Hello and thank you for all of the advice we've gotten on previous posts. We are planning a trip to Wales and Scotland next September. After Wales, we plan to go to Dumfries then Glasgow. Our next point is Islay but we're thinking of taking some time to see Inverrary/Loch Fyne. All travels will be by bus or train. Would a day tour from Glasgow to Inverrary and back be wise or just plan a day and night along the way to Islay? It looks as though a bus will get us where we need to go but wondering if a day tour would be better. Any recommendations?
Personally, I'd stay overnight in Inverary and take the bus to Kennacraig the next day. The bus that runs to Kennacraig stops in Inverary on its way there. It's the Citylink route 926, which operates from Glasgow Buchanan Street four times daily. However, there's a whole lot more to do in Glasgow at night than there is in Inverary, so if you find that you'll miss the nightlife in Glasgow, as opposed to enjoying a quiet meal and drink in Inverary, then it's your decision to make!
You could take a bus from Glasgow to Inverary, stay overnight and enjoy the town and castle, then take the onward bus the next morning. Make sure that whichever bus you take gets you to the ferry at least 20 to 30 minutes before sailing time. Also, make sure that you're taking the ferry to either Port Ellen or Port Askaig. Islay has two separate ferry terminals.
Bus service on Islay is operated by Islay Coaches, route 450/451. The bus serves both ferry terminals, and most of the towns and villages on the island. The schedule is very odd. Some buses operate Monday-Wednesday-Friday; others operate Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday. Best thing to do would be to download and print out a color copy before you go, and pick up an actual copy once you get to Islay. I'm usually pretty good about figuring out schedules, but that one's a real brain twister!
Be sure to make reservations for lodging on Islay, and I'd recommend pre-booking seats on the bus, to avoid having to stand if it's full.
If you end up having a meal in Inverary, be sure to try some Loch Fyne kippers. They're a lot of work, but damn, they're good!
Best wishes for your travels.
The advice from Mike (Auchterless) is excellent, and more detailed re: bus routes than what I could give, but I concur that you'll enjoy Inveraray and I would stay overnight. No sense traveling there from Glasgow for a day trip if you're proceeding onward to Islay!
I can recommend Brambles for lodging and daytime eats, and the George Hotel for dinner & pub. Contrary to the RS guide implication that the interior of Inveraray Castle is boring, I found it gorgeous. It has a spectacular collection of arms & armor, lots of other historic furniture and artwork, and clan Campbell history. The gardens are beautiful (what time of year will you be there?) and you may get to see the Duke's flock of black sheep grazing next to the car park. There are several walking (hiking) routes on the property. https://www.inveraray-castle.com/history
The town itself was planned by a Georgian architect and has largely been preserved since that era. There are several nice shops selling traditional Scottish woolens (but do read the labels -- some items may be made elsewhere). The church is unusual in that it was intentionally built in the main intersection. Inveraray also has a historic gaol, though I haven't been.
When we were there the town's pier had been tied up in litigation for years, but I see a headline from June 2019 indicating it has been bought. Can't read the article without subscribing, but FWIW here is the link: https://www.argyllshireadvertiser.co.uk/2019/06/03/new-inveraray-pier-owners-get-warm-welcome/
Thanks to both of you for all your help. An overnight it is! My SO is also interested in a castle on the other side of the loch that appears to have been in his family so we will have lots to do.