Oban

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Oban is a town in Argyll and Bute. It is known as the Seafood & Sea Kayaking Capital of Scotland and probably the whole of Europe It is also shopping and drinking capital of the west coast of Scotland, and home to the excellent whisky of that name. Ferries run from here to Mull, Colonsay, Kerrera, Lismore, Islay, Coll, Tiree and the Outer Hebrides. Hence the tag Gateway to the Isles.

(There is also an Oban in New Zealand: a village on Stewart Island.)

Oban Harbour from McCaig's Folly
Sunset at Oban looking towards the islands of Kerrara and Mull

Understand[edit]

Culture[edit]

  • Alan Warner's [1]. (best known for Morvern Callar - a novel made into a film - and The Man Who Walked) novels tell the story of everyday Oban life, and how better to describe Oban than in the words of the bard himself.

Get in[edit]

By Boat[edit]

  • Caledonian MacBrayne, [2]. The national ferry service. In summer there are car ferries to Mull (daily 5-7 times per day, takes 45 minutes), Lismore (Mon - Sat 3-4 per day, 50 minutes), Coll and/or Tiree (5 per week, 3–4 hours), Colonsay (5 per week, 2.5 hours), Barra (daily, 5+ hours)and Lochboisdale on South Uist (4 per week, 5+ hours), from the modern ferry terminal next to the station. Services in winter are slightly less frequent. Oban is known as 'The Gateway to the Hebrides'.
  • Dunstaffnage Marina, [3]. Marina, boatyard and pub a few miles north of the town.

By Train[edit]

By Bus[edit]

  • Scottish Citylink, [5]. Coaches from Glasgow, via Tyndrum or Inveraray. Several coaches run per day- trip takes about 3 hours, longer during peak season. Buses often run in West Coast Motors livery.

Citylink coaches also run from Inverness - see the website for more details.

By Plane[edit]

  • Fly to Glasgow Airport (GLA) and then take a taxi to Dumbarton Station (£10) & take the train from there to Oban.

Get around[edit]

  • Most sights in the town can be reached on foot, but some places to stay are up a fairly steep hill, and you may prefer to take a taxi (available outside the station).

See[edit]

St Columba's Cathedral
  •    McCaig’s Tower. John Stuart McCaig - ". an eccentric testator.". This tower looks over the Oban bay. It takes about 15 minutes to walk up the hill by one of several signposted routes on roads, or by steps. There are good views of Kerrera and Mull and looking up the Sound of Mull. On Tuesdays and Thursdays each week during the summer the Oban Pipe Band play at the tower for about an hour from 8pm until 9pm. Admission is by donation. There are a few benches but if you want one of these get there early. If you are highly sensitive to insect bites then bring some miggie repellant to fend of Scotland's national pest.
  •    Dunollie Castle. Ancient seat of the MacDougalls of Lorn. A small castle situated at the far end of the bay from the station - just walk in and up the hill.
  •    Dunstaffnage Castle. A castle about three miles north of Oban (buses leave from outside the station). Open daily in summer 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, 9.30 am to 4.30 pm daily except Thursday and Friday in winter.
  •    War & Peace Museum (On Corran Esplanade, just North of the North Pier, next the Regent Hotel.). Open daily 10.00 - 16.00 Mar - Nov.. Museum detailing Oban's role in world wars. Free admission, donations accepted..
  •    St Columba's CathedralCorran Esplanade. The Roman Catholic St Columba's Cathedral is prominent on Corran Esplanade. It was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (who designed the iconic red telephone box) and built between 1932 and 1959. The more interesting of the two cathedrals in Oban.
  •    Cathedral Church of St John the Divine. The Scottish Episcopal (Anglican) Cathedral Church of St John the Divine is hidden among the shops on George Street. Building started in 1863 and continued in several phases but lack of funds resulted in the present slightly confusing layout.

Do[edit]

  • Mull & Iona Island Tours - Available from Bowmans Tours [6], Caledonian MacBrayne, Turus Mara [7] or Gordon Grant Tours [8]
  • Puffin DivingPort Gallanach, Oban,PA34 4QH, (Near the Kerrara ferry terminal.). Dive centre and boat tours
  •    Sea.fari AdventuresEasdale Village Shop, Easdale, PA34 4TB (About 20 miles south of Oban in Easdale). High Speed Boat Rides
Fingal and Sula, Canadian river otters
  • Scottish Sealife Sanctuary [9]- See Fingal and Sula the Canadian river otters, common and grey seals and many other sea creatures. Around six miles north of Oban.
  • Sea Kayaking Tours8 Argyll Street, Oban (5 mins from the station behind McT's),  +44 1631 565310. This is a well known kayak school & outfitter with daily tours and also multi day trips in this stunning sea kayaking area. You can paddle right out of the harbour or they will rent you a trolley and you can take your kayak on the ferries for free £75/day.
  •    Isle of Kerrera. There are two great hiking trails on the island (South with Gylen Castle and North with Hutcheson's Monument). There is a tiny ferry terminal about 3 km South West of Oban on Gallanach Road and the ferry will bring you to the starting point of the two trails. The ferry runs throughout the year with more frequent rides in summer (Easter - October) and less frequent ones in winter (October - Easter). £4.50 return for adults, £2.00 return for children, bicycles are free. The ferryman can be contacted by phone: +44 (0)1631 563665 or kerreraferry@hotmail.com. To attract the ferry on the mainland, you need to slide a wooden board to reveal a black surface before the scheduled timing.

Eat[edit]

  •    Light of India43 Stevenson St PA34 5NA. Indian cuisine
  • WaterfrontNo1 The Pier, PA34 4LW.. seafood restaurant upstairs & bar with bar food downstairs.
  • LorneStevenson Street PA34 5NA.. Bar & good value bar meals
  • The Barn. Cologin, Lerags By Oban, PA34 4SE. 2 miles out of Oban
  •    Ee-usk. The red-roofed building on the North Pier. Specialises in seafood. Main courses (evening) from £11.95 to £59 for the Grand Platter (for two). Open 12-3pm and 6-10pm.

Buy fresh seafood from the kiosks on the Railway Pier and eat al fresco.

Drink[edit]

  • Markie Dan's Victoria Crescent, Corran Esplanade, PA34 5PN
  • O’Donnells Irish Bar Breadalbane St, PA34 5NZ.
  • Lorne. Stevenson Street, PA34 5NA.
  • Cellar Bar.
  • Harbour Bar attached to The Columba Hotel, PA34 5QD on the North Pier
  • Aulay's. 8 Airds Crescent, PA34 5SQ.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Glenroy Guest HouseRockfield road, Oban, PA34 5DQ +44 1631 562585, e-mail: . Family-owned guest house just 5 minutes walk from the city centre. Rooms from £26 ppn (breakfast included).
  •    Oban Backpackers. Private hostel, relaxed, fun, clean and cosy. Landrover day tours of 'hidden Argyll' available leaving daily. from £16.
  •    Corran HouseVictoria Crescent, Corran Esplanade PA34 5PN +44 1631 566040. small ensuite dorm rooms and private guest rooms, sea-front location. Beds from £18, rooms from £40.
  • Oban Backpackers Plus. Centrally located, the comfort of a B&B at backpacker prices.
  •    Oban Youth Hostel. A SYHA hostel. 4, 6 and 8 bed dormitories housed in a large Victorian building, on the Esplanade. Great sea views. Within easy walking distance of the town centre.
  • Kerrera Tea Garden and Bunkhouse (About 50 minutes walk from the ferry). Easter - Sept. Not in Oban, but 5 minutes by ferry down the peninsula. On the island sheltering Oban harbour, looking out to Mull.

Mid range[edit]

  •    Oban Bay Hotel. Corran Esplanade, Oban, PA34 5AE, +44 1631 562051. Rooms from £47 ppn
  •    Columba HotelThe Esplanade, Oban, PA34 5QD +44 1631 562183. As it is on the North Pier, rooms on three sides have sea views, some rooms at the back can be noisy from the pubs below. Rooms generally £50-80 per room..
  • Cologin Country Chalets and Lodges. Cologin, Lerags Glen, PA34 4SE +44 1631 564501 - self catering accommodation just under 3 miles from Oban - chalets from £300 per week.

Splurge[edit]

  • Barcaldine House Hotel. Barcaldine, Oban, Argyll, PA37 1SG, +44 1631 720540. Rooms £100+, Self catering cottages from ~£70

Go next[edit]

  • Head South towards Lochgilphead, Tarbert and Kintyre. Call in at Kilmartin Museum on the way or the Crinan Canal.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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