After a lovely breakfast at Barcaldine Castle, wandering and seeing the sights nearby can work up quite an appetite. When it isn’t time for afternoon tea at the castle, a nice meal out should do the trick … and if your adventures take you to the charming town of Oban, you’ll be spoilt for choice. From a variety of cuisines and a range of prices, we’ve selected 10 tasty places to eat in Oban, to help you find what you fancy.
If there’s one thing Oban does well, it’s fish. From 12:00pm till 7:00pm every day, Oban Fish and Chip Shop has plenty of choice, whether you’re eating in or having a simple chippy takeaway. This popular spot on George Street offers pies, burgers, seafood, vegetarian options, and of course some good old fish ‘n’ chips.
If you’re eating in, most mains on the menu are £8-13 each. Mussels are offered in various styles for £7-15, or you could share a fried seafood platter for two for £38.
This charming chippy has been described as “by far the BEST in town” on TripAdvisor, and we think it’s definitely worth a try.
Located further down George Street, this handsome restaurant and bar’s name is Gaelic for “big ocean”, which certainly matches its fantastic view of Oban Bay.
Open 12:00-10:00pm every day, Cuan Mór’s kitchen uses fresh and locally sourced produce – including, of course, seafood. It also offers gourmet burgers and steak, salads and low-calorie options, and a selection of other very popular dishes.
On the regular menu, most mains are £10-16, and sirloin steaks are £21.
There are also set menus (for functions only), a lunch menu, a gluten-free menu, and more. Cuan Mór also does a Gourmet Burger Night on Wednesdays, Fish & Chip Frydays, and Seafood Saturdays.
Cuan Mór has a well-stocked bar (open 11:00am-late every day) serving the finest local beers, real ales and whiskies, as well as other spirits, wine and cocktails. Meanwhile, their back bar boasts about a hundred single malt and special blend whiskies.
We recommend that you book in advance if you want to sample Cuan Mór’s “excellent food and service” (TripAdvisor), but please note that they only make reservations for parties of 5-8 – for any more than that, it’s best to email.
If you’re not in the mood for seafood and fancy something more exotic, Spice World has what you’re looking for. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Wonderful food! We ate here twice while we were away on holiday in Oban. The food was absolutely superb!”
Even further down George Street, this mix of Indian, Chinese, Thai and Bangladeshi cuisine is up on the first floor, where its view of Oban Bay is clear and uninterrupted – well worth booking a table by the window (but we recommend booking anyway, even if you can’t reserve a window spot).
Spice World is open 12:00-2:00pm, then 5:00-11:00pm, every day, offering its wide range of tasty and spicy dishes along with wine, beer and a full bar. Of its many, many, many main course options, most are £9-12, with rice being about £3.
Tucked away up an alley (John Street) from George Street, this café is described as a “vegan oasis”. It’s a hidden gem for those seeking vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and lactose intolerant options.
Apart from catering to these specific diets for around £12.50-15.50 and offering a wide choice of teas, The Little Potting Shed Café is very allergy-aware, not to mention dog- and child-friendly, making this a safe and inviting place to eat.
Over on the Railway Pier, between the train station and ferry terminal, The Olive Garden is a great place to bring the kids. It offers seafood, risotto, burgers, pasta, pizza, and more.
Most mains come at a wide range of prices of £13-21. A seafood platter comes for £28 while prices vary for lobster specials. Their £7.50 children’s menu includes one of several popular mains with juice and ice cream.
Apart from its “lovely food and friendly service“, The Olive Garden has plenty to drink. It offers a range of European wines, gins and cocktails, as well as mocktails, non-alcoholic beer and cider, and the best coffee in town.
The Olive Garden is open every day: 12:00-2:00pm for lunch, and 5:00pm for dinner (without any rush to finish). There’s plenty of space (though we recommend booking in advance) but, if you prefer not to eat inside this summer, outdoor seating is available 11:00am-10:00pm. A takeaway service is also available for 10% off the menu price.
As one reviewer has said, “looks can be deceptive”. This green shack, located between The Olive Garden and the ferry terminal, is simple and truly about the food. Imagine all the fancy restaurant service stripped away until all that remains is excellent food for a good price.
Open 10:00am till 6:00pm every day, Oban Seafood Hut is popular for serving the freshest seafood, expertly prepared and delicious, in cheap but large portions. It has a range of prices, from a £3.50 prawn cocktail to a £29.95 grand platter for two (including lobster).
Another TripAdvisor reviewer said, “It’s your own fault if you miss this place.” This seafood hut is open 10:00am-6:00pm every day. There’s no booking – you just turn up, order your seafood, grab a spot at the table, and enjoy.
Named the phonetic Gaelic for “fish”, fish is what Ee-Usk, the Seafood Restaurant of the Year, does best. It serves fresh, locally caught fish and shellish, simply cooked to keep their naturally delicious taste. Meanwhile, its floor-to-ceiling windows give its guests a clear view over the bay from the North Pier.
Open 12:00-3:00pm and 5:30-8:00pm every day, Ee-Usk offers a lunch / early evening set menu (3 courses for £19) 12:00-1:00pm and 5:30-6:15pm. Its à-la-carte mains are normally £13-24, or a grand platter for two is £115, including lobster, crab, king scallops, fishcakes, and more.
Ee-Usk is normally so busy that we recommend booking in advance. Also please note that children under 12 are not allowed in the evening so, if you have little ones, be sure to go for lunch instead – it will be worth it.
Right beside Ee-Usk on the North Pier, this tasty Italian also offers an excellent view of the bay. It offers a selection of pasta and pizza 10:00am-3:00pm and 5:30-9:00pm.
Its Italian food and burgers are cooked to order with fine ingredients, with most mains priced at £8-13. “Lovely food, reasonably priced!” said one TripAdvisor reviewer.
As well as food, Piazza has a range of wines, by glass or by bottle. If you’re not stopping for a meal, it offers coffee and snacks from 10:00am. If you’re looking to dine, however, please don’t forget to book.
Right in the middle of George Street, in a pretty former bank building, Coast Restaurant is described as the “best restaurant in Oban”.
Apart from fish and shellfish, Coast serves meat and poultry, vegetables and herbs, all of which are locally sourced. Its mains are £17-21 (or a sirloin steak £24.50 / fillet steak £30), although its menu changes seasonally, so be sure to check it out.
Coast is open for lunch 12:00-3:00pm Monday-Saturday and for dinner 5:30-10:30pm every day. We recommend that you book in advance; please note that children under 10 aren’t allowed in after 7pm and must leave by 8pm.
Last but not least, we had to finish on one of Oban’s fishiest places. On the Railway Pier, between The Olive Garden and the ferry terminal, the Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant is up on the first floor. It has a wonderful view of the bay and lots of fish to match!
At 12:00-2:00pm and 5:30-9:00pm every day, Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant has plenty to choose from. It has a regular menu of fresh seafood and a non-seafood selection, as well as a gluten-free menu. The fishhouse’s Lunch and Early Evening Menu (12:00-2:00pm and 5:30-6:45pm) offers a starter and main for £16.99.
Its regular mains, on the other hand, are all £12-22, except for its £22.99 sirloin steak. However, its menu changes at least semi-annually, so please check it out on their website. It’s also best to book in advance and to email for parties larger than six, but we think it’s definitely worth it.
We hope something jumps out for you to try on your next trip to Oban. Wherever you end up eating, whether it be one of our 10 Tasty Places to Eat in Oban or not, be sure to let us know on our Facebook page!
With a multitude of regular boat tours departing from Oban every day, our guests often love the adventure that Oban island hopping brings. Here’s why exploring the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides is so rewarding:
Kerrera, the closest island to Oban, is just 7km long and about 2km in width and its beautiful landscape and quiet roads make it a haven for cyclists and walkers. A ferry from Oban can get you to the island treat in a matter of minutes, making it perfect for guests at our castle who love cycling and walking against stunning backdrops. You can also see Gylen Castle while you’re there!
Lismore is home to otters, seals and numerous birds making it a slice of heaven for animal and avian lovers. At ten miles long, the island is suitable for being explored on bike or foot, though there are limited car spaces on the car ferry from Oban which leaves every hour. Alternatively, you could take the ten-minute journey on the passenger ferry from Port Appin.
The Inner Hebrides island of Staffa in Argyll and Bute is famous for its awesome deep caves and spectacular basalt columns, which are best to visit in the morning. There are many opportunities to venture deep inside the incredibly symmetric and mighty 227-foot Fingals Cave on tours when the weather permits.
With the ferry journey from Oban to Mull taking a convenient 40 minutes you can discover the ‘ancient clan castle’ of Duart with its 13th century keep in no time. Better yet, you can catch traditional and charming events at the castle all year round. The Isle of Mull is also known as ‘Scotland’s Eagle Island’ for its large sea eagle population. You can find tips for bird watching on the island here.
The Isle of Iona is often heralded as a beacon of Christianity. On the small isle you can admire the 13th – 16th century architecture of the Abbey’s church, explore St Oran’s Chapel, which according to folklore is the lasting resting place of Scottish Kings, and feast your eyes on St Columba’s Shrine, built in the 9th/10th century and still standing!
Note: Staffa Tours offer a popular tour of all three island treasures, Mull, Iona and Staffa, from Oban encompassing the magnificent Fingal’s Cave, Iona’s historic abbey and the soaring sea eagles circling over Mull.
Another unique Inner Hebrides Island near Oban is the Isle of Coll. A tranquil nature retreat and sparsely populated, Coll’s beaches boast remarkably high and distinctive sand dunes, some of which can reach impressive heights of up to 35 metres! As well as beaches, you can treat yourself to climbing, sailing, kayaking and golf by day and star gazing at night, since there are no streetlights on the island, the Dark Sky is as dazzling as it is twinkling! The ferry journey departing from Oban to Coll takes just over two and a half hours.
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
– Henry James (1843-1916) said in his book “The Portrait of a Lady”, published in 1881 and we couldn’t agree more!
Quintessentially English, the tradition of enjoying dainty sandwiches, delectable scones and piping hot tea from lovely teapots and china cups and saucers is thanks to the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna getting hungry around 4:00pm most days back in 1840. The routine in her household was that the main evening meal was served late at 8:00pm, leaving a long time between midday lunch and dinner. The peckish Duchess would often request that a tray laden with bread, butter, cake and tea be brought to her during the late afternoon. After forming the luxury habit, she started welcoming friends to partake in Afternoon Tea with her.
Making time for Afternoon Tea soon caught on and quickly became a trendy social event to participate in. The upper-class and stylish-society women of the 1880s ended up donning their most fashionable gloves, hats and dresses for their Afternoon Tea, which they savoured while chatting with their peers in the drawing room, between 4:00 and 5:00pm most afternoons.
Of course, in today’s world, anyone can have fun with a luxury Afternoon Tea. And they don’t need to be ‘posh’ or extremely wealthy and dressed up to do so! In fact, we offer a scrumptious Afternoon Tea here at Barcaldine Castle (£21pp) next to our roaring fire, ideal if you’ve spent the day out and about in the areas and attractions local to our beautiful castle.
It’s mentally rewarding and essential that we take time out of our hectic schedules, away from screens and stress, and take time to unwind and reflect. The tea and sweet bites are a happy bonus!
Good friendships and relationships only remain strong if they are kept well maintained. What better excuse for meeting and catching up with a few friends than sharing some delicious light snacks?!
When broken down, the custom is basically eating a meal to keep your energy levels up, giving a boost to your productivity, concentration levels and mood. “Afternoon Tea” simply adds to the delight and charm.
If you opt to indulge in Afternoon Tea at Barcaldine Castle, we’ll treat you to our Locally Sourced Smoked Salmon, with Cream Cheese on Farmhouse Bread as one of the tasty choices.
Again, if Barcaldine Castle is your choice of Afternoon Tea venue, ethical and healthy options such as Free Range Egg and Fresh Watercress on Brown Bread and Chicken & Rocket Sandwiches on Granary Bread are available.
Do you want to indulge in Afternoon Tea? Book your slot at Barcaldine Castle by calling us today on +44 (0) 1631 720598.
It’s all very well coming to stay in one of our elegant and traditional castle rooms, but rooms are just for sleeping in. That’s why throughout February and March we will be sharing our favourite local places to visit and things to do in Oban and Argyll to give you even more reason to book a stay in the breathtakingly and picturesque areas surrounding Barcaldine Castle. Here is Part 1 of our recommendations…
Argyll Pottery is a unique and quality local craft, gift and specialty shop selling a range of pottery that’s made in the workshop located behind the shop by the owner! The handmade pottery is mainly for domestic use and comes in 3 different finishing styles. The pottery on sale is useable and decorative, whilst being reasonably priced!
With all kinds of pots, cups, goblets, candle holders, plates and dishes, as well as woodworked trinkets and gifts, you’re unlikely to find the likes of these anywhere else.
There is lots of room for parking and it is wheelchair accessible. It’s a 5-minute drive from us at Barcaldine Castle – or if you’re up for it, it’s a 2-mile walk!
It’s a must-see when visiting the West-Coast of Scotland that’s open 10am until 5:30pm!
So why not visit Argyll Pottery and buy yourself a lovely hand-made piece of pottery as a reminder of your wonderful trip to Barcaldine!?
Less than ten minutes’ drive from Barcaldine Castle, Beinn Lora is only 308 meters high, but guarantees a wonderful view. There are two trails that are most popular for strenuous workouts for local hill runners, however, they also provide access to the hill path leading to the steep grassy summit of Beinn Lora.
The two trails are:
Coastal Climb Trail – which is a short, yet steep hillside climb that provides sea views across Tralee Bay and the Lynn or Lorn.
Online it is described as: “Wide, firm but uneven gravel and earth surface. Long steep slopes with some loose sections”. The trail is around 1 mile or 1.8km so allow at least 3/4 of an hour!
Eagle’s Eyrie Trail – which is a steep, yet spectacular trail that provides bird’s eye view of Mull, the Lynn of Lorne, Lismore, the Ardnamurchan peninsula and the hills north of Appin!
According to the website, the trail features “Long steep slopes for 500m. Wide, fire gravel and stone surface with some uneven and loose sections”. The trail is around 2 miles or 3.3km so allow at least an hour and a half for this trek!
The trails are suitable for fit and experienced walkers and the routes are not signposted, so a map and compass will be necessary!
Castle Stalker is originally believed to have been the site of a Fortalice (a small fortified building) and dates back to the 14th century!
This four-story tower house is set on a tidal islet on Loch Laich. The castle is privately owned; however, they do run a limited number of tours each year, which can be arranged by appointment. Tours are subject to weather conditions.
Opening dates for tours of the castle are to cover most of the season from April to October. There will be a maximum of one tour per day, which will include the trip over the water to the castle in their new boat and a personal guided tour of the castle provided by a member of the Stewart Allward family who are the present owners of the Castle.
Please note that the new boat has seating for up to 12 passengers and, therefore the size of each tour is limited to that number. You should allow up to two hours for the tour, including the boat trips.
The Castle is situated in Appin on the A828 between Ballachulish and Connel just north of Oban, just a quick 15-minute drive from us at Barcaldine Castle!
“The greatest railway journey in the world.”
The Jacobite is a steam locomotive hauled tourist train service that operates over part of the West Highland Railway Line, Scotland.
This 84-mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain, it then visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis!
A steam train journey from Fort William to Mallaig taking in the some of the most breath-taking scenery in Scotland, the journey includes the Glenfinnan viaduct of “Harry Potter” fame and runs from May till late October.
Please note: Your ride on The Jacobite must be booked ahead especially during peak season!
The Dunollie Castle, Grounds and Museum is open from 1st April – 28th October 2018. There you can enjoy a 1745 House Museum, Castle Ruin, Drapers Shop, Kettle Garden Café, Weaving Shed and Woodlands!
For the months April and October, they are open Monday – Saturday 10am ‘til 4pm and Sunday 12pm ‘til 4pm, with the last entry being at 3:30pm. During the remaining months from May to September, they are open Monday – Saturday 10am ‘til 5pm and Sunday 12pm ‘til 5pm, with the last entry being at 4:30pm.
With it only being a 20-minute drive from us at Barcaldine Castle, why not go visit!?
Dunollie Museum, Castle & Grounds,
Check back next month to our blog for Part 2 of our guide of things to do and see when you stay at Barcaldine Castle!
Castles by their very nature hold mysteries and, as one of the only ancient castles on the mainland open on a B&B basis, our very own Barcaldine Castle is bound to have some shadowy secrets of its own. With a friendly and memorable accommodation service – it would almost be a crime not to stay and discover the thrills of the 400-year-old castle!
According to a public survey conducted in 2013, many visitors to the castle believe it to be haunted – possibly by the ghost of Donald Campbell, Laird of Barcaldine, since he was violently murdered in the castle in the 17th century by Stewart of Appin during the Massacre of Glencoe, one of the most notorious massacres in Scotland’s rich and colourful past.
Victim Donald is the brother of the castle’s founder Sir Duncan Campbell, who built the ‘Black Castle’ between 1601 and 1609. Legend states that murdered Donald continued to haunt his brother Sir Duncan, as punishment for sheltering Stewart of Appin, his murderer, at his home in Inverawe, where Appin had fled after murdering Donald. Poor Sir Duncan didn’t even know his brother had passed away, so unbeknownst to him sheltered his brother’s killer. By the time he had wised up, it was too late, the murderous Stewart of Appin had fled once again!
Donald Campbell reportedly haunts Barcaldine Castle out of pure frustration at the injustice he suffered. Guests often tell tales of The Caithness Room being haunted, with sightings of Donald’s ghost featuring heavily in their stories. Many who have slept on the right side of the king-sized bed in The Caithness Room claim that they experienced feeling pressure on their back or legs as though someone was sitting on them! Others allege that odd lights have moved around the room at night, with no clear explanation as to how they got there.
The TripAdvisor survey may have been carried out in 2013, but many are still tempted to find out if Campbell’s ghost still roams the rooms and halls – are you?!
The castle may have wi-fi access and modern facilities but rooms such as The Breadalbane Room retain their traditional charm, boasting a super king-sized four-poster bed commissioned in 1898. Meanwhile, The Lochnell Room features an impressive 17th century Jacobean four poster double bed that is complemented by other period furniture.
Ornate, open roaring fireplaces, antique furnishings and paintings and even a secret staircase ensure the historic feel of Barcaldine isn’t just restricted to the bedrooms but embodies the entirety of the castle!
With secret spiralling staircases, a sinister bottle dungeon and being nestled in the stunning mountains of Glencoe boasting picturesque views, Argyll’s Black Castle is now available to be used as a backdrop for film and TV shows as of 2018. If you’re a movie fan, why not visit the castle to say you’ve been to what will no doubt promise to be an iconic film location in years to come?
Whether you’re a ghost hunter, film and TV fan or history buff, we’d be surprised if you weren’t intrigued by what Barcaldine Castle has to offer. To book your stay visit our Reservations page.