Inveraray – a guide for visiting this town on the banks of Loch Fyne in 2023

Inveraray town

In our popular Argyll guide, we mentioned a few locations which can be found in and around the town of Inveraray. That lead a few readers to ask us if this town was worth visiting, which lead us to realise that a guide about Inveraray was absolutely needed. This town is little but is well-placed near a number of very interesting and enjoyable locations, as well as being home to a number of interesting things to see and do in the town itself. Plus, the views across Loch Fyne from here are stunning. This guide is for anyone visiting in 2023, let's get into it:

Where is Inveraray?

We should start by specifying where Inveraray actually is - the town is in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. You'll find the town on the western shore of Loch Fyne, roughly 40 miles to the North-West of Glasgow. If you're driving from Edinburgh it'll take around 2 and a half hours, but the roads are beautiful.

What is there to see and do in Inveraray?

Despite the relatively small size of the town, you've got quite a bit to see and do in Inveraray. Here are some of the highlights:

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle is one of the earliest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the UK, and it has been the seat of the Dukes of Argyll since the 1700s. The castle is open to visitors and is definitely one to check out if you're interested in military history - there is an impressive collection of weapons such as muskets and swords. Visitors can also admire the surrounding gardens and estate, which spans more than 60,000 acres. A ticket to the castle itself currently costs £15 for an adult, but you can buy a ticket just for the gardens which will cost £8.50. And to be honest, we loved the gardens more than the castle itself. Find out more here -
Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Jail

Heading to jail might not sound like the kind of thing you'd want to do on any trip, but Inveraray Jail is a very fun and totally fascinating location to visit. Built in the 19th century, Inveraray Jail is one of the best-preserved jail and courtroom complexes in the world. The jail is best described as a "living museum" because it is much more than just dusty information panels and exhibits - you'll find costumed characters, recreations of actual trials which took place, and plenty of grisly details about how the prisoners were punished and tortured. It's a great day out and everyone in the family can get involved, learn more and book tickets here -
Inveraray Jail

Inveraray Bell Tower (The Duke's Tower)

At 126 feet high and right above the rest of the town, it's hard to miss The Duke's Tower during a trip to Inveraray. This is actually considered to be one of the most notable bell towers in the UK due to its size and how well-preserved it is - built in the early 20th century, it is the detached bell tower of All Saints' Church. If you've got the stomach for it (and the legs), then a trip to the top to enjoy the stunning views is highly recommended. It's 176 steps all the way to the top, but well worth it. The small surrounding garden area is also very pleasant to walk around. Learn more here -
Inveraray Bell Tower

Hike up Dun Na Cuaiche

Starting from Inveraray Castle, the relatively short and straightforward walk up Dun Na Cuaiche is a great way to take in the amazing views of the town and the surroundings. This path is very clearly waymarked and at 3 miles long, shouldn't take much longer than a couple of hours. The monument at the top of Dun Na Cuaiche (pictured) is purely decorative but is an impressive piece of 18th century architecture. Learn more about the walk here -

Visit the high street & shops

Inveraray is popular with tourists but also has a thriving local community, so the town has a great mix of shops which cater to everyone. The first thing you'll notice about the high street is that it isn't very colourful, but we mean this in the best way. Almost every shop sign is black and white, with no colour used anywhere. This gives the town a very interesting monotone look, and we love how it takes the focus away from the shops and onto the stunning backdrop of Loch Fyne. Some of the highlights along the high street are Campbell Coffee, where we bought such a good flat white that we decided to take a bag of their coffee home with us, and the Harbour Gallery, a lovely art gallery & gift shop. There are some other shops dotted around the town which are well worth a look, such as Sid's Preloved tucked away next to the Jail.
Inveraray high street

Donate to the pier

Now we'll preface this by saying that currently, the pier doesn't look like much. That's because money is being raised to renovate the pier to its former glory, and you can get involved by donating. Once £100,000 has been raised the work will begin, so if everyone who visited the town over a year donated then the goal would be smashed pretty easily. And we think it'll be amazing to know that you contributed to the renovation once it has been completed. If you visit the area near the pier at the moment then you'll still be able to enjoy stunning views across the loch (which look even better with an ice cream in hand). Learn more here -
Inveraray pier

Visit the Garden Bar at The George Hotel

We fully expected Inveraray to be a sleepy town on the shores of Loch Fyne which would be very chilled out and perfect for a quiet weekend. And although Inveraray definitely is a relaxing place, we were also pleasantly surprised to find that the Garden Bar at The George Hotel was lively and lots of fun at the weekend. Here you'll find a well-stocked bar, lots of outdoor seats, and live music. So if you fancy a bit of music and a few drinks during your time in Inveraray, then we highly recommend heading to this garden bar. Learn more here -
inveraray garden bar

Argyll Adventure

Just a few minutes by car away from Inveraray you'll find Argyll Adventure, an activity centre with 7 different activities to choose from. Argyll Adventure is probably best known as a horse riding centre, and the range of horse riding activities that are offered here is really impressive - from pony rides for kids aged 4 years and up to a 6 mile 2 hour trek for kids over the age of 12, there is something to keep everyone happy. But even if you're not keen to get on a horse or pony, you'll find plenty of other things to do here. There is indoor and outdoor laser tag which has a fun theme, as well as a zombie-themed crossbow range. If you've got kids with you then taking them to Argyll Adventure is a no-brainer, learn more and book it here -

Crarae Garden

After all of the excitement in our guide up to this point, you might be happy to have something a bit more low-key to enjoy during your time in Inveraray. Crarae Garden is a tranquil woodland garden which is managed and maintained meticulously by the National Trust for Scotland. The theme of the gardens is Himalayan, which is reflected in the distinctive choice of plants and flowers used, and Crarae Garden is actually considered by many to be Britain’s finest example of a Himalayan-style garden. The plant life is wonderful to explore, but for us it's the water features which really make the garden peaceful - listening to the rippling burn and waterfalls transports you. If you're looking for somewhere to relax during your time in the town, Crarae Garden is an excellent location to visit. Learn more here -

Auchindrain Township

6 miles to the South of Inveraray you'll find Auchindrain Township, the best-preserved township in Scotland. Here you can find immaculately well-kept houses, barns, and other features dating from the 18th and 19th century. Everything here has been preserved in an authentic condition, and wandering around the township is an opportunity to learn what life would have been like for the people living here hundreds of years ago. Auchindrain was the last inhabited Highland farming township and was the only location that survived the Clearances, helped by its remote location. It's fascinating to explore the area, and there is a visitor centre which outlines the history of the township in an interesting and engaging manner. If you're interested in Scottish history, this is a must-visit location just a stone's throw from Inveraray. Learn more here -

Parking in Inveraray

There are 2 main car parks in Inveraray - 1 next to the pier and 1 at the back of the town. They're both a stone's throw from each other and even at the weekend you'll be able to find a spot. If you're really in a pickle then there is parking behind the Woollen Mill.

Things to be aware of before you visit Inveraray

We've recommended a few things which are just outside Inveraray, so having a car with you will make your life a bit easier. However, Inveraray is pretty well served by a good bus network, which you can find out more about here -


There is no train station in Inveraray, but Dalmally Station is about 15 miles away and you can take public transport from there or a taxi. Dalmally Station can be reached from Glasgow, learn more here -
Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to visit this brilliant town. If you're interested in visiting other locations in Scotland, check out our guides to Stirling, Crail, and Melrose.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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