If this is your first visit to the Island of Great Cumbrae then a day trip won't be enough to discover the treasures of this little island. If you have the time and budget, stay at least one night, follow my itinerary and you should cover the main attractions. Of course if you have longer then take the chance to relax into Scottish island life.
For easy reading I've split this blog into 2 parts, one for each day.
DAY 1 AM
I recommend a visit to Garrison House as your starting point. The building itself, complete with sunken gardens, is beautiful to look at and it's history and recent renovation provide a fascinating story and insight into the development of Millport. It is free to visit and houses a small museum complete with video and exhibits telling the story of the building and island. There is also a cafe with free WiFi, a craft shop and you can pick up free leaflets and maps here.
One of the top reasons people visit Cumbrae is to cycle around the island and that is why your next stop should be to one of the cycle hire shops in town. At just over 10 miles, with fairly flat terrain and an assortment of bikes for hire, taking off on 2 wheels around the circumference of the island is the perfect way to explore. Cycle hire starts from £2.60 an hour although I would suggest 2 hrs minimum.
As you travel around the island look out for the sensory point markers which encourage you to stop and use all the senses to fully appreciate your surroundings and the gorgeous views. If you touch the ball at the top of all 5 markers it is said you will take the gift of luck from the islanders with you! There is an accompanying audio guide available to download on the website.
Another thing to look out for is the rock features such as indian rock, lion rock and the famous crocodile rock.
After a couple of hours cycling you should be ready for lunch. The Dancing Midge Cafe serves fresh, tasty food and if you grab a stool at the window you get a sea view and binoculars! A friendly place with good service, there is also free WiFi and takeaway can be ordered in advance.
DAY 1 PM
After lunch head up to the Cathedral of the Isles, the smallest Cathedral in Britain and some say Europe. It is free to visit and open every day. This magnificent Gothic style building has all the amazing detail you would expect from a cathedral. just on a smaller scale. It is also possible to stay here which I have done myself.
Enjoy spending some time here, taking a walk around the grounds before getting ready for dinner. My top recommendation for eating out is The Harbour restaurant. Good food, great value, a laid back atmosphere, fresh decor, free WiFi and friendly, efficient service are just some of the reasons I loved this place. During the day it also makes a good coffee and cake stop. You can also BYOB to dinner (there are a couple of places selling alcohol nearby). Not surprisingly this is a popular place and booking is advised, if you can't get booked you could always order takeaway.
After dinner Millport has quite a few pubs to choose from, some offering entertainment so look out for notices in the pub and shop windows or you could always take a stroll along the beach (weather permitting!).before retiring to bed ready for Day 2
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