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Bank holiday getaways - day trips and short breaks

trio taking a selfie on board

2024 is a good year for bank holidays, and a few of them are just around the corner. If you're looking for ways to spend them wisely, we have some fantastic ideas for you.


A trip to the isle of Gigha is perfect for a short break or a day trip with a difference. The most southerly of the Hebrides, it's just a 20-minute ferry journey from Tayinloan on Kintyre. There's plenty to draw you into this wee slice of paradise, including the island's beautiful 'twin beaches' at the north end of the island - fine white sands, clear turquoise waters and a beautiful view out to Jura. Gigha also offers some of the best food on the west coast - beautiful produce with a glorious backdrop. Make sure you try the Smoked Gigha Halibut, reared on the island and ice cream from the Wee Isle Dairy. Devine.

Get your Gigha ferry details

The Boathouse, Isle of Gigha

Ferry to the Firth of Clyde

The Firth of Clyde boasts many shorter ferry trips - taking in Arran, Bute, Cumbrae and Cowal & Dunoon. Choose between them for a perfect day trip or build an itinerary to take you around the entire area, hopping from one island to another, over a longer break.

First stop Arran Sail to Arran from Ardrossan in less than an hour. The island is so geographically diverse, it's often referred to as 'Scotland in Miniature' - thanks to its mixes of beaches and bays, mountains, and moorland.

Beautiful Bute can be reached from Wemyss Bay or Colintraive - you can reach the island in 35 or 5 minutes respectively, yet you'll feel like you've travelled further. the island is renowned for its fantastic, sheltered beaches and its famously grand architecture. Catch views of Arran from Scalpsie Bay or enjoy the wide sandy beach of Ettrick Bay.

Head over to from Bute or take the frequent passenger service from Gourock to Cowal & Dunoon - the Cowal Peninsula offers you a taste of the Highlands. Do make time to visit the memorable Benmore Botanic Garden - a 120 acre mountainside garden, with avenues of conifer trees of incredible stature, and plants from the Orient, Himalayas, as well as North and South America - all on our doorstep in Argyll.

The Isle of Cumbrae, also known as Great Cumbrae is just a few minutes' sail from Largs. At just 4 miles long and 2 miles wide, it's perfect for a spot of walking or cycling around the 10 mile circular loop, or up and over the top taking in some stunning coastal views.

Benmore Gardens

Mull, Iona and Staffa

Mull, Iona and Staffa - this short break is an island hat-trick in the making. Sail to Mull from Oban or add to the adventure by journeying to the stunning Ardnamurchan peninsula, where you can take the ferry to Mull from Lochaline or Kilchoan. Mull is renowned for its wildlife - while it's never guaranteed, the waters around the island are a good place to spot Minke whales - and sometimes orca, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks. From Mull you can take a trip to the 'magic isle' of Staffa - home to Fingal's cave composed of towering hexagonal columns. It's a beautiful sight. From May to August, a colony of puffins choose to breed here, a sight which is just as memorable as the cave. Iona also lies off Mull's coast - a peaceful and tranquil spot, surrounded in spectacular sandy beaches, and home to Iona Abbey. Measuring just one and a half miles wide and 3 miles long, this tiny island has a huge place in Scottish and European history.

Take a look at Mull ferry options

Small Isles

The magic starts with a trip along the Road to the Isles, bound for Mallaig. Stop off at Glenfinnan (either by rail or road). It's a beautiful spot - with a monument to the aforementioned Bonnie Prince Charlie. High up on the hill is the railway viaduct, made famous by Harry Potter's annual railway journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Set sail for the Small Isles from the port of Mallaig. On Eigg you'll find the mighty An Sgurr, remnants of an ancient volcano which will give you fabulous views from the top. The island is an excellent lesson in reducing our carbon footprint, boasting the first wind, water, and sun-powered electricity grid in the world. It's a wildlife paradise with 130 different types of birds being spotted in a typical year. Summer months bring visits from whales and dolphins, and the beaches offer fascinating rock formations.

Book your journey now.

An Sgurr


Bank Holidays

Make the most of this bumper bank holiday year. Short breaks. Day trips. We'll help you spend your time wisely here on the west coast.

Good FridayFriday 29nd March
Easter MondayMonday 1st April
Early MayMonday 6th May
SpringMonday 27th May
Summer (Scotland)Monday 5th August
Summer (England and Wales) Monday 26th August
St Andrew's Day (Scotland)Monday 2nd December
Christmas DayWednesday 25th December
Boxing DayThursday 26th December


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