The Isle of Bute is your stepping stone into the magically mysterious and alluringly beautiful west-coast highlands of Scotland.

The convenience of Bute isle is that you can catch a train from Glasgow Central Station or Airport and, with a short ferry ride, be in the centre of Rothesay (with Highlander House a few hundred metres away).

And the island has so much to offer. Your own road transportation is not necessary. Local bus service or the hop-on-off sight-seeing bus will get you to every accessible part of this extraordinary island.

From Highlander House, with such easy walking access to the charming old-town centre, your options are wide open.

Downtown shops

An eclectic range of shops and stores await you downtown...from bigger branded stores like SuperDrug, family owned and run stores like Bute Tools (love their motto "if we haven't got it, you don't need it!") and one-of-a-kind wee shops offering what no-one else does.

Grocer - Jesmay's on Bishop Street is a local treasure

Supermarkets - little Co-op off Guildford Square, Big Co-op in Bridge Street, Londis in Montague Street

Visitors' Centre and Gardens

An extraordinary and impressive Visitors' Centre, immerse yourself in the history and geography of Bute, and perhaps even watch a movie in the wee cinema at The Isle of Bute Discovery Centre.

Geologically, Bute is split in half by the Highland Boundary Fault, a tectonic land shift that occurred 400-520 million years ago and which effectively created the split between Scotland's Highlands and Lowlands

In Rothesay's Winter Gardens you have the opportunity to walk under a quaint arch that ceremonially has you enter the Scottish Highlands (or Lowlands) depending upon which way you enter and depart the arch.

Rothesay Castle

Rothesay's moat-surrounded castle

Surprisingly good displays. Essential to understanding the history of Rothesay and the Isle of Bute, and the interconnection with the isle's Stuart family and Mount Stuart

The Museum

Excellent treasure trove of local fascinations and history. Well worth a visit.


So many characterful pubs, of which our favourites, within a 10 minute walk, are:

The Galatea Bar in Castle Street,

the Golfers Bar, with it's exquisite heritage-listed interior, in East Princes Street (a few hundred yards from Highlander House), and even closer...

The Black Bull Inn. Pop in for a pint of Jarl (voted Champion Beer of Scotland 2022 by the Campaign for Real Ale) and a hearty, delicious selection of meals.

...Summer's Bay Hotel bar and terrace, where friends David and Amy provide a convivial experience, especially on a beautiful summer day or balmy evening

Attractions further afield...

even if you have your own transportation, we highly recommend City Sightseeing Bute Hop-on Hop-off Bus. You get a great view, the freedom to hop on and off around the Isle of Bute and a fun and extremely knowledgeable guided tour.

Alternatively, there is our local West Coast Motors bus service...or even e-bike hire from Bike Bute.

Mount Stuart

The incredible stately home - Mount Stuart

Simply one of the world's most astonishing houses and fully reflecting the wealth of its creator, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, whose annual income, at the time, was reputedly one third the UK's entire GDP! The interior is a triumph in the use of marble and captivates with its whimsical and fun zodiac stained glass windows and night-starred vaulted ceiling. Definitely the number one Isle of Bute attraction.

St Blane's

With it's elevated location and magnificent view of the Isle of Arran, you'll understand why this was such a spiritual location for a monastery. The ruins are a well worth a visit and, on route, you get to pass one of Bute Isle's prehistoric standing stones sites.

Ettrick Bay

End of the line for the old tramway (now a walking path) and now end of the line for the bus services. Stroll along this popular beach and enjoy a meal at the Ettrick Bay Tearoom.

Scalpsie Bay

One of our favourite beaches and one that never fails us for seal sightings.

Essential Services

Post Office at the Londis supermarket in Montague Street

Doctors' surgery and Hospital in High Street

Pharmacies: Lloyds in Montague Street and Victoria Street

Police Scotland: in High Street

Bus service: West Coast Motors with its main central stop off Guildford Square


Isle of Bute Taxis

McBrides Taxis Rothesay

The map below shows the location of Highlander House and Rothesay central attractions