Each village has its own special character and each is well worth some further exploration. Most villages run their own village halls voluntarily, with the exception of Brodick (run by the local authority) and Lamlash (which is sited within Arran High School campus) – so be sure and pop in if they have an event on! Our village list travels clockwise:
Brodick is home to the island’s main ferry terminal, and lots of niche retail outlets, so definitely worth a gander. Arran Heritage Museum is a short walk from the village and is a very popular visitor attraction. Brodick Castle reopens in Summer 2018 and the Castle Gardens are also well worth exploring. Visit their new adventure play area – Isle Be Wild – it’s amazing!
The village of Lamlash looks across to beautiful Holy Isle, with breathtaking sunrises all year round. Lamlash is the island’s administrative hub, with Arran War Memorial Hospital, Arran High School and the local authority offices all sited within the village boundaries. Check out the Clearances Memorial Monument, in front of lovely Hamilton Terrace, before enjoying some of the local fare at one of the village’s many excellent eateries.
Whiting Bay spreads south from Sandbraes and used to boast the longest pier on the Clyde. There are many routes from the village to one of the island’s most picturesque walks to Glenashdale Falls. The Giants’ Graves can also be accessed from the village and has a variety of other activities, and also hosts a Fun Week every July. The beach at Sandbraes is lovely.
Kildonan is a quaint little village at the south end of the island, overlooking the tiny island of Pladda. The shores at Kildonan are popular with seals and otters and ‘Silver Sands’ is one of the island’s most beautiful beaches – they also hold a Fun Week of activities in July.
Right at the bottom of the island you will find Kilmory, home to the island’s creamery. You can pop in to the shop and see the famous Arran Cheddar cheese being made through enormous viewing windows. There’s a fabulous beach at Kilmory, and there’s even a great cycle path to Dyemill in Lamlash! Kilmory is the site of the second distillery on the island, due to open in 2019.
Moving up the west coast, you will come across Sliddery and Corriecravie. These communities, along with those in Kilmory and Shiskine Valley, form the farming heartland of the island, and you can see rolling pastures alongside the seacliffs as you travel north. If you look closely, at Corriecravie you might be able to spot the green of the old golf course, now grazed by cattle.
Blackwaterfoot is the largest community on the west of the island, and part of the area known as Shiskine Valley. The village has lots of amenities within a short distance such as riding stables, golf, tennis, putting, bowls and various local retailers such as the island’s only butcher. Another lovely long beach can be accessed here, and you can walk along the shoreline to King’s Caves.
The spread-out community of Machrie may be small, but the area is famed for its history. As well as the famous Standing Stones on Machrie Moor, look out for the lesser known Auchengallon Circles – and for the Druid Stone up at the Old Byre! There’s also a lovely forest and cliff walk to King’s Caves.
Moving further north you will come to Pirnmill. This is the closest village to mainland Kintyre and you can see amazing sunsets over Kilbrannan Sound. You will pass through the little village of Catacol, with its famed Twelve Apostles, known locally as ‘The Row’, before coming into Lochranza, home to our second ferry terminal and the wonderful Arran water (Arran whisky!). Lochranza Castle is also well worth exploring, and you can walk around the coastline here, down to Sannox via the Coastal Way.
Sannox & Corrie are twin villages - they share a village hall, a golf course and lots of community spirit! Look out for the sheep on the villages’ piers, and also see if you can find the Doctor’s Bath, carved out of the sandstone on the shore.
(information supplied by visitarran.com)