Things To Do In Dunoon

Dunoon is a small town but there is plenty for tourists to enjoy.

Local Area  ♦  Heritage  ♦  Activities  ♦  Culture  ♦  Food 

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Looking toward West Bay and Castle House, with the hills of Strone in the distance.
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A view of Castle Gardens, Castle House and Queen's Hall from Castle Hill.
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Looking north up Loch Striven from near Inverchaolain

Dunoon originally became a thriving tourist town because of its temperate climate, natural beauty and easy access from Glasgow. Nowadays it has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We have plenty to offer – even Mediterranean weather if you come at the right time of year – although it’s probably best to pack an umbrella just in case!

Tourists and locals alike enjoy recreational walks in timelessly beautiful spots like Bishop’s Glen or Puck’s Glen, and there are forestry trails and pilgrim routes further afield if you’re feeling adventurous – or have a particularly enthusiastic dog!

Nearby you can enjoy Kilmun Arboretum, Benmore Botanic Gardens (and their lovely cafe), scuba dive to explore ruined vessels with Wreckspeditions, join a quad-biking adventure with Quadmania, peruse the Art Gallery at Dunoon Burgh Hall, or enjoy live music in the Queen’s Hall.

Argyll Street (the main high street) and nearby Hillfoot street are full of independent shops where you can find everything from handmade candles to a new novel and plenty of Dunoon themed gifts.

If you would rather be sightseeing than shopping, then we recommend you head south for Toward Lighthouse, which has great views over the Firth of Clyde to Bute and Largs. Then push on to Inverchaolain, which has great views over Loch Striven, often visited by Navy warships. Alternatively, take a drive through Argyll’s Secret Coast over to Tighnabruaich.


Argyll & Bute: Rich In History

Cowal Peninsula and the surrounding area boasts historic significance and architectural heritage stretching back to Neolithic Times.

Local Area  ♦  Heritage  ♦  Activities  ♦  Culture  ♦  Food 

Dunoon and Cowal are rich in history, which of course is the very reason our museum exists! If you are a keen historian, or simply want to learn more about the area, then there is an abundance of options to tempt you after you leave Castle House Museum.

Historic Kilmun is only a short drive away, situated on the shore of Holy Loch. During open hours you can explore the Visitor Centre and the Campbell Mausoleum for a small fee, with the option of a free guided tour. Outwith those hours, you can wander around the ancient graveyards, admire the architecture and make use of the excellent interpretation boards.

Laird’s Grave is just north of Kilmun, in Ardentinny. There is a short walk along a forestry trail to this peaceful spot marking the remains of Archibald Douglas, who died in 1860.

Toward is a small hamlet on the south tip of the Cowal peninsula, just 15 mins drive away from us. It boasts two historic castles in its vicinity: Castle Toward and Toward Castle. The former is a 19th century stately home designed by David Hamilton, the same architect responsible for Castle House itself, so the Gothic crenulations will feel familiar (it’s been privately sold recently, so you may have to admire from a distance); and the latter is an atmospheric, ruined 15th century tower with a 16th century courtyard – the ancestral home of Clan Lamont.

All of the above can be visited using the 489 bus service, which departs from the ferry terminal opposite Castle House, so if you didn’t bring a car, don’t let that put you off.

Further afield, there’s Strachur Smiddy, Ardkinglas Estate, Old Castle Lachlan, Inveraray Jail and Auchindrain Township to name but a few.

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Kilmun Church, behind which lies the Campbell Mausoleum
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Daffodils blooming in springtime at Castle Toward
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Old Castle Lachlan and nearby Kilmorie Ruins are steeped in history


The Hills Are Alive

Whether it is walking, fell running, mountain biking or water-based; Dunoon and Cowal are full of opportunities for adventure.

Local Area  ♦  Heritage  ♦  Activities  ♦  Culture  ♦  Food