Updated: May 17, 2021
Scotland is open again!!
Whether you are travelling from Glasgow or Newquay, Arran will soon be, quite rightly, at the top of everyone's list of places to visit once we can get back to 'Staycations'.
With foreign holidays now opening up from 17th May, you may ask what does Arran have over destinations such as the Azores, the Balearics, Canaries or even the Greek Islands?
Well, in this blog we aim to highlight just some of the reasons why Arran tops all those other islands. Arrans "Top Trump" however, is that you can share your adventure with your four-pawed best friend!
"With blue seas and skies, you could think you're in the Mediterranean, when in reality you are dipping your toes (and paws) opposite Holy Isle!" - Stacey, Arran Dog Bakery
"Let your dreams set sail..."
Having stretched your paws along the beach front of Ardrossan, you board the ferry and feel the excitement build as the Arran hills grow in size as you cross the Firth of Clyde. Goatfell looms ever closer as you sail towards the Island. The ferry is bustling with other adventurers on their way to Arran on this Friday morning.
The ferry arrives into Brodick and you disembark. At this point in your foreign holiday, you would have to wait for your bags, clear the airport, call home to check in with your dog sitter, wait for your transfer and endure a long drive to your hotel. This is not the case in Arran. Your hotel of choice is The Douglas Hotel, and your journey to this beautiful hotel is a mere 5 minute walk from the ferry terminal with your pup by your side!
The Douglas Hotel is the perfect place for you and your pup to call home for a few nights. The focal point of the village and an ideal base for the discerning traveller, the hotel offers a personalised level of service in luxury & comfort. Super friendly and already multi-award winning, no expense has been spared in creating the unique feel of home away from home whilst adding a touch of modern luxury.
Having unpacked, it is time for some light refreshments! Why not sit on the terrace and make a plan for your first day!
You could take a stroll along Brodick's sea front, visit the numerous independent shops or grab lunch in Little Rock Cafe, a delightful cafe nestled in the middle of Brodick. With stunning views overlooking Brodick bay, come rain or shine, you and your dog will be catered for! You can sit inside or out and enjoy a lunchtime snack and fuel up for the rest of your afternoon.
You are keen to get out into the hills and glens but don't know where to start, maybe you have left your waterproofs at home! Fear not intrepid traveller, for Arran Active has all you could ask for!
Arran Active has a whole range of products that any adventurer may need. Whether you are a hardened explorer, a rambler or after a simple hour or two leg stretch. From footwear and outdoor clothing, maps and compasses, dog leads and treats, whisky and gifts... or just a bit of local knowledge, Arran Active has all you could want and more! The shop is dog friendly, and always has a fresh bowl of water outside for your pups to refresh themselves.
By this point you may have decided that you want to stay local for the rest of your afternoon (having spent more time than you had expected looking round Arran Active!). You may wish to leave the big adventure for tomorrow when you are fully refreshed! You could take in the castle grounds, stroll along the beach, grab an ice cream from The Parlour or grab yourself some luxurious handmade chocolate from James of Arran.
Talking of gifts (and luxury), why not pop over to a firm favourite of ours, Arran Cheese Shop.
You may have seen their cheeses in your local supermarkets, you may already know how mouth-watering and scrummy the cheeses are, so why not pop into their shop and stock up! If however you have not been fortunate enough to have tried their selection of cheeses on offer, you 'cheddar' believe your in for a treat! (apologies for the pun). You can even watch them preparing the cheeses for sale!
Having visited the gang at the Cheese Shop, be sure to wander along the road a little further and check in with Arran Botanical Drinks! You can sit outside, overlooking the beautiful Cladach beach whilst enjoying one of their delicious cocktails.
Once you are ready to move again you can browse around their lovely shop and stock up on some Arran Gin or their delicious Cassis!
If however you've decided to have an energetic first day and fancied ticking off Goatfell (the highest peak on Arran) from your bucket list, then make sure you pop in and see Gina and the team at The Wineport afterwards where you can refuel and refresh! They have loads of freshly cooked, delicious food to choose from, and there is no better place to relax and enjoy a pint while you rest those weary legs (and paws!). We recommend checking out their menu before arriving, as it may take you a while to decide on what you fancy. Our firm favourite is the Steak Ciabatta!
"Oh, the places you'll go" - Dr. Seuss
You wake up bright and early, the weather may be glorious, it may be wet, this is Scotland! In fact, this is Arran - Scotland in miniature! Whatever the weather, you and your pooch will be in for an adventure. Armed with your newly purchased waterproofs or your newly bought shorts from Arran Active (and a couple of cheeky cakes from Little Rock) you are ready to take on the day!
You can either hop on a bus or take a short drive to Whiting Bay. From here you can tackle the hilly walk up to the Giants Graves which offers spectacular views looking over the Clyde towards Ayr and Turnberry. If however you prefer a more leisurely walk, why not walk along the sea front where you may spot the occasional otter.
Which ever walk you decide on, you can always pop into The Bay Kitchen & Stores and grab yourself a coffee and a wee bite to eat to take along with you. They have a full range of groceries, speciality whole foods, fresh coffees and home made food to take away or eat in. They even have a huge zero-waste grocery section, which we think is pretty awesome!
From Whiting Bay, you could take in the impressive sights of Holy Isle by heading up to Kingscross. A beautiful part of the world if we do say so ourselves. If you are with children (or you are a big child at heart) you could explore the hidden Viking fort located towards the tip of Kings Cross and imagine what those early Norwegian settlers would have made of Arran and its almost Mediterranean views.
Our very own Wellesley on the walls of Kingscross Viking fort
After all your adventuring, you can feel your tummy rumbling for lunch. You could buy a pre-made sandwich from a supermarket, but why do that? You are on holiday in Arran, and The Old Pier Café is just down the road in Lamlash.
The Old Pier Cafe welcomes dogs (and their well behaved owners) to their fantastic little cafe. You are on holiday, so why not treat yourself to something from their menu! We here at Arran Dog Bakery would highly recommend the sausage rolls (and cake!!).
If you are looking to walk off your lunch, what better way than to take a trip back through Brodick and on towards Glen Rosa. A perfect place for you and your best friend to take in the views. If you have a keen eye, you may even spot a few deer bathing in the sunshine on the hills.
"Don't count the days. Make the days count." - Muhammad Ali
It is your last day in Arran, you have booked the last ferry to make sure you can make the most of your day. A trip over to the north end of the island is well worth it! Your drive north takes you through the beautiful villages of Corrie and Sannox, and Mara Fish Bar and Deli in Corrie is a fantastic place for a spot of lunch... they even have a resident seal posing for photographs!
Lochranza is a magical place, it has everything for the family. For the history enthusiast there is the beautiful 13th century castle ruins, situated in the bay. A drive past the golf course may provide a close encounter with a few inquisitive deer who frequent the grounds, and a walk along the Newton Shore is a great place to spot seals basking on the rocks.
For those whisky connoisseurs there is the Arran Whisky Distillery, where you can take a tour or just visit the shop to add to your whisky collection. Our favourite is the 10yr old single malt, but their cask finish range is also great...the problem is.... you will want to try them all!
Maybe you fancy a drive round the island to top off your visit, and there are loads of beautiful places for a dog walk before heading for the ferry. Blackwaterfoot beach is always a winner, King's Caves is a lovely walk and Kilmory beach is a hidden gem! A wee walk up to Eas Mor waterfall is also definitely worth a visit.
Once back in Brodick, you should pop in to Arran Dog Bakery HQ - Red Door! This is where Arran Dog Bakery began back in 2017, and is also where our founder Stacey keeps the ADB Sample Jar! Red Door is dog friendly, so bring in your best bud while you have a browse for some gifts to take home with you!
Full of good food and happy memories, you head for the boat! You stand outside watching the sun set behind the hills, and the silhouette of Arran slowly getting smaller. You know you have barely scratched the surface of what Arran has to offer, so as soon as you get home you start planning your next visit!