Three of the largest villages on Arran are on the east coast of the island, comprising Brodick, Lamlash and Whiting Bay.
Brodick, meaning ‘broad bay’ from its Norse roots Breiðvík, is the largest village, overlooked by Arran’s highest peak Goat Fell and the first place visitors see when the embark from the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Ardrossan. Like the rest of the island, Brodick is a popular holiday destination and a good base for hill-walking.
There are many family-owned and independent hotels, restaurants, shops, bed and breakfast establishments, guest houses and outdoor activities.
There is also a brewery, a sports and leisure complex and an 18-hole golf course. And of course there’s the National Trust for Scotland-owned Brodick Castle, the previous seat of the Duke of Hamilton where there has been a fortress of some sort or another since the fifth century. As well as the castle, there’s walled garden dating from 1710 which has been restored as a Victorian garden. The country park surrounding the castle has trails, woodlands, waterfalls, gorges, wildlife ponds and more.
Lamlash is Arran’s second largest village, just three miles from Brodick and looks out to the Holy Isle, owned by the Samye Ling Buddhist Community, who belong to the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. It has the bigger population as well as the only secondary school and hospital on Arran.
Lamlash also is home to a variety of hotels, restaurants and bed and breakfast establishments. Entertainment abounds all year round, including the arts festival, open studios, Santa’s Sparkle, musical festival and more. Lamlash Bay itself is popular with sailors and a haven for outdoor activities.
Another three miles south from Lamlash is the picturesque Whiting Bay, thought to have derived from ‘Viking Bay’. It is the third largest village on Arran, and a good place for some easy walking with everything from the Glenashdale Falls and the Giants Graves’ within easy walking distance – and a golf course too! While there are many more magical spots to discover on Arran, these three villages are a good place to start.
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