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Take a holiday trip to Oban: The ‘Gateway to the Isles’ in Scotland

Oban, which is a brief version of the Scottish Gaelic for “The Little Bay,” is a popular resort down in the Argyll and Bute area of Scotland. The town is pretty small, but despite this, it is still the largest between Fort William and Helensburgh and is extremely popular during the summer months, with up to 25,000 tourists visiting each year, and it's very easy to see why.
Photo:  Oban panorama CC-BY-SA-3.0 Colin

Oban is framed in a beautiful setting in the Firth of Lorne with an almost-perfect horseshoe shaped bay, protected and enclosed by the island of Kerrera.  Just past Kerrera can be found the Isle of Mull, and close by can be seen the Island of Lismore, hence the nickname, “Gateway to the Isles.” Among the stunning scenery in the area can be seen the mountains of Ardgour and Morvern.

This popular resort area has plenty of accommodation on offer, including some excellent holiday cottages at Bonawe House, an 18th-century country house set in its own lovely grounds overlooking Loch Etive, a short distance from the town itself.

Things to do in the area:

There is much for visitors to do in the area including exploring the beautiful coastal scenery and hiking in the mountains.  There are several historic locations to visit including the local castles and some ancient religious sites. There is plenty in the way of great dining to be had in the town too, as it is known as the Seafood Capital of Scotland! 

The following gives a brief idea of what is on offer.

On the water:

A variety of water sports on offer include sea water and white water kayaking, scuba diving, fishing, whale watching and wildlife boating trips along with trips out to the Corryvreckan Whirlpool.

Getting some exercise:

Hire a bike on the Isle of Luing, around a 30-minute drive from Oban, making for a great day out for the whole family, or rent a bike in Oban itself to explore the surroundings.  For those who cannot stay away from the gym, the local Leisure Centre offers gym, swimming and sports facilities.
 Dunollie castle near Oban CC-BY-SA 3.0 Hartmut Josi Bennöhr

Local attractions:

Oban Harbour For something rather different just a short drive from Oban, visit Heartfelt Studio, which is located in the last Victorian railway station along the Callander-Oban line.  Here, at no charge, you can see traditional craft demonstrations revealing many textile skills and workshops are available all year around.

If you would like to get an idea of life in a real 19th century prison, Inveraray Jail is a popular choice. This is a living museum where real people play the part of prisoners in the jail, which is located about 38 miles away from Oban itself.

Those with an interest in wartime experiences will enjoy the Oban War and Peace Museum with its fascinating selection of memorabilia, artefacts and photos of the historic town and its people during the war years, when RAF Flying Boats operated from the bay in Oban.

The Scottish Sealife Sanctuary is one of Oban’s most popular attractions, where you can visit otters, seals and native salt water animals up close and personal.  You can also explore the Terry Nutkins Nature trail to see local animals living in their natural surroundings.

For more details of the various attractions in the area, visit the Oban Visitor Information Centre, which is operated by VisitScotland, and can be found in the Columba Buildings on the North Pier.

Oban Harbour CC-BY-SA 3.0 Hartmut Josi Bennöh

All in all, lovely Oban in Scotland is the perfect holiday destination with something for everyone.


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