Deep Dive: The Alternative Eco-Cabin Concept

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin
Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

Hey folks! – Daniel here! I’m one of two cousin co-founders bringing our unique Alternative Eco-Cabin Concept to the Isle of Cumbrae in early 2022.

I’ll be taking you on a deep dive into this next-generation tourist accommodation concept, what it’s all about, and our journey so far in developing it.


The Jacks Alt-Stays Concept

First of all, we’re not in the glamping game… We think that glamping pods are old news. We’re in the game of creating Unforgettable Travel Experiences.

Our unique eco-cabin concept combines quirky interior design, smart-home tech, and the great outdoors, with environmental peace of mind.

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

^ Looks awesome, right?

If you think you’re getting shared wash facilities and woodchip toilets in a shared garden shed, think again…

We’re talking individually themed cabins, each with their own unique story, one-of-a-kind, theme-inspired wall mural, and living green wall on the outside. That’s before we even mention the outdoor chill-out space, wood-fired hot tubs, cosy Netflix nights, and the ‘fully immersive sensory experience’. More on that later…

The eco-cabins are being built locally using sustainable materials. The best part? They will be powered by 100% renewable energy. We’ll also have 10 trees planted via ecologi.com for every single booking made. Check out our Climate Action Plan.


Introducing Eco-Cabin Theme 1: The Hive 🐝

Why not take a trip to The Hive? It’ll be some buzz.

Get stuck in, enjoy the nectars, and treat yourself to a stay that’ll be sweeter than sweet. 🍯

Jack's Alt-Stays - The Hive Eco-Cabin

The Hive is a space inspired by all sorts of bee, honey, and hive-related elements and is based on the colour amber.

It’s kitted out with a luxurious double bed with Eco-friendly OceanBlue duvet and pillows, made with SocialPlastic® fibers from recycled ocean-bound plastics.

Jack's Alt-Stays - The Hive Eco-Cabin

You’ll find a wood-fired hot tub, fully equipped kitchen, and all sorts of entertainment, from Netflix to unique board games. If you’re up for a boogie to our Bee-inspired Spotify playlist, we’ve got you covered.

Jack's Alt-Stays - The Hive Eco-Cabin

The one-of-a-kind wall mural is designed by the Scottish artist, and good friend of ours, Katie Forbes (@kfrbs). It will be the focal point of the interior space and individual cabin theme.

 

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There are FOUR more themes to be announced soon! Sign up to be the first to hear about them!

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A Unique, Smart-Home-Tech-Enabled, Sensory Experience

We’ve conceptualised a dynamic space where you can ‘enter The Hive’ via the latest voice-activated gadgetry.

This then kicks off a sequence of smart-LEDs, electronic blinds, mood lights, scent emitters, and Smart TV events, essentially ‘immersing’ you into the cabin’s theme – all under the backdrop of the one-of-a-kind, theme-inspired wall mural. Top this off with the honey snacks, and all five senses have been triggered.

Now if that’s not a unique tourist accommodation experience, I’m not sure what is.


How is it Eco? 🍃

As cheesy as it sounds, the environment really is at the heart of every decision we make at Jack’s.

‘Eco’, to us, means cabins a local build, locally & sustainably sourced materials, energy-efficient, powered by green energy, sustainable suppliers, responsible recycling & waste management, and a lasting legacy of tree planting.

Jacks Alt Stays Eco Cabin

We promise to have 10 trees planted for every booking made, through our partnership with ecologi.org. We’ll also be carbon-free cycling into work each day (and off-setting the unavoidable carbon footprint from ferry travel).

We’ve laid out our 11-step Climate Action Plan long before we’ve even launched our business. That’s how much the environment means to us.

Here’s our impact so far:

Jacks Alt-Stays Ecologi Climate Impact

13.13t Tonnes of carbon reduction equates to one of the following:

Jacks Alt-Stays Ecologi Climate Impact

A Local, Sustainable Cabin Build Process

We’re working with local architects and builders to bring our Alternative Eco-Cabin concept to life. They are being built locally in North Ayrshire. Fewer logistics = Fewer CO2 emissions

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin Build Progress

The eco-cabins are being constructed by RDK Construction, a company with a real focus on sustainable build processes. We set out a design & build brief for a truly environmentally sustainable eco-cabin, so our guests can stay with environmental peace of mind.

They are being built from locally sourced (where possible), sustainable materials. This applies to materials such as the structural timbers, external larch cladding, birch ply wall finishes, and many of the fixtures and fittings. 

And we’re really proud of this one… They will be powered entirely by 100% renewable energy! 

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin Build Progress

We’ve opted for market-leading EcoTherm® insulation, resulting in a highly efficient thermal performance.

We have also carefully selected the eco-cabins’ fittings, lighting, appliances, and contents of the cabins, based on efficient energy performance. The chosen Herschel infra-red panel-heaters are market-leading, use 30% less energy than standard electric heaters, are thermostat controlled, and can be controlled remotely. Low-energy internal and external LED lighting has been specified. Again, all electrical features are powered by green energy. We don’t do fossil fuels.

The bathroom flooring and wall supplier, Multipanel UK strive to be at the forefront of new environmental manufacturing technologies, material developments and recycling possibilities in every product they design and produce. The fiber within the selected Dacron Aerelle Blue duvet and pillows is made from SocialPlastic® – a recycled ocean-bound plastic. These are just a few examples of our eco-conscious decisions.

Partner & Supplier Eco-Credentials

We’ll also be making sure that anyone we work with has their eco-credentials in place.

For example, the linen hire supplier,’ PLS Laundry’, has recently significantly invested in improving their environmental performance. Our guest consumables suppliers, ‘Hotel Supplies Ltd’ and ‘Kingdom Coffee’ offer sustainably sourced products in recyclable packaging. ‘ECOLAB’ provide their most environmentally friendly cleaning product range in fully recyclable packaging.

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

Wood is in fact a natural and renewable energy source. Although, we acknowledge that when wood combusts (or rots) CO2 is released. However, carbon is also absorbed from the atmosphere whilst trees grow. The key is to ensure our wood-burning practices are sustainable, responsible, and their footprint is more-than offset.

We wrote a full blog on this. Check out:

Wood Fired Hot Tubs - Eco Environmental

Local Community Environmental Initiatives

Both Adam and I are passionate about the environment and see our environmental duty extend beyond our own site’s boundary.

We get involved with beach clean initiatives, such as the FSC’s recent Kames Bay clean, with a view to champion these in the near future.

 

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In the near future, we’ll be getting involved with local tree-planting initiatives. We’ll also become ambassadors for the local water refill campaign against single-use plastic bottles. We also intend to campaign for street recycling facilities in Millport.


Where Will The Eco-Cabins Be Located?

We’ll be launching our eco-cabin business on the scenic Isle of Cumbrae in early 2022. The island is only an 8-minute ferry ride over from Largs on the North Ayrshire coast.

Millport The Coig

You’ll find our eco-cabins just outside the scenic town of Millport. Our location will be secluded enough for a relaxing island retreat, but still within walking distance to Millport’s bars, restaurants, and experiences – a perfect balance. We’ll be announcing this exact location soon.

Millport is super easy to get to and there’s a tonne of unique things to see and do. Check out:


A Collaborative Approach

We’re working together with fellow local tourism businesses.

At the point of booking, we will offer guests the option of add-on local produce packs, such as the gin tasting package from the local distillery, a breakfast pack from the local family-owned butcher, and an eco-essentials pack from the local zero waste store.  We’ll also encourage guests to engage with the local tourism experiences such as bike hire and boat tours.

Not only will this enrich the guests’ overall Isle of Cumbrae local experience, but supports our fellow local tourism businesses by sharing the love.

Cumbrae Gin Distillery


Who are the Brains Behind the Concept?

Well, we are two cousins who share a passion for adventure, quirky stays, and the environment – Daniel Jack and Adam Jack.

Daniel Jack and Adam Jack - Jacks Alt-Stays

After staying the night in some weird and wonderful places in Scotland and around the world, we set out to bring it home to North Ayrshire.

Between us, we’ve stayed the night in re-purposed shipping containers, a shepherd’s hut in a driveway, glamping pods, a Santa Monica beach house, and camped in the valleys of Glencoe.

We’ve taken a few notes, but nothing has quite hit the spot when it comes to the perfect night away. We’ve also decided that glamping is old news, and we’re on a mission to create a space for unique and unforgettable travel experiences.


How We Got To This Point

Both Adam and I went to Strathclyde Uni to study Entrepreneurship, Tourism, and Marketing. Not a bad combination for a venture like this, right?

We realised that the whole glamping craze has been around for a while now and your standard glamping pods are now a bit… meh. We thought that there’s definitely an opportunity to create something quite special here.

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin Build Progress

During my final year, we began working on this ‘quirky tourist accommodation’ idea. Originally we looked at converting used shipping containers, but as we did our research, we really began to understand what people liked, what they didn’t, and what was feasible, and what wasn’t.

The concept evolved over the next few months into the eco-cabin we have today. I must say, I’m really proud of what we’ve come up with and I genuinely think we have something really exciting and unique to add to Scotland’s tourist accommodation offering.

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco Cabin Concept Evolution
Evolution of the eco-cabin Concept

Check out:

A Guide to Cycling in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

A Guide to Cycling in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae
A Guide to Cycling in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

Planning on cycling in Millport? You’ve come to the right place.

The Isle of Cumbrae is known as a ‘Cyclist’s paradise’, and for good reason too!

The island is only an 8-minute ferry ride from Largs on the North Ayrshire coast, and is one big 10-mile loop. Bikes are also free to take over on the ferry.

So, next time you visit, ditch the car on the mainland and get peddling!



Getting Here

Firstly, you’re going to need to get over here. Luckily I’ve written a full guide on How to Get To Millport, Isle of Cumbrae for you to check out.

In summary, fire KA30 8BG into your Google Maps to get to Largs ferry terminal. Largs is only a 1-hour car/train journey from Glasgow. The ferry costs only £3.50 and in the summer, one leaves every 15 minutes!

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

Cumbrae Ferry

 

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Bike Hire

If you don’t have your own to bring over, you’ll need a bike.

Luckily, you’re sorted when it comes to bike hire in Millport town. So, from the ferry, hop on the 10-minute bus to town and head over to either;

Mapes Cycle Hire | 4-5 Guildford St, Millport, KA28 0AE | 01475 530444 | www.mapesmillport.co.uk

Mapes Millport Quadricycle

At Mapes, there are some weird and wonderful choices from tricycles, tandems, quadricycles, tagalongs, kiddie cabs, dog trailers, baby carriers, and electric scooters. Otherwise, you can opt for the more conventional two-wheeler! Check out the awesome toy collection in the Mapes Toy Shop too!

Mapes’ standard bike prices are £8.00 for up to 3 hours, and £10.00 for 3 hours plus. Helmets are included in this price. Check their website for other hire options and pricing.

Or

On Your Bike | 27/29 Stuart Street, Millport, KA28 0AJ | 01475 530 300 | www.onyourbikemillport.com

On Your Bike Millport Bicycle Hire

On Your Bike offer a wide range of bicycles including mountain bikes, racing bikes, tandems, adult and child tricycles, electric bikes, a mobility scooter, and even a seven-seater conference bike, with a variety of accessories including trailers for both dogs and kids, child seats and tag-a-longs! You can even hire kayaks from here. Check out the watersports you can do in Millport.

On Your Bike’s standard bike hire price is simply £10 for all day. Helmets and baskets are free with your booking. Check their website for other hire options and pricing.

 


Cycling Routes

There are a couple of options here, from the nice and easy, all the way round, to something a little more… ‘vertically challenging’, shall we say.

1. The Outer Circuit

Cycling Round Cumbrae, Outer Circuit As it says on the tin – the whole way round. No matter which way you turn off the ferry, that’s you on the Outer Circuit.

The island is essentially one 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.

You can start this route from either the ferry slip or from Millport town. It’ll take 1 – 2 hours.

 

Clockwise or anticlockwise?

That’s the big question.

Scott Ferris of Mapes Cycle Hire Shop 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 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.

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!

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

 

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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:


Things to look for along the way…

Whilst en-route round the island, there are a few things to keep your eyes peeled for!

 

The Cumbrae Rocks

The Isle of Cumbrae is home to a collection of quirky rock formations which are bound to catch your eye – Crocodile Rock, Lion Rock, and Indian Rock.

Indian Rock Lion Rock Crocodile Rock Millport

 

Fintry Bay Cafe

You’ll find the Fintry Bay Cafe completely secluded on the West side of the Island and it’s an obligatory stop if you’re cycling the Outer Circuit.

They have amazing ice cream and lots of great food options including wraps, sandwiches, soup, and fresh home baking. Grab a quick bite while enjoying the best part which is the amazing views across to Arran & Bute. Check it out:

Also, if you cycle for 2 minutes North of the Fintry Bay Cafe, you’ll find some lovely sandy beach areas! Why not bring some food or grab a takeaway from the cafe and have a picnic? It’s the perfect spot 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 Watching

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 – so keep an eye oot!

 

HMS Shearwater Memorial

This monument can be found on one of the most Northern points of the Island and was erected in memory of two young shipmen who were tragically killed in a boating accident.

In 1844 two boys, Charles Cayley & William Jewell, were out sailing on the North end of Cumbrae when a strong north easterly wind caught them and drove them under the waves. Another Government steamer witnessed this and unfortunately, despite extensive efforts, the boys were unable to be rescued.

As the story goes, the bodies were never found and all they were able to recover were the boys’ hats.

Shearwater Memorial

 

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Public Toilets

Oh, this might come in handy…

Isle of Cumbrae Toilet Locations Walking Route

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2. The Inner Circuit

Cycling Round Cumbrae, Inner Circuit Fancy a bit more of a challenge? Hit Cumbrae’s Inner Circuit. It’ll take 1 – 1.5 hours.

Be sure to stop off at the island’s highest point – The Glaidstone viewpoint – for 360-degree panoramic views around the Clyde. Start and finish this route from Millport town.

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

 

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While I have you…

My cousin, Adam, and I are setting up our very own ‘Alternative Eco-Cabin‘ business on the Isle of Cumbrae towards the end of 2021.

How class do these look?!

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

Why not sign up to be first to hear about our launch and free stay giveaways?:

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Keeping safe while cycling around Millport

Finally, here’s a little note on cycling safety and etiquette.

It’s an obvious one, but so many people just don’t bother. Wear a helmet. Seriously. It may not be the most fashionable look, but it’s more fashionable than lying in hospital with a head injury.

Millport residents are well used to having cyclists on the road and will give you plenty of space, but make sure to keep in single file, or two abreast where possible, and no more. Cycling around the island is incredibly popular in the summer months which can make it very difficult for locals to get around – so be aware of your surroundings!

Millport Town
Millport Town

Keep your bike in good nick! Both Mapes and On Your Bike actually offer a bicycle maintenance & repair service. Keep those tyres pumped up, chain oiled, and carry a bike pump.

Keep hydrated! Take water round with you, especially on those rare sunny days. If you forget or run out, stop in halfway round at Fintry Bay Café for a soft drink or a free water bottle refill.

Well, there you have it.

There’s not much more to it than that. Have fun and be safe on your island cycling adventure! Remember, take it slow and soak in the scenery.

 

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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 out our full guide:

How to get to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

How to Get to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae
How to Get to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

The Isle of Cumbrae is known as ‘Scotland’s Most Accessible Island’, and for good reason. It’s only an 8-minute ferry ride across from Largs on the North Ayrshire coast.

Largs is only a 1-hour car/train journey from Glasgow and is well connected with wider Ayrshire. So, you’ll be on island time before you know it.

Even better – the ferry costs only £3.50 and one leaves every 15-30 minutes through the summer! Here’s how to get to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.



Firstly, How to get to Largs Ferry Slip

 

If You’re Driving to Largs:

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

Largs is only 40-minutes from Ayr, 1-hour from Glasgow, or 2-hours from Edinburgh.

Top Tip – Why not ditch the car on the mainland and make the most of your island experience on foot or by bike? The island is known as a ‘cyclist’s paradise’ and is one 10-mile circuit round. Bikes are free on the ferry.

Also,

Top Tip Parking right by the ferry isn’t always easy. Park your car at the nearby seafront parking for a few quid (no overnight parking) or for free (responsibly & respectfully!) on nearby Bath Street, Union Street, Makerston Place, or Charles Street, and walk 5 minutes along to the ferry slip.

 

If You’re Taking the Train to Largs

Jump on at any stop on the Glasgow–Largs line. Trains run every hour. From Largs train station, it’s a short stroll down to the Largs ferry terminal.

Here is Scotrail’s Glasgow–Largs route info & timetable.

Largs to Glasgow trainline

 

If You’re Catching the Bus to Largs

Stagecoach and McGill’s buses both stop on Largs main street, right around the corner from the Cumbrae ferry ticket office.

Here are the 585 Stagecoach and the 901/904/906 McGills timetables.

 

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The Cumbrae Ferry Timetable

Generally, the Cumbrae ferry sets off every 15-30 minutes. We like to say that you’ve never really missed the Millport ferry. You’ve only shown up early for the next one… unless it’s the last boat, then you’ve shown up REALLY early for the 6:35am boat the next day. 😂

There is no pre-booking available for this one, so it’s a case of showing up and hopping on.

Always check the Cal Mac Service Status before travelling, and show up at least 10 minutes before the departure time to allow time for tickets and queueing.

Cumbrae OFF-PEAK Summer 2021 Ferry Timetable*

*This timetable is currently due to extend through winter 2021.

Cumbrae-off-peak-summer-timetable

In the peak summertime and on public holidays be sure to leave PLENTY of time to queue and don’t be disappointed if you miss the boat you were aiming for. There can sometimes be waits of 1.5 – 2 hours.

Don’t fret though! There is plenty to do & see in Largs, including some awesome food & drink options if hunger strikes.

Top Tip – While you wait, why not grab an Ice Cream from the Iconic Art Deco Nardini’s Ice Cream Parlour just along the road?

 

Cumbrae Ferry

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Cumbrae Ferry Fares & Getting your Tickets

Return tickets only cost £3.50 for foot passengers, £13.45 for a car, and bikes are free.

You can’t buy them in advance for this route so just pick your ferry tickets up when you arrive.

Covid safety measures are in place in the ticket office, including 2-meter distancing, wearing masks, card-only payments, and hand sanitiser is available.

 

Cumbrae Ferry Fares* – Summer 2021

TICKET RETURN FARE
Driver/passenger £3.50
Child 5-15 (Infant under 5 free, must have valid ticket) £1.75
Car or 4X4 (excludes driver) £13.45
Motorhome Up to 6m £13.45
Up to 8m £20.20
Up to 10m £26.90
Caravan, boat/baggage trailer Up to 2.5m £6.75
Up to 6m £13.45
Up to 8m £20.20
Motorcycle £6.75
Pedal cycles (restricted numbers) Free

 

*Note all fares are return tickets. As there is only one route on and off the Isle of Cumbrae, you do not have to present a ticket on the way back to Largs.

 

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


The Cumbrae Ferry Journey

The sailing over to the Isle of Cumbrae is quick, easy and affordable.

Hit the top deck, kick back, relax, and enjoy the stunning views. 8-minutes later you’ll arrive in a place where the clocks go a little slower.

Millport Ferry

 

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Now that we mention it…

We’re launching our Alternative Eco-Cabin concept in Millport in late 2021!

They’ll look like this:

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

Awesome, right? Check out the Eco-Cabin Concept and sign up below for the official launch announcement and for your chance to win free stays!

Sign Up

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How to get from the Cumbrae Ferry slip to Millport Town

Hop off the ferry and you’ll have a few options to get to the town.

One thing that’s for sure is that you cannot get lost. The island is pretty much one big loop with only one way on or off.

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

 

If You’re Driving

Take a left for the short but scenic route and you’ll be in Millport town in less than 10 minutes. Take a right for the slightly longer, but even more scenic route (recommended) and you’ll be there in 20-25 minutes.

 

If You’re Cycling

The same applies. Left takes 25 minutes, right takes 35 minutes. Check out our Guide to Cycling in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

 

If You’re Walking

The same applies again. Left takes 1 hour, 20 minutes and right takes 2 hours. Just beware of your surroundings whilst walking as there are no pavements the whole way around the island. Walk on the right-hand side of the road so you can keep an eye out for oncoming traffic.

Top Tip – Be sure to do both the inner-circuit and outer-circuit walking routes while you’re there. They’re great ways to explore the whole island with some breathtaking views along the way.

Check out our blog on The Best Walking Routes on the Isle of Cumbrae.

 

Take The Bus!

This is probably the easiest way to get to the town, as the bus meets every ferry on arrival. It’s only £2 for a single ticket and you’ll be in Millport in 10 minutes.

Millport Bus Fares – Summer 2021

TICKET FARE
Adult Return £3.50
Adult Single £2.00
Child Return £1.70
Child Single £1.00

 

The bus is always dog friendly and your furry friend travels for free.

Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

 

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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 then take rubbish with you. Also, of use recycling points where available. Do the right thing – we’re counting on you!


Things To Do in Millport & Wider Cumbrae

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

Whether it’s one of the five main nature walks, discovering the ‘Cumbrae Rocks’ or enjoying the 360” panoramic views from the Glaidstone (Cumbrae’s highest point), there’s plenty opportunity to get back in touch with nature.

Isle of Cumbrae Walking Routes

 

A cycle round the outer circuit is a must. Luckily there are a few bike hire options in the main town, such as Mapes Cycles. Check out our Guide to Cycling in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

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

Indian Rock Lion Rock Crocodile Rock Millport


Less of an outdoorsy type? You can indulge in a gin-tasting experience in the island’s very own gin distillery, or enjoy some great food and drink in the variety of cosy pubs and restaurants.

Cumbrae Gin Distillery

There are all sorts of quirky places to see too. Millport is home to the smallest cathedral in Britain – The Cathedral of the Isles, and the narrowest house in the Britain – ‘The Wedge’.


How about a voyage to Cumbrae’s ‘little brother’ – Wee Cumbrae? Clyde Charters have recently gained permission to land day trip passengers onto the magnificent place that is Wee Cumbrae. However, they are only departing from Largs Marine at the moment.

There are abandoned lighthouses, a 16th-century castle, a victorian-style mansion, cairns and caves. I recently made the venture over there. Check out my blog: A Voyage to Wee Cumbrae.

Wee Little Cumbrae Island

Those were just a few of the many things you can get up to on the Isle of Cumbrae. Check out our Unique Things To Do in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae blog for many more.

 

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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:

 

10 Ways to be a Responsible Tourist in Scotland

Responsible Tourism Scotland
Responsible Tourism Scotland

TOURISM IN SCOTLAND IS BACK!

What a relief. It’s super exciting that we can finally get back out there and explore the wonders Scotland has to offer. As we do so, it’s a great time to really reflect on how we can do this responsibly – to be a ‘Responsible Tourist‘.

Here are 10 ways to be a Responsible Tourist in Scotland, this Summer:

 

1: Leave Nothing but Footsteps

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

Even better – leave the place in a better state than you found it if you can.

This is your opportunity to get your good deed of the day in. Add in an extra few bits of litter to your own clean-up. It’ll all add up to a clean and tidy Scotland for everyone to enjoy!

Scottish Outdoor Access Code - Responsible Tourist
Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork created by Nature Scotland, Scotland’s Nature Agency.

We touch on this in one of our business’ four founding values, which is to;

Respect Your BackyardLeave nothing but footsteps. Always respect your surrounding environment and leave it a little better than you found it.”

See Jack’s Alt-Stays’ Values here

 

2: Choose a Sustainable Travel Option

Being a responsible tourist is far more than keeping places tidy. It’s also an opportunity to do our bit for the wider climate crisis.

Firstly, the fact we’re all staycationing this year and not flying is great!

Instead of the car, why not opt for a greener staycation travel option such as train travel? If you’re visiting an island, why not ditch the car on the mainland and make the most of the public transport links?

Alternatively, why not take it slow and explore by bike or foot? In my opinion, that’s the best way to soak in your scenic surroundings. Good for the planet, and great for your health!


VisitScotland – #RespectProtectEnjoy Campaign Video


3: Support Local Business – Shop Local

Local tourism-dependent businesses have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Here’s how to support them as they re-open.

If you fancy a coffee, why not stick your few quid in a local family-owned café’s till, rather than Costa’s or Starbucks’?

Now that I mention that, don’t be afraid to spend a few quid, whether it’s in the local bakery, the gift shop, or local distillery. Who knows, you could discover a hidden gem you wouldn’t have otherwise!

Choose restaurants that use local produce. Not only are you supporting the restaurant and the family running it and the staff they’ve given a job to, but you’re supporting all of the local businesses in the supply chain behind the scenes.

Millport Town
Millport Town

4: Choose a Sustainable Place to Stay

Choose overnight digs that have their eco-credentials in place.

Even something as simple as them using eco-friendly cleaning materials, or using a sustainable linen supplier shows they’ve thought about their environmental impact.

Visit Scotland Green Tourism Award

Perhaps they’ve even earned their Green Tourism Gold Certification. Look out for this badge on their website:

Knowing you’ve made a conscious decision as a responsible tourist to stay eco, you can rest easy and stay with environmental peace of mind.

I suppose this is a good time to mention that we’re launching our Alternative Eco-Cabins on the Isle of Cumbrae, in late 2021! They’ll be built from sustainable materials, powered by 100% renewable energy and we’ll have 10 trees planted for every booking made, through our partnership with Ecologi.

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin
Jack’s Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

Check out Jack’s Alt-Stays’ Climate Action Plan, and sign up below to be the first to hear about our launch plans, and for the chance to win free stay giveaways!

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5: Be a Responsible Walker / Dog Walker

Stick to the trail and follow the signs. The National Trust for Scotland charity puts a lot of work into maintaining our woodland pathways, so they are safe for us all to use. To avoid eroding them, try to stick to the official routes where possible.

If you’re walking your furry friend, it makes sense to always have a lead handy and be aware of any livestock around.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork - Responsible Tourist
Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork created by Nature Scotland, Scotland’s Nature Agency.

Now, I know many dogs don’t need kept on the lead most of the time (mine certainly doesn’t!) but do keep one handy and use it if you’re walking by any livestock – especially in lambing season!

Jack's Alt-Stays Rudi the Dog

6: Waste Not, Want Not.

Staying in self-catering accommodation? Only bring the provisions you need to try and minimise food waste. Even though you are in holiday mode, do bring your best practices at home in this area.

Again, go for some local produce to have the best local experience!

I suppose this could be extended to energy use too. Have you been guilty of being in holiday mode and leaving the light and/or heating on in your accommodation while heading out to explore? I think many of us have been.

Every little carbon emission avoided eventually adds up. Only use the energy you need, and you can sleep easy, knowing you’ve done your bit for the planet.

7: Shop Eco/Ethical

 Now, I mentioned shopping local above, but go even further and shop eco/ethical.

Loads of local shops in destinations around Scotland take pride in offering some fantastic eco and ethical products.

Whether the local business is a Living Wage employer, or sells FairTrade, Vegan, eco-friendly, or recycled/plastic-free products, make your pound work not only for you, but for the environment and community too.

Visit Scotland's Take Five For Tourism Campaign - Responsible Tourist
Visit Scotland’s Take Five For Tourism Campaign

8: Consider Donating to a Local Cause

Leave a small but lasting legacy of your visit.

Many of the small communities you visit will have local fundraising initiatives on the go. Keep an eye out for posters in shops etc. and this could be a great alternative way for you to leave the place you visit in a better way than you found it.

9: Before you visit, do your homework

This might be an obvious one, but the more you learn, the richer the travel experience you’ll have. Trust me, you’ll discover wee gems, you would never have come across otherwise!

Embrace the local culture & learn more about it. Isn’t that what travelling is all about?

Finally, 10: Hands, Face, Space

Although brighter days are now ahead of us, we are still not out of the woods yet.

It’s important that alongside our extra freedoms, we take the responsibility of not bringing the virus to the often remote communities we visit.

Always follow the government guidelines around travel and household mixing for the area you are travelling from, travelling through, and travelling to.

Let’s all do our bit to keep this virus at bay and keep tourism safe and open for good. Please also follow the instructions in shops, accommodation and shared spaces.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork
Scottish Outdoor Access Code Campaign Artwork created by Nature Scotland, Scotland’s Nature Agency.

 

There you have it – 10 ways to be a responsible tourist in Scotland.

If you got this far, thanks for checking out the blog!

I’m Daniel Jack – the person behind this blog, and one of the cousin duo behind Jack’s Alt-Stays (That’s me on the left 👇)

Daniel Jack and Adam Jack - Jacks Alt-Stays

I’ll leave you with my thoughts on responsible tourism…

I’d say being a responsible tourist is to have some amazing and unique travel experiences without harming the environments and communities that we visit and protecting them for generations to come.

In my opinion, it’s all about respect – Respect for people, places and the environment.

Responsible tourism is more than just reducing our negative impact as we explore Scotland. It’s about seeing tourism as a force for good.

It’s about focussing on how we not only maintain, but improve places for people to live and visit, around the whole of Scotland…. about respecting our environment, addressing climate change and protecting our cultural heritage and everything around it. Responsible tourism is welcoming everyone to Scotland with open arms, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or level of ability. It’s about making sure that tourism in Scotland is inclusive and accessible for all.

Most importantly of all though, it’s about sustainably rebuilding our tourism industry, and the rural, tourism-dependent, often family-owned businesses within, after the devastation caused by the global pandemic over the last 12 months.

#RespectProtectEnjoy


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VisitScotland’s Visitor Pledge

To finish, why not save this image for the next time you’re out exploring Scotland?

VisitScotland's Visitor Pledge
VisitScotland’s Visitor Pledge

The Digital Detox: 10 Questions with @Unplugged.rest

Digital Detox UK Unplugged
Digital Detox UK Unplugged

The Digital Detox

In my current ‘work from home’ environment, I’m constantly glued to screens through almost all of my waking hours.

First thing I do when I wake up? Check my phone. Then, if I’m not on my laptop writing blogs, editing videos or on Zoom calls, I’m on my phone, scrolling and posting on Instagram. It’s constant notifications, emails, endless scrolling, pings, rings and dings.

 

Digital Detox
POV: Me, always.

 

After the working day, I’m catching the evening news on the TV, then watching Netflix for a couple of hours… So, more screens and constant brain engagement. I’m sure many of you reading this will be in a similar situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the graft, challenge, and excitement of starting up my own tourist accommodation business, but I know sometimes it’s important to disconnect… to just switch off for a bit.

Perhaps a detox from my digital way of life is on the cards.

For this one, we’ve teamed up with Unplugged who run off-grid digital detox cabins in the countryside, 1 hour north of London.

 

Unplugged.rest
Unplugged cabin exterior
Unplugged.rest
Unplugged cabin interior

 

Let’s jump right into 10 Questions with Hector from Unplugged who sure knows a lot more about digital detoxing than I do.


The Digital Detox: 10 Questions with @Unplugged.rest

Unplugged.rest
Unplugged.rest: Hector & Ben

 

DJ: Firstly Hector, thanks for taking the time to talk about all things Digital Detox. What is ‘Unplugged’ and what is your story?

HH: Thank you for having me. At Unplugged we provide a digital detox at beautiful cabins in the countryside as an antidote to hectic city life.

My co-founder, Ben, and I, used to work together for a tech startup. He was employee number one and I joined a year later. It was a fantastic experience- we grew to 70 people, and opened offices in the US and Australia. Ben left in 2018 and whilst I stayed on. Then, in 2019 I got burnt out.

Seeing this, a friend recommended I went to a Silent Retreat he’d been to in the Himalayas. I initially laughed this off, but after weeks of pondering, I decided to do it. It was incredible. Exactly what I needed. The best thing about it was the fact that on day one you check in your phone and all connection with the outside world and spend the next ten days offline. I came back completely recharged.

Ben and I had stayed friends and we caught up once I was back. He’s not the kind of person you’ll find at a silent retreat any time soon and we spoke about how much stigma there is around traditional remedies such as retreats and detoxes. So much of the benefit is simply from getting offline and into nature. We pondered an accessible experience that didn’t involve flying around the world. That was all I needed and I quit my job the following day.

The basic concept is that we put cabins in the countryside an hour from city life. On arrival guests padlock their phones in a box, we give them a map and a nokia and leave them to it.

 

Unplugged.rest
Unplugged.rest: How it works

 

DJ: What’s your take on a digital detox, and why do you think it’s important to ‘unplug’ every now and then?

HH: We hear a lot of digital detox critics saying You can’t change your habits in three days.

That’s true, but misses the point. The real value comes from the change in perception. When guests come and stay we’ve found that it changes the way they look at their devices. They see the world doesn’t end if we go offline for a few days.

Another big one we hear is why can’t I just leave my phone in a drawer?

Again, nice idea. But much harder in practice! We depend on our phones for so much these days that it’s really about giving people the tools they need to spend true time offline. Without all the pieces we make excuses and get back to scrolling instagram.

We see unplugging as vital and increasingly so as more of our life moves online. 85% of us check our phone within 15 minutes of waking up and as a result we spend the rest of the day in a constant state of overstimulation. Trying the experience you really feel the changes in the brain. It takes about a day for the mind to calm down and then reach a natural calm that we simply never find in our daily lives.

 

Unplugged.rest Cabin
Unplugged.rest

 

DJ: Your website says that at Unplugged, you’ve to “Lock your phone away for 3 days to switch-off & completely recharge at a beautiful off-grid cabin”. What is your personal experiences of locking your phones away, switching off, and recharging?

HH: The silent retreat was my first experience of this. We handed in our phones on day one and got them back ten days later. That was perhaps the highlight of the whole trip. Both Ben and I have tried the three-day digital experience, and the advantage of launching this business is that we are both thinking about our own relationships with technologies. I’ve taken to going offline for 12-15 hours each night, ideally from 6pm in the evening to 9am the next morning but it doesn’t always work out like that.

 

Unplugged.rest Cabin
Unplugged.rest

 

DJ: What are the absolute essentials for a long weekend digital detox, in your opinion?

HH: Nothing’s essential. That’s the beauty of it. We were initially worried that guests would get bored but they keep it simple. Lot’s of walking, talking, cooking, reading, and perhaps some things they don’t tell us about. Nothing needs to happen to get the benefits.

 


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DJ: What kind of feedback do your guests give you after they’ve had a digital detox at Unplugged?

HH: We were checking people in and out for the first six months and they looked visibly different after three days. Visibly rested. We’ve had some wonderful feedback about the changes people made to their daily lives. One couple told us they now do one day a week when they’ll go to a restaurant (pre-lockdown!) and leave their phones at home. Another couple went out and bought a map of their local area because they enjoyed the navigation at the cabin.

 

DJ: So you’re located 1 hour away from London. It’s almost the perfect solution to escaping the hectic city life and embracing the great outdoors of the English countryside. How did you end up in that particular location?

HH: 1 hour from London was a deliberate choice. One of the key problems we’re trying to solve is to make this accessible. You really don’t need to go far out of London before it feels super remote. As for the specific site, we spent a couple of months going all over the home counties and both really loved that pocket of the countryside. More sites on the way soon!

 

Digital Detox
Duddenhoe End is a small village in the civil parish of Elmdon, in northwest Essex

 

DJ: What’s your thoughts on Summer 2021. Are we looking at a ‘staycation boom’?

HH: We are indeed. People are desperate to get out of the city after this lockdown and international travel is looking difficult. I do think staycations are here to stay. People are realising the British countryside is really quite wonderful. On top of that there’s a definite move towards a simpler way of living- jetting off around the world is hard to reconcile with that.

 

DJ: Let’s take a turn to your ‘Eco factor’. How are your off-grid cabins ‘Eco’?

HH: Solar-powered is the big one. Getting off-grid solar working in the UK turned out to be quite the challenge. There’s not much sun here in the winter as I’m sure you know. We’ve cracked it now and all our electricity in the cabin is from solar. Aside from that we have a composting toilet and are also pondering what to fuel the wood stove with. Whilst wood is sustainable, burning wood isn’t ideal from an ‘Eco’ point of view. We’re weighing up alternatives.

 

Unplugged.rest cabin
Unplugged.rest cabin

 

DJ: How important do you think having an eco-friendly accommodation offering is these days, and do you think there is an alignment between an Eco-cabin and a digital detox experience in the countryside?

HH: More important is being a sustainable business. Businesses power everything so if we’re going to turn around the looming climate disaster then businesses must pull their weight.

There’s a real risk to focus on ticking the Eco box without actually thinking about the impact. For example, flying in bamboo sheets from Australia. Sure, it’s a sustainable material, but it’s clocked up some serious airmiles to get here. The more we can simplify the supply chain and use local materials, the better. In terms of the link with digital detoxing: the great thing about a DD is that it helps clear the mind. A clear mind is far more likely to recognise the impact of it’s decisions, so the two go hand in hand.

 

DJ: Finally, how can our tech-orientated generation build a healthier relationship with our tech?

HH: The first step is awareness. Understanding quite how addicted we are and what it’s doing to our brains is key. A good starting place is Cal Newport’s great book Digital Minimalism. Beyond that, it’s about normalising healthy tech usage. I hope we get to a place where it’s normal for people to spend time away from their phones. It’s fun once you’ve got the hang of it. I ditch my phone at any opportunity these days- the irony is if I wasn’t running Unplugged I’d probably spend more time offline. I’d love to move back to communicating via letters- one day!


 

There you have it. Huge thanks to Hector for that insight on digital detox. If you want to learn more about Unplugged.rest, you can find their website here and their Instagram here. You can also reach out to Hector on LinkedIn.

 

Thanks for reading. Happy digital detoxing!

 


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Places to Stay in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

Places to Stay in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae
Places to Stay in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

For a wee island that’s only 10-miles round, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to places to stay in Millport.

From the ‘budget option with the sea views’, to the ‘farm cottage with Ayrshire coos’.

Cumbrae is known as Scotland’s Most Accessible Island. At only an 8-minute ferry ride over from Largs which is only 1-hour from Glasgow, it truly is ‘Island time in no time’.

It’s a fantastic option for a quick and easy-to-reach island getaway for those looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of every day life, to somewhere where the clocks go a little slower for a few nights.

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.


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


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.


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.


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!

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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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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:

 

A Digital Road Trip Around THE COIG

The Coig Ayrshire Map Blog
The Coig Ayrshire Map Blog

The Coig – Five Routes. One Great Adventure.

With our roadmap out of the pandemic now in place, things are starting to look a bit brighter. Travel is now well and truly back on the agenda for the summer, but I don’t think anyone will be jetting off internationally any time soon. Time for a staycation? I think so.

This is the PERFECT opportunity to rediscover the hidden gems we have right on our doorstep. And what better way to do that than a good old road trip!

Being located in Ayrshire ourselves, we are lucky to have all five of The Coig routes right on our doorstep. And, what’s stopping us from planning our summer road trip adventure, right now?

Well, while we dream of our summer staycation adventures, let me take you on a digital adventure around The Coig’s five routes. I’ll be covering the length of each route, our recommended things to do and see, as well as places to eat and stay along the way, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.


*NOTE: As lockdown eases, we will move back into a tiered system. Please comply with the Scottish Government’s latest guidance around travel and transport*


The Coig Lee Mckenzie

First of all, what exactly is The Coig?

Well, who best to explain other than The Coig, themselves?

They say;

“Gaelic for ‘five’ – The Coig is a series of five touring routes around Ayrshire, the Clyde Coast and Clyde Islands of Arran, Bute and Cumbrae. Each route is designed to showcase the area’s natural beauty, outdoor adventure, history, heritage and nature. Perfect for everything from day trips to longer breaks.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself, to be honest.


Feel free to skip right through.

The Coig Ayrshire Map


Our Take on The Coig

When you hear of a ‘road trip in Scotland’, you’d be forgiven if the North Coast 500 sprung to mind. In fact, Adam wrote a blog on this very route.

Now, as fantastic as the NC500 is, there are many lesser-known, but equally spectacular routes to explore our wonderful land of Scotland, from the South West Coast 300 and the Argyll Coastal Route, to The ‘Harry Potter Tour’, Island Hopping, and the very route I’m about to explore today, The Coig.

The Coig is such a fantastic option for a Scottish adventure, given all of the routes are within 1 or 2 hours of Glasgow. The best part is, you can knock the routes off over one, two, or three weekends, rather than having to commit to 7-14 days at once, as you do on the NC500.

The Coig’s Cumbrae route also happens to be where we’re launching our Alternative Eco-Cabins in autumn 2021! Check it out here.


How Long Does The Coig Take?

Just like any other road trip, you can do it as fast or slowly as you like. If there’s one thing we’d recommend, it’s to take your time.

You could rush around in a few days, if you really wanted to, but what’s the point in that? Take it easy. Soak in the incredible views, and enjoy all of the unique things to see, do and eat, that each route has to offer.


Before we set off… Watch this Guide to Road Trips in Scotland


ROUTE 1: THE SHIRE

Distance: 138 Miles

Time: 1 – 2 days (at least 5 hours drive time)

For: Scottish History Buffs, Foodies, Road Trippers

The Coig Ayrshire The ShireCheck out The Coig’s Interactive map of Route 1: The Shire

The Shire route takes you right down the scenic Ayrshire coast, as far south as Ballantrae, and is packed with history and cultural heritage. This one is definitely for the history buffs, with many connections to William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Further, you’ll find the grand Culzean Castle perched upon the Ayrshire cliffs, overlooking the Firth of Clyde, as well as the birthplace of legendary Scots Poet, Rabbie Burns, whose work was widely inspired by the people and places of The Shire.

Our Top 3 Things to Do & See on The Shire Route

#1 – Explore Culzean Castle & Country Park | Maybole

Now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), Culzean (pronounced ‘Cul-ane’) Castle and Country Park is described as “Robert Adam’s cliff-top masterpiece rises above a world of woods, beaches, secret follies and play parks”. I was lucky enough to stay the night in here a while back and it truly is a unique experience, offering a glimpse into how the Kennedy’s lived over the decades and centuries.

Check out designer Robert Adam’s dramatic centrepiece staircase and the enormous collection of flintlock pistols and military swords displayed in the lobby. With  260 hectares of grounds, there’s plenty space to explore, so leave plenty time for a visit. Fun fact: Culzean was a favourite retreat of President Dwight D Eisenhower’s after WWII.

Entry is £5.95 for an adult,  £4.25 concession, £13.50 for a family, or free with an annual NTS membership.

 

#2 – Visit Robert Burns’ Birthplace Museum | Murdoch’s Lone, Alloway

Also looked after by NTS, this cottage in Alloway is where ‘Scotland’s favourite son’, Rabbie Burns spent the first few years of his life. It offers a unique insight into Burns’ early life in his hometown. The museum houses more than 5,000 Burns artifacts including his handwritten manuscripts.

Prices are £11.50 for an adult, £8.50 concession and £20-£27 for a family.

 

#3 – Check out the Irvine Maritime Museum | Harbour Rd, Irvine

At the Irvine Maritime Museam, you’ll discover vessels such as MV Spartan, Scotland’s last Scottish-built puffer, the harbour tug Garnock, and SY Carola, a steam yacht built in 1898. It’s a great lesson in Scotland’s maritime history if that’s your cuppa tea.

You’ll also find Scotland’s ‘Cathedral of Engineering’ – a former Linthouse shipyard building. The museum also has it’s own indoor and boating ponds if you fancy scooting around a model boat for a while. Sounds like fun!

Adults are £8.50 and kids go free (up to 3).

 

Here’s everything else:

Irvine Beach | Irvine Maritime Museum | Shells, Scoops n Shakes | Troon Beach | Troon Yacht haven | Lady Isle (uninhabited island) | Ayr Beach | Robert Burns’ Birthplace Museum | Burns MonumentDunure Harbour | Dunure Castle | Culzean Castle & Country Park | Trump Turnberry | Turnberry LighthouseAilsa Craig Viewpoints

 

Our Top 3 Places to Eat on The Shire Route

#1 – GRO Cafe | 142 Harbour Street, Irvine

GRO Coffee brings coffee shop culture to Irvine Harbour. It’s become an instant hit with its crazy deserts that leave you no choice but to post on the ‘gram. Seriously though, go on their Instagram page then tell me you’re not hungry.

GRO’s aim is to take the simple and do it very well, from the very best old school sandwiches to our superb in-house bakery to phenomenal brunch dishes, looking always for the best quality ingredients, suppliers, and even equipment.

 

#2 – GG’s Coffee Shop @ The Gaels |  Marine Drive, Irvine

GG’s Coffee Shop is a destination for all the family and offers a tasty menu throughout the day, great coffee and cake, relaxed seating and coffee shop, games’ suite and golf simulator and large screens for live sports.

Bonus: GG’s are pet-friendly!

 

#3 – Si! Bar & Restaurant | Kilwinning Road, Irvine

One of Ayrshire’s most stylish and contemporary venues. Si! is Irvine’s venue of choice, whether for a casual dining experience with family and friends or if looking to enjoy a drink and a catch up.

Si! is a popular restaurant and bar with a city centre look and feel. Great menu choice and delicious dishes.

 

Our Top 3 Places to Stay on The Shire Route

If you’re travelling in style, you’re in luck. The Shire route offers some pretty spectacular options to recoup, so you’re ready to hit the road again the next day.

#1 – Donini Apartments | Ayr/Prestwick/Troon

Indulge yourself in our spacious, modern apartments and villas with professionally designed interiors all with latest tech facilities. Donini Apartments make sure you’re fully equipped with premium hotel linen, quality fluffy white towels and luxury Elemis toiletries and their absolute guarantee is to be on hand 24 hours per day, ensuring your every need is catered for. That’s you are provided with your very own concierge. Apartments in Ayr, Prestwick and Troon.

 

#2 – The Salt Lodge | Troon

The Salt Lodge at Troon Yacht Haven offers contemporary, comfortable and flexible accommodation in a unique coastal setting overlooking the harbour. Their one and two bedroom suites offer flexible, stylish living spaces, with a kitchen and dining area, and the option of great food and drink at the adjacent restaurant, Scotts.

 

#3 – The Gailes Hotel | Irvine

Nestled in the heart of Ayrshire, indulge at the brand new Si! Spa at The Gailes, explore the great outdoors with the many beach walks and Ayrshire cycle paths nearby. The Gailes also has dog friendly rooms. The family owned Gailes Hotel is renowned for its welcoming staff and exemplary service to ensure guests enjoy a most memorable stay.

 


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ROUTE 2: THE SHIEL

Distance: 55 Miles

Time: 1 Day (at least 1 hour 25 minutes drive time)

For: Adventure Seekers, Outdoorsy Types, and Foodies

The Coig Ayrshire The ShielCheck out The Coig’s Interactive map of Route 2: The Shiel

You don’t get much more breathtaking coastal scenery than this. Whether it’s the snow-tipped mountains of Arran dominating the skyline, or the calming sounds of the many woodlands, lochs, and waterfalls up the hills, The Shiel is the ultimate playground for Outdoorsy Types.

The Shiel is also the gateway to the Clyde Islands of Arran, Bute, and Cumbrae, all of which are The Coig routes in their own right.

 

Our Top 3 Things to Do & See on The Shiel

#1 – Take a Voyage to Wee Cumbrae 

Fancy exploring a completely uninhabited island? Well… Clyde Charters have gained permission to land day trip passengers onto the magnificent place that is Wee Cumbrae.

There are lighthouses, castles, cairns, caves, and abandoned forts. This is a must-see place for hillwalkers, bird spotting, photographers and almost all other outdoorsy types. On your way over, look out for Cumbrae’s own resident dolphin!

I actually took the trip back in November. Check out my  Voyage to Wee Cumbrae blog.

 

#2 – Visit Kelburn Castle & Country Centre

At Kelburn Country Centre 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.

 

#3 – Take a stroll along Largs Promenade

The Largs Promenade is picturesque, to say the least. As soon as the sun makes an appearance, people throng in their thousands.

Watch the Millport ferry go back and forth as you take a relaxing stroll along the seafront, soaking in the Clyde island views and fresh sea air. A stop in at Nardini’s world-famous Ice Cream Parlour is an absolute must. In fact, not doing so while visiting Largs prom should be illegal. Watch out for those pesky seagulls though! They have a particular liking for vanilla 99s with flakes…

 

Here’s everything else:

Ardrossan 12th Century Castle |Portencross Castle | Seamill beach | Fairlie Castle | Nardinis Ice Cream | The Pencil Monument | Largs Marina | Haylie Chambered Tomb | Kelburn Castle & Country Centre | Secret Cold War Bunker | Loch Thom | Rye Burn Walk | Lynn Falls


Looking for more to do on The Shiel?: Try checking out Adams blog on ‘The Best Things to See and Do in Largs‘.


Our Top 3 Places to Eat on The Shiel

#1 – Room | 48-52 Gallowgate Street, 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.

 

#2 – The Three Reasons | Main Street, 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 myself, it’s by far my personal favourite in the town. Stuart always has an exciting guest ale on too. They’re not an official The Coig Partner (Shh! 🤫) but I couldn’t resist including them in my Top 3.

 

#3 – Geraldo’s | Main Street, Largs

This one is not so much a sit-in restaurant like the others, but rather a gift shop and sweet treats takeaway place. Geraldo’s is Ayrshire’s 1st and only 5-Star Tourist Shop based in the beautiful seaside town of Largs.

They are family-run and produce their own award-winning ice cream on-site and specialise in handmade chocolates, premium spirits, gift hampers, and a range of unique and unusual gifts that change throughout the seasons.

 

Our Top 3 Places to Stay on The Shiel

#1 – Seamill Hydro | Ardrossan Road, West Kilbride

Seamill Hydro is ideally located just seconds from the beach and dominated by stunning views of the Isle of Arran. The Hotel is family-owned and operated and boasts a comprehensive range of family-friendly facilities and services.

Featuring the Hydro Leisure Club including indoor heated pool and air conditioned gym and Beauty Therapy facilities.  Their fantastic restaurants The Orangery Restaurant and Aura Bar, offer a welcoming setting for a relaxed snack or formal meal.

 

#2 – The Waterside Hotel |  Ardrossan Road, West Kilbride

The Waterside Hotel is the newest hotel in the SimpsInns group after opening in 2015. This is a truly wonderful setting along the water’s edge in West Kilbride with panoramic views across the Firth of Forth over to the Ilse of Arran.

The Waterside has 23 bedrooms in total and a full range of accommodation choices; from standard and deluxe rooms to the junior and spa suites. The Spa Suite is simply sensational with private lounge area, spa and sauna plus a private balcony to soak up those unspoiled views.

 

#3 – Knock Old Castle |  Largs

Luxury hotels not quite cutting it?… How about a 14th Century castle?

This castle is the perfect retreat for a luxurious gathering with family, where you can relax with your feet up around the wood burner.

Knock Old Castle dates back to the 14th-century and has been fantastically resurrected by the current owner into a truly unique, whimsical, fairytale castle. In what has been a 5 year long project, this detached castle has been lovingly restored. Local craftsmen have utilised their skills, imagination and expertise to make this property into something that will amaze every guest.

From the quirky doors and interior, where no straight lines will be found, to the sauna in the tower, and the painted ceiling in the keep, to the stunning views over the sea from the glass domed lookout, and not forgetting the sheep grazing on the wild flower roof. Old Knock Castle will be sure to exceed every expectation.

 


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ROUTE 3: THE ARRAN

Distance: 70 Miles

Time: 1 – 2 Days (at least 2 hours 45 minutes drive time)

For: Foodies, Whisky Enthusiasts, & Outdoorsy Types

The Coig Ayrshire The ArranCheck out The Coig’s Interactive map of Route 3: The Arran

Arran is 20 miles long, 56 miles round, and is known as ‘Scotland in miniature’. True to its nickname, it has something for everyone. The short 55-minute ferry trip over from the North Ayrshire coast takes you to a land of history, wildlife, and leisure facilities.

Ferry Tickets are only £8.00 return for a foot passenger and £31.90 return for a car. Arran also features in our Scotland’s Most Accessible Islands blog.

You could rush around in a day, but I’d definitely recommend staying AT LEAST one or two nights. Here’s what The Coig Ambassador, Lee McKenzie has to say about it:

Our Top 3 Things to Do & See on The Isle of Arran

#1 – Visit the Isle of Arran Distillery (Or distilleries now!)

Lochranza distillery was founded in 1995 at the north end of the island. They JUST opened a sister distillery at Lagg in the south, where they make a very unique style of peated single malt.  At both sites, you can book tours, tasting sessions, buy a whisky cask, and stop for lunch in the cafe. It’s a must-do for any Whisky enthusiast!

 

#2 – Climb to the top of Goatfell!

Feeling up for a challenge? Admire stunning views and rugged mountain landscapes from the Isle of Arran’s highest point. At 874 metres (2,866ft),  the mountain, along with nearby Brodick Castle, is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The name is believed to mean ‘Goat Mountain’. The views from the peak are absolutely worth the climb… as long as you get a clear day.

 

#3 – Visit the Arran Cheese Shop

Located within Home Farm Visitors Centre, about one mile north of Brodick, the Arran Cheese Shop boasts a range of Arran and Scottish cheeses, a host of other Arran food products, and a large viewing window that allows you to see into the dairy and watch the cheese makers at work. Here, you can sample the delicious cheese before setting off to explore the island. The cheese goes hand in hand with Arran’s own Wooley’s Oatcakes – trust me! Nearby, you’ll find Arran Aromatics and the Arran Brewery.

 

Here’s everything else:

Goatfell | Glen Rosa Walking Route | Brodick Castle, Gardens & Country Park | Arran Brewery | Arran Cheese Shop | Wooleys Oatcakes & Bakery | Arran Aromatics | Arran Gin Co | Brodick Highland GamesMogabout Safari | Auchrannie: The A-Spa | Holy Isle | Whiting Bay | Pladda Lighthouse | Lagg Distillery | Kings Cave, Blackwaterfoot | Machrie Moor Standing Stones | Arran Distillery | Lochranza Castle

 

Our Top 3 Places to Eat on the Isle of Arran

#1 – eighteen69 | Auchrannie, Brodick

Scottish Tapas bar. Say no more. Located within the Auchrannie resort.

 

#2 – The Brodick Bar & Brasserie | Alma Road, Brodick

Great food, relaxed atmosphere, in an idyllic setting with a warm family welcome. Fresh Scottish Produce that doesn’t hurt the wallet. Located just off Brodick’s main stretch.

 

#3 – Stag’s Pavillion | Lochranza

Opposite the golf course in Lochranza, and just across the road from the Arran whisky distillery. Expect traditional home-cooked food with a continental flair, all freshly prepared.

Deer roam freely around the valley enjoying the peace, freedom, green grass. Occasionally, they’ll even pose for a photograph.

 

Our Top 3 Places to Stay on the Isle of Arran

#1 – The Douglas Hotel | Brodick

The Douglas Hotel is the focal point of the village of Brodick and an ideal base for the discerning traveller. Offering a personalised level of service in luxury & comfort, the knowledgeable Douglas Team can assist with access to the abundance of activities available on Arran, whether they be sporting, cultural or historical.

Super friendly and already multi-award winning, no expense has been spared in creating the unique feel of home away from home whilst adding a touch of modern luxury.

 

#2 – The Auchrannie’s Couples Lodges | Brodick

These 5 star, family-friendly lodges are perfect for those who are looking for a luxurious self-catering holiday. The modern lodges have stunning decor are fully self-catering with plenty of thoughtful extras.

There is a choice of two or three bedroom deluxe or executive lodges.  All of our lodges are 5 star, although some of the executive lodges offer added extras including integrated music systems.

I must say, they can be a wee bit steep in price though!

 

#3 – Oakbank Farm | Lamlash

Bungalow, Apartments, Cottages and Lodge with stunning sea views. Oakbank Farm Self Catering is a secluded converted farm steading set in 3 acres of private grounds on the edge of the Lamlash Village on the beautiful Isle of Arran.

Just a few hundred metres from the coast and within easy walking distance of the village, it’s spectacular scenic views and relaxed atmosphere make it the ideal self-catering choice.

 


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ROUTE 4: THE BUTE

Distance: 22 Miles

Time: 1 – 2 Days (at least 1 hour drive time)

For: History Buffs, Artsy Types, Seafood Lovers

The Coig Ayrshire The ButeCheck out The Coig’s Interactive map of Route 4: The Bute

The Isle of Bute holds many hidden treasures throughout its charming island villages and stretches in between. The island has many links to iconic Scottish architect, designer, watercolourist and artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The annual Bute Highland Games draws in the masses, for a day of traditional Scottish fun, games and pipe band contests.

 

Our Top 3 Things to Do & See on The Isle of Bute:

#1 – Explore the port town of Rothesay

Rothesay is one of those towns you can just get totally immersed in. It’s bursting with history and charm. The Victorian seaside resort on the island’s east side has many signs of its victorian heritage, such as its splendid Victorian frontage cradling the romantic Rothesay Bay, and its beautiful esplanade gardens. An ice cream is mandatory.

 

#2 – Pay a visit to Mount Stuart House

A 19th-century mansion with extravagant interiors and expansive landscaped and wild gardens. The Georgian architecture of the wings presents a striking contrast to the otherwise Victorian design, providing a completely unique architectural blend. Taking a moment to absorb the sheer beauty of the building is an unforgettable part of the Mount Stuart experience. And that’s before you’ve stepped through the door.

Inside, design inspired by astrology, art and mythology dazzles. See a map of the stars on the ceiling of the Marble Hall. Take the spiral staircase to what is believed to be the world’s first domestic heated swimming pool. This house is filled with innovations – from an early telephone system to the Victorian passenger lift.

 

#3 – Check out Rothesay Castle

You can now explore the impressive and now fully restored Rothesay Castle, its dungeons, thick outer walls and grand hall. Here, you can see Scotland’s only circular curtain wall – the four projecting towers were added after the Norse siege of 1263.

Step inside the great hall in the gatehouse, restored in 1900, to see displays about the castle and its royal owners. Walk around the moat to view the stone curtain wall in all its glory – and, of course, the resident ducks.

 

Here’s everything else:

Mount Stuart House | Ruth Slater Artist’s Phonebox | Ascog Village | Kingarth Ruins | Kilchattan bay | Port Bannatyne Marina | Inchmarnock Island | Bute Highland Games

 

Our Top 3 Places to Eat on The Isle of Bute:

#1 – The Courtyard Cafe | Mount Stuart , Rothesay

The Courtyard cafe sources the freshest local produce for their kitchen team to work their magic.

Their suppliers include their very own Mount Stuart Kitchen Garden team who work tirelessly to grow all of our fresh fruit and vegetables, Bute Cheese Co. for cheese produced using Milk and Cream from McAlister’s Dairy and Smoked Fish from Ritchie’s of Rothesay, who use a kiln which dates back to 1888! They also source all of their beef and lamb from MacQueens butchers who only use produce from island farms. Finally, all of their Fair Trade Tea and Coffee is supplied by Coffee Conscience.

The Courtyard Cafe and Bakehouse team bakes and cooks from scratch. They only use quality locally sourced ingredients to create the delicious hearty soups, fresh sandwiches, salads, hot ‘Bute Bakes’, and irresistible scones that they have become so well known for.

 

#2 – Ritchie’s of Rothesay | Montague St, Rothesay

The finest smoked fish in Scotland, apparently.

Ritchie’s history, traditional methods, and original recipe celebrate the island’s traditions and heritage. It’s this mix of old and new thinking that helps make them so distinctive, with the firm coaching apprentices in traditional styles of food production but also encouraging them to apply these techniques to exciting new concoctions of their own creation.

 

#3 – Harry Haw’s | High Street, Rothesay

TripAdvisor’s #1 of 20 Restaurants in Rothesay

Think restaurant quality, nothing frozen, great & tasty casual dining. Harry Haw’s aim to provide the best in GRUB on the Isle Of Bute. Recently reimagined, they are now a mash-up of Grab&Go lunches & snacks, HOT Soups, ‘Shake It Up Salads’, Wraps, Rustic Baguettes, Coffees.  Then if you need more & substantial feeding they have Cocktails in a Can, Beers, Wines to go with their best POSH Pizzas, Lip Lickin’ Fried Chicken, Chooky Bites, Chilli, Lasagne, Awesome BIG Burgers and much more.

 

Our Top 3 Places to Stay on The Isle of Bute:

#1 – Quien West | Mount Stuart, Rothesay

Quien West is a stunning holiday cottage situated on the west coast of Bute overlooking Scalpsie Bay with the beautiful island of Arran forming a spectacular backdrop.

Situated up a farm track and on a gently sloping hillside, the property has a private patio area with outdoor seating. It has been furnished and decorated to a high standard with fabrics from renowned Bute Fabrics providing a colorful touch throughout.

Quien West offers accommodation for up to six guests, in two double bedrooms and one twin and provides immaculate and abundant living space for family holidays, corporate weekends, wedding parties and relaxing breaks.

 

#2 – The Glenburn Hotel | Mount Stuart Road, Rothesay

If you fancy something of grand spendour, The Glenburn Hotel is your top choice.

The hotel is set in a prime position atop delightful terraced gardens and was originally constructed in 1892 as a hydrotherapy retreat. It commands fabulous views overlooking Rothesay Bay and the Cowal Peninsula. Within the hotel, you will find 119 bedrooms including the chance to upgrade to a Superior Room for an even more comfortable stay.

 

#3 – St Blanes House | Kilchattan Bay

I love how this one is an openly self-proclaimed 30-person party house. Most accommodation providers have strict policies against this, but if you’re looking for a big gaff, here’s your pick.

Ideal for large family gatherings and celebrations, this spacious, detached holiday house on the Isle of Bute was previously a hotel and occupies a prime position on the water’s edge, with spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding islands, showing the west of Scotland at its very best.

 


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ROUTE 5: THE CUMBRAE

Distance: 10 Miles

Time: 1 – 2 Days (at least 45 minutes drive time)

For: Outdoorsy Types, Wildlife Watchers & Gin Connoisseurs

The Coig Ayrshire The CumbraeCheck out The Coig’s Interactive map of Route 5: The Cumbrae

The Isle of Cumbrae is known as Scotland’s Most Accessible Island. At only an 8-minute ferry ride over from Largs on the North Ayrshire coast, you’ll be on island time before you know it. The island is essentially a big 10-mile round loop, and is known as a cyclist’s paradise.

You can knock this one out in a day if you’re in a rush, or you can set the clock back to island time and stay for a few more. There’s surprisingly loads to get up to, as you’ll see below.

 

Our Top 3 Things to Do & See on The Isle of Cumbrae:  

#1 – Cycle the whole way round!

Don’t forget your bike! A cycle round the outer circuit is an absolute must. The views across the clyde to Arran, Bute, Wee Cumbrae and the North Ayrshire Coast are nothing short of breath taking.

If you need a bike, luckily there are a few bike hire options in the main town, such as Mapes Cycles. Check out our full Guide to Cycling in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

 

#2 – The Cumbrae Rocks – Crocodile, Lion & Indian Rock

While you’re exploring the island, see if you can spot all three ‘Cumbrae Rocks’ – Crocodile Rock, Lion Rock, and Indian Rock. These unique rock formations are something totally unique and something you just won’t find anywhere else. Lion Rock has been in existence for 65 million years!

Check out our Cumbrae Rocks blog.

 

#3 – Visit The Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery

You might be thirsty after all of that exploring. The Cumbrae Gin Distillery is distinctively positioned as being one of the few all-female-owned gin distilleries in Scotland, drawing representation from the UK, Canada and the USA. ‘NostalGin’ is the signature gin and celebrates the strong emotional connection and nostalgia Millport holds in so many people’s hearts.

Why not jump in for a tasting session (starting summer 2021), take a wee bottle home as a souvenir (trust me, it’s unreal), or just to say hi to the lovely ladies.

 

Here’s everything else:

The Glaidstone Viewpoint | Watersports in Millport Bay | The Wedge – The ‘Narrowest House in the World’ | The Cathedral of The Isles – The Smallest in Europe | The Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery | Lion Rock, Crocodile Rock & Indian Rock | Cycling Around the Whole Island | Wildlife Spotting | Wee Cumbrae Day Trip Sea Tour | Millport Calander Events

Check out our blog on Unique Things to Do and See in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

 

Our Top 3 Places to Eat on the Isle of Cumbrae

#1 – Brewbaker Cafe |  17 Stuart Street, Millport

An mazing bakery with fresh, tasty homemade goods. At Brewbaker, you can expect fresh food that is made with love. The café is fairly new to the Island and has quickly became one of the best places to eat in Millport!

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!

Our recommendation: The chocolate brownie. It’s undefeated. Wash down with a Brewbaker Latté.

 

#2 – The High Tide Cafe | Fintry Bay, Isle of Cumbrae

A 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, wraps and toasties.

 

#3 – The Round Island Cafe | 51-52 Stuart Street, Millport

A 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?

Check out our full blog on Places to Eat in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

 

Our Top 3 Places to Stay on the Isle of Cumbrae

For a tiny wee island, there is plenty choice to get your 40 winks in. Here are our Top 3.

#1 – Jacks Alt Stays – Alternative Eco-Cabins. Coming Autumn 2021.

That’s us! You didn’t think we were going to leave ourselves out, did you?

The Isle of Cumbrae happens to be where we are setting up our Alternative Eco-Cabins, later this year! Our unique 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, BBQs, 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.

Check out our Unique Tourist Accommodation Concept Here

 

#2 – The Bothy  | Figgatoch Farm, Cumbrae

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 quaint, private & exclusive farm cottage which has been lovingly restored to a high standard, complete with a private garden and patio.

 

#3 – The College Guest House | Millport

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.

Check out our full blog piece on Places to Stay in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.


Jacks Alt-Stays – Alternative Eco-Cabins | Coming Autumn 2021

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco Cabin Concept

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

Sign Up:

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Well, there you have it… 5 Routes. One Great Adventure.

As soon as travel restrictions allow, hit that road and explore The Coig. For now though, here are some ‘visual best bits’ for you to enjoy.

The Best Walking Routes on the Isle of Cumbrae

The Best Walking Routes on the Isle of Cumbrae
The Best Walking Routes on the Isle of Cumbrae

At only 10-miles round and 127-meters high, exploring the Isle of Cumbrae on foot is the perfect opportunity to get those steps in. Did you know there were five main Cumbrae walking routes?

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.

 


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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!

Prefer to cycle round? 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.

Check out our Guide to Cycling in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.


Things to look for along the way…

Whilst en-route round the island, there’s a few things to keep your eyes pealed for!

 

1. The Cumbrae Rocks

The Isle of Cumbrae is home to a collection of quirky rock formations which are bound to catch your eye.

Indian Rock Lion Rock Crocodile Rock Millport

2. The Cumbrae Benches

The Isle of Cumbrae has hundreds of benches, with the majority of them found in Millport. Most of those benches have plaques acting as memorials. North Ayrshire Council has a project to protect Millport from sea flooding, and this means that that a lot of the existing benches along the seafront in Millport are going to be moved.

The aim of the ‘Cumbrae Benches’ project is to photo each bench (and plaque) before they are moved. North Ayrshire Council know most of the ‘owners’ of the benches, but there are a number they have no contact details for, the council has a list, which is reproduced at cumbrae-benches.great-site.net.

 

3. Fintry Bay Café

You’ll find the Fintry Bay Café completely secluded on the West side of the Island and it’s an obligatory stop if you’re walking The Outer Circuit.

They have amazing ice cream and lots of great food options including wraps, sandwiches, soup and fresh home baking. Grab a quick bite while enjoying the best part which is the amazing views across to Arran & Bute. Check it out:

Also, if you walk for a few minutes North of the Fintry Bay Café and you’ll find a lovely, sandy beach! Why not bring some food or grab a takeaway from the cafe and have a picnic? It’s the perfect spot on a nice day.


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.


 

4. Wildlife Watching

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 – so keep an eye oot!

 

5. HMS Shearwater Memorial

This monument can be found on one of the most Northern points of the Island and was erected in memory of two young shipman who were killed in a boating accident.

In 1844 two boys, Charles Cayley & William Jewell, were out sailing on the North end of Cumbrae when a strong north easterly wind caught them and drove them under the waves. Another Government steamer witnessed this and unfortunately, despite extensive efforts, the boys were unable to be rescued.

As the story goes, the bodies were never found and all they were able to recover were the boys’ hats.

Shearwater Memorial

Public Toilets:

Oh, this might come in handy… Here are all of the public toilet locations around the Isle of Cumbrae.

Isle of Cumbrae Toilet Locations Walking Route

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


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.

Cumbrae Inner Circuit Walk

📍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 Farland 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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With all of this walking, you might build up quite the appetite.

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The Targets Walk

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.

Our Top Tip – Save this blog page to your phone browser favourites so you have all of the route info and pre-loaded maps to hand when you get to the Isle of Cumbrae!

 

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Oh, while I have you…

I’m working with my cousin to bring our ‘Alternative Eco Cabin’ concept to the Isle of Cumbrae.

We’ll be launching our business in early 2022! Check out the cabin concept:

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

Looks awesome right? Why not sign up to be the first to hear about our launch, and be in with a chance to win free stays?

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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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Well, there were the 5 best walking routes you can take while visiting Cumbrae. Hopefully, this article will help you get the most out of your island experience!


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:

Millport, Isle of Cumbrae – Your Questions Answered

Millport FAQs
Millport FAQs

I thought I’d put together a super handy blog that answers every question you could possibly have before visiting Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.


Feel free to skip through to the relevant section:


Getting to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

 

Where is Millport?

Millport is the main town on the Isle of Cumbrae, which is a small Scottish island located just off the North Ayrshire coast. You catch the short 8-minute ferry from Largs, which is only a 1-hour train from Glasgow.

 

How do you get to the Isle of Cumbrae?

The Isle of Cumbrae is known as ‘Scotland’s Most Accessible Island’, and for good reason. Cumbrae is a short 8-minute ferry ride from Largs ferry terminal.

The ferry service is provided by Caledonian MacBrayne.

Millport Cumbrae Ferry

 

Where is the ferry slip in Largs?

Largs ferry terminal is located just off of the main street in Largs, and only a 5- minute walk from Largs train station.

If you are driving, fire KA30 8BG into your trusted Google Maps. That’ll take you right to the Largs ferry slip where you can grab your tickets and hop on the boat. Largs only 40-minutes from Ayr, 1-hour from Glasgow, or 2-hours from Edinburgh.

Always check the Cal Mac Service Status before travelling.

 

How do you get to Millport town?

Once you hop off the ferry and you’ll have a few options to get to the town. Turn left for the quickest route to town. For a shortcut, head over Ferry Road, or I recommend taking the longer scenic route around.

If you’re driving, you’ll be in Millport town in 10-15 minutes. If you’re cycling, the journey will take 20-25 minutes. Walking will take 1 hour 20 minutes.

 

How much does the Largs to Millport ferry cost?

TICKET RETURN FARE
Driver/passenger £3.50
Child 5-15 (Infant under 5 free, must have valid ticket) £1.75
Car or 4X4 (excludes driver) £13.45
Motorhome Up to 6m £13.45
Up to 8m £20.20
Up to 10m £26.90
Caravan, boat/baggage trailer Up to 2.5m £6.75
Up to 6m £13.45
Up to 8m £20.20
Motorcycle £6.75
Pedal cycles (restricted numbers) Free

^ Largs – Isle of Cumbrae Ferry Fares* – (Summer 2021)

*Note all fares are return tickets. As there is only one route on and off the Isle of Cumbrae, you do not have to present a ticket on the way back to Largs.

Always check the Cal Mac Service Status before travelling,

 

How much does the bus to Millport cost?

TICKET FARE
Adult Return £3.50
Adult Single £2.00
Child Return £1.70
Child Single £1.00

^ Cumbrae Slip – Millport Town SPT Bus Fares (Summer 2021)

The bus is always dog friendly and your furry friend travels for free.

Millport Ferry

 

What are the Summer 2021 PEAK / OFF-PEAK Largs – Cumbrae Ferry Timetables?

Generally, the Cumbrae ferry sets off every 15-30 minutes. There is no pre-booking available for this one, so it’s a case of showing up and hopping on.

Always check the Cal Mac Service Status before travelling, and show up at least 10 minutes before the departure time to allow time for tickets and queueing.

Here is the Cal Mac Largs – Cumbrae Slip Timetable for Summer 2021.

Cumbrae Ferry Timetable – Summer 2021Millport, Cumbrae Ferry Timetable - Summer 2021 Off Peak

 

How do you get tickets for the Millport ferry?

The Millport ferry is a turn-up-and-go service. You currently can’t book tickets in advance. All you need to do is head to Largs ferry terminal, KA30 8BG, and grab your tickets there.

 

How much is a car on the Millport ferry?

A car or 4×4 return ferry ticket costs £13.45. Each driver and passenger ticket costs another £3.50.

 

How much is a camper van on the Millport ferry?

Motorhome return ferry ticket prices are as follows: Up to 6m costs £13.45. Up to 8m costs £20.20. Up to 10m costs £26.90.

 

Is a bike free on the Millport ferry?

Yes – taking your bike on the Millport ferry is free of charge. You just pay £3.50 for your passenger ticket. (Note: The number of bikes may be limited on each sailing during super busy days)

 

How long does the Millport Ferry take?

The crossing from Largs ferry slip to Cumbrae ferry slip only takes 8 minutes! You’ll be on island time before you know it.

In the high season, be aware there may be quite a wait for vehicle traffic.

 

How often do the ferries go from Largs to Millport?

In the summer, the Millport ferry leaves Largs every 15 minutes! You’ve never really missed one, you’ve only showed up early for the next 😉 (Unless it’s the last, of course).

 

When is the first ferry to Millport?

The first ferry to depart Largs is the 06:35am. The first ferry to depart Millport is the 06:50am.

 

When is the last ferry back from Millport?

The last ferry to depart Millport is the 20:30pm. The last ferry to depart Largs is the 20:15pm.

On Fridays there is one later sailing each way: 21:00pm from Millport and the 20:45 from Largs.

Here is the full Cal Mac Largs – Cumbrae Ferry Timetable.

Cumbrae Ferry

 

Do I need to book the Millport ferry?

No – You actually can’t book the Millport ferry in advance. It’s a show-up-and-go kind of service. Just head to Largs ferry terminal, grab your tickets and hop on the boat.

 

Is the Millport ferry running today?

Click here to check the Cal Mac Service Status for the Largs – Cumbrae route

 

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

 

What is the weather like in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

MILLPORT WEATHER

 

Where can I hire a bike in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

Here are your three options for bike hire in Millport town: Bremner’s Cycle Hire, Mapes & On Your Bike. All offer great value and a wide range of options from standard bikes, to ‘quadricycles’.

 

Where is Mapes Cycle Hire Shop in Millport?

You’ll find Mapes at 4-5 Guildford St, Millport, KA28 0AE | 01475 530444 | www.mapesmillport.co.uk

Mapes Millport Quadricycle

 

Where is On Your Bike Cycle Hire Shop in Millport?

You’ll find On Your Bike at 27/29 Stuart Street, Millport, KA28 0AJ | 01475 530 300 | www.onyourbikemillport.com

 

Where is Bremner’s Cycle Hire Shop in Millport?

You’ll find Bremner’s Cycle Hire at 17 Cardiff St, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae KA28 0AS | 01475 530309

 

How much is bike hire in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

Mapes’ prices are £8.00 for up to 3 hours, and £10.00 for 3 hours plus. Helmets are included in this price.

On Your Bike’s prices are £6.00 for 2 hours, £6.50 for 3 hours and £7.00 for all day. Helmets are £0.75 per hire.

Bremner’s Cycle Hire prices are £6.50 for 2 hours and £1 for every hour thereafter. Hourly, daily and weekly hire options are available.

 

Where can I hire the quadricycle in Millport?

Both Mapes and On Your Bike hire out the Quadracycle as well as another few quirky cycle options, such as tandems and children’s trailers.

 

Where can I hire a tandem bike in Millport?

Both Mapes and On Your Bike hire out tandem bikes

 

Where can I hire a kids’ bike in Millport?

Bremner’s Cycle Hire, Mapes and On Your Bike hire out kids bikes

 

Where can I hire a child bike trailer in Millport?

Bremner’s Cycle Hire, Mapes and On Your Bike hire out children’s trailers.

 

How long does it take to cycle around the Isle of Cumbrae?

The 10.25 mile circuit around the Isle of Cumbrae takes around 1-2 hours to cycle. Allow plenty time to stop off and soak in those scenic views down the Firth of Clyde.

Cycling in Millport The Coig

 

How long does it take to walk around the Isle of Cumbrae?

The 10.25 mile circuit around the Isle of Cumbrae takes around 3-3.5 hours to walk. Allow plenty time to stop off and soak in those scenic views around the island.

 

What walking routes are there in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

There are five main walking routes on the Isle of Cumbrae:

Cumbrae Walking Routes


Check out:


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.


How long does it take to drive around the Isle of Cumbrae?

It takes around 30 minutes to drive around the whole of the Isle of Cumbrae’s 10.25 mile circuit.

 

What is there to do in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

For a small island, only 10 miles around, there is LOADS to do on the Isle of Cumbrae. Here are a few:

 

What can I see on the Isle of Cumbrae?

There is loads to see on the Isle of Cumbrae, from the iconic Lion, Crocodile & Indian Rocks, to 360-degree panoramic views from The Glaidstone Viewpoint, to spotting the diverse range of Wildlife species on the island.

 

What beaches are there on the Isle of Cumbrae?

There are many sandy beaches to stop while exploring the Isle of Cumbrae. You’ll find Kames Bay and Newton Bay close to Millport town, and Fintry bay, Bell bay, and Skate bay up the west side of the island.

 

Does Millport have a golf course?

Yes – It’s possibly one of the most scenic golf courses about. You’ll find it at Golf Rd, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, KA28 0HB.

 

Where is Millport Golf course?

Millport Golf course is a short 15-minute walk up the hill from the town’s main bus stop at Millport pier. The golf clubhouse address is Golf Rd, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, KA28 0HB.

 

Where is the Cumbrae Gin Distillery?

You’ll find the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers in the middle of Millport town, at 11 Guildford St, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, KA28 0AE.

 

Where can I get NostalGin?

The Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery’s flagship gin is ‘NostalGin’. You’ll find the Cumbrae Gin Distillery in the middle of Millport town, at 11 Guildford St, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, KA28 0AE.

 

Where is Fintry Bay Café on the Isle of Cumbrae?

You’ll find Fintry Bay Cafe on the Isle of Cumbrae’s west side. At a 15-minute anti-clockwise cycle from the Cumbrae ferry slip, it approximately marks the halfway point to millport town, so is a great stop-off for an ice cream and a re-charge.

Fintry Bay Cafe

 

Where is Brewbaker Café in Millport?

Brewbaker is an amazing bakery and chocolatier with fresh, tasty homemade goods. Their coffee is by far the best you can get on the island. You’ll find Brewbaker cafe in the middle of Millport town at 17 Stuart Street, KA28 0AJ.

 

Where is Round Island café in Millport?

You’ll find Round Island cafe in the middle of Millport town at 51-52 Stuart Street, KA28 0AG. It’s a fresh, modernised cafe serving brilliant coffee, lunch, and baked goods.

 

Where is the Ritz café in Millport?

You’ll find the iconic Ritz cafe in the middle of Millport town at 26 Stuart St, KA28 0AJ.

It’s a Retro style, 1950s café with amazing ice cream. 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.

 


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


 

Where is the HMS Shearwater Memorial on the Isle of Cumbrae?

You’ll find this 1844 memorial a short walk/cycle from the Cumbrae ferry slip. Turn right off the ferry and head anti-clockwise. The monument is at one of the most Northern points of the Island and  was erected in memory of two young shipmen who were killed in a boating accident.

 

Where are the public toilets on the Isle of Cumbrae?

There are four public toilets around the Isle of Cumbrae – one at Fintry Bay, one at West Bay, one at Crocodile Rock, and one at the Cumbrae Ferry Slip itself.

The Crocodile Rock public toilets have recently been refurbished and cost 40p per use, so don’t forget to bring your change! Check out the map below for all of the locations.

 

Isle of Cumbrae Toilet Locations Walking Route

 

What watersports can I do in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

Unfortunately, the Sports Scotland Watersports centre closed its doors in 2020. However, the Isle of Cumbrae still 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? 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.

 

Where is Lion Rock?

Lion Rock can be found on the south-eastern side of the Isle of Cumbrae, just up from the Field Sciences Council (FSC) centre. It’s a rock formation called a Dyke which, many years ago, had intruded into the existing Old Red Sandstone, creating a shape that bares an uncanny resemblance to a Lion.

Lion Rock Millport The Coig

 

Where is Indian Rock?

Indian Rock is a little more difficult to spot. It can be found on the south-western side of the Isle of Cumbrae. This guy was painted in the 1920’s and has been perched up there within the forestry ever since.

Indian Rock Isle of Cumbrae

 

Where is Crocodile rock?

The most recognisable out of the trio of Cumbrae Rocks is the ‘Crocodile Rock’ which has been around for over 100-years! It is considered to be one of Scotland’s “quirkiest, best-known landmarks”, and you can find it in Millport bay, right next to the town.

Crocodile Rock Millport The Coig

 

Where is the Glaidstone viewpoint?

The Glaidstone is the Isle of Cumbrae’s highest point. You’ll find the Glaidstone viewpoint on the Island’s Inner Circle Walk. Hike up for 360-panoramic views around the Firth of Cyde.

 

What wildlife is on the Isle of Cumbrae?

The Isle of Cumbrae is a paradise for nature-lovers and wildlife watchers with over 125 species of birds, seal colonies, porpoises, and basking sharks. Around the island’s coast you can see grey seals and harbour porpoises. If you’re lucky, you may even be lucky to see Minke whales, basking sharks, and common dolphins.

 

Where can I go fishing on the Isle of Cumbrae?

Apparently, Farland Point, on the south-eastern tip of the island, is a great place to cast that road and catch some fish. You can hire fishing gear at Mapes cycles.

 

Where is the narrowest house in the UK? – The Wedge

Millport is home to what has been crowned “The Narrowest House in the UK”. 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. You’ll find The Wedge in the middle of Millport town, but keep a keen eye out, because it’s easy to miss.

 

Where is the smallest cathedral in Britain? – The Cathedral of The Isles

You can find the Cathedral of the Isles tucked away in the trees just behind the town of Millport. The building itself is beautiful and it’s definitely worth the 5-min meander up from the shorefront to see.

 


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Does Millport have a supermarket?

There are a few convenience stores in Millport. They’re not quite supermarkets, but you should find everything you could possibly need on a visit to Millport. You have Caldwells in the west of the town, the Premier store in the centre, and Hamilton’s further east, near Crocodile Rock.

    • Caldwell’s | 3-6 Stuart St | 01475 530344
    • Premier Store | 24 Guilford St | 01475 530404
    • Hamilton’s Convenience Store | 15 Glasgow St | 01475 530324

 

Where are the best places to eat on Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

Our top picks are Brewbaker cafe, The Ritz Cafe, Fraser’s Bar, and the Crocodile Rock chippy.

 

Where are the best bars and pubs in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

Our top picks are Fraser’s Bar, The Newton, and The Millport Pier Hotel (formerly The George).

 

Frasers Bar

 

Which pubs have beer gardens in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

The pubs in Millport that have beer gardens are the Millport Pier Hotel (formerly The George), Fraser’s Bar, and The Tavern Bar.

 


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


What events are on in Millport?

The big annual events in Millport include the Classic Car Event in May, the Happy Daze Music Festival in June, the Millport Scooter rally in August, the Country and Western Music Festival in September, and the September weekend in… well, September. You’ll also find the Viking Festival just across the water in Largs in September.

 

When is the Country and Western event in Millport?

The Millport Country and Western Music Festival usually takes place on the first weekend in September.

 

When is the September weekend in Millport?

The Millport September weekend usually takes place on the last weekend in September.

 

When is the Classic Car Event in Millport?

The Millport Classic Car event usually takes place on the second weekend in May.

 

What are the places to stay in Millport?

There is a wide variety of options when it comes to places to stay on the Isle of Cumbrae, from AirBnB apartments to Caravans, and hotels to Eco-Cabins. Check out our blog on Places to Stay in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

 

Where are places to stay on Millport with a Hot Tub?

Jack’s Alt-Stays’ Alternative Eco-Cabins will be the only tourist accommodation option in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae that offers Hot Tubs. They will be Eco-wood-fired hot tubs and will be launching in autumn 2021.

Sign up below to be the first to hear about our official launch and for free stay giveaways:

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Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

Are there dog-friendly accommodation options in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

Yes, there are a small number of tourist accommodation options that welcome dogs in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae. Our blog, Places to stay in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae lists all dog-friendly options on the island. Some of our Alternative Eco-Cabins (Coming autumn 2021) will be pet-friendly.

 

Where are the Millport caravan parks?

If you’re looking for a caravan on Millport, you have a couple of options. We recommend Westbourne House Caravan Park for the stunning views down the Clyde and over to Wee Cumbrae.

Check out Places to stay in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae for a diverse range of tourist accommodation options.

 

Where can I park my camper van on the Isle of Cumbrae?

A new Caravan parking stand with hook-ups and waste disposal, located behind the Garrison House, should be open by Summer 2021.

 

Where can I charge my electric vehicle in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

Currently there is only one electric vehicle charging point on the Isle of Cumbrae. It is located in front of the Millport Pier Hotel, at 1 Quayhead, Isle of Cumbrae, KA28 0AP.

 

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Trivia on Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

 

How many miles around is the Isle of Cumbrae?

The Isle of Cumbrae has an outer circuit of 10.25 miles. Perfect for cycling!

 

How big is Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?

The Isle of Cumbrae is approximately 2 .5 miles long by 1.25 miles wide, rising to a height of 127 metres above sea level at The Glaidstone viewpoint. The island’s footprint is approximately  4.5 miles².

 

How far is Millport from Largs?

The Cumbrae ferry slip is approximately 1.4 miles across the Firth of Clyde, from Largs Pier. Ferries leave every 15 minutes in summer and the journey takes only 8 minutes.

 

How many people visit Millport every year?

CalMac passenger data shows that there were 393,410 return journeys made to the Isle of Cumbrae in 2019.

 

What is the Millport ferry called?

The MV Loch Shira services the Largs – Cumbrae ferry route. The vessel was built by Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd of Port Glasgow in 2007 and carries around 390,000 passengers each year.

 

How many cars does the Millport ferry carry?

The MV Loch Shira can carry approximately 32 cars and 250 foot passengers at a time.

 

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Some questions answered on Largs

 

How do you get to Largs from Glasgow?

If you are driving, fire KA30 8BG into your trusted Google Maps. That’ll take you right to the Largs ferry slip where you can grab your tickets and hop on the boat.

    1. From Glasgow city centre, you join the M8 West.
    2. At junction 28A, exit onto A737 towards Irvine.
    3. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto A760 towards Lochwinnoch
    4. Continue through Kilbirnie, following signs for Largs.
    5. Head over the Haylie Brae (Largs Road) and you’ll arrive in Largs.

 

If you’re taking the train, jump on at any stop on the Glasgow–Largs line. Trains run every hour. From Largs train station, it’s a short stroll down to the ferry terminal.

Largs to Glasgow trainline

If you’re taking the bus, the 585 Stagecoach (Ayr) and 901/904/906 McGills buses (Glasgow/Greenock) both stop on Largs main street.

 

Where can I park in Largs?

Street parking is free throughout Largs town, but can be limited in the summer season. There is a pay-and-display Shorefront car park that costs £4/day ( up to 1 hour – £1, up to 3 hours – £3, over 3 hours – £4)

 

What can I do in Largs?

There are loads of things to do and see in Largs. Why not check out Magnus the Viking, or the famous Pencil Monument? Perhaps a stroll along the Largs promenade with a Nardini’s Ice cream? Kelburn Castle and Country park is a huge hit with visitors. There are also some amazing bars and restaurants in Largs.

 

Largs Seafront

Where can I eat in Largs?

There’s a variety of choice when it comes to places to eat and drink in Largs, from award-winning family-friendly ‘Room’, to the #1 pub grub in town at ‘The Three Reasons’.

 

What are the best pubs in Largs?

Our top picks for the best pubs in Largs are Ye Olde Anchor Inn, JG Sharps, and Drouthy Neebors and The Waterside. Walk straight past the Wetherspoons and support a locally owned bar.

 

Where is Kelburn Castle?

Kelburn Castle and Country park can be found a short walk (30 minutes) or drive (5 minutes) south from Largs town, at Kelburn Estate, Fairlie KA29 0BE.

Kelburn Castle Estate Largs

 

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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:

 

Our Climate Action Plan

Jacks Alt-Stays Climate Action Plan
Jacks Alt-Stays Climate Action Plan

Who sets up a climate action plan before they even set up their business?

We do.

Why? Because it’s just the right thing to do. Every individual and business needs to do their bit in the fight against climate change.

The environment is something that we take personally, and since the early days of concept development, we were determined to create a genuinely environmentally sustainable business.

Here are 11 ways we’ll be doing our bit for the planet.


1. One Stay = Ten Trees Planted

Through partnering with Ecologi, we’re vowing to plant 10 trees for every single booking at Jacks Alt-Stays! That’s right, ten.

These trees are planted in low-cost, high-impact areas around the world, because it’s “Save the Planet“, right?

Ecologi also runs environmental projects closer to home, such as this reforestation project in Dalry, North Ayrshire. We’ll be getting involved with local community initiatives too, as you’ll see further down this blog.

Ecologi Jacks Alt-Stays Tree Planting


2. Proudly Powered by 100% Renewable Electricity.

Our Alternative Eco-Cabins will be powered by 100% solar, hydro, and wind-generated electricity.

(That felt good to type.)

We will be supplied by Octopus Business Energy – a 100% Green energy provider.

Jacks Alt-Stays Eco-Cabin Renewable Wind Energy


3. Ambitious Eco Goals

For a wee tourism business on a Scottish island, we have set ourselves some pretty big eco-goals.

By the end of 2021, we aim to:

🌲 Plant 2,000 trees.

💨 Absorb 100 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.

🌍 Achieve ‘Carbon Negative’ Status

Becoming a Carbon Negative business just means that we will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than we add to it. It means the same thing as ‘Climate Positive’.


If you didn’t know already…

We’re bringing our ‘Alternative Eco-Cabin‘ concept to Scotland’s west coast by late 2021. It’ll look like this:

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

Join our Journey for:

🎉 Free stay giveaways to celebrate our launch!

🚀 Progress updates & Official launch info

📖 Top Instagram picks & blog content to inspire your next Scotland adventure!

Sign Up:

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4. Sustainably Built Eco-Cabins

We’ve been keen to get things right from the very start. Our cabins will be built locally, and by local builders.

Fewer logistics = less CO2 emitted.

They will be built from locally and sustainably sourced materials where possible, such as the Scottish larch cladding.

We’ve worked with North Ayrshire-based Stewart Architects to bring the Eco-Cabin concept to its final design stage. We’ll now be working with North Ayrshire-based builders, RDK Construction, who have a real focus on sustainable building processes.

We’ve opted for market-leading EcoTherm® insulation, resulting in a highly efficient thermal performance.

We have also carefully selected the eco-cabins’ fittings, lighting, appliances, and contents of the cabins, based on efficient energy performance. The chosen Herschel infra-red panel-heaters are market-leading, use 30% less energy than standard electric heaters, are thermostat controlled, and can be controlled remotely. Low-energy internal and external LED lighting has been specified. Again, all electrical features are powered by green energy. We don’t do fossil fuels.

The bathroom flooring and wall supplier, Multipanel UK strive to be at the forefront of new environmental manufacturing technologies, material developments and recycling possibilities in every product they design and produce. The fiber within the selected Dacron Aerelle Blue duvet and pillows is made from SocialPlastic® – a recycled ocean-bound plastic. These are just a few examples of our eco-conscious decisions.


5. An Eco Commute

Sometimes it’s the wee things that matter. We’ll be cycling in every day.

Saying that, it’s not like cycling every day is a chore for us. We live just across the water, love a good cycle, and the route to site is nothing short of stunningly scenic.

Millport Ferry


6. Offsetting our Unavoidable Carbon Footprint

Being located on an island, there will, unfortunately, be some areas of our business where we are just not able to avoid a carbon footprint. The reality for us is that ferry travel will be simply unavoidable.

Although it’s only an 8-minute trip over, the ferry is no eco angel. We’ll also need supplies, so will occasionally need to take the car over for that.

As part of our partnership with Ecologi and on top of our “buy one, plant one” (…or ten) model – we also donate a set amount each month to more-than-offset our unavoidable carbon footprint.

Here’s our impact so far:

Jack's Alt-Stays Climate Positive Tree Planting Impact

8.33 tonnes of CO2e is equivalent to one of the following:

Jack's Alt-Stays Ecologi Carbon Negative Impact

Lastly, 3 of our 5 cabins come equipped a Skargards hot tub.  We chose to endorse wood-fired hot tubs as they’re natural, smell amazing and require no harmful chemicals to run. We do however, recognise that when wood combusts (or rots) CO2 is released.

If mis-managed, wood fuel can be detrimental to the environment. The key is to ensure our wood-burning practices are sustainable, responsible, and their footprint is more-than offset.

We wrote a full blog on this. Check out:

Wood Fired Hot Tubs - Eco Environmental


7. Partner Eco Credentials

We’ll also be making sure that anyone we work with has their eco-credentials in place.

For example, the linen hire supplier,’ PLS Laundry’, has recently significantly invested in improving their environmental performance. Our guest consumables suppliers, ‘Hotel Supplies Ltd’ and ‘Kingdom Coffee’ offer sustainably sourced products in recyclable packaging. ‘ECOLAB’ provide their most environmentally friendly cleaning product range in fully recyclable packaging.


8. The Environment – It’s in our Values.

One of our core founding values is to ‘Respect Our Backyard’ – Leave nothing but footsteps. Always respect your surrounding environment and leave it a little better than you found it.

By this, we mean both our immediate ‘back yard’, i.e. our site, surrounding, area, and our neighbours, but also the wider global environment.

We return to our values every time we make a business decision – because what’s the point in even having them if you don’t?

Check out Jack’s Alt-Stays Founding Values.


9 Looking After our Environment at a Community Level

Both Adam and I are passionate about the environment and see our environmental duty extend beyond our own site’s boundary.

We get involved with beach clean initiatives, such as the FSC’s recent Kames Bay clean, with a view to champion these in the near future.

 

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In the near future, we’ll be getting involved with local tree-planting initiatives. We’ll also plan to campaign for the recycling facilities and the local water refill campaign against single-use plastic bottles, once up and running.


10. We Will Declare a Climate Emergency!

Tourism Declares supports tourism businesses, organisations, and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking action to reduce their carbon emissions. They acknowledge the science stating we have to act now to address the crisis over the next decade.

Alongside fellow tourism organisations such as Visit Scotland, here are our five commitments in declaring a climate emergency;

    1. Develop this ‘Climate Action Plan’
    2. Share our commitment and progress publicly
    3. Cut carbon emissions
    4. Encourage our suppliers and partners to make the same declaration
    5. Advocate for change in tourism

11. Responsible Waste Management

We’ll be doing everything we can to eradicate the use of single-use plastics in our Eco-Cabins. We’ll also make sure that our day-to-day waste and recycling processes are up to scratch!


So in a nutshell, that’s how we’ll make an ‘Alt-stay’ an ‘Eco-stay’.

As individuals, we have become much more environmentally aware over the last few years. Greta would be proud!

Why a Climate Action Plan?  We have a Climate Action Plan in place from day 1.  It’s our way of holding ourselves accountable and committing to the cause.

We see our business as an extension of ourselves. – we do share the Jack name after all. That’s why from the get-go, we’ve set out to create a genuinely environmentally sustainable business.

Cheers!

Check out The Alternative Eco-Cabin Concept