The Top 10 Things To Do In Oban This Year
Oban is a picturesque coastal town on the west coast of Scotland. Surround by dramatic scenery of rolling hills, exposed coastline and dense forests, it is a nature lover’s paradise. The area is also extremely historic, with a number of well-preserved castle ruins to be found in the vicinity. If you find yourself with a few days to spare in the Scottish town, then this list is a great place to start when looking for places to visit in Oban.
#1 Loch Etive
No trip to this scenic part of Scotland can be enjoyed without delving into the magical landscapes on the doorstep of Oban. The northern part of Loch Etive is incredibly remote, accessible only by dirt road or boat. Golden eagles soar overhead here and hiking opportunities abound. You’ll want to bring a good pair of walking boots and head out into the scenery, or alternatively, you could take a boat cruise on the loch and enjoy the view without tiring yourself out.
#2 Dunollie Castle
Slowly being reclaimed by nature, the ruins of Dunollie Castle are a joy to explore. The ruins date back to the 15th century and make for excellent photographs as you walk around the site, admiring dramatic coastal views as you do so. There’s an excellent museum on site too, displaying a number of artefacts found in the area, some dating back several centuries. If you visit the castle on a Sunday then you’ll be treated to a traditional piper performance, and refreshments are served in the castle café.
#3 McCaig’s Tower
Like someone has picked up a portion of Rome’s Colosseum and dropped it into western Scotland, McCaig’s Tower is an incredible site to behold. Designed and constructed in the late 1800s, the tower was actually something of a vanity project by wealthy banker John Stuart McCaig, who built the monument as a memorial to himself and his family before his death in 1902. I suppose we can say it worked because I’ve just written about him!
#4 Glen Nant National Nature Reserve
The protected oak woodlands of Glen Nant make for a fabulous outdoor adventure, yielding spectacular wildlife, tranquil scenery and hidden ruins of ancient settlements and industry. There are two walking trails to follow, one is short, just 0.4km, whilst the other winds for 3.3km through the forest. Deer and red squirrels can be sighted in the area, and the familiar drumming of woodpeckers is a common noise to hear as you walk. There’s a riverside picnic area too, so you can pack some sandwiches and make a day of it.
The local ferry service in Oban can take passengers to the tiny island of Kerrera, home to just 40 residents and with no paved roads whatsoever. The island measures just 4 miles long and about a mile wide, so can easily be navigated in a day. The ruins of Gylen Castle are a highlight of the island, as is the Kerrera Tearoom – the only hospitality venue on the island!
#6 Dunstaffnage Castle
Another of the impressive castles in the vicinity of Oban, Dunstaffnage Castle is perched high on a rock overlooking the shimmering waters of Loch Etive. The castle is one of the oldest in Scotland, dating back to the 13th century, when it belonged to the Campbell clan. The cannons that can be seen on the ramparts have an amazing story behind them too – they were salvaged from a Spanish galleon which sank nearby during the years of the Armada.
#7 Isle of Mull
The Isle of Mull is the second largest island in the Inner Hebrides, located a ferry ride away from Oban. You may want to book accommodation here and spend a few days on the island in order to see it all. The main drawcard for the island is wildlife, with numerous rare British species inhabiting the island. Majestic white-tailed eagles have been re-introduced, hen harriers soar overhead in good numbers, basking sharks swim idly off the coast and pine martens roam the forests in more stable numbers than most parts of the UK.
#8 Oban Distillery
Scotland and whisky go hand in hand, and a visit to Oban Distillery is a great day out for anyone who enjoys a tipple. The distillery is one of Scotland’s oldest and one of its smallest, nestled under a cliff that overlooks Oban. The distillery has used the same traditional processes for more than 200 years to make its product, and visitors can learn all about the distilling process on a tour of the distillery, before purchasing a bottle of Oban’s finest to take home.
#9 Finn Falconry
A great day out for the entire family, Finn Falconry specialises in giving visitors amazing experiences with majestic birds of prey. The Finnigan family set up the company in order to help people to understand the importance of birds of prey to our ecosystems, and visitors can enjoy magical experiences including hawk walks and lessons on how to handle and fly a falcon. Golden eagles, Harris hawks, eagle owls and more make up the collection, and guests are sure to come away with a newfound respect for these amazing birds.
#10 Oban War & Peace Museum
For those interested in finding out a bit more about Oban and the surrounding area, the Oban War & Peace Museum is a must-visit destination. Home to a fascinating collection of exhibits which chart the history of the town, there are numerous artefacts on display. Exhibits include one dedicated to the fishing industry and another to the war years, when Oban became home to US, Canadian and Australian air crews.
The most attractive reason to visit Oban is its natural scenery, located in such an idyllic place on the west coast of Scotland. Rolling hills, lush oak woodlands and spectacular coastline are an attractive drawcard, but there is plenty to do in and around the town itself. Numerous castles enchant visitors, while guests at the Oban Distillery are sure to walk away from their tour with a grin on their face and a bottle of whisky on their person!
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