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Lochgilphead is a town at the head of Loch Gilp, an inlet of Loch Fyne. It's the administrative centre of Argyll and Bute on the west coast of Scotland, and in 2021 had a population of 2240. The town is not scenic, but it's worth spending a day or two to see the megaliths at Kilmartin, the Crinan Canal, and the scenic Tayvallich peninsula.

Get in

Map of Lochgilphead

By bus: Scottish Citylink Bus 926 runs 5 or 6 times a day from Glasgow Buchanan via Dumbarton, Luss, Tarbet and Inveraray taking 2 hr 30 min to Lochgilphead, and continuing south to Tarbert (Loch Fyne) and Campbeltown. One bus a day runs via Glasgow Airport. Booking is recommended, as this is a busy route connecting with several ferries. On school days Bus 449 makes a couple of extra runs between Lochgilphead, Tarbert and Campbeltown.

The inter-city 1 bus stop in Lochgilphead is on Lochnell Street, the main road.

By boat: see Tarbert (Loch Fyne) for ferries to Islay, Jura, Colonsay, Cowal and Arran.

From Apr-Sep the Jura Passenger Ferry, for foot passengers only, sails from Tayvallich to Craighouse on Jura. There are two sailings Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, one on Sunday, none on Tuesday. The crossing takes 45-60 min in a bouncy Rib, which has a cabin so you stay dry. Fares are £20 each way, bikes & dogs free, advance booking needed, tel +44 7768 450000. A day-trip gives you 6 hours on Jura.

Get around


West Coast Bus 425/426 runs from Lochgilphead to Tayvallich, with 5 per day Monday-Friday.

Bus 423 / 23 runs from Oban via Kilmartin to Lochgilphead. There are five buses on school days, and three on Saturdays and school holiday weekdays.

Bus 448 runs from Lochgilphead to Tarbert, Kennacraig, Claonaig and Skipness, three M-Sat.


"Aengus son of Fergus, king of the Picts, laid waste the territory of Dál Riata and seized Dún At and burned Creic and bound in chains two sons of Selbach, i.e. Donngal and Feradach."
- Annals of Ulster for 736 AD indicate that Dunadd was a royal stronghold, but not strong enough.
  • 1 Kilmory Castle Kilmory Castle on Wikipedia half a mile south of Lochgilphead is a mansion built in the 1830s. It's now the offices of Argyll and Bute Council, so you can only go in on council business, and some parts are in poor repair. The castle grounds are open as a park, with a riot of rhododendrons in early summer, and woodland walks around Kilmory Loch.
  • 2 Crinan on the Atlantic coast is the west terminus of the Crinan Canal, which stretches for nine miles from Ardrishaig 1½ miles south of Lochgilphead. It was completed in 1801 to create a shortcut for small craft, especially the "Clyde Puffers", avoiding the stormy Mull of Kintyre. It remains navigable and there's a good towpath for walking or cycling.
  • Duntrune Castle on the shore a mile north of Crinan is private property.
  • Castle Dounie a mile south of Crinan is the rubble of an Iron Age hillfort, but it's worth coming for the views. The start of the walk by the shore is covered at the highest tides.
Cross in Kilmartin Kirk
  • 3 Kilmartin Museum, PA31 8RQ, +44 1546 510278. Temporarily closed. Start here to understand the structures of Kilmartin Glen and the prehistoric peoples who made them. With cafe and gift shop.
  • Kilmartin Parish Church, Kilmartin PA31 8RQ (next to museum). Daily 9:30AM-4PM. Built in 1835 in neo-Gothic style, this Church of Scotland parish church has a notable collection of medieval carved gravestones, and a 9th-century cross. Free. Kilmartin Stones (Q2371215) on Wikidata Kilmartin Stones on Wikipedia
  • 4 Kilmartin Glen, south of the village and west of the main road, has a remarkable complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains, the best in Scotland. The "linear cemetery" is a line of five burial cairns: Glebe Cairn, Nether Largie North, Mid and South Cairns, and Ri Cruin. Standing stones are grouped at Nether Largie South, Ballymeanoch (next to Dunchraigaig Cairn) and Temple Wood.
  • Moine Mhor means "big bog" - a raised bog, once common but becoming rare, and now a National Nature Reserve. Access is a mile south of Kilmartin on B8025.
  • 5 Dunadd Fort (3 miles south of Kilmartin). Open all year. Remains of an Iron Age hilltop fort, some 2000 years old. Free. Dunadd (Q233579) on Wikidata Dunadd on Wikipedia
  • 6 Carnasserie Castle (One mile north of Kilmartin). Always open. Tower House built in 1565, ruined after 1685 when the Earl of Argyll backed the winning side too soon. His rebellion in Scotland and the Monmouth rebellion in England tried to overthrow King James II/VII. James crushed both rebellions and executed the rebels, but he was ousted in 1688 by the Hanoverian dynasty and his Jacobite faction was now on the wrong side of history. Free. Carnasserie Castle (Q1043908) on Wikidata Carnasserie Castle on Wikipedia
  • 7 Keills Chapel, Tayvallich PA31 8PQ (five miles south of Tayvallich). Always open. Small chapel dating from 11th century with some very early crosses and grave slabs, including the Keills Cross from the 8th century. The chapel has been re-roofed and most of the stones are now inside. Free. Keills Chapel (Q2780450) on Wikidata Keills Chapel on Wikipedia


  • Golf: Lochgilphead GC is north side of town. White tees 4518 yards, par 64, visitor day ticket £25.
  • Walk: Lots of walks, for instance along Crinan Canal. "The 39 Steps" is a gentle ascent through woodland above Ardrishaig, Richard Hannay never fled from any enemy agents here.


  • The Coop in Lochgilphead on Oban Road is open daily 7AM-10PM.


  • Smiddy Bistro, Smithy Lane, Lochgilphead PA31 8TA, +44 1546 603606. M-Sa 10AM-4PM. Grand little bistro in town centre.
  • Taj Mahal at 41 Lochnell St (A83 main road) is open Th-Tu 5-10PM. Lee Garden takeaway is next door.
  • Tayvallich Inn is a seafood restaurant open daily noon-9PM.


  • The Victoria and the Argyll Arms are the pubs in Lochgilphead. Both are temporarily closed in 2023.


Swing Bridge on Crinan Canal
  • Lochgilphead Caravan Park, Bank Park, Lochgilphead PA31 8NX (junction of A83 and A816), +44 1546 602003. Clean well-run site with good facilities for hook-ups, static caravans and campers.
  • Empire Lodge is a small B&B on Union St Lochgilphead, one block back from the main road. Clean and welcoming, tel +44 1546 602381.
  • Corran B&B is by the A83 / A816 junction, tel +44 1546 603866.
  • Kilmory House, Paterson St, Lochgilphead PA31 8JP (on A83), +44 1546 603658. Welcoming B&B south edge of town. B&B double £110.
  • 1 Kilmartin Hotel, Kilmartin PA31 8RQ, +44 1546 510250. Family-run hotel in a 19th-century building. Good bar meals available to non-residents. B&B double £95.
  • Old Manse Bed & Breakfast, Kilmartin PA31 8RQ (next to museum), +44 1546 510202. Friendly well-run B&B open all year, with 3 doubles, one twin and one single. B&B double £110.
  • Crinan Hotel, Crinan PA31 8SR (by canal basin), +44 1546 830261. Dog-friendly independent hotel run by an artistic family, open all year, with good restaurant. B&B double £180.



As of June 2023, Lochgilphead has 4G from all UK carriers, but coverage along its approach highways is very patchy. 5G has not reached this area.

Go next

  • South to Tarbert on Loch Fyne, perhaps via the loop of lane along Knapdale west coast, then to Campbeltown and the Mull of Kintyre.
  • North past Ardfern and Arduaine Gardens, with a turn-off at Kilninver for Seil, Luing and Easdale islands, and onwards to Oban.
  • East through Inveraray towards Tarbet on Loch Lomond.

Routes through Lochgilphead
CampbeltownTarbert (Loch Fyne)  SW  NE  InverarayGlasgow

This city travel guide to Lochgilphead is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.