored ballroom.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
High Hesket Palmerstons Furniture Store
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Bus Stop Tangier Street Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
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19 Jul 2021 £459.00 Loading
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30 Aug 2021 £459.00 Loading
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