At the top of the Clyde estuary north of Arran lies the lovely Island of Bute, with its main town of Rothsay. Bute is about fifteen miles in length and not quite five miles wide at its widest point. The Island is nearly split in its centre by Loch Fad. The Isle of Bute has been a popular destination for day trippers and those staying longer since the Victorian Era, and its not hard to see why when you visit.
The main population centre of Bute is the town of Rothesay where there is the ferry terminal. Ferries from Wemys Bay, south of Gourock and take about 35 minutes can be taken to here. If you do not have a car there is a very good rail link from Glasgow to Wemyss bay. There is also a ferry link to Colintrive on the Cowal Peninsula at the North of the Island. Bute hosts many events throughout the year such as the very successful Jazz festival. This is also a very special place to experience a highland games or perhaps an agricultural show.
One of the big attractions on Bute is Mount Stuart, probably one of the most magical stately homes in the UK. This exquisite house is set in three hundred acres of Gardens, probably one of Europe's best. The house and gardens are open Sunday to Friday inclusive.
The current house was built from the ashes of the a previous building which was destroyed by fire in 1877. The current building was designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson and is a grand palace with lavish architecture and can be used for weddings or corporate functions. A very exclusive setting indeed.
The island became very popular with the Victorians however there have been people living on this island for at least five thousand years as can be seen from the excellent standing stones at St Ninians Bay, and the vitrified fort at Dunagoil bay. Rothesay castle was built about 800 years ago and is a magnificent example of a circular design of Battlements. It was particularly effective in the defence against the Viking landings however in later years fell to the Duke of Argyll in 1685 when it was sacked and burned. It has been substantial restored over the last century and is one of Bute's primary attractions after Mount Stuart.