Great Cumbrae is an island in the Firth of Clyde off the coast of Ayrshire, with Millport as its only settlement. The island is about 3 miles long by 1.5 miles wide, roughly tooth-shaped, with a broad bay indenting its south coast. It's low-lying and agricultural; Millport is a traditional "Glasgow Riviera" resort but is quiet and little developed compared to Ayrshire's other coastal towns.
Little Cumbrae a mile south by contrast is rocky and barren. It's nowadays a private yoga retreat.
A small full-on, roll-off Calmac ferry sails every 30 min daily, year-round from Largs to 1 Cumbrae Slip 3 miles north of Millport, taking 10 min. Return fare is £13.30 per car and £3.50 per adult including the driver, bikes go free (Dec 2019).
Millport Motors Bus 320 shuttles between the Slip and Millport town every 30 mins, more often at peak times, taking 10 mins.
- 1 Cathedral of the Isles (Collegiate Church of the Holy Spirit), College St, Millport KA28 0HE. Scottish Episcopal (Anglican) cathedral, the smallest cathedral in Britain, built in Gothic revival style (architect William Butterfield) and opened in 1851. In the entrance porch are several Celtic crosses, found on the island in the 19th century.
- 2 Garrison House, Glasgow St KA28 0DJ. Daily 09:00-17:00. Fine old building built in 1745 to house the Revenue officers of the sailing ship "The Royal George", which hunted smugglers. The building was badly damaged by fire in 2001 but has been restored and is now mainly a community centre with a cafe. The small attached "Museum of the Cumbraes" may be open, otherwise just admire the facade and have a cuppa.
- 3 Crocodile Rock is a large rock on the foreshore painted with a crocodile's face. It was first painted circa 1913 by Robert Brown. Other prominent rocks around the island have been similarly embellished.
- 4 Robertson Museum and Aquarium, Marine Parade KA28 0EG. M - F 10:00 - 16:00. Aquarium and museum showing local sealife. Specimens are caught by students and are returned to the sea after three weeks in the aquarium. Adult £2.50, child £1.00.
- Walk up to the island's highest point, the Glaid Stone at 127 m, for views over the Firth of Clyde.
- A bike circuit of the island is 11 miles along quiet, level roads.
- 1 Real Family Holidays near Farland Point is primarily a residential outdoor activity centre for school groups, but they often have availability for individual families.
- 2 Sportscotland on the east coast is a national watersports training facility, covering several disciplines including powerboats and kayaking.
- Millport Golf Club is an 18-hole course on the ridge behind Millport.
- Don't be alarmed if on the ferry you see people donning scuba diving kit: they're planning to dive onto the Catalina flying boat next to Cumbrae Slip. The Catalinas were based at Largs during World War II for Atlantic patrols, and this one made a rough landing and sank in 1943.
- Newton Beach in the bay by Millport is sandy and safe.
- Millport Country Music Festival is held at the end of August.
The Golden Dragon and the Dancing Midge Cafe are both on Millport sea front by Crocodile Rock.
- Newton Bar on Glasgow St is open daily 11:00-01:00.
- Minstrels is a wine bar and restaurant next to the Royal George open daily 12:00-20:30, F Sat to 22:00.
- Firth View Caravan Park, half a mile west of town, has static caravans as self-catering lets, but doesn't have tourer or camping facilities. It's open Mar-Dec.
- 1 The Royal George, 1 Quayhead Millport KA28 0AP, ☏ . Decent basic hotel, it's your best bet on Cumbrae, dog-friendly. Food served from noon, bar is open daily till midnight or later, live music at weekends.
- Craigard House is a welcoming small B&B on the seafront, tel +44 1475 530532. Also, several self-catering places in Millport.
- The Cathedral is open for B&B March-Nov whenever its 16 bedrooms are not being used for groups and retreats, B&B double £90. Tel +44 1475 530353.