Thinking about a trip to the Isle of Cumbrae, and looking for things to see and do? Well, you’re in right place…
Here are all of the best and most unique things you can do on ‘Scotland’s Most Accessible Island’.
Feel free to skip right through:
- The Glaidstone Viewpoint
- The Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery
- Lion Rock, Crocodile Rock & Indian Rock
- Watersports in Millport Bay
- Cycling Around the Whole Island
- The Cumbrae Sensory Trail
- The Wedge – The ‘Narrowest House in the World’
- The Cathedral of The Isles – The Smallest in the UK
- Wildlife Spotting
- Wee Cumbrae Day Trip Sea Tour
- Golfing on Cumbrae
- Millport Calender Events
- Kelburn Castle & Country Centre (Largs)
The Glaidstone Viewpoint
360-degree panoramic view around the island? Now you’re talking.
You can find the Glaidstone at the very top of the island, which is at a height of 417 feet (127m) above sealevel. To put that into perspective, a Munro is anything over 3,000 feet – so it is certainly not the tallest peak in Scotland, but a fair hike nonetheless!
Saying that, it’s well worth the jaunt up to the top as the views across the River Clyde are unreal. You can find the Glaidstone as part of the Inner Circle Walk and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the island’s peak, walking from Millport town.
Once you’re up there, you’ll see the neighbouring Clyde islands of Wee Cumbrae, Arran, and Bute, and back across to the mainland coast of North Ayrshire. On a clear day, it’s nothing short of spectacular and you might be able to see as far south as Ailsa Craig.
Load up the route to the Glaidstone on your Google Maps app Here.
The Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery
Fancy a wee G&T after a day of exploring the island? Well, our good friends at the Isle of Cumbrae Distillers have got you covered.
This well-loved community venture was started by a unique team of 5 international women, who are all proud “Millportians”. The idea began to blossom during Thursday quiz nights at the ‘Twa Dugs’ local bar, but quickly developed into the Isle of Cumbrae’s first-ever distillery. The distillery was officially launched in September 2019 and, since then, has been a roaring success.
The team named their flagship gin “NostalGin” as it embodies the heritage of Millport as well as the Scottish Island experience. The gin itself has flavours of lavender, fresh island bramble and a hint of sweet orange.
They also released their second “Croc Rock” gin in April 2021, appropriately named after the island’s iconic Crocodile Rock.
Currently, the lovely group have their store open in Millport town and have started doing gin tastings and tours as of Summer 2021. As part of their plan for the future, they also hope to offer cocktail-making, lamp-making, and other workshops – so stay tuned!
You can find the Isle of Cumbrae Gin Distillery Here.
Lion Rock, Crocodile Rock & Indian Rock
The Isle of Cumbrae is home to a collection of quirky rock formations which can be found dotted around the island. Over the years these have become iconic Cumbrae landmarks, and they’re bound to catch your eye as you’re out walking or cycling.
The most recognisable out of the trio is the ‘Crocodile Rock’ which has been around for over 100-years! It is also considered to be one of Scotland’s “quirkiest, best-known landmarks”.
Check out our full blog post on The Cumbrae Rocks to discover where to find them!
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:
Watersports in Millport Bay!
The Isle of Cumbrae offers brilliant opportunities to enjoy getting out on the water! Millport is incredibly popular with the likes of Stand Up Paddleboarding, Sea Kayaking, Snorkelling, and day Sailing.
Why not rent a kayak from ‘On Yer Bike’ and explore Millport bay?
With the sparkling water and beachfront lined with palm trees, you’ll feel like you’re exploring an island paradise. You can paddle along the beach and out to the ‘The Eileans’ which are the two, small islands in the bay.
Top Tip: Make sure to stay safe whilst enjoying watersports! Millport Bay is sheltered and protected. As you head further out, you’re exposed to elements such as currents and wind, as well as other boats. Check out the likes of the Scottish Canoe Association and RNLI for safety tips, as well as the Met Office for the weather.
Want to know the best part? You can find seals that live on The Eileans most of the year! They’re amazing to watch from the kayaks so make sure to paddle out and pay them a visit.
Kayaking in Millport is suitable for almost all ages and the shop says, “as long as you can swim, anyone can hire our Kayaks”. Life jackets are included with the hiring.
Cycle Around The Whole Island
Cumbrae was made for cycling, and I’m not just saying that…
You won’t find many islands in the world that come in the form of a perfect 10-mile circular cycling route. So get that helmet on and hit the road!
You’ll find a couple of different cycling route options on the island, but the best is just to cycle right the way around.
Clockwise or anti-clockwise?
Well, that’s the big question.
Scott Ferris of Mapes would always recommend going around anti-clockwise. That way, and if you’re starting from the Cumbrae ferry slip, you avoid the ferry traffic that heads straight to the town, and you can relax on the long way around the north and west sides of the island.
This way, you can stop in at the Fintry Bay Cafe halfway(ish) point for an ice cream and a juice, giving you that well-needed, and deserved, energy boost through the final stretch towards Millport town.
If you’re looking for tips for cycling on the island, I’d recommend checking out our full Guide to Cycling Around the Isle of Cumbrae.
Needing to rent a bike? You have the options of Bremner’s Bike Hire, Mapes Cycle Hire, or ‘On Your Bike’ for flexible bike hire that won’t break the bank.
Top Tip: If you’re a group of 3+, why not try the 4-person, QUADRICYCLE!? – it’s some laugh!
The Cumbrae Sensory Trail
The Sensory Trail takes you around Cumbrae’s 10-mile coastline, giving you the opportunity to delight in the island’s nature, wildlife, sandy bays and pebble beaches, sea life, and beautiful scenery.
There are five Sensory Point Markers on the trail where you can just pause in peaceful and calming surroundings. They look like this:
These are at five coastal locations around the Island namely, Farland Point (1), Ballochmartin Bay (2), White Bay (3), Fintry Bay (4), and Sheriff’s Port (5).
With the help of the audio guide below, you can see, taste, smell, touch and listen to aspects of Cumbrae and relax and unwind through this enjoyable and invigorating sensory experience.
You can cycle, walk or drive around the Trail. All markers are near the roadside, apart from Farland Point, which is a short, but level walk.
Look out for the ball at the top of the Sensory Point Markers – touch all five and take with you the gift of luck from the Islanders!
1. Farland Point
2. Ballochmartin Bay
3. White Bay
4. Fintry Bay
5. Sheriff’s Port
The Isle of Cumbrae is home to what was crowned “The Narrowest House in World”.
The front of ‘The Wedge’ only measures 47 inches and it has a place in the Guinness Book of Records for being the narrowest ever recorded home. Well… it did until a house in Warsaw, Poland, named the ‘Keret House’ stole the title in 2008, at 32 inches wide.
So, Millport’s Wedge has now claimed the title of ‘Britain’s Narrowest House’.
The house gets wider as you move towards the back and is uniquely shaped like a wedge of cheese, hence the name.
Despite the tight squeeze, The Wedge boasts beautiful sea views and it’s right in the middle of Millport town – so no complaints on location!
Unfortunately (as it’s someone’s home) you can’t actually go inside, but make sure you keep an eye out for this bizarre, wee house when you’re in town!
The Cathedral of the Isles
Another Guinness Book of Records holder! Well… technically not, but The Cathedral of the Isles is actually the UK’s smallest cathedral – another wee claim to fame. (See what I did there?)
You can find the Cathedral tucked away in the trees just behind the town of Millport. The grounds and building itself are beautiful, so it’s definitely worth the 5-minute stroll up from the shorefront to see.
Across the road, you’ll find the Garrison House which has lovely gardens to walk through, as well as the Cumbrae Community Gardens. You can find a good spot for a picnic here on a nice day!
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.
Fancy yourself as an aspiring David Attenborough? Well, you’re in luck.
The island is a paradise for nature-lovers and wildlife watchers with over 125 species of birds, seal colonies, porpoises, and basking sharks.
Around Cumbrae’s coast it’s quite common to see grey seals and harbour porpoises. If you’re lucky, you may even be lucky to see Minke whales, basking sharks, and common dolphins.
View this post on Instagram
Top Tip: You can often see porpoises from the ferry over to the island, so keep an eye out!
You’ll also see a huge variety of birds around the island’s coast. Around Millport itself it’s you’ll see ducks, oystercatchers, red-breasted mergansers as well as the usual gulls. Just make sure they don’t steal your chips!
A great place for fishing and spotting wildlife is down at Farland Point. Check out how to get there by reading our Best Walking Routes on the Isle of Cumbrae blog.
The Jacks Alt-Stays Experience
You didn’t think we’d leave ourselves out, did you?
At Jacks Alt-Stays, we offer guests our unique ‘Alternative Eco-Cabin Experience’.
Our Eco-cabin concept is the next generation of tourist accommodation in Scotland.
Each cabin comes with its very own theme and story. You can expect clever interior design and a one-of-a-kind artist’s wall mural, created by our good friend and top-class artist, Katie Forbes. Not only this, but we’re creating a totally unique and fully immersive sensory experience.
The Eco-Cabins will be built locally using sustainable materials and will be powered by 100% renewable energy. We’ll also have 10 trees planted for every booking made through our partnership with Ecologi.
Within walking distance from the beachfront and main town, the cabin is the perfect hub for exploring the Isle of Cumbrae and has everything you need to keep entertained. Whether it’s board games or cosy Netflix nights, we’ve got you covered.
We’re launching our cabins at the end of the year! So why not sign-up below to be the first to hear about our plans and free-stay giveaways?
Wee Cumbrae Day Trip Tour
Fancy exploring an uninhabited island? Well…
Clyde Charters have gained permission to land day trip passengers onto the magnificent place that is Wee Cumbrae.
At the moment charters are only setting off from Largs Marina, but we’re currently talking with Clyde Charters to arrange a Millport pick-up!
There are lighthouses, castles, cairns, caves, and abandoned forts. This is a must-see place for hillwalkers, bird spotting, photographers, and all other outdoorsy types.
You’ll also have an opportunity to see lots of amazing wildlife on this tour, including Cumbrae’s own resident dolphin!
Why not read Daniel’s blog about his experience going on the Clyde Charters Voyage.
Golfing on Cumbrae
I challenge you to find a golf course with a better outlook than at the Millport Golf Club. Seriously, what a view:
This special golf course is often described as a ‘hidden gem’ by visiting golfers and it’s one of the best ways to take in the surrounding beauty of the island.
Meander around the well-maintained course as you enjoy stunning views across to the Isle of Arran, Bute, and the Ayrshire coast.
During the summer season, full catering and bar facilities are available. Visitors can also organise catering packages including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Don’t fancy the full 18-holes? Not to worry, there’s always crazy golf on the Millport promenade.
Millport Calender Events
If you’re lucky enough to visit on one of the many event weekends, you’re in for a treat. From the Classic Car event in early May, to the Scooter Rally in late August, these are some pretty unique events you’ll find on Cumbre.
The Island’s flagship event is the Country and Western Music Festival in September where thousands of revelers descend onto the island in fancy dress for live country music, lively bar atmospheres, and fun activities for kids.
Kelburn Castle & Country Centre
Now, technically you won’t find this place on the Island, however, we couldn’t resist adding it to our ‘Unique Things to See & Do’ list.
At Kelburn you can expect woodland walking routes, waterfalls, and a (very) colourful castle. It is great fun for all ages, whether you’re a family looking for a day out, or a couple looking for an adventure.
Grab those walking boots and get ready to explore the wonders of the enchanted forest. Once you’re finished, you can stop off at the on-site café for some food and refreshments.
Check out some of the best things to see and do in Largs.
So, there you have it…
All of the best and most unique things to see and do on Millport, Isle of Cumbrae!
Oh, and lastly. Although we encourage you to get out there and explore, please remember one thing…
…Once you get off that ferry, you’re officially on island time. You’ve arrived on the Isle of Cumbrae, where the clocks run a little slower. Make sure to switch off for a while, enjoy being away from it all, and most importantly, RELAX.
Have a great trip!
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: