Bute is a pretty little island about 15 miles long and less than 5 miles wide just off the west coast of southern Scotland. It is very easy to reach from Glasgow and was a popular holiday destination during Victorian times when the Clyde was booming.
It still has much to offer with hills in the north, lots of sandy beaches, ruined chapels and forts, yachting, fishing, etc. There are 3 golf courses, located at Rothesay, Kingarth, Port Bannatyne. Bute’s many gardens benefit from the Gulf Stream which gives the island a mild climate enabling palm trees and other exotic plants to grow here. One of the main visitor attractions is the spectacular Mount Stuart House which is definitely worth a trip.
Bute sits on the Highland Boundary Fault, marked by Loch Fad, which almost cuts right across the island, so you will see a distinct difference in the landscape north and south of this point. For the best view of the island – go to Canada Hill.
Annual events on Bute include: Jazz Festival (end April/early May), Folk Festival (July), Agricultural Show (August) and the Open Bowling Tournament (August). The Bute Highland Games take place in August (first began here in August 1947).
How to get to Bute
The main way to access the island is to get the ferry from Wemyss Bay which is a short car or train ride north from Glasgow. The ferry usually runs over a dozen times throughout the day during the summer season and there is no need to book a ticket in advance. This crossing from the mainland only takes 30 minutes. Day Saver tickets are available in the summer covering one car and up to 4 people. It costs 1 pound to take your bike on the ferry.
You can take a shorter crossing – only 5 minutes – from Colintraive on the Cowal Peninsula to Rhubodach near the northern tip of Bute, about 8 miles from Rothesay. The ferry just goes backwards and forwards all day long crossing the Kyles of Bute. Bikes are carried free on this ferry. You can buy cheap Day Saver tickets for a car and up to 4 people valid during the summer.
You can also visit the Isle of Bute via the ferry from the Isle of Arran. For the summer, this boat ran from Rothesay to Brodick on the Isle of Arran on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from mid-May to end September. Times may be similar for the current schedule. Vehicle reservation required.
Caledonian MacBrayne: Tel: 01475 650 100 / fax: 01475 635 235 or for vehicle reservations telephone 0990 650 000.
Argyll & Bute Bus Timetables
Isle of Bute Tourist Information Centre
The Winter Garden
Isle of Bute
Tel:+44 (8707) 200619
Fax:+44 (1700) 505156