Our Eco-Cabin Build Journey

So, IT BEGINS – we’re officially on the road to our first site of Alternative Eco-Cabins. How exciting!… but also kind of terrifying.

All I can really say is, we’ve got a hell of a long way to go. As I write this, it’s currently the 3rd of May 2021 and things are just starting to kick off. We’ve finalised the architects drawings, we’re in the midst of securing the land and the foundations of our very first cabin are currently being built.

Up until now, it’s pretty much been a year full of endless planning. But now, the wheels are fully in motion, and there’s no going back…

So you can follow along at home, Daniel and I will be taking the cameras with us and documenting the whole journey. Expect loads of exciting video content and all sorts of updates on the build process as it unfolds.

To make things easy, everything will be posted right here in this blog post. We’ll also let you know by e-mail and on our socials when there’s an update. Sound good? Great.

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Part 1: The Journey Begins

3rd May 2021

So before we get into the build, let’s just take a minute to set the scene. What’s the story and how did we get to where we are now?

Well, for those who don’t know, myself (Adam) and my cousin (Daniel) are the two guys behind this eco-cabin business. We share a passion for adventure, quirky stays and the environment. We’ve also always had a dream of starting up a family business.

Last year, Daniel and I both lived in Glasgow and we’d spend nights sitting in my flat, drinking Tennent’s lager and brainstorming business ideas. We realised one night that we’d stayed in all sorts of weird and wonderful places on our travels, but nothing had quite hit the spot when it came to the perfect night away.

It wasn’t long before we decided that we were on a mission to shake-up Scotland’s tourist accommodation game. Gone were the days of dusty B&B’s, carbon churning hotels and basic glamping pods which (let’s be honest here) and nothing but a bed in a shed.

After a full year of planning, we’ve now just hit the ‘go’ button on the build of our first cabin. We’re also gunning to launch our business on the scenic Isle of Cumbrae later this year.

So yeah, that’s you pretty much up to date with the story so far. To hear more about the cabins, our story and our plans, you can check out Episode 1 of the Build Journey Series below:


Part 2: The Foundations

17th June 2021

There’s no going back now… the build is officially underway!

From the beginning, Daniel and I have been keen to keep everything local and sustainable with our business. Of course, it all starts with the cabins themselves.

To bring our concept to life we teamed up with local architects, Stewart Associates, and local builders, System 5.

The whole thing started by taking our poorly drawn concept images and a tonne of different ideas to the professionals. We worked very closely with the architects and after months of iterations, we finally managed to create the perfect design. Something which we now call our ‘Alternative Eco-Cabin‘.

Concept Development - Jack's Alt-Stays

With the technical designs complete, it was time to get the builders involved. Over the last month (or so) there’s been all sorts of logistical planning and ordering materials, but we’re finally at the stage where the cabin is starting to be built.

The best thing about keeping everything local is being involved in the process every step of the way. We’re lucky to live a short commute away from the workshop, so are always down to see how things are progressing.

To date, we’ve constructed the steel chassis frame and the wooden foundations of the cabin have been put in place. I’d say we’re about 10% of the way to a final cabin, check out how it’s looking:

Cabin Build 10%

The road ahead involves getting the cabin structure in place, with the walls and roof panels. After that, it’s all about the electrical instalments, getting the windows and doors put in and starting to build out the rest of the features.

All going well, we should be looking at the Jack’s first cabin being ready in about 8 weeks time. Watch this space!


Part 3: Shaping Up

23rd July 2021

Things are starting to shape! Quite literally…

We started with a steel chassis,  which was pretty much the foundations, and over the last 5 weeks we’ve built up to something which resembles a cabin.

Once we had the sides up, it was a case of fixing the roof panels in place and making sure we had a structure which was water tight. As you can imagine, this was a pretty important step. Even though it’s currently summertime, we can always count on some trusty West of Scotland precipitation…

Next up, it was time to get our larch cladding finish onto the exterior of the cabin. This really started to bring the cabin to life…

Aaaand, that’s pretty much where we’re at just now. Next steps include installing doors, windows, electrics and eventually kitting out the inside of the cabin – exciting stuff!

We’re feeling proud to now have a structure which has been locally designed and built. Furthermore, with sustainable and locally sourced materials (wherever possible).

Our environmental impact is something we always consider at Jack’s. We’ve been making conscious decisions when it comes to the structural timbers, cladding, wall finishes, and many of the fixtures and fittings.

Find out more in our Eco-Cabin Concept Deep Dive.


Part 4: Fixtures & Fittings

Coming Soon

 

The Ultimate Guide to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

The Ultimate Guide to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae
The Ultimate Guide to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

The beautiful Isle of Cumbrae is home to a small island town called Millport. The island itself comes in the form of a 10-mile loop and is located just off the coast of North Ayrshire. It is incredibly scenic, packed with things to do and is a hidden gem when it is comes to exploring Scotland.

If you’re thinking about planning a trip to the island, well… you’ve ended up in the right place.

One thing is for sure, island life should always be simple and stress free. Should you be spending hours and hours of your life planning your island getaway? No chance. You’ve got better things to spend your time on.

To make life easy for you, we’ve taken the time to combine everything you need to know about planning a trip to Millport on The Isle of Cumbrae, all in one place.

Whether it’s food recommendations, things to do, places to stay, the best walking routes or even scoping out a beer garden  – it’s all in here!

We like to call this one: The Ultimate Guide to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.


Got a quick question you need answered?

It’s probably covered in this:


So, let’s get right into it…

How to get there 

At a short 8-minute ferry away from the mainland, The Isle of Cumbrae has been given the nickname “Scotland’s Most Accessible Island”.

Millport Ferry

The ferry leaves from Largs, a seaside town on the North Ayrshire coast, which is only a 1-hour train journey from Glasgow.

The ferry costs only £3.50 and one leaves every 15-30 minutes in the summer – an island escape has never been so easy!

See the Cal Mac Summer 2021 Largs – Cumbrae Peak and Off-Peak timetables here and Ferry Fares here.

 

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Getting to Largs Ferry Slip

Fire KA30 8BG into your trusted Google Maps. That’ll take you right to the Largs ferry slip where you can grab your tickets.

It’s only 40-minutes from Ayr, 1-hour from Glasgow, or 2-hours from Edinburgh.

Taking public transport? Well, there are also easy train links to Largs through Scotrail or bus links through the 585 Stagecoach and the 901/904/906 McGills services.

 

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The Cumbrae Ferry Timetable

Generally, the ferry leaves every 15-30 minutes. There’s also no pre-booking, just show up and purchase tickets at the office. Jump on the ferry and you’ll be on Cumbrae 8-minutes later.

Here is the Cal Mac Summer 2021 Largs–Cumbrae Ferry Timetable and Ferry Fares.

 

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Getting to Millport Town from the Cumbrae Ferry slip

You’ve got a few options here – bus, bike or car:

How to Get to Jacks Alt-Stays Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

To be honest, we’d always recommend leaving your car on the mainland. Traveling about Cumbrae is as easy as it comes.

The bus always meets the ferry on the arrival and costs only £2 for a single ticket. You’ll be in Millport 10 minutes later. Check out the Cumbrae Bus Fares.

If you’ve got the bike, you can cycle to the town in 25 mins. After all, Cumbrae is known as a ‘cyclists paradise’.

 

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It’s as easy as that!

For further advice on transport links, ferry costs and timetables – check out our full blog:


Things to See & Do

For what the island lacks in size, it makes up for in adventure.

Here are some suggestions on things to get up to:

Cycling Around The Whole Island

You won’t find many islands in the world that come in the form of a perfect 10-mile circular cycling route. So get that helmet on and hit the road!

Cycling Round Cumbrae, Outer Circuit

You’ll find a couple of different cycling route options on the island, but the best is just to cycle right the way around. The views are incredible and it’ll take you 1 – 2 hours.

Clockwise or anti-clockwise though? That’s the big question.

Scott Ferris of Mapes would always recommend going around anti-clockwise. That way, you avoid the Ferry traffic that heads straight to the town, and you can relax on the long way round the north and west sides of the island.

This way, you can stop in at the Fintry Bay Cafe halfway(ish) point for an ice cream and a juice, giving you that well-needed, and deserved, energy boost through the final stretch towards Millport town.

It also means you have a shorter trip back to the ferry after a long day of exploring the Unique Things to See & Do in Millport!

Looking to rent a bike? There are a few bike hire options in the main town, such as Mapes Cycles.

Mapes Millport Quadricycle

For more info & alternative routes, check out our Guide to Cycling in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

 

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The Glaidstone Viewpoint

360-degree panoramic view around the island? Now you’re talking.

You can find the Glaidstone at the very top of the island, which is at a height of 417 feet (127m) above sealevel. To put that into perspective, a Munro is anything over 3,000 feet – so it is certainly not the tallest peak in Scotland, but a fair hike nonetheless!

The Glaidstone, Isle of Cumbrae

Saying that, it’s well worth the jaunt up to the top as the views across the River Clyde are unreal. You can find the Glaidstone as part of the Inner Circle Walk and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the island’s peak, walking from Millport town.

Once you’re up there, you’ll see the neighbouring Clyde islands of Wee Cumbrae, Arran, and Bute, and back across to the mainland coast of North Ayrshire. On a clear day, it’s nothing short of spectacular and you might be able to see as far south as Ailsa Craig.

Load up the route to the Glaidstone on your Google Maps app Here.

 

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Watersports in Millport Bay!

The Isle of Cumbrae offers brilliant opportunities to enjoy getting out on the water! Millport is incredibly popular with the likes of Stand Up Paddleboarding, Sea Kayaking, Snorkelling, and day Sailing.

Why not rent a kayak from ‘On Yer Bike’ and explore Millport bay?

With the sparkling water and beachfront lined with palm trees, you’ll feel like you’re exploring an island paradise. You can paddle along the beach and out to the ‘The Eileans’ which are the two, small islands in the bay.

Top Tip: Make sure to stay safe whilst enjoying watersports! Millport Bay is sheltered and protected. As you head further out, you’re exposed to elements such as currents and wind, as well as other boats. Check out the likes of the Scottish Canoe Association and RNLI for safety tips, as well as the Met Office for the weather.

Millport Bay

Want to know the best part? You can find seals that live on The Eileans most of the year! They’re amazing to watch from the kayaks so make sure to paddle out and pay them a visit.

Kayaking in Millport is suitable for almost all ages and the shop says, “as long as you can swim, anyone can hire our Kayaks”. Life jackets are included with the hiring.

 

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Cumbrae Rocks

The Isle of Cumbrae is home to a collection of quirky rock formations which can be found dotted around the island.

While you’re exploring the coast, see if you can spot all three ‘Cumbrae Rocks’ – Crocodile Rock, Lion Rock, and Indian Rock.

Indian Rock Lion Rock Crocodile Rock Millport

The most recognisable out of the trio is the ‘Crocodile Rock’ which has been around for over 100-years! It is also considered to be one of Scotland’s “quirkiest, best-known landmarks”.

The Lion Rock can be found on the east side of the island and is known for its iconic shape. The geological formation is called a Dyke and the rock was weathered down during the last ice age to look how it does today.

Lastly, we have The Indian Rock. This wee guy is a bit harder to spot and was painted during the 1920’s. Since then, he has been perched up in the forestry on the west side of the island.

Check out our Cumbrae Rocks blog for more information.

 

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Isle of Cumbrae Distillers

Less of an outdoorsy type? Why don’t you pay a visit to our good friends at the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers.

This well-loved community venture was started by a unique team of 5 international woman. This makes them one of the only all-female distilling teams in Scotland! Indulge yourself in a tasting session and a tour of the island’s very own gin distillery.

The team named their flagship gin “NostalGin” as it embodies the heritage of Millport as well as the Scottish Island experience.

They’ve also just launched their brand new ‘Croc Rock Gin’! Check it out:

Isle of Cumbrae Distillers, Croc Rock Gin

 

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The Cumbrae Sensory Trail

The Sensory Trail takes you around Cumbrae’s 10-mile coastline, giving you the opportunity to delight in the island’s nature, wildlife, sandy bays and pebble beaches, sea life, and beautiful scenery.

There are five Sensory Point Markers on the trail where you can just pause in peaceful and calming surroundings. They look like this:

Cumbrae Sensory Trail

These are at five coastal locations around the Island namely, Farland Point (1), Ballochmartin Bay (2), White Bay (3), Fintry Bay (4), and Sheriff’s Port (5).

With the help of the audio guide below, you can see, taste, smell, touch and listen to aspects of Cumbrae and relax and unwind through this enjoyable and invigorating sensory experience.

You can cycle, walk or drive around the Trail. All markers are near the roadside, apart from Farland Point, which is a short, but level walk.

Look out for the ball at the top of the Sensory Point Markers – touch all five and take with you the gift of luck from the Islanders!

Cumbrae Sensory Trail Map

Introduction

1. Farland Point

2. Ballochmartin Bay

3. White Bay

4. Fintry Bay

5. Sheriff’s Port

 

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Wildlife Spotting

Fancy yourself as an aspiring David Attenborough? Well, you’re in luck.

The island is a paradise for nature-lovers and wildlife watchers with over 125 species of birds, seal colonies, porpoises, and basking sharks.

Around Cumbrae’s coast, it’s quite common to see grey seals and harbour porpoises. If you’re lucky, you may even be lucky to see Minke whales, basking sharks, and common dolphins.

 

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Top Tip: You can often see porpoises from the ferry over to the island, so keep an eye out!

A great place for fishing and spotting wildlife is down at Farland Point. Check out how to get there by reading our Best Walking Routes on the Isle of Cumbrae blog.

Farland Point, Millport

 

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The Wedge

The Isle of Cumbrae is home to what was crowned “The Narrowest House in World”.

The front of ‘The Wedge’ only measures 47 inches and it has a place in the Guinness Book of Records for being the narrowest ever recorded home. Well… it did until a house in Warsaw, Poland, named the ‘Keret House’ stole the title in 2008, at 32 inches wide.

So, Millport’s Wedge has now claimed the title of ‘Britain’s Narrowest House’.

The Wedge Millport

The house gets wider as you move towards the back and is uniquely shaped like a wedge of cheese, hence the name.

Despite the tight squeeze, The Wedge boasts beautiful sea views and it’s right in the middle of Millport town – so no complaints on location!

Unfortunately (as it’s someone’s home) you can’t actually go inside, but make sure you keep an eye out for this bizarre, wee house when you’re in town!

 

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The Cathedral of the Isles

Another Guinness Book of Records holder! Well… technically not, but The Cathedral of the Isles is actually the UK’s smallest cathedral – another wee claim to fame. (See what I did there?)

You can find the Cathedral tucked away in the trees just behind the town of Millport. The grounds and building itself are beautiful, so it’s definitely worth the 5-minute stroll up from the shorefront to see.

Millport, Cathedral of the Isles

Across the road, you’ll find the Garrison House which has lovely gardens to walk through, as well as the Cumbrae Community Gardens. You can find a good spot for a picnic here on a nice day!

 

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The Jacks Alt-Stays Experience

You didn’t think we’d leave ourselves out, did you?

At Jacks Alt-Stays, we offer guests our unique ‘Alternative Eco-Cabin Experience’.

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

Our Eco-cabin concept is the next generation of tourist accommodation in Scotland.

Each cabin comes with its very own theme and story. You can expect clever interior design and a one-of-a-kind artist’s wall mural, created by our good friend and top-class artist, Katie Forbes. Not only this, but we’re creating a totally unique and fully immersive sensory experience.

The Eco-Cabins will be built locally using sustainable materials and will be powered by 100% renewable energy. We’ll also have 10 trees planted for every booking made through our partnership with Ecologi.

Within walking distance from the beachfront and main town, the cabin is the perfect hub for exploring the Isle of Cumbrae and has everything you need to keep entertained. Whether it’s board games or cosy Netflix nights, we’ve got you covered.

We’re launching our cabins at the end of the year! So why not sign-up below to be the first to hear about our plans and free-stay giveaways?

Sign up:

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Wee Cumbrae Day Trip Tour

Fancy exploring an uninhabited island? Well…

Clyde Charters have gained permission to land day trip passengers onto the magnificent place that is Wee Cumbrae.

At the moment charters are only setting off from Largs Marina, but we’re currently talking with Clyde Charters to arrange a Millport pick-up!

There are lighthouses, castles, cairns, caves, and abandoned forts. This is a must-see place for hillwalkers, bird spotting, photographers, and all other outdoorsy types.

Wee Little Cumbrae Island

You’ll also have an opportunity to see lots of amazing wildlife on this tour, including Cumbrae’s own resident dolphin!

Why not read Daniel’s blog about his experience going on the Clyde Charters Voyage.

 

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Golfing on Cumbrae

I challenge you to find a golf course with a better outlook than at the Millport Golf Club. Seriously, what a view:

Millport Golf Club View

This special golf course is often described as a ‘hidden gem’ by visiting golfers and it’s one of the best ways to take in the surrounding beauty of the island.

Meander around the well-maintained course as you enjoy stunning views across to the Isle of Arran, Bute, and the Ayrshire coast.

During the summer season, full catering and bar facilities are available. Visitors can also organise catering packages including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Don’t fancy the full 18-holes? Not to worry, there’s always crazy golf on the Millport promenade.

 

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Millport Calender Events

If you’re lucky enough to visit on one of the many event weekends, you’re in for a treat. From the Classic Car event in early May, to the Scooter Rally in late August, these are some pretty unique events you’ll find on Cumbre.

Millport Country and Western Festival

The Island’s flagship event is the Country and Western Music Festival in September where thousands of revelers descend onto the island in fancy dress for live country music, lively bar atmospheres, and fun activities for kids.

If you’re more of the artistic type, the Cathedral of the Isles runs a Classical Guitar Retreat, a brand new Opera Retreat Festival in 2022, and you’ll find several “plein air” painting events.

 

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Walking Routes

On The Isle of Cumbrae, you’ll find five main nature walks, all of which are equally spectacular.

Whether it’s a hike up to the Glaidstone for 360” panoramic views or a long stroll around the full outer circuit, there’s plenty opportunity to take in the beauty of the island.

So, ditch the car on the mainland, stick on the FitBit,  and get those boots strapped up. Here are the best walking routes on the island, complete with pre-loaded Google Maps route buttons.

Cumbrae Walking Routes


The Outer Circuit

As it says on the tin – the whole way round.

Cumbrae is known as a cyclist’s paradise, and this route is exactly why. There’s nothing stopping you from braving the walk round though! This main Cumbrae walking route will take you around 3 hours and 15 minutes on foot.Isle of Cumbrae Outer Circuit Walking Route

Click here to open the Outer Circuit route on your Google Maps app.

Cumbrae is essentially a big 10-mile loop, but it’s certainly no chore to venture the whole way round, with the wonderful coastal views to be taken in on all sides.

Clockwise or Anti-clockwise? That is the hotly debated question! Some say clockwise is the best. Some say anti-clockwise. I say, if you’re walking, do whatever you want – you’re going the full way round anyway.

Our Top Tip – Always walk on the right-hand side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic. The locals are well used to walkers & cyclists and are great at giving you enough space, but always err on the side of caution and step in, just in case!

Here’s a few things to keep an eye out for along the way!:

Oh, also this might come in handy… Here are all of the public toilet locations around the Outer Circuit.

Isle of Cumbrae Toilet Locations Walking Route

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The Inner Circuit

A trek around Cumbrae’s inner circle. Be sure to stop off at the island’s highest point – The Glaidstone viewpoint – for 360-degree panoramic views around the Clyde.

Cycling Round Cumbrae, Inner Circuit

Click Here to open the Inner Circuit route on your Google Maps app.

The panoramic views from the top are absolutely breathtaking. You’ll look over to the Isles of Arran, Bute, Cumbrae’s little brother ‘Wee Cumbrae’, and of course, back over to Largs on the North Ayrshire coast. On a clear day, you’ll even see as far south as Ailsa Craig!

If you’re up for a challenge, complete both the Inner and Outer circuits in one day!

Our Top Tip – This route is perfect for dog walkers. Just be careful of what’s coming around the bend and pop your furry friend on the leash when passing the many farms’ cattle.

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The Targets Route

Up close and personal views of Wee Cumbrae.The Targets Walking Route Millport

Click Here to open The Targets route on your Google Maps app.

This is a nice easy one if you’re in need of a short burst of fresh sea air to perhaps cure a NostalGin hangover from the night before.

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Top Tip: Leave nothing but footsteps!

While you’re out enjoying the scenery, keep our island litter free. It should go without saying, but if there’s not a bin nearby, do the right thing by taking it with you. Also, of use recycling points where available.


The Farlands Point Route

Easy on the legs with stunning sea views. This is one for the wildlife watchers!

Click Here to open the Farland Point route on your Google Maps app.

Head right along Millport’s Victorian promenade, past Kames bay, and keep going a little further. If you hit the Field Studies Centre (FSC) you’ve gone too far.

Our Top Tip – Cumbrae is home to over 125 species of birds, seal colonies, porpoises and basking sharks. The Farland Point route is definitely one for the wildlife watchers! Look out for Oystercatchers in the skies, limpets and barnacles in the rock pools, grey seals, and our very own resident dolphin and porpoises in the ocean!

 

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The Fintry Bay Route

It’s pretty much Illegal to do this route and not stop in for an ice cream at the Fintry Bay Café.Fintry Bay Walking Route Cumbrae Millport

Click Here to open the Fintry Bay route on your Google Maps app.

From the town, head up to the Millport Golf Club and join the woodland walking route from there. At the most elevated point you’ll see a spectacular view of Arran’s ‘Sleeping Warrior’. I took this photo last time I was up there:

Isle of Arran Sleeping Warrior

Follow the path down to the gate at the road and turn right towards the turning point at Fintry Bay. Grab your obligatory ice cream, and head back south towards Millport town via the pavement on the coastal road.

 

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Places to Drink

Looking for somewhere to wet the whistle? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Something we always get asked is “well, where’s the best pub in Millport?” and to be honest, it’s not an easy answer.

Even though Millport is only a wee town on a wee Island, there are a number of brilliant options for bars, pubs and beer gardens. Here a few of your choices…


The Millport Pier Hotel

Millport Pier Hotel, Cumbrae

Where: Quayhead Street, KA28 0AP.

What: A Harbour-side hotel and bar with beer garden and sea views.

The Millport Pier Hotel is a welcoming bar and restaurant which can be found next to the pier (funnily enough). You can expect a wide selection of alcohol as well as locally sourced, freshly cooked food.

Our favourite thing about The Millport Pier Hotel is the outside beer garden. It’s a wee sun trap on a nice day and the views across the water are superb – would recommend.

 

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The Newton Bar

The Newton Bar

Where: 1-2 Glasgow Street, KA28 0DJ.

What: A family-friendly pub serving food by the sea.

The Newton Bar is a fantastic bar/restaurant and certainly worth a visit when you come to the Isle of Cumbrae. Visitors always praise the food, and some say it’s the best on the island.

You can expect a great drink selection, quiz nights, a winning atmosphere and really friendly staff. It’s dog friendly too! What’s not to like?

 

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Frasers Bar

Frasers Bar

Where: 7 Cardiff St, KA28 0AS.

What: Pub Grub and a wide range of beers.

Here you’ll be greeted with lovely staff, great service and a nice local atmosphere.

If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, then this might be the one for you. Check out the expansive selection of craft beers and local ales.

Sunny weather? Superb, there’s a lovely wee beer garden out the back door. Pouring with rain? Not to worry! There’s a roaring fireplace inside to warm up. The best of both worlds.

Frasers bar is definitely one of the best pubs in Millport – never a disappointment!

 

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The Twa Dugs

The Twa Dugs

Where: 16 Stuart St, KA28 0AJ.

What: A cosy pub with a brilliant atmosphere.

The Twa Dugs is a dog-friendly pub (hence the name) and can be found near the seafront in Millport town. It’s a small, one-room bar but it’s lively at the weekends. In a Covid-free world, you could expect great entertainment including live bands and karaoke.

It’s known for its terrific service, friendly staff and it’s popular with the locals. You won’t be let down by a visit to The Twa Dugs.

Top Tip: The Twa Dugs is known for a good whiskey, so it’s one to visit if that’s your thing!

 

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Leaning towards a G&T? All of the local bars serve the brand new and locally distilled ‘NostalGin’. Best served with tonic, bramble liqueur, and ice.

Cumbrae Gin Distillery

You can read more about the NostalGin Distillery and tours in our “Unique Things to See and Do in Millport” blog.


The Tavern Bar

The Tavern

Where: 36 Glasgow Street, KA28 0DL

What: A friendly bar with great entertainment.

The Tavern is a very welcoming bar with lovely owners. When the world allows, there’s all sorts of entertainment, from bingo to karaoke.

They also tend to play football and other sports on the TV, including the Champions League – why not give them a message on their Facebook Page to check first?

Sunny weather, why not have a pint out the back? It’s our favourite beer garden on the island!

 

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Places to Eat

  • The Ritz Café

    Where: 26 Stuart St, KA28 0AJ

    What: Retro style, 1950s café with amazing ice cream.

    The Ritz Café – a much loved local institution. People who have visited Millport over the years all hold fond memories of this place and it’s an iconic part of the island. It is the perfect place to stop if you’re looking for a quick bite or some lunch.

    At the Ritz you can expect filled rolls, toasties, burgers and – best of all – their famous sweet selection. The café serves all sorts of ice creams, milkshakes, even some tasty puddings and cakes.

    Our recommendation: It’s got to be the Marshmallow ice. Vanilla ice cream, melted marshmallow and raspberry sauce. You get a thick layer of warm marshmallow which stays melted on the cold vanilla ice cream – too good!

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    Brewbaker

    Where: 17 Stuart Street, KA28 0AJ

    What: Amazing bakery with fresh, tasty homemade goods.

    At Brewbaker, you can expect fresh food that is made with love.

    Whether it’s bread, quiche, cookies, cakes, tarts, bagels or muffins – you’ll be sure to find some seriously delicious home baking. The best thing to do is just show up and check the blackboard to see what is fresh out of the oven!

    Out with the baking, they make their own chocolates/truffles and have amazing coffee. There’s also some great options if you’re stopping for lunch including their speciality salads.

    Our recommendation: The famous quiches. They’re undefeated. Wash it down with a Brewbaker Latté.

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    The Dancing Midge Café

    Where: 24 Glasgow Street, KA280

    What: Family-run business, providing freshly prepared food, homemade scones and brilliant Italian coffee.

    The Dancing Midge is a brilliant wee café and is perfect if you’re looking to have brunch in Millport. They serve full breakfasts, French toast, hot rolls, and bagels.

    If you’re visiting a bit later in the day, why not try one of their burgers or jumbo hotdogs? They’re top drawer.

    Our recommendation: It’s got to be the full breakfast. Two slices of bacon, egg, black pudding, haggis, lorne sausage, potato scone, double beans, toast and tea / coffee – the perfect way to fuel yourself for a day exploring the island!


    Top Tip: Looking for veggie? The Dancing Midge might be the spot for you. They serve ‘The Midge Vege Breakfast’ and they do an amazing spicy bean burger.

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    Round Island Cafe

    Round The Island CafeWhere: 51-52 Stuart Street KA28 0AG

    What: Fresh, modernised cafe which serving brilliant coffee, lunch and baked goods.

    The Round Island Cafe has a wonderful, warm welcome and many describe it as a wee Island gem. On the menu there’s a selection of toasties, baguettes, baked potatoes, salads and soups.

    They serve cracking homemade specials and all the baking is fresh too. You can even get an amazing Afternoon Tea! (the scones are home made and are to die for).

    Our recommendation: Their smoothies are the best. I’d recommend one of their Green smoothies – who knew blended broccoli could taste so good?

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    The High Tide Cafe, Fintry Bay

    Where: Fintry Bay, KA28 0HA

    What: Sunset cafe with stunning views out over the Clyde to Arran and Bute.

    You’ll find the Fintry Bay Cafe completely secluded on the West side of the Isle of Cumbrae and it’s an obligatory stop if you’re cycling around the island.

    On a warm summers day it’s the perfect spot for a break to enjoy an ice cream, milk shake or cold drink. They also have a great selection of fresh baking as well as soups, sandwhiches, salad & pasta boxes.

    All the food is fantastic however my favourite part is the amazing views across to Arran and Bute. Check it out:

    Our recommendation: Definitely their beef or bean (V) chilli nachos. Served with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and jalapeños. Oh yes.

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    The Garisson House Cafe

    Garrison House Cafe Outdoor

    Where: Glasgow St, KA28 0DJ

    What: Wonderful cafe in the grounds of the Garrison House.

    The Garrison House is a beautifully restored building and fantastic example of 19th Century gothic architecture. At the Garrison you’ll find a lovely enclosed garden, the ‘Museum of the Cumbraes’ and, of course, The Garisson House Cafe.

    The cafe serves a wide range of food, so there’s something for everyone. You can expect light bites, healthy options, breakfasts, lunches, hearty meals, smoothies and cafe classics – all at a reasonable price!

    Take a seat in the courtyard if there’s good weather, or you can take a seat indoors next to their “music wall of fame”.

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    Our recommendation: Try one of the salad boxes! These change from time to time but are always TASTY.

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    The Burger Shack

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    Where: Guildford street, KA28 0AE 

    What: The freshest and best burgers in town. fact. [Takeaway only].

    If you’re looking for a burger in Millport town, look no further. Get yourself down to see the boys at The Burger Shack for some seriously delicious burgers and fries.

    They use 100% aged Scottish beef from the local butcher and freshly bake their own Japenese Hokkaido style buns every time they open. Fresh, local and unbelievably tasty. What’s not to love?

    Our recommendation: The Crocodile Style Chicken Burger is the absolute business. Pair that with a side of cajun fries for a mouthwatering combo.

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    The Newton Bar

    Where: 1-2 Glasgow Street, KA28 0DJ.

    What: A family-friendly pub serving food by the sea. [Takeaway available].

    The Newton Bar is a fantastic bar / restaurant and certainly worth a visit when you come to the island. Visitors and locals always highly praise the food, and some say it’s the best place to eat in Millport.

    When it comes to the menu you can expect a great selection of meals including steak, burgers, curry and different chicken dishes. Proper tasty stuff.

    Our recommendation: Curry Club Wednesdays! Your choice of curry, rice, poppadoms, spiced onions and mixed pakora. All for £10. Quality.

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    Millport Pier Hotel

    Millport Pier Hotel, Cumbrae

    Where: Quayhead Street, KA28 0AP.

    What: A Harbour-side hotel and bar with beer garden and sea views.

    The Millport Pier Hotel is a welcoming bar and restaurant which can be found (you guessed it) next to the Millport pier. You can expect a wide selection of alcohol as well as locally sourced, freshly cooked food.

    Suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and you’ll find classics like haggis, burgers and fish & chips.

    The Millport Pier Hotel also features in our Best Bars and Pubs in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae blog.

    Our recommendation: Haggis, Neeps n Tatties – och aye!

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    Frasers Bar

    Where: 7 Cardiff St, KA28 0AS.

    What: A snug bar with great pub grub.

    If you head to Fraser’s bar you’ll be greeted with lovely staff, a wide range of beers, great service and a nice local atmosphere.

    It’s also a great shout for food – whether it’s for lunch or dinner. We’d describe the food as ‘hearty scran’ so you can expect classics like soup, steak pie, scampi, burgers and fish & chips.

    Our recommendation: The steak pie! It’s class.

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    Deep-Sea Fish and Chips

    Where: 5 Quayhead, KA28 0AW

    What: Award-winning fish and chips [Takeaway only].

    You can find Deep-Sea Fish & Chips on the far end of the town, next to the Millport pier. There’s not much to say other than it’s a brilliant Chip Shop with all your classic options. Superb stuff.

    Our recommendation: The classic Fish & Chips, but get the fish breaded and load the chips with chip shop curry sauce. Oaft. Wash it down with a pint from the Millport Pier Hotel next door.

     

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    Top Tip: Leave nothing but footprints!

    Let’s keep Scotland’s landscapes litter free. It should go without saying, but if there’s not a bin nearby, do the right thing by taking it with you. Also, please use recycling points where available.


    Crocodile Chippy

    Where: 30 Glasgow St, KA28 0DL

    What: Golden deep-fried goodness [Takeaway only].

    You’ll find the Crocodile Chippy off the beach right next to Crocodile Rock (funnily enough) and it’s a place that certain to tingle your tastebuds. We love this place, and the menu boasts a lot more than a standard ‘chippy’.

    Of course you get your chip shop favourites, but they also serve unreal specials at the weekend which are a bit different. Expect fresh stone-baked pizza, burgers, lamb koftas, and crispy Korean BBQ cauliflower.

    They are open Wednesday – Sunday from 4:30pm. Specials are also “until sold out”, so don’t miss out!

    Our recommendation: The World Famous ‘Crocodile Style Chips’! Cajun chippy chips and crispy southern fried chicken topped with cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese, buffalo sauce, chipotle mayo and bacon bits. Jeezo… my mouth started watering as I typed that

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    Crocodeli

    Crocodeli Millport

    Where: 33 Stuart Street, KA28 0AJ

    What: A lovely deli and bakery which is open all year round.

    Crocodeli is a smahing wee deli serving a variety of fresh baking including pastries, baguettes and a variety of breads.

    It’s a fantastic spot for grabbing a coffee, a quick bite or to pack up for a picnic. The produce is always fresh and tasty, and the service is friendly.

    Our recommendation: Anything involving the freshly baked bread – it’s the BEST! Try pairing it with one of their signature salads.

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Places To Stay

From budget hostels to eco-cabins, there’s all sorts of accommodation available on the Isle of Cumbrae.

Whether you’re looking for rural or something a bit more modern, there’s something for every type of traveler on the Island.

Here are 13 places you can stay in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae:


The Bothy – Private & Exclusive Cottage

The Bothy Millport Accommodation

Figgitoch Farm is situated on the beautiful Isle of Cumbrae with fantastic views of the Firth of Clyde. It’s the perfect place for relaxing, walking, cycling, golfing, painting, or just chilling out. The bothy is a quant farm cottage which has been lovingly restored to a high standard, complete with a private garden and patio.

You can find The Bothy on Airbnb.

 

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The College Guest House

The College Guest House Millport Accommodation

The College is a Visit Scotland 3 Star Guest House. It is located next to Britain’s smallest cathedral, The Cathedral of The Isles. Both were built at the same time in 1851 by the architect William Butterfield. The College was originally built for students of theology in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The College was refurbished recently and now allows visitors to enjoy a unique combination of modern luxury and homemade meals in a building full of history and character.

You can find The College Guest House website here

 

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Seal View

Seal View - Places to stay in Millport

This ground floor villa has stunning views over the sea and is only 100 yards from the sandy beach with tropical palms fronting the promenade and yachts moored out in the sheltered bay. From here you can explore the charm of a seaside town with cafés, shops, bars, and bistro.

You can find the Seal View Villa on Airbnb.

 

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Millport Beach Apartment

Millport Beach Apartment - Places to stay in Millport

A newly furnished and decorated 2 bedroom flat on the seafront.  With spectacular sea views, this second floor flat has two double bedrooms, a large living area, a separate kitchen, and a bathroom with shower.

It’s right above The Ritz Cafe, 1 min walk from Quay Head bus stop. On the second floor, the property is well equipped with little luxuries like Egyptian cotton 600 thread count bed linen and big fluffy towels. Perfect for families and couples.

You can find the Millport Beach Apartment on Airbnb.

 

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Jacks Alt-Stays – Alternative Eco-Cabins

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-CabinJacks Alt-Stays - Alternative Eco-Cabins Millport Accommodation

Well… not quite yet, but soon!

We’re launching our unique Alternative Eco-Cabin experience in late 2021. The concept combines quirky interior design, eco-consciousness, the great outdoors, and stunning scenic views, with all your mod cons thrown in too.

We’re talking hot tubs, wood-fired stoves,  and cosy Netflix nights – all in a stunning island setting and powered by 100% renewable energy. Each cabin has its own story, interior theme, and one-of-a-kind wall mural.

The cabins are perfect for couples and small families seeking a premium, relaxing island retreat. They’re also located a short walk from Millport town.

Check out our Next Generation Tourist Accommodation Concept and be the first to hear about our official launch!

Sign Up

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Croc Rock Studio Apartment

Croc Roc Studio

The Croc Rock Studio is a delightful wee ground floor apartment which has fantastic views across to Millport Bay. Look out the window from your comfortable armchair and enjoy amazing views towards the sea and beach.

The carefully designed studio has lots of thoughtful touches and is a place for peace and tranquility. It has also been described as the perfect place for artists and writers. There’s no TV, however you can expect art supplies, super quick broadband, books and games. Plenty to keep you entertained!

Also if you’re a responsible pet owner, then you’re in luck – “nice dugs are welcome!”.

If you’d like to book, you can message the lovely owner, Suki,  on the Croc Rock Studio Facebook page.

 

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Millport Pier Hotel

Millport Pier Hotel - Places to stay in Millport

The Millport Pier Hotel has undergone a total refurbishment to the Bar, Restaurant & Kitchen areas. A new wrap around beer garden offers outstanding views over the Newtown bay and a beautiful view south over Wee Cumbrae and Arran The Bar/Restaurant will offer a locally sourced freshly cooked menu with a range of fine wines, Scottish & International beers.

You can find the Millport Pier Hotel on Google.

 

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The Nest

The Nest Millport Accommodation

A Holiday studio apartment near to the golf club. The Nest is a small 1st-floor bedsit reflective of Millport’s original accommodation, though lucky enough now to have an inside toilet!

This is one for the digital detoxers! No internet, no sky tv, no gas central heating, no washing machine! Just a place to rest called The Nest, after enjoying the beautiful peaceful island.

You can find The Nest on Holiday Lettings.


Top Tip: If you’re looking for more options, check out the “Millport ‘Staycation’ Accommodation” group on Facebook. The group is for both advertising and finding holiday accommodation in Millport, Cumbrae!

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Heaven above the Haven

Heaven above the Haven - Millport Accommodation

This is truly a little piece of Heaven in Millport. A three-bedroom flat sleeping 6 with stunning sea views overlooking the Firth of Clyde, across Millport Bay and towards the Isle of Arran in a peaceful and tranquil location at the edge of the town.

Ideally located just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Kames Bay and either a 15-minute walk or short bus journey to the shops of Millport town, Garrison House, and the famous Ritz Cafe.

You can find Heaven in Millport on Holiday Lettings.

 

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Cosy Corner

Cosy Corner - Millport Accommodation

This Apartment features a private garden and is close to the beach. Complete with wood burning stove, the apartment has 1 bedroom, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, an equipped kitchen with a microwave and a fridge, a washing machine, and 1 bathroom with a shower. Pets welcome.

You can find the Cosy Corner on Booking.com.

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Beside the Bay

Beside the bay - Places to stay in Millport

This beachfront apartment was originally part of a small grocer’s shop and is grade C listed. The building dates from the 1830s and has been carefully stripped back inside to provide a compact, quirky space to enjoy.

A kitchen/ living room with a cosy wood burner looks out to Kames Bay, and on a summer morning, with the window open, you’ll be able to hear the waves and the call of the seabirds.

You can find Beside the Bay on Booking.com.

 

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Millport Holiday Park

Millport Holiday Park

Millport Holiday Park is a friendly, family orientated Static Caravan Park & Touring Site. It has a private play park, a games room, a coin-operated laundry & a coin-operated shower block. It is situated only a 5-minute walk from the main seafront of Millport and just a 2-minute walk from the Golf Club. It boasts fantastic views across the Firth of Clyde to Argyle, Bute & Wee Cumbrae. No dogs. Linen hire costs £15.

You can find Millport Holiday Park on Millport.org.

 

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Rose Cottage

Rose Cottage - Millport

This is a unique and quirky cottage. Accessed from the road by a few stone steps, the cottage is tucked away behind other buildings, making it a quiet and peaceful haven. It has its own private garden, and we welcome up to two dogs- no extra charge!

You can find Rose Cottage on Booking.com.

 

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Things to See & Do in Largs

Great news! There’s plenty of more fun to be had across the water…

Let’s check out all of the best things to get up to:


Visit the Largs Pencil Monument

The Pencil monument stands at about 70 feet tall and towers over the Largs coastline. It was built in 1912 to commemorate the Battle of Largs (1263) when we defeated the Vikings of Norway on the shorefront.

Largs Pencil Monument

Largs has since become famous for its Viking connections and has been given the nickname ‘Viking Town’.  You’ll find all sorts of Viking references throughout the town, from the Viking Chippy to the ‘Vikingar!’ leisure centre.

Largs even host an annual Viking Festival to give people a glimpse of what life was like in a 13th Century Viking Village.

The Pencil can be found along at the end of the prom, near the Largs Marina.

 

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Visit Magnus the Viking

Another reference to the town’s Viking roots – Magnus the Viking. Magnus was given his spot on Largs prom in 2013 which marked the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Largs (1263).

You’ll find this big guy right across the road from the world-famous Nardini’s. In fact, you can’t really miss him as you’re walking along the prom.

Largs Magnus Viking

It’s a great photo opportunity and you might even find him dressed up depending on the season. He’s been spotted wearing football scarves, santa hats and has even been wearing his facemask throughout lockdown.

 

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Visit the Largs Marina

Along at the edge of town, you’ll find the Largs Yacht Haven which hosts all sorts of fun for water lovers. Whether you’re a boat owner or someone who’s just visiting, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.

Largs Yacht Haven

The marina offers private boat tours from the likes of Clyde Charters or Sea Clyde Private Charters which is an amazing opportunity to see the surrounding islands from a different perspective. You’ll find all sorts of wildlife on these tours including dolphins, seals, sea birds and porpoises – so keep those eyes peeled!

The marina also is home to a contemporary bistro offering great coffee and light lunches called Bosun’s Table as well as a quality restaurant called Scott’s. Whether you’re looking for a coffee pit-stop or a night of dinner and cocktails, the marina has you covered.

 

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Thinking of booking a boat tour?: You should check out Daniel’s ‘Voyage to Wee Cumbrae‘ blog where he talks about his recent boat tour with Clyde Charters to the uninhabited island of ‘Wee Cumbrae’.


Visit Kelburn Castle & Country Centre

Now, this is probably my favourite place to visit in Largs – Kelburn Estate. You’ll find it on the outskirts of Largs, an additional 15-minute walk out from the marina.

Kelburn is great fun for all ages, whether you’re a family looking for a day out, or a couple looking for an adventure. You can expect woodland walking routes, waterfalls, a beautiful walled garden, and a (very) eye catching castle.

The psychedelic mural was painted on the castle in 2007 by Brazilian street artists and its brought some serious colour to Kelburn Estate ever since.

Kelburn Castle, Largs

For children, you’ll find lots of play areas including the outdoor Adventure Course, Secret Forest, Wild West Saloon and the indoor Playbarn.

Kelburn is also famous for its many unusual trees, two of which have been recognised by the Forestry Commission in the Top 100 most important ‘heritage’ trees in Scotland.

There’s all sorts of fun to be had, so grab those walking boots and get ready to explore the wonders of the enchanted forest. Once you’re finished, you can stop off at the on-site café for some food and refreshments.

 

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Inverclyde Sports Centre

Feeling active? Well maybe this will be up your street.

Largs is home to the state-of-the-art Inverclyde Sports Centre which offers a wide range of activities for both members and guests. There are basketball courts, tennis courts, football pitches, fitness studios, a golf course, and a gymnastic hall.

Inverclyde Sports Centre Largs

If you’re visiting in a small group, you might be interested in trying their gym, tennis, badminton, table tennis, golf-training, archery or maybe even one of their fitness classes!

Check out their website and make enquiries here.

 

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Visit Geraldo’s

Geraldo’s is Ayrshire’s 1st ever 5-Star Tourist Shop and you’ll find it a short 2-minute walk away from the ferry slip.

Geraldos Largs

Primarily this family-run business sells some seriously tasty ice cream (which is produced on-site), but it’s also the perfect place to pick up a nice souvenir!

They specialise in handmade chocolates, gift hampers, and a range of unique and unusual gifts that change throughout the seasons. You’ll also find a wide range of premium spirits from all across the country.

Why not check out their range of Arran Whiskys or Scottish Gins? Of course, you’ll also find that they stock Millport’s very own ‘Nostalgin’ from the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers.

 

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Walk Along Largs Prom

This one is a must do if you’re visiting Largs for the first time – a walk along the prom.

The Largs promenade stretches from Aubrey Park to the Largs Marina and it takes 45-minutes to walk the full length. The seafront boasts incredible views across the River Clyde and towards Bute, Cumbrae and the Isle of Arran.

The good news is, you’re already on the route as you exit the Isle of Cumbrae to Largs ferry. A quick left turn will take you to a lovely, pebbled beach as well as the promenade lined with palm trees. Here you can also see ‘Magnus the Viking’ or grab an ice cream from Nardini’s.

Largs Seafront

Most of the walk, however, can be found by turning right as you come off the ferry. As you make your way over to the marina, make sure to take in those views. There’s plenty of nice spots to stop including the many colourful benches, large grass areas, parks, and a lovely sandy bay.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the Largs War Memorial and the Pencil Monument along the way!

Here’s the route:

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More To Do in Largs…

You’re spoiled for choice in Largs with lots to explore.

Check out our extended Largs blog for information on walking routes, places to eat & places to drink:


So, there you have it…

The Ultimate Guide To Millport, Isle of Cumbrae!

Hopefully with this guide you’ll spend less time planning your trip, and more time enjoying yourself.

Throughout this guide, there are links to our full blogs which have lots more information, suggestions and recommendations. In case you missed them:

We hope you have a belter of a trip!

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Unique Things to See and Do in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

Unique things to See and do in millport
Unique things to See and do in millport

Thinking about a trip to the Isle of Cumbrae, and looking for things to see and do? Well, you’re in right place…

Here are all of the best and most unique things you can do on ‘Scotland’s Most Accessible Island’.



The Glaidstone Viewpoint

360-degree panoramic view around the island? Now you’re talking.

You can find the Glaidstone at the very top of the island, which is at a height of 417 feet (127m) above sealevel. To put that into perspective, a Munro is anything over 3,000 feet – so it is certainly not the tallest peak in Scotland, but a fair hike nonetheless!

The Glaidstone, Isle of Cumbrae

Saying that, it’s well worth the jaunt up to the top as the views across the River Clyde are unreal. You can find the Glaidstone as part of the Inner Circle Walk and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the island’s peak, walking from Millport town.

Once you’re up there, you’ll see the neighbouring Clyde islands of Wee Cumbrae, Arran, and Bute, and back across to the mainland coast of North Ayrshire. On a clear day, it’s nothing short of spectacular and you might be able to see as far south as Ailsa Craig.

Load up the route to the Glaidstone on your Google Maps app Here.

 

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The Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery

Fancy a wee G&T after a day of exploring the island? Well, our good friends at the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers have got you covered.

Cumbrae Gin Distillery

This well-loved community venture was started by a unique team of 5 international women, who are all proud “Millportians”. The idea began to blossom during Thursday quiz nights at the ‘Twa Dugs’ local bar, but quickly developed into the Isle of Cumbrae’s first-ever distillery. The distillery was officially launched in September 2019 and, since then, has been a roaring success.

The team named their flagship gin “NostalGin” as it embodies the heritage of Millport as well as the Scottish Island experience. The gin itself has flavours of lavender, fresh island bramble and a hint of sweet orange.

They also released their second “Croc Rock” gin in April 2021, appropriately named after the island’s iconic Crocodile Rock.

Currently, the lovely group have their store open in Millport town and have started doing gin tastings and tours as of Summer 2021. As part of their plan for the future, they also hope to offer cocktail-making, lamp-making, and other workshops – so stay tuned!

You can find the Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery Here.

 

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Lion Rock, Crocodile Rock & Indian Rock

The Isle of Cumbrae is home to a collection of quirky rock formations which can be found dotted around the island. Over the years these have become iconic Cumbrae landmarks, and they’re bound to catch your eye as you’re out walking or cycling.

Crocodile Rock

The most recognisable out of the trio is the ‘Crocodile Rock’ which has been around for over 100-years! It is also considered to be one of Scotland’s “quirkiest, best-known landmarks”.

Check out our full blog post on The Cumbrae Rocks to discover where to find them!

 

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This blog post is part of our ‘Ultimate Guide’ to the island. Check it out by clicking the link below:


Watersports in Millport Bay!

The Isle of Cumbrae offers brilliant opportunities to enjoy getting out on the water! Millport is incredibly popular with the likes of Stand Up Paddleboarding, Sea Kayaking, Snorkelling, and day Sailing.

Why not rent a kayak from ‘On Yer Bike’ and explore Millport bay?

With the sparkling water and beachfront lined with palm trees, you’ll feel like you’re exploring an island paradise. You can paddle along the beach and out to the ‘The Eileans’ which are the two, small islands in the bay.


Top Tip: Make sure to stay safe whilst enjoying watersports! Millport Bay is sheltered and protected. As you head further out, you’re exposed to elements such as currents and wind, as well as other boats. Check out the likes of the Scottish Canoe Association and RNLI for safety tips, as well as the Met Office for the weather.


 

Millport Bay

Want to know the best part? You can find seals that live on The Eileans most of the year! They’re amazing to watch from the kayaks so make sure to paddle out and pay them a visit.

Kayaking in Millport is suitable for almost all ages and the shop says, “as long as you can swim, anyone can hire our Kayaks”. Life jackets are included with the hiring.

 

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Cycle Around The Whole Island

Cumbrae was made for cycling, and I’m not just saying that…

You won’t find many islands in the world that come in the form of a perfect 10-mile circular cycling route. So get that helmet on and hit the road!

You’ll find a couple of different cycling route options on the island, but the best is just to cycle right the way around.

Clockwise or anti-clockwise?

Well, that’s the big question.

Scott Ferris of Mapes would always recommend going around anti-clockwise. That way, and if you’re starting from the Cumbrae ferry slip, you avoid the ferry traffic that heads straight to the town, and you can relax on the long way around the north and west sides of the island.

This way, you can stop in at the Fintry Bay Cafe halfway(ish) point for an ice cream and a juice, giving you that well-needed, and deserved, energy boost through the final stretch towards Millport town.

If you’re looking for tips for cycling on the island, I’d recommend checking out our full Guide to Cycling Around the Isle of Cumbrae.

Mapes Millport Quadricycle

Needing to rent a bike? You have the options of Bremner’s Bike Hire, Mapes Cycle Hire, or ‘On Your Bike’ for flexible bike hire that won’t break the bank.

Top Tip: If you’re a group of 3+, why not try the 4-person, QUADRICYCLE!? – it’s some laugh!

 

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The Cumbrae Sensory Trail

The Sensory Trail takes you around Cumbrae’s 10-mile coastline, giving you the opportunity to delight in the island’s nature, wildlife, sandy bays and pebble beaches, sea life, and beautiful scenery. 

There are five Sensory Point Markers on the trail where you can just pause in peaceful and calming surroundings. They look like this:

Cumbrae Sensory Trail

These are at five coastal locations around the Island namely, Farland Point (1), Ballochmartin Bay (2), White Bay (3), Fintry Bay (4), and Sheriff’s Port (5).

With the help of the audio guide below, you can see, taste, smell, touch and listen to aspects of Cumbrae and relax and unwind through this enjoyable and invigorating sensory experience. 

You can cycle, walk or drive around the Trail. All markers are near the roadside, apart from Farland Point, which is a short, but level walk. 

Look out for the ball at the top of the Sensory Point Markers – touch all five and take with you the gift of luck from the Islanders! 

Cumbrae Sensory Trail Map

Introduction

1. Farland Point

2. Ballochmartin Bay

3. White Bay

4. Fintry Bay

5. Sheriff’s Port

 

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The Wedge

The Isle of Cumbrae is home to what was crowned “The Narrowest House in World”.

The front of ‘The Wedge’ only measures 47 inches and it has a place in the Guinness Book of Records for being the narrowest ever recorded home. Well… it did until a house in Warsaw, Poland, named the ‘Keret House’ stole the title in 2008, at 32 inches wide.

So, Millport’s Wedge has now claimed the title of ‘Britain’s Narrowest House’.

The Wedge Millport

The house gets wider as you move towards the back and is uniquely shaped like a wedge of cheese, hence the name.

Despite the tight squeeze, The Wedge boasts beautiful sea views and it’s right in the middle of Millport town – so no complaints on location!

Unfortunately (as it’s someone’s home) you can’t actually go inside, but make sure you keep an eye out for this bizarre, wee house when you’re in town!

 

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The Cathedral of the Isles

Another Guinness Book of Records holder! Well… technically not, but The Cathedral of the Isles is actually the UK’s smallest cathedral – another wee claim to fame. (See what I did there?)

You can find the Cathedral tucked away in the trees just behind the town of Millport. The grounds and building itself are beautiful, so it’s definitely worth the 5-minute stroll up from the shorefront to see.

Millport, Cathedral of the Isles

Across the road, you’ll find the Garrison House which has lovely gardens to walk through, as well as the Cumbrae Community Gardens. You can find a good spot for a picnic here on a nice day!

 

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Top Tip: Leave nothing but footprints!

Let’s keep Scotland’s landscapes litter-free. It should go without saying, but if there’s not a bin nearby, do the right thing by taking it with you. Also, please use recycling points where available.


Wildlife Spotting

Fancy yourself as an aspiring David Attenborough? Well, you’re in luck.

The island is a paradise for nature-lovers and wildlife watchers with over 125 species of birds, seal colonies, porpoises, and basking sharks.

Around Cumbrae’s coast it’s quite common to see grey seals and harbour porpoises. If you’re lucky, you may even be lucky to see Minke whales, basking sharks, and common dolphins.

 

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Top Tip: You can often see porpoises from the ferry over to the island, so keep an eye out!

You’ll also see a huge variety of birds around the island’s coast. Around Millport itself it’s you’ll see ducks, oystercatchers, red-breasted mergansers as well as the usual gulls. Just make sure they don’t steal your chips!

Farland Point, Millport

A great place for fishing and spotting wildlife is down at Farland Point. Check out how to get there by reading our Best Walking Routes on the Isle of Cumbrae blog.

 

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The Jacks Alt-Stays Experience

You didn’t think we’d leave ourselves out, did you?

At Jacks Alt-Stays, we offer guests our unique ‘Alternative Eco-Cabin Experience’.

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

Our Eco-cabin concept is the next generation of tourist accommodation in Scotland.

Each cabin comes with its very own theme and story. You can expect clever interior design and a one-of-a-kind artist’s wall mural, created by our good friend and top-class artist, Katie Forbes. Not only this, but we’re creating a totally unique and fully immersive sensory experience.

The Eco-Cabins will be built locally using sustainable materials and will be powered by 100% renewable energy. We’ll also have 10 trees planted for every booking made through our partnership with Ecologi.

Within walking distance from the beachfront and main town, the cabin is the perfect hub for exploring the Isle of Cumbrae and has everything you need to keep entertained. Whether it’s board games or cosy Netflix nights, we’ve got you covered.

We’re launching our cabins at the end of the year! So why not sign-up below to be the first to hear about our plans and free-stay giveaways?

Sign up:

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Wee Cumbrae Day Trip Tour

Fancy exploring an uninhabited island? Well…

Clyde Charters have gained permission to land day trip passengers onto the magnificent place that is Wee Cumbrae.

At the moment charters are only setting off from Largs Marina, but we’re currently talking with Clyde Charters to arrange a Millport pick-up!

There are lighthouses, castles, cairns, caves, and abandoned forts. This is a must-see place for hillwalkers, bird spotting, photographers, and all other outdoorsy types.

Wee Little Cumbrae Island

You’ll also have an opportunity to see lots of amazing wildlife on this tour, including Cumbrae’s own resident dolphin!

Why not read Daniel’s blog about his experience going on the Clyde Charters Voyage.

 

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Golfing on Cumbrae

I challenge you to find a golf course with a better outlook than at the Millport Golf Club. Seriously, what a view:

Millport Golf Club View

This special golf course is often described as a ‘hidden gem’ by visiting golfers and it’s one of the best ways to take in the surrounding beauty of the island.

Meander around the well-maintained course as you enjoy stunning views across to the Isle of Arran, Bute, and the Ayrshire coast.

During the summer season, full catering and bar facilities are available. Visitors can also organise catering packages including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Don’t fancy the full 18-holes? Not to worry, there’s always crazy golf on the Millport promenade.

 

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Millport Calender Events

If you’re lucky enough to visit on one of the many event weekends, you’re in for a treat. From the Classic Car event in early May, to the Scooter Rally in late August, these are some pretty unique events you’ll find on Cumbre.

Millport Country and Western Festival

The Island’s flagship event is the Country and Western Music Festival in September where thousands of revelers descend onto the island in fancy dress for live country music, lively bar atmospheres, and fun activities for kids.

If you’re more of the artistic type, the Cathedral of the Isles runs a Classical Guitar Retreat, a brand new Opera Retreat Festival in 2022, and you’ll find several “plein air” painting events.

 

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Kelburn Castle & Country Centre

Now, technically you won’t find this place on the Island, however, we couldn’t resist adding it to our ‘Unique Things to See & Do’ list.

You’ll find Kelburn Estate across the water, just on the edge of Largs town, and since it’s so close, it’s definitely worth a visit!

Kelburn Castle, Largs

At Kelburn you can expect woodland walking routes, waterfalls, and a (very) colourful castle. It is great fun for all ages, whether you’re a family looking for a day out, or a couple looking for an adventure.

Grab those walking boots and get ready to explore the wonders of the enchanted forest. Once you’re finished, you can stop off at the on-site café for some food and refreshments.

Check out some of the best things to see and do in Largs.

 

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So, there you have it…

All of the best and most unique things to see and do on Millport, Isle of Cumbrae!

Oh, and lastly. Although we encourage you to get out there and explore, please remember one thing…

…Once you get off that ferry, you’re officially on island time. You’ve arrived on the Isle of Cumbrae, where the clocks run a little slower.  Make sure to switch off for a while, enjoy being away from it all, and most importantly, RELAX.

Have a great trip!

 

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Ultimate Guide to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae:

For everything you need to know about planning your visit to the island, check it out our full guide:

Best Things to See and Do in Largs

Things to See & Do in Largs

So… you feel like you’ve exhausted all the highlights on The Isle of Cumbrae and you’re looking for some new adventures? Not to worry, there’s plenty more fun to be had just across the water.

Let’s take a look at some of our favourite Things to Do, Walking Routes, Places to Eat and Places to Drink. Hopefully, this will give you some inspiration…



THINGS TO DO

Visit the Largs Pencil Monument

The Pencil monument stands at about 70 feet tall and towers over the Largs coastline. It was built in 1912 to commemorate the Battle of Largs (1263) when we defeated the Vikings of Norway on the shorefront.

Largs Pencil Monument

Largs has since become famous for its Viking connections and has been given the nickname ‘Viking Town’.  You’ll find all sorts of Viking references throughout the town, from the Viking Chippy to the ‘Vikingar!’ leisure centre.

Largs even host an annual Viking Festival to give people a glimpse of what life was like in a 13th Century Viking Village.

The Pencil can be found along at the end of the prom, near the Largs Marina.


Visit Magnus the Viking

Another reference to the town’s Viking roots – Magnus the Viking. Magnus was given his spot on Largs prom in 2013 which marked the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Largs (1263).

You’ll find this big guy right across the road from the world-famous Nardini’s. In fact, you can’t really miss him as you’re walking along the prom.

Largs Magnus Viking

It’s a great photo opportunity and you might even find him dressed up depending on the season. He’s been spotted wearing football scarves, santa hats and has even been wearing his facemask throughout lockdown.


Visit the Largs Marina

Along at the edge of town, you’ll find the Largs Yacht Haven which hosts all sorts of fun for water lovers. Whether you’re a boat owner or someone who’s just visiting, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.

Largs Yacht Haven

The marina offers private boat tours from the likes of Clyde Charters or Sea Clyde Private Charters which is an amazing opportunity to see the surrounding islands from a different perspective. You’ll find all sorts of wildlife on these tours including dolphins, seals, sea birds and porpoises – so keep those eyes peeled!

The marina also is home to a contemporary bistro offering great coffee and light lunches called Bosun’s Table as well as a quality restaurant called Scott’s. Whether you’re looking for a coffee pit-stop or a night of dinner and cocktails, the marina has you covered.


Thinking of booking a boat tour?: You should check out Daniel’s ‘Voyage to Wee Cumbrae‘ blog where he talks about his recent boat tour with Clyde Charters to the uninhabited island of ‘Wee Cumbrae’.


Visit Kelburn Castle & Country Centre

Now, this is probably my favourite place to visit in Largs – Kelburn Estate. You’ll find it on the outskirts of Largs, an additional 15-minute walk out from the marina.

Kelburn is great fun for all ages, whether you’re a family looking for a day out, or a couple looking for an adventure. You can expect woodland walking routes, waterfalls, a beautiful walled garden, and a (very) eye catching castle.

The psychedelic mural was painted on the castle in 2007 by Brazilian street artists and its brought some serious colour to Kelburn Estate ever since.

Kelburn Castle, Largs

For children, you’ll find lots of play areas including the outdoor Adventure Course, Secret Forest, Wild West Saloon and the indoor Playbarn.

Kelburn is also famous for its many unusual trees, two of which have been recognised by the Forestry Commission in the Top 100 most important ‘heritage’ trees in Scotland.

There’s all sorts of fun to be had, so grab those walking boots and get ready to explore the wonders of the enchanted forest. Once you’re finished, you can stop off at the on-site café for some food and refreshments.


Inverclyde Sports Centre

Feeling active? Well maybe this will be up your street.

Largs is home to the state-of-the-art Inverclyde Sports Centre which offers a wide range of activities for both members and guests. There are basketball courts, tennis courts, football pitches, fitness studios, a golf course, and a gymnastic hall.

Inverclyde Sports Centre Largs

If you’re visiting in a small group, you might be interested in trying their gym, tennis, badminton, table tennis, golf-training, archery or maybe even one of their fitness classes!

Check out their website and make enquiries here.


Visit Geraldo’s

Geraldo’s is Ayrshire’s 1st ever 5-Star Tourist Shop and you’ll find it a short 2-minute walk away from the ferry slip.

Geraldos Largs

Primarily this family-run business sells some seriously tasty ice cream (which is produced on-site), but it’s also the perfect place to pick up a nice souvenir!

They specialise in handmade chocolates, gift hampers, and a range of unique and unusual gifts that change throughout the seasons. You’ll also find a wide range of premium spirits from all across the country.

Why not check out their range of Arran Whiskys or Scottish Gins? Of course, you’ll also find that they stock Millport’s very own ‘Nostalgin’ from the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers.


Visit Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

Whether you’re going on a day trip or a full-on island retreat, the Isle of Cumbrae is a must visit! At only an 8-minute ferry from Largs pier, Cumbrae is known as “Scotland’s Most Accessible Island”.

If you’re looking to plan a trip to the island, we’ve written the ‘Ultimate Guide‘ to the island. Check it out:

Also, Cumbrae happens to be where we’re bringing our ‘Alternative Eco Cabin’ Concept in late 2021! Check them out:

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-CabinSign up to be the first to hear about our launch and for free stay giveaways!

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Walk Along Largs Prom

This one is a must do if you’re visiting Largs for the first time – a walk along the prom.

The Largs promenade stretches from Aubrey Park to the Largs Marina and it takes 45-minutes to walk the full length. The seafront boasts incredible views across the River Clyde and towards Bute, Cumbrae and the Isle of Arran.

The good news is, you’re already on the route as you exit the Isle of Cumbrae to Largs ferry. A quick left turn will take you to a lovely, pebbled beach as well as the promenade lined with palm trees. Here you can also see ‘Magnus the Viking’ or grab an ice cream from Nardini’s.

Largs Seafront

Most of the walk, however, can be found by turning right as you come off the ferry. As you make your way over to the marina, make sure to take in those views. There’s plenty of nice spots to stop including the many colourful benches, large grass areas, parks, and a lovely sandy bay.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the Largs War Memorial and the Pencil Monument along the way!

Here’s the route:

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Our Top Tip: If the weather is nice, take a walk along to the marina around lunchtime and enjoy a half-way stop at Scott’s to refuel. Get yourself a seat outside, enjoy some lunch and wash it down with a cold pint – superb. I’d recommend Classic Fish & Chips or the Beef Burger with Chilli & Parmesan Fries.


THE BEST WALKING ROUTES

Already walked the prom? Not to worry, Largs boasts loads of great walking routes with some stunning views of the coast. Here are my favourties:

The Gretta Falls Walk

The Gretta (Greeto) Falls is a fantastic walk towards the hills at the back of Largs town. You can expect amazing views over the coastline and the Gogo river which runs through the valley of the hills.

It’s a really popular walk for families and dog walkers and you’ll find some lovely streams and waterfalls at the top.

Gretta Falls

The walk to the waterfall takes around 1 hour from the foot of the hill and you can simply follow the wide path (there’s a distinct road which has been made for hydo construction works).

On a nice day it’s a lovely place to visit and you can even go for a dip in the water if you’re feeling brave enough. Here’s me taking the plunge:

If you do fancy a dook, please make sure you stay safe in the cold water. You can do this by taking the advice of Scottish Fire & Rescue and cluing yourself up on water safety.

Lastly, here’s your route from the Largs ferry slip:


The Largs Sundial Walk

A walk ‘up the Sundial’ offers superb panoramic views of the coastline and pretty much the full town of Largs. It’s also a great opportunity to walk through some of the local parks which you’ll find along the way.

From the ferry slip, it’s a 20-minute walk along the prom and up towards Anderson Park. It’s worth a walk through here on the way, especially if it’s springtime as the cherry blossom trees will be out in full force!

Continue across the road to Douglas Park. Follow the road through to the back of the park and keep the tennis court to your right-hand side. From here, you can follow a path up the back of the hills.

This part of the walk takes an additional 30 minutes, with some pretty steep hills and stairs, but it’s all worth it when you reach the sundial at the top.

Check out that view (not Daniel, although he’s looking not too bad):

Sundial View

Also, here’s your route:


Top Tip: Leave nothing but footprints!

Let’s keep Scotland’s landscapes litter free. It should go without saying, but if there’s not a bin nearby, do the right thing by taking it with you. Also, please use recycling points where available.


Knock Hill Walk

Climbing up to the Knock Hill summit is the most challenging out of all the Largs walking routes, but it also offers the best views. At 268 meters above sea level, Largs and the Firth of Clyde has never looked so good. It’s also the best way to see the wonderful Isle of Cumbrae, in all its glory.

This walk starts from the seafront and continues up past the Routenburn golf course. From there, the route soon leads onto the side of the course. Once you get to the top it’s pretty spectacular, here’s a quick video I took:

 

On the way back down, you can chose to complete the entire ‘Knock Hill Circular‘ walk or you can come back the same way you came.

Some of the terrain on this part of the walk is pretty boggy, especially in the winter time, so walking boots are required!

Google maps were pretty useless for making a route for this one but it’s pretty well explained online already. You can read the full description and download your walking route here.


Quad Rocks Walk

A walk up to the Quad Rocks offers another impressive view over the full town of Largs, the coast, and over to Arran, Bute & Cumbrae, just from a different perspective. Just check out that view!:

The Quad Rocks

The rocks are a popular spot for rock climbers or those who are looking for a hike with a smashing view.

From the ferry up to the Quad Rocks themselves, it’ll take you about 1 hour in total. The first 30 minutes is through the town and to the car park at the back of Inverclyde Sports Centre.

From the electric car charging point head up the hill, but stick by the river to the right. Don’t take the new pathway to the left (although that’s a great walk too!). Keep right and you’ll shortly come across a gorge where you can cross the river. Continue following the blazen trail, you’ll see the Quad Rocks and you can storm right up there, climbing a couple of fences as you go. This terrain here is pretty steep and uneven in parts, so it’s another one where walking boots are recommended!

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While I have you…

My cousin, Daniel, and I are setting up our very own ‘Alternative Eco-Cabin’ business on the Isle of Cumbrae.

If you’re looking out from Largs, Cumbrae is the wee island just across the water – only an 8-minute ferry away!

Check out The Concept and join our journey below.

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THE BEST PLACES TO EAT

Feeling hungry? Largs is packed with amazing places to eat. Whether you’re after a lovely restaurant, a quality takeaway or some seriously good pub grub, the town has it all.

So, let’s get right into it.  In no particular order, here’s all the best places to eat in Largs…


Room

What: Modern restaurant and cocktail bar.

Where: 48-52 Gallowgate St, KA30 8LZ

Room Restaurant Largs

Room is an award-winning family-friendly restaurant, located just off the seafront in Largs.

Whether it’s the Katsu chicken curry, their famous enchiladas, or a make-your-own-pizza for the kids, there’s something for everyone here, with tastes influenced from across the globe.

It also has a really modern bar and seating area, in case you’re only interested in drinks. You can expect a wide range of premium spirits and tasty cocktails.


The Three Reasons

What: Pub serving quality food.

Where: 14 Gallowgate St, KA30 8LX

The Three Reasons, Largs

You only need one reason to go here. The top-quality pub grub. The fact they are #1 of 26 restaurants in Largs on TripAdvisor says it all, really.

Being from Largs ourselves, The Three Reasons is our personal favourite. Stuart always has an exciting guest ale on too.


Koh-I-Noor

What: Indian restaurant serving fresh curries.

Where: 43 Main St, KA30 8AE

Koh I Noor Largs

If you fancy something a bit different, this might be the shout. Koh-I-Noor is a proper good Indian restaurant which is certain to satisfy all your curry and pakora needs.

Fresh ingredients, traditional curries, and just an all-round quality restaurant – would recommend!


Tintos Tapas

What: Spanish tapas bar.

Where: 1 Boyd Street, KA30 8LD

Tintos Tapas Largs

Tintos is an authentic Spanish Tapas Bar which has a good few venues across Glasgow and the West of Scotland, including our very own in Largs.

The restaurant is quite small so it’s a nice, snug atmosphere and I guarantee the food will not disappoint. You can expect all the Spanish traditional food and drink like paella, patatas bravas, prawn dishes, Spanish meats, sangria and cocktails.

They also do half price tapas every Tuesday from 5pm!


Fish Works

What: Quality fish & chips, sit-in and takeaway.

Where: 3 The Promenade, KA30 8BG

The Fish Works Largs

If you think of a day trip to Largs, you think ice cream, coastal views and, probably most of all, fish & chips. You’ll find tons of chippy’s in Largs, some better than others, but in my opinion, Fish Works is the best of the best.

The produce is completely fresh, sustainably sourced, and delivered daily. Expect top-quality Scottish seafood with the best views of Firth of Clyde.

You’ll find classics like fish & chips but also twists on the traditional like fresh langoustine tails, calamari, seasonal fish, and good old-fashioned fish finger butties.


Lounge 

What: Modern cocktail bar and restaurant.

Where: 33-43 Main Street, KA30 8AE

Lounge Largs

Lounge is a fancy cocktail bar, rooftop bar, lovely restaurant and Largs’ only nightclub all rolled into one.

For the food, it’s “street food by day” and “casual fine dining at night”, so you’ve got the best of both worlds. There’s quite a variety of different dishes but it’s all quality and proper tasty stuff.

You can check our their menu here.


Nardini’s

What: Ice cream parlor and cafe.

Where: 2 Greenock Road, KA30 8NF

Nardinis Cafe Largs

Probably the most well-known and loved establishment in the town of Largs – Nardini’s Cafe.

There are world-famous ice cream sundaes, continental sandwiches, fish teas, and proper Italian coffee & pastries. It’s considered “Scotland’s Most Famous Cafe” for a reason and you won’t be disappointed if you visit.


Scott’s 

What: Quality bar & restaurant.

Where: Largs Yacht Haven, KA30 8EZ

Scotts Largs

As mentioned, Scott’s can be found in the heart of the Largs Yacht Haven, right next to the waterfront.

The restaurant itself is really modern and is a great option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They serve some fantastic seafood, steak and traditional Scottish breakfasts in the mornings.

They have plenty of outdoor seating, making it the perfect place to sit outside on a nice day. There’s also outside heating in in case it gets chilly.

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THE BEST PLACES TO GO FOR A DRINK

As soon as you come off the ferry, you’ll see a big Wetherspoons pub next to the slipway. What we want you to do is, well… walk right past it.

Largs is packed with quality bar/restaurants and pubs and we’d love for you to support the local businesses when possible!

If you’re looking for a modern cocktail bar in the middle of town, check out Room or Lounge. You could also take a stroll out to Scott’s at the marina for a cocktail. Fancy a wide selection of beers combined with some of the best pub-grub in town? Then check out the Three Reasons.

Now, let’s have a look at your other options:


Ye Olde Anchor Inn

What: Cosy, traditional and very friendly pub.

Where: 36 Gallowgate Street, KA308

Ye Olde Anchor Inn Largs

This place has a lot of character and is a local favourite – the Ye Olde Anchor Inn. It’s a traditional pub which can be found a couple of minutes walk from the ferry slip (quite handy if you need to stagger back to Cumbrae afterwards).

It can be described as snug and charming. You’ll find that it can be very lively and have a fantastic atmosphere at the weekends. You’ll often find live music playing including someone on the accordion.


JG Sharps

What: Family-run pub with beer garden.

Where: 34-36 Nelson Street KA30 8LW

JG Sharps Largs

JG Sharps is a traditional, family-run pub which is located a short walk from the Largs seafront.

They’ve got a great selection of beers, wines & spirits and they’ll often have live sports on the TV. Our favourite part, however, is the beer garden out the back – a brilliant spot for a pint on a warm day!


Drouthy Neebors

What: Nice pub playing live sport.

Where: 80 Main Street, KA30 9AL

Drouthy Neebors Largs

Formerly known as McCabes, Drouthy Neebors is a family friendly sports bar and restaurant. They have a nice wee beer garden and a wide range of tasty pub grub.

It’s also very handy if you’re coming to Largs via the train, as it’s right next to the station!


The Waterside

What: Pub with a variety of live music.

Where: 14 Bath Street, KA30 8BL

The Waterside Largs

Looking for a pub with some live music? Well, The Waterside might be the one for you.

They provide all sorts musical entertainment at the weekend, including Karaoke on Fridays and live bands on Saturdays. They also have a variety of music on Sundays, from traditional Scottish music to Jazz. 

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So, there you have it…

All the best things to do & see, walking routes, places to eat and places to catch a drink in the town of Largs.

As promised, there’s plenty of more fun to be had across the water, just make sure you check the times for the last ferry! We can’t have you stuck on the mainland…

Here’s the Cal Mac Summer 2021 Largs–Cumbrae Ferry Timetable.

Looking for more fun across the water? Check out:

 

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Wood-fired Hot Tubs – “Surely They’re Not Eco?”

Wood Fired Hot Tubs - Eco Environmental
Wood Fired Hot Tubs - Eco Environmental

There are many arguments for and against the use of using wood as a fuel. Some see burning wood as a natural alternative to fossil fuels, however others question its eco-credentials.

Being an environmentally focussed business, we thought long and hard about our choice to advocate the use of wood burners and wood burning hot tubs.

Wood burners are charming, smell great and have an amazing aesthetic, but are they eco-friendly?

Well, at first glance, it’s easy to criticise using wood as a fuel. Trees take many years to grow and burning the wrong type of wood can release lots of harmful smoke and emissions into the atmosphere.

Saying that, wood CAN be a green fuel! The key is being responsible, sensible and sustainable in your wood burning practices. Here’s the most important things to think about…

Is your wood coming from a sustainable source?

Carbon is a pollutant and is a product of the lifecycle of a tree. When trees are growing, they absorb carbon and they release carbon when they rot or when they are burned.

If carrying out truly sustainable practices, enough trees should be re-planted in order to absorb (at least) the carbon released from the wood fuels. This is all about creating a ‘closed carbon cycle’ where there is no net increase to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

At the very least, you should always make sure your wood source is managed responsibly. One way you can do this is by checking suppliers are registered on The Biomass Suppliers List (BSL). Suppliers registered on the BSL must ensure that their wood fuel is 70% sustainable and 100% legal, as a minimum requirement. 

Fairlie Wood Fuels Wood

How far is your wood travelling?

Now this is an important one – make sure to find out where your wood comes from.

You might find that the best possible wood supplier, but if it turns out it’s shipped over from elsewhere in Europe, then that’s no use to you!

When exploring options, we actually once ordered a sample pack of ‘eco wood-briquettes’ from 60 miles away but they showed up to my front door comfortably wrapped in layers of plastic… Lesson learned I guess, local is always better.

Buying from a local supplier means a reduced carbon footprint as the trees have been felled and transported locally. Of course, supporting family business your local community is also always a bonus.

Fairlie Wood Fuels Transport

What is the moisture content of your wood?

Less moisture = more efficient & less emissions

The moisture content of freshly felled wood is typically around 67%. To have wood that burns evenly and efficiently, you want moisture levels to be below 20%. This is why it is important to dry your wood!

Ideally, it’s best practice to use Kiln-dried logs in your wood burner. These are logs which have been treated at a high temperature to essentially ‘cook-off’ excess moisture.

Kiln-dried wood is recommended by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and are produced from sustainably managed forests. They also smell better and produce less smoke & emissions, making them a cleaner fuel.

Fairlie Wood Fuels

Is your wood burning appliance efficient?

If you’re going to chose to use wood as a fuel, it’s only right that you chose a modern and efficient wood burner.

In general, enclosed wood burners are engineered to get the maximum amount of energy, and thus heat, from your fuel. In fact, when compared to open fires, they are dramatically more efficient and release up to 10 times fewer emissions!

For us, we use a company called Skargards to supply our wood-fired hot tubs. They are the very best in Swedish hot tub manufacturing and are built sustainably for efficiency and durability. Check them out:

Skargards Hot Tub

Our wood burning practices

It’s always important to know where your wood is coming from, and to ensure it is managed in a sustainable way. For us, we get all our wood locally and sustainably from another family-run business called Fairlie Woodfuels.

They are a BSL certified supplier, meaning all wood meets the eligibility requirements for the UK’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Around 80% of their wood comes from existing projects, for example, housing developments or areas of trees which have become diseased, so could be considered a by-product.

All of their wood is Kiln-dried which means maximum efficiency and minimal environmental impact. From there, the wood is delivered locally and ‘loose’, so there’s no unnecessary packaging.

Simple, local and sustainable. It’s as easy as that.

Failie Wood Fuels Loose Delivery

How are we aiming to achieve a ‘closed carbon cycle’?

From the outset, we’ve been determined to create a genuinely sustainable business.

Firstly, we recognise that we’re producing carbon through things like wood fuel and ferry travel. Secondly, we look at how we can off-set our carbon footprint.

Through our partnership with Ecologi, we currently donate a set amount each month to fund carbon capture and reforestation projects around the world. 

Ecologi Jacks Alt-Stays Tree Planting

Furthermore, with the help of Ecologi, we’re vowing to plant 10 trees for every single booking at Jack’s Alt-Stays! That’s right, ten.

It’s only the beginning, but check out our impact so far:

Jack's Alt-Stays Ecologi Climate Positive Tree Planting Impact
To find out the 11 ways we’re doing our bit for the planet, check out our Climate Action Plan.

So, there you have it…

If you’re like us and care about the environment, but also love the warmth and aesthetic of a charming wood burner, then not to worry!
The fact is, burning wood comes with lots of responsibility. Wood burners are brilliant, but it’s important to do your research.
To summarise, you should use responsible practices, choose sustainable suppliers and always think about the bigger environmental picture.
With proper practices, it is easy to make your wood fuel an eco fuel.

We’re two cousins with a passion for adventure, quirky stays and the environment. We’re setting up our Alternative Eco-Cabins on the scenic Isle of Cumbrae in Scotland.
Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin
We’ll be launching our family business in late 2021. Join our journey to be the first to hear about our official launch and for free stay giveaways!

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Crocodile Rock, Lion Rock & Indian Rock | Isle of Cumbrae

Crocodile Indian Lion Rock Millport Cumbrae
Crocodile Indian Lion Rock Millport Cumbrae

Known as “Scotland’s Most Accessible Island”, The Isle of Cumbrae boasts amazing scenery, walks, wildlife, experiences, and spectacular views across the River Clyde.

There’s something quite special about the wee island where we’re setting up our “Alternative and Eco Accommodation Cabins” later this year.

Cumbrae is home to a collection of quirky rock formations that are scattered around the island. Over the years these rocks have become famous landmarks and they’re bound to catch your eye as you’re travelling around the island’s 10-mile outer circuit.


Crocodile Rock

A bizarre stone beast lurking on the beach. Fortunately, you’ll find that it’s more amusing than alarming.

This Crocodile Rock can be found on the beach in Millport town and is the most recognisable out of all the rocks. In fact, it’s actually considered to be one of Scotland’s “quirkiest, best-known landmarks”.

Crocodile Rock Millport

In 2013 the crocodile marked it’s 100-year anniversary which now makes the crocodile 108 years old – pretty good going if you ask me!

But how did the Crocodile Rock come to be? Well… the story goes, one day back in 1913, a local man and artist by the name of Robert Brown was having a couple of lunch time pints – as you do – in the Tavern Bar.

Robert’s nickname happened to be ‘Tadger’. I’m not sure why, and I’m not sure if I want to know…    

Anyway, as he stumbled along the promenade, he noticed that a group of rocks along the shore bared a certain reptilian resemblance. In his perhaps typsy state, he decided that he would head home to grab his paints and brush, and returned to create what we now know as the Crocodile Rock.  

Crocodile Rock, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

The croc’s world-famous face is now kept freshly painted ahead of each summer season by volunteers from the local Burns Club. 

 The Rock has been quite the inspiration for many local businesses since. For example, the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers latest creation is called the ‘Croc Rock’ gin – a gin that has quite the snap. Pardon the pun.   

You’ll also see businesses around the town with names like the ‘Crocodeli’, The ‘Croc Rock studio apartment’ AirBnb, and the Crocodile chippy.  

 It’s even inspired local menu items, like Crocodile Style Chips from the Crocodile Chippy, and the Crocodile Style Burger from the local Burger Shack, which let me tell you, has quite the bite… right, that’s the end of the puns, I promise.  

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Lion Rock

You’ll find the Lion Rock sitting proudly on the east side of the Isle of Cumbrae. It’s like something straight out of the pride lands of the Lion King movie.  

Lion Rock Millport

The pre-historic rock formation is 10 meters high, 50 meters long, and has been about for 65 million years, believe it or not. 

Its unique lion shape was caused by a dyke of Labradorite rock intruding into the existing Old Red Sandstone. That’s essentially geology talk for one rock forcing itself inside another.

Then in the last ice age, the shifting glaciers wore down the soft sandstone, exposing the labradorite dyke which has since been weathered to the shape resembling a lion that we see today. 

Lion Rock, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

 

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This blog post is part of our ‘Ultimate Guide‘ to the island. Check it out by clicking the link below:


Indian Rock

Now, this guy is slightly harder to spot – The Indian Rock. You’ll find this landmark tucked away in the trees as you’re coming round the west side of the island. Not going to lie… he’s a wee bit creepy.

Indian Rock Location Millport

This guy was painted in the 1920’s and has been perched up there within the forestry ever since. I reckon they just decided that after 10 years The Crocodile Rock was looking a little lonely, so they painted him a wee brother. One to keep an eye out for!

Indian Rock, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

It is thought that it was first painted by a local man known as Fern Andy who was an old cave hermit. Fern Andy apparently used to live in a cave on the west side of the island, and would fashion fern baskets to sell to the local people. 

Legend has it that the ‘nose’ of the rock was first painted as a guide for sailors coming into the stone jetty just up the coast. Then, the face came afterwords, at some point in the 1920s, thanks to the famous Millport cave hermit, Fern Andy. 

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Top Tip: Leave nothing but footprints!

Let’s keep Scotland’s landscapes litter free. It should go without saying, but if there’s not a bin nearby, do the right thing by taking it with you. Also, please use recycling points where available.


The Glaidstone

You can find the Glaidstone up at the very top of the island, which is at a height of 417 feet (127m). To put that into perspective, a Munro is anything over 3,000 feet so it’s certainly not the tallest peak in Scotland.

Saying that, the views you get are something else and it’s 100% worth the jaunt up to see it when you’re visiting the Isle of Cumbrae.

You’ll find the Glaidstone on the Inner Circuit walk.

Glaidstone Millport

Once up there, you get the full benefit of 360-degree panoramic views around the island, the neighboring Clyde islands of Wee Cumbrae, Arran and Bute, and the mainland coast of North Ayrshire.

On a clear day it’s nothing short of spectacular and you might be able to see as far south as Ailsa Craig.

The Glaidstone, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

 

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Ultimate Guide to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae:

For everything you need to know about planning your visit to the island, check it out our full guide:

 

Ailsa Craig Spotlight: 10 Questions with @ItsTommysWorld

Ailsa Craig Photography
Ailsa Craig Photography

It has been a hot spot for pirates and smugglers, used as a base camp for Spanish soldiers trying to invade Scotland and was even used as a prison in the late 18th century. Nowadays, it’s famous for two things – seabirds and curling stones.

With its steep cliff side edges and iconic silhouette, Ailsa Craig is one of the most photogenic islands in the whole of Scotland.

I caught up with the Ayrshire-based photographer and video creator @ItsTommysWorld to ask him 10 Questions about his day trips to Ailsa Craig and all the wonders which can be found on the island.

Tommy specialises in lifestyle and travel photography and has taken some stunning photos of Ailsa Craig over the years. You can check out his website here.


Firstly, what is Ailsa Craig?

Well, Ailsa Craig is a dome shaped island which can be found sitting dramatically in waters of the River Clyde. The geological formation is essentially a dense block of granite which was leftover from a long-extinct volcano.

Ailsa Craig
@ItsTommysWorld

Ailsa Craig translates to “Fairy Rock” in Gaelic and it has also been given the nickname “Paddy’s Milestone” as it marks pretty much the exact halfway point between Glasgow and Belfast in Northern Ireland.


Early History of Ailsa Craig

Despite its small size, the island itself has an extensive and interesting history.

The Romans were known to have previously inhabited the island. It was also used as a base camp for Spanish soldiers in the late 16th century, as they planned an invasion of Scotland. During this time a castle was built, and the ruins remain on the east side of the island.

Ailsa Craig Castle
@ItsTommysWorld

It was a hot spot for pirates and smugglers over the years, and it was even used as a prison sometime in the late 18th century. I like to picture Ailsa Craig during this time as Scotland’s version of Alcatraz prison. Given its steep cliff edges and the fact that its 16km off the coast, I wouldn’t fancy my chances as a prisoner planning an escape.

In the 1880’s a lighthouse was built, and it remains on the island to this day. In 1990, the lighthouse was automated meaning there was no longer a need for manpower on the island. Since then, Ailsa Craig has been largely uninhabited.


Recent History of Ailsa Craig

There’s no doubt the island has had a flavourful past, but nowadays it’s famous for two things – birds and curling stones. What a combo.

Currently, Ailsa Craig is leased out to the RSPB and is considered a haven for seabirds. The island boasts more than 70,000 birds including Gannets, Razorbill’s, Kittiwakes and Puffins.

Ailsa Craig Birds
@ItsTommysWorld

As mentioned, the island is essentially a large hunk of granite. Most of this granite rock is of the highest quality and has made Ailsa Craig an incredibly popular place for mining, dating back to the 1800s.

This is one of the islands big claims to fame as the mined granite is used to make curling stones. In fact, Ailsa granite is the origin of 2/3rds of the worlds curling stones including all the stones which were used in the last five Winter Olympic games. Quite amazing for such a wee island!

An organisation called Kays of Scotland have exclusive rights to quarry for granite on the island. They are only permitted to do so once in every ten years to disturb the nesting birds as little as possible.


Ailsa Craig Spotlight: 10 Questions with @ItsTommysWorld

So, let’s see what Tommy had to say when I caught up with him to talk about his day trips over to Aisla Craig.

Tommy Morrison @ItsTommysWorld
Tommy Morrison @ItsTommysWorld

1. How did you get over to Ailsa Craig?

“Ive been on Ailsa Craig twice now, the first time was with my friend Howard on his rib, we set off from Maidens.”

“The Second time I was lucky enough to be invited along with geologist Derek Leung from Edinburgh University who I collaborated with on his curling stone project. We set off from Girvan this time on a charter boat that left from Girvan Harbour.”

Ailsa Craig Boat
@ItsTommysWorld

2. How long did it take you to get there?

“When I left from Maidens it took us roughly about 40+ minutes, and the journey from Girvan Harbour was just over an hour.”

3. What sort of wildlife did you see?

“On Ailsa Craig there is thousands of Gannets, and I also saw hundreds of rabbits on my climb to the top. While walking around the coast there was 3 or 4 large seals being nosey and following us along the coast. I also saw some black seabirds, I think it could be Guilemot but I’m not sure.”

Ailsa Craig Seal
@ItsTommysWorld

4. What did you get up to whilst on the island?

“On my first trip, we tied the boat up to the pier and our mission was to climb to the top, I have created a Youtube video where you can see drone shots of the island and boat trip, go pro footage of me climbing to the top and reaching the cairn”

“The second time was when I went along with Derek. For me, the purpose of this was to see the origin of curling stones and, most importantly, as a pilgrimage. Derek’s goal was to inspect the granite rock formations and the layout of the granite plugs.”

“It was really fascinating listening to him explain the geology of the island and how the granite is formed. We also explored around the coast of the island this time and this was when the seals followed us.”

Ailsa Craig Granite
@ItsTommysWorld

5. Tell me about the hike to the top, was it worth it? 

“The hike up to the top and back down took roughly about 4 hours. Going up was a bit tricky for me with a fully loaded camera bag, but the view and feeling you get from the top was well worth it.”

“It’s an achievement that not many people have done just because of the difficulty in getting there and also the climb itself, so i’m pleased that I have managed to do it.”

Ailsa Craig Hike
@ItsTommysWorld

6. What makes Ailsa Craig so photogenic?

“Ailsa Craig is really photogenic from the mainland or even Arran because of its peculiar shape, and its in an ideal location for the sun setting behind it.”

“Also the beautiful surrounding scenery helps to make photos of Ailsa Craig really stand out, of which there are lots of different angles to be found for unique photo opportunities.”

7. Where’s the best location to take a photo of Ailsa Craig on the mainland?

“My favourite location on the mainland so far for shooting Ailsa Craig has to be from the Trump Turnberry Resort. You can get an interesting foreground subject with the lighthouse and have the sunsetting behind Ailsa Craig in the background. I have challenged myself to find a few more unique locations on the mainland to shoot Ailsa Craig.”

Ailsa Craig Trump Turnberry
@ItsTommysWorld

8. What’s your favourite photo you’ve taken of Ailsa Craig?

“My favourite photo I’ve taken of Ailsa Craig is my Drone shot I took while standing on the rocky shore. Ailsa Craig has no sand, only rock everywhere. I’m just a tiny spec on the rocky shore so that just shows you the scale.”

“I always thought it would be smaller than it actually is just because it looks tiny from the mainland where I live in Stevenson.”

You can check this shot below:

Ailsa Craig Shot
@ItsTommysWorld

9. How long have you been a photographer for?

“Its been 4 years since i first got a camera – it was a Nikon d3200 I started out with – and I dedicated a lot of time to teaching myself photography and videography from Youtube.”

“After a year of constant learning and practicing, I quickly outgrew my Nikon and switched to Sony and decided to start my media business.”

10. What’s your photography gear set-up?

What’s in my camera bag:

Lowepro Bag | Sony A7iii | Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f4 | Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 | Sony G 70 200mm f4 | Viltrox 85mm f1.8 | Panasonic GH5 (I use this for Video Only) | Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 (gh5, video only) | Viltrox SpeedBooster | Zoom H1n (audio recorder) | Rode Video Micro (mic) | RavPower FileHub (portable sd card backup device) | 1tb Hard Drive | SD Card Holder | 2 x PowerBanks | Zhiyun Weebil-S Gimbal | DJI Mavic Pro 2

So, there you have it…

That’s Ailsa Craig in a nutshell. Hopefully this has given you an insight into what life on this mysterious island is like.

For those who fancy visiting, there’s actually boat trips to Ailsa Craig which leave from Girvan Harbor to the island. For those who don’t, you can always take in those incredible views from the mainland.

Thanks to @ItsTommysWorld for helping us bring this Ailsa Craig Spotlight together. Be sure to check out Tommy’s website for his photography tips, business inquiries and online store. You can do that here.


Looking for more?

Why not check out Daniels blog where he goes on a boat trip to another completely uninhabited island called ‘Wee Cumbrae’:

 

Top 5 Hot Tub Stays in Scotland

Top 5 Hot Tub Stays in Scotland
Top 5 Hot Tub Stays in Scotland

So, you’re thinking about booking a staycation in Scotland, but you’ve decided that a hot tub is a must-have? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Whether it’s a summers evening or a cold winters night, there’s something quite appealing about switching off and relaxing in a hot tub. They’re the perfect way to escape and detox yourself from the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day. Kick back, grab yourself a glass of Prosecco and enjoy the wonders of your own, private spa. Bliss.

Recently, I’ve been looking online at everything from couple getaways to full-on family retreats and, to give you a bit of inspiration, have compiled a list of the ‘Top 5 Places to Stay in Scotland with a Hot Tub‘.

Check them out:

1. The Roundhouse 

Roundhouse Cabin External

A visit to ‘The Roundhouse’ is what the owners like to describe as “escapism in Eco chic accommodation”. You can find this place on the outskirts of Glasgow, in Baldernock.

Guests are encouraged to reconnect with nature, and you’ll find yourself with no distractions as there is not a TV in sight. They’ve even replaced all 3 pin plugs with USB chargers, so there’s no temptation.

Instead, why not relax in front of the wood burner with a glass of wine? Or perhaps enjoy a night under the stars in the wood fired hot tub? Switching off has never been so easy!

Wood Fired Outdoor Hot Tub

Inside you’ll find large, floor to ceiling windows which offer impressive 180-degree views over the surrounding woodlands, and some really stylish interior design.

The cabin itself is also a true eco-build as it is powered by solar panels and has a sedum wildflower roof.


2. Alpnhaus Cabin

You can find the ‘Alpnhaus’ Cabin sitting 350 meters above sea level. It’s tucked away within the Cheviot Hills, near the Scottish Borders. This place is a real escape into the remote mountains and is the perfect place to unwind.

Wooden Cabin Interior

The cabin is described as “rugged bliss” and it’s easy to see why. The interior is rustic whilst being incredibly modern and is inspired by Alpine mountain houses.

The surrounding area boasts amazing wildlife which you can watch from the comfort of your wood fired hot tub.

Wood Fired Hot Tub

The place has a big eco focus and the owners make their own electricity through wind and solar. They also have their own supply of spring water which they use to fill the hot tub.

To be honest, my favourite part is the mountain breakfast hamper which the owners leave outside your cabin every morning – it looks unreal!

Singdean Breakfasr


3. Cape Cove

Cape Cove Hot TubNow if the rugged mountains aren’t your scene, maybe you’ll be more interested in ‘Cape Cove’.  A seriously contemporary and modern house which overlooks the mysterious waters of Loch Long and the Firth of Clyde.

Cape Cove Interior

This place has 5 bedrooms and is a luxurious hub for exploring the surrounding beauty of Argyll. There’s a roaring wood burner in the living room, stunning glass-fronted dining room and some really nice bedrooms.

They’ve also made a wee space for a gym! Personally, you’d be more likely to catch me next to that fire with a glass of wine.

Outside you’ve got a log burner, state-of-the-art barbecue, sun loungers and the hot tub which overlooks your own boardwalk and private beach.

Unfortunately (as you can probably imagine) this place doesn’t exactly come cheap. You can find more info on booking and availability here.


Enjoying the Top 5 so far?… Well, if you like these, you’re going to love our “Alternative Eco-Cabins” that are coming to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae in late 2021!

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

We’ve combined quirky design, eco-consciousness, and individual themes to make our ‘Alternative Eco Cabin’ concept. Each cabin comes with it’s own story and one-of-a-kind wall mural created by our good friend and amazing artist, Katie Forbes.

Check out the next generation tourist accommodation concept HERE.

You’ll find us secluded enough for a relaxing island retreat, but still within walking distance to local bars, restaurants and experiences – a perfect balance.

Why not sign-up below to be the first to hear about our launch plans and free-stay giveaways?

Sign up:

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4. Jill Strawbale House 

Jill Strawbale House The owners of the ‘Jill Strawbale House‘ claim that this place is “as spectacular as many featured on TV’s Grand Designs” and, well… you can’t really blame them.

You can find this triumphant 2-story home perched up in the Strontian hills and it boasts incredible views over Loch Sunart. If you’ve never been, the surrounding areas of Ardnamurchan and Fort William are actually stunning.

Jill Strawbale House Exterior

On the ground floor you’ll find 2 bedrooms and the large decking which comes equipped with a chiminea, outdoor seating, and hot tub.

From here, you can follow the quirky spiral staircase up to the impressive, open plan top deck. This includes a spacious kitchen, dining and living space.

Jill Strawbale House InteriorI love the interior design and it just looks like the perfect place to hang out for a weekend. It also comes kitted out with a 49″ Smart TV, Blu-ray player and Bluetooth speaker – so there’s all sorts to keep you entertained.

If you’re a group of 2 couples looking for a getaway, this place is pretty perfect. There’s no doubt that it’s one of the best places to stay in Scotland with a hot tub.


5. The Wee Bee Hive 

Now when you look at ‘The Wee Bee Hive‘, you can just tell it’s been handcrafted with love. A lot of thought and work has gone into this rustic cabin and if you’re in the market for a romantic couple escape, it might just be the perfect place for you.

The Wee Bee Hive was actually featured on Hidden Scotland’s first (and most recent) magazine and can be found tucked away next to the small village of Bellabeg.

If you visit here you can expect to be fully immersed in nature, as you’re amongst the beauty of the Cairngorms National Park. There’s also resident hens and ponies which can be found around the site!

The owners describe the cabin as a “magical escape” as it’s much more than a standard glamping pod. Inside you’ll find lots of books, games and a Smart TV hooked up with Netflix. It also comes with a completely private “love tub” where you can enjoy a romantic dip.

The Wee Bee Hive Hot Tub

Kick back, relax and enjoy a stay at the Wee Bee Hive – it’ll be sweeter than sweet!


So, there you have it…

5 of the best and most unique places to stay in Scotland with a Hot Tub!

There’s no doubt about it, hot tub getaways are the ultimate way to staycation in Scotland. Whether you’re looking for a loch-side family holiday or a couples retreat in the mountains, it’s always best when there’s a tub to dip in.

Hopefully this gave you some inspiration for planning your next trip (whenever that may be).


Want to read more? Why not check out:

7 of the Most Unique North Coast 500 Airbnbs

Most Unique North Coast 500 Airbnbs
Most Unique North Coast 500 Airbnbs

So… you’re thinking about doing the North Coast 500, but want to see all the Best & Most Unique Airbnb’s along the way? Good news, you have come to the right place.

The North Coast 500 is packed with hidden cabins, glamping pods, hot tub stays and all sorts of quirky accommodation which are bound to make your trip one to remember.

I love weekends away and I am always looking for my next staycation. Over lockdown I have also become a serial window shopper on Airbnb. From all my research, I’ve made a list of the 7 of the Best and Most Unique Airbnb’s on the North Coast 500.

So, whether you are looking to ‘book now’ or plan ahead, this blog should give you some inspiration. Let’s take a look at some of my favourites:


1. Tigh Na Mara

Tigh Na Mara – Ullapool, “Coastal retreat with stunning views”

Check out the Tigh Na Mara cabin. If you are a couple looking for a Highland escape, this place is pretty perfect. I mean, just imagine waking up to views like this every morning:

Tigh Na Mara – Ullapool,

At the Tigh Na Mara cabin, you can immerse yourself in contemporary living whilst enjoying the surrounding beauty of the Summer Isles.

During the high season, this place is rented out for a week at a time, so it’s not for those looking to rush round the North Coast 500 route in a few days. Kick back, relax and use this unique cabin as a base camp to explore the north west Highlands.

Tigh Na Mara – Ullapool,

Inside you can expect a completely modernised cabin equipped with open living space and a wood-burning stove. Prepare to cosy up on the couch and take in those views through the sliding glass doors.

Tigh Na Mara – Ullapool,


2. North Coast 500 Pods

NC500 pods“Luxury North Coast 500 Glamping Accommodation”

Looking to ditch the tent for the night and upgrade yourself to a glamping pod? Well, look no further than the North Coast 500 Pods.

You’ll find this group of 5 glamping pods in a secluded area of Lochinver and only a 2-minute stroll away from the famous Achmelvich beach. The area around here is stunning and the beach is a serious contender for the best on the North Coast 500 route.

North Coat 500 Pods - Achmelvich Bay

Inside the pod, you’ll find an en-suite shower, a fully equipped kitchen, and an Amazon Alexa for all your music needs. To be honest, my favourite part about this place is the common area which has lots of bean bags and a high spec BBQ. Check it out:

North Coat 500 Pods - Achmelvich Bay


3. Sea-View Lodge 21

Sea-View Lodge 21 – John O’GroatsCheck out the Sea-View Lodge 21. These stunning, sustainably built cabins are located at John O’Groats – the most north-easterly point of mainland Scotland. The cabins boast modern architectural design and large glass fronts which allows visitors to maximise the incredible views towards the Orkney Isles.

Sea-View Lodge 21 – John O’Groats

The surrounding area of John O’Groats has amazing wildlife and outstanding scenery, making these cabins the perfect hub for exploring. Keep an eye out for puffins and check out the dramatic cliff edges of the Duncansby Stacks.

Sea-View Lodge 21 – John O’Groats

The cabins themselves sleep up to 6 people in 3 bedrooms, so they are perfect for those travelling in groups and families. As expected, they come with all the desired amenities including a kitted-out kitchen and all sorts of TV entertainment.


Enjoying these so far?…

Well, you’re going to love what we’re planning. I’m currently working with my cousin to bring our “Alternative Eco Cabin” concept to Scotland’s Isle of Cumbrae in late 2021!

So yes, not quite North Coast 500, but less than 1 hour and 30 minutes from Glasgow, and I couldn’t help but cheekily squeeze it in here!

We’ve combined quirky design and eco-consciousness to make our cabins. Each comes with its own story, individual theme, and one-of-a-kind wall mural. I promise you, these things are going to be special. Check them out:

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

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4. Rua Reidh Lighthouse

Rua Reidh Lighthouse – Gairloch, Wester RossNow I maybe cheated, this one isn’t on Airbnb… but there’s no way I could leave it out! How do you feel about a weekend in a converted lighthouse? Talk about a unique stay…

You can find the Rua Reidh Lighthouse tucked away in one of the most remote locations on the north-west of Scotland. A stay here offers an abundance of wildlife, breathtaking coastal views, and a real opportunity to experience the tranquillity of a secluded part of Scotland.

Rua Reidh Lighthouse – Gairloch, Wester Ross

The lighthouse was built in 1912 and is now owned and ran as an accommodation business by a mother and son duo. If you’re looking to book a stay, you’ll find both self-catering and B&B options.


5. The Old Tea Shop

Old Tea Room – Scarfskerry, CaithnessNow this one is certainly on the quirky end of the spectrum – The Old Tea Shop. This quaint wee cottage is full of character and (as the name suggests) it was converted from an old tearoom.

Old Tea Room – Scarfskerry, Caithness

You’ll find this charming cottage between John O’Groats and Thurso, making it the perfect stopover if you’re jumping on the Orkney ferry. It’s also a cracking spot for exploring some of the most northern areas of Scotland.

Inside the cabin has a traditional feel and there are all sorts of wonders to discover. The listing has rave reviews on Airbnb and guests seem to love the abundance of thoughtful touches, the wood-burning stove, and its cosy feel.

Old Tea Room – Scarfskerry, Caithness

The place even comes with its own back garden equipped with plenty of garden furniture and a sunken, wood-burning hot tub – nice one. Check it out:

Old Tea Room – Scarfskerry, Caithness


By the way…

I did the North Coast 500 back in Summer 2019 with my girlfriend and I’ll tell you what, a bit of forward planning goes a long way.

Why not check out my “North Coast 500 Adventure” blog to read about all the best things to do as well as some hidden gems I found along the way.


6. Croft 103

Croft 103 – Laid, Northern HighlandsForget the best and most unique accommodation on the North Coast 500, this place is as good as you’ll get in the whole of Scotland.

The Croft 103 can be found carved into the landscape and overlooking the waters of Loch Eriboll. The place is bold, unique, and has been meticulously created by combining the absolute best in craftsmanship and cutting-edge contemporary design.

Croft 103 – Laid, Northern Highlands

From the distinctive exterior shape to all the interior details, it truly is a modern architectural masterpiece. Inside the cottage is spacious and there’s plenty of natural light let in through the large windows.

Croft 103 – Laid, Northern Highlands

In the living space, it is all open plan with beautiful furniture and a modernised kitchen. The bedroom can be found adjacent to a bathroom which is equipped with a large walk-in shower and bathtub.

Croft 103 – Laid, Northern Highlands

There’s even a second bathtub outside which can be found on a secluded area of the patio! Catch me in here drinking a glass of wine:

Croft 103 – Laid, Northern Highlands

Now there is no debating it, this place doesn’t come cheap. At a 7-day minimum booking, you’re looking at over £2,500 for a visit.

I guess that’s just the price you have to pay for this type of quality, but is it worth it? Well… you tell me.


7. The Hideaway

The Hideaway – Lochinver, SutherlandThere’s something quite charming about “The Hideaway”. It’s a lovely wooden cabin which is tucked away in the trees, overlooking the bay of Lochinver and the Assynt mountains.

The Hideaway – Lochinver, Sutherland

The cabin has a lovely interior space with a king size bed and some comfy armchairs. There’s also a big TV and a quality kitchen and bathroom. Everything you need for a short stay.

The Hideaway – Lochinver, Sutherland

To be honest though, the decking is my favourite part. Out here you’ll find an electric hot tub, wood-burning stove, deck chairs and a high-quality BBQ. I can just picture myself enjoying a summers day here with a cold beer in hand. Bliss.

The Hideaway – Lochinver, Sutherland

To top it all off, the place has a 1-night minimum stay, so it’s perfect for those who are on the move and doing the North Coast 500 road trip.


So, there you have it…

That’s the Top 7 Most Unique Airbnb’s on the North Coast 500. As expected, it was a pretty mixed bag!

Now I hope that reading this blog has fueled you with some road trip planning inspiration. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself sleeping in an Old Tea Room for the night?

To be honest, regardless of where you rest your head, you’ll enjoy every second of your NC500 road trip. Just remember that a cool place to spend the night can make your trip that extra bit special.

Check out:

The Best Places to Eat in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

Best Places To Eat in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae
Best Places To Eat in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

So you’ve found yourself in Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae, and hunger strikes? Well, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

In this blog, I’ll be telling you about all the best cafes, restaurants, and takeaways you can find on the island. So, whether it’s lunch, dinner, or a quick snack, we’ll make sure you don’t starve. I’ll also make sure to throw in our recommendations – so you know what’s good!

So… let’s get right into it! Here are the best places to eat in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.


  • The Ritz Café

    Where: 26 Stuart St, KA28 0AJ

    What: Retro style, 1950s café with amazing ice cream.

    The Ritz Café – a much loved local institution. People who have visited Millport over the years all hold fond memories of this place and it’s an iconic part of the island. It is the perfect place to stop if you’re looking for a quick bite or some lunch.

    At the Ritz you can expect filled rolls, toasties, burgers and – best of all – their famous sweet selection. The café serves all sorts of ice creams, milkshakes, even some tasty puddings and cakes.

    Our recommendation: It’s got to be the Marshmallow ice. Vanilla ice cream, melted marshmallow and raspberry sauce. You get a thick layer of warm marshmallow which stays melted on the cold vanilla ice cream – too good!

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    Brewbaker

    Where: 17 Stuart Street, KA28 0AJ

    What: Amazing bakery with fresh, tasty homemade goods.

    At Brewbaker, you can expect fresh food that is made with love.

    Whether it’s bread, quiche, cookies, cakes, tarts, bagels or muffins – you’ll be sure to find some seriously delicious home baking. The best thing to do is just show up and check the blackboard to see what is fresh out of the oven!

    Out with the baking, they make their own chocolates/truffles and have amazing coffee. There’s also some great options if you’re stopping for lunch including their speciality salads.

    Our recommendation: The famous quiches. They’re undefeated. Wash it down with a Brewbaker Latté.

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    Planning your visit to the Isle of Cumbrae?:

    This blog post is part of our ‘Ultimate Guide‘ to the island. Check it out by clicking the link below:


    The Dancing Midge Café

    Where: 24 Glasgow Street, KA280

    What: Family-run business, providing freshly prepared food, homemade scones and brilliant Italian coffee.

    The Dancing Midge is a brilliant wee café and is perfect if you’re looking to have brunch in Millport. They serve full breakfasts, French toast, hot rolls, and bagels.

    If you’re visiting a bit later in the day, why not try one of their burgers or jumbo hotdogs? They’re top drawer.

    Our recommendation: It’s got to be the full breakfast. Two slices of bacon, egg, black pudding, haggis, lorne sausage, potato scone, double beans, toast and tea / coffee – the perfect way to fuel yourself for a day exploring the island!


    Top Tip: Looking for veggie? The Dancing Midge might be the spot for you. They serve ‘The Midge Vege Breakfast’ and they do an amazing spicy bean burger.


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    Round Island Cafe

    Round The Island CafeWhere: 51-52 Stuart Street KA28 0AG

    What: Fresh, modernised cafe which serving brilliant coffee, lunch and baked goods.

    The Round Island Cafe has a wonderful, warm welcome and many describe it as a wee Island gem. On the menu there’s a selection of toasties, baguettes, baked potatoes, salads and soups.

    They serve cracking homemade specials and all the baking is fresh too. You can even get an amazing Afternoon Tea! (the scones are home made and are to die for).

    Our recommendation: Their smoothies are the best. I’d recommend one of their Green smoothies – who knew blended broccoli could taste so good?

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    The High Tide Cafe, Fintry Bay

    Where: Fintry Bay, KA28 0HA

    What: Sunset cafe with stunning views out over the Clyde to Arran and Bute.

    You’ll find the Fintry Bay Cafe completely secluded on the West side of the Isle of Cumbrae and it’s an obligatory stop if you’re cycling around the island.

    On a warm summers day it’s the perfect spot for a break to enjoy an ice cream, milk shake or cold drink. They also have a great selection of fresh baking as well as soups, sandwhiches, salad & pasta boxes.

    All the food is fantastic however my favourite part is the amazing views across to Arran and Bute. Check it out:

    Our recommendation: Definitely their beef or bean (V) chilli nachos. Served with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and jalapeños. Oh yes.

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    The Garisson House Cafe

    Garrison House Cafe Outdoor

    Where: Glasgow St, KA28 0DJ

    What: Wonderful cafe in the grounds of the Garrison House.

    The Garrison House is a beautifully restored building and fantastic example of 19th Century gothic architecture. At the Garrison you’ll find a lovely enclosed garden, the ‘Museum of the Cumbraes’ and, of course, The Garisson House Cafe.

    The cafe serves a wide range of food, so there’s something for everyone. You can expect light bites, healthy options, breakfasts, lunches, hearty meals, smoothies and cafe classics – all at a reasonable price!

    Take a seat in the courtyard if there’s good weather, or you can take a seat indoors next to their “music wall of fame”.

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    Our recommendation: Try one of the salad boxes! These change from time to time but are always TASTY.

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    The Burger Shack

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    Where: Guildford street, KA28 0AE 

    What: The freshest and best burgers in town. fact. [Takeaway only].

    If you’re looking for a burger in Millport town, look no further. Get yourself down to see the boys at The Burger Shack for some seriously delicious burgers and fries.

    They use 100% aged Scottish beef from the local butcher and freshly bake their own Japenese Hokkaido style buns every time they open. Fresh, local and unbelievably tasty. What’s not to love?

    Our recommendation: The Crocodile Style Chicken Burger is the absolute business. Pair that with a side of cajun fries for a mouthwatering combo.

    May be an image of food and text that says "Southern Fried Chicken American Cheese Chipotle Mayo Buffalo Sauce Bacon Burger Shack. S BurgerShack 1 THE CROCODILE STYLE CHICKEN BURGER (WORLD FAMOUS)"

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    The Newton Bar

    Where: 1-2 Glasgow Street, KA28 0DJ.

    What: A family-friendly pub serving food by the sea. [Takeaway available].

    The Newton Bar is a fantastic bar / restaurant and certainly worth a visit when you come to the island. Visitors and locals always highly praise the food, and some say it’s the best place to eat in Millport.

    When it comes to the menu you can expect a great selection of meals including steak, burgers, curry and different chicken dishes. Proper tasty stuff.

    Our recommendation: Curry Club Wednesdays! Your choice of curry, rice, poppadoms, spiced onions and mixed pakora. All for £10. Quality.

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    Millport Pier Hotel

    Millport Pier Hotel, Cumbrae

    Where: Quayhead Street, KA28 0AP.

    What: A Harbour-side hotel and bar with beer garden and sea views.

    The Millport Pier Hotel is a welcoming bar and restaurant which can be found (you guessed it) next to the Millport pier. You can expect a wide selection of alcohol as well as locally sourced, freshly cooked food.

    Suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and you’ll find classics like haggis, burgers and fish & chips.

    The Millport Pier Hotel also features in our Best Bars and Pubs in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae blog.

    Our recommendation: Haggis, Neeps n Tatties – och aye!

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    This blog post is part of our ‘Ultimate Guide‘ to the island. Check it out by clicking the link below:


    Frasers Bar

    Where: 7 Cardiff St, KA28 0AS.

    What: A snug bar with great pub grub.

    If you head to Fraser’s bar you’ll be greeted with lovely staff, a wide range of beers, great service and a nice local atmosphere.

    It’s also a great shout for food – whether it’s for lunch or dinner. We’d describe the food as ‘hearty scran’ so you can expect classics like soup, steak pie, scampi, burgers and fish & chips.

    Our recommendation: The steak pie! It’s class.

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    Deep-Sea Fish and Chips

    Where: 5 Quayhead, KA28 0AW

    What: Award-winning fish and chips [Takeaway only].

    You can find Deep-Sea Fish & Chips on the far end of the town, next to the Millport pier. There’s not much to say other than it’s a brilliant Chip Shop with all your classic options. Superb stuff.

    Our recommendation: The classic Fish & Chips, but get the fish breaded and load the chips with chip shop curry sauce. Oaft. Wash it down with a pint from the Millport Pier Hotel next door.

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    Top Tip: Leave nothing but footprints!

    Let’s keep Scotland’s landscapes litter free. It should go without saying, but if there’s not a bin nearby, do the right thing by taking it with you. Also, please use recycling points where available.


    Crocodile Chippy

    Where: 30 Glasgow St, KA28 0DL

    What: Golden deep-fried goodness [Takeaway only].

    You’ll find the Crocodile Chippy off the beach right next to Crocodile Rock (funnily enough) and it’s a place that certain to tingle your tastebuds. We love this place, and the menu boasts a lot more than a standard ‘chippy’.

    Of course you get your chip shop favourites, but they also serve unreal specials at the weekend which are a bit different. Expect fresh stone-baked pizza, burgers, lamb koftas, and crispy Korean BBQ cauliflower.

    They are open Wednesday – Sunday from 4:30pm. Specials are also “until sold out”, so don’t miss out!

    Our recommendation: The World Famous ‘Crocodile Style Chips’! Cajun chippy chips and crispy southern fried chicken topped with cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese, buffalo sauce, chipotle mayo and bacon bits. Jeezo… my mouth started watering as I typed that.

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    Crocodeli

    Crocodeli Millport

    Where: 33 Stuart Street, KA28 0AJ

    What: A lovely deli and bakery which is open all year round.

    Crocodeli is a smahing wee deli serving a variety of fresh baking including pastries, baguettes and a variety of breads.

    It’s a fantastic spot for grabbing a coffee, a quick bite or to pack up for a picnic. The produce is always fresh and tasty, and the service is friendly.

    Our recommendation: Anything involving the freshly baked bread – it’s the BEST! Try pairing it with one of their signature salads.

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    Prefer to eat in?

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    So… there you have it

    All of the best places to eat in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae. It might be a small town on a small island but one thing is for sure – you won’t struggle to find some proper good food.

    Try one of our recommendations and let us know how you get on!


    Ultimate Guide to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae:

    For everything you need to know about planning your visit to the island, check it out our full guide: