CalMac Island Bites - Discovering the Firth of Clyde one bite at a time!
We are spoiled for choice when it comes to fantastic food and drink on the west coast of Scotland, from your traditional ice cream parlours and good old Scottish chippies to upmarket waterside Bistros and 5 star Restaurants - there's something for everyone!
For the August edition of CalMac Island Bites we focus on the Firth of Clyde Region which is home to some of the most accessible islands and peninsulas in Scotland.
Romantically named 'Scotland in miniature', Arran offers a truly Scottish experience in one easy to get to location. Less than an hour's sail from Ardrossan - Brodick, or less than 30mins crossing from Claonaig - Lochranza, you can easily enjoy the splendour of Arran Food and Drink over a weekend. Although don't be put off- there is plenty to keep you busy for an entire holiday with the kids too.
This award winning Creamery is set within the former Home Farm of Brodick Castle, less than 2 miles from the Brodick ferry terminal. You can watch the artisan cheese makers at work, and sample the results before buying your preferred cheese in the small shop.
While at Home Farm visit the Creelers Smokehouse, Restaurant and Shop. They offer a selection of fresh, local smoked fish and shellfish. They use a mixture of Arran Scotch Pine and wood shavings from old whisky casks to create smoke which gives a distinctive taste of Scotland.
One of the few remaining Independent Distilleries on Scotland's west coast, the Isle of Arran Distillery is proudly traditional, using wooden washbacks and copper stills to produce a fresh and unique island style whisky.
Small, but perfectly positioned for a day trip, Cumbrae is a short 10-minute ferry sailing from Largs on the west coast mainland. The island is 10.25 miles around - perfect for a family cycling day out - and is packed full of delicious places to relax and refuel.
The Ritz Café, Millport
This retro Millport institution is famed for its ice cream cones and selection of traditional sweetie jars, and has been loved by locals and visitors alike for years. Pop in for an ice cream, a bag of penny sweeties, or one of their famous ice cream floats.
A central hub for the island, Garrison House is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Cumbrae island culture. With both an island Museum and a lovely Courtyard Café serving soup, sandwiches and home baking you are sure to enjoy a leisurely lunch after a walk or cycle along the Victorian promenade.
With two ferry services running to Bute, one from Wemyss Bay - Rothesay (35mins) and the other from Colintraive - Rhubodach (5mins), this versatile island is very accessible making it perfect for short breaks or family days out. The island 'capital' Rothesay has a lot of food and drink offerings to offer families, couples, locals and visitors in equal measure.
This centrally set family restaurant is ideal for a delicious lunch or dinner out for the whole family. The menu is extensive offering baguettes, hand cut chips and larger meal options to suit every appetite. Their Knickerbocker Glory is a firm favourite among local children too! Boasting excellent service, and reasonable prices this is one new Rothesay institution not to miss.
Bute Produce, located in Rothesay, is a community garden that is dedicated to growing local produce for the island. Operating across 6 acres, they plan to introduce an orchard and have recently opened the Veg Shack which sells the locally grown produce at reasonable prices. This is the perfect place to visit for the environmentally minded local or visitor alike.
Found on the eastern coast of Bute, this neo-Gothic mansion epitomises Victorian grandeur. Stop in for a walk in the walled gardens, a tour of the house, and a delicious lunch in the Courtyard Tea Room. They serve freshly made soup, delicious salads and sandwiches, as well as sweet treats between March and October. See the Mount Stuart website for more details.
The stunning Cowal peninsula is known as 'Argyll's Secret Coast' and boasts an exceptional array of restaurants and bistros, most of which are hidden away along these coastlines for food lovers to discover. To experience this region in its entire food loving glory try the ready-made Cowal Food Trail - this can be found on the Visit Cowal website.
For information on timetabled sailings to each of the destinations above, visit our Timetables & fares section. If it's another region you'd like to explore visit our Destinations section to see each of the 24 destinations that CalMac Ferries sail to.
Stay tuned for the September edition of Island Bites where we'll help you discover some of the local favourites in Skye and Raasay.