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side trip to Kilmartin

Hi I am renting a car out of Glasgow and considered making stops in both Helensburgh and Kilmartin before making my way to Oban and staying in that area for a few days to visit the isles. I know this is probably a fairly long drive and I am wondering if I should stop and see more along the way maybe a cruise and aim to stay maybe one night in Kilmartin? Travelling on to Oban in the morning
Thanks Caroline

Posted by
2597 posts

We've driven that route twice and visited Kilmartin. It's a tiny village, but if you're interested in cairns or carved stones then it's worth a visit. We chose instead to stay in Inveraray (Brambles is really nice for lodging and the George Hotel for pub & dinner). From Inveraray you can drive to Oban by way of Lochgilphead & Kilmartin, or the more northerly route by Lochawe.

Haven't been to Helensburgh so can't speak for whether it is particularly worth a visit, but it's out of your way, several miles off the A82. You can go that way on the A818 / A814, but it's a really small road, slow, and IMO not all that scenic. The A82 takes you along the western shore of Loch Lomond to Tarbet, then you take the A83 over a pass. It is a nice drive, and if you have time you can stop in the picturesque village of Luss, which has a pay & display car park by the dock (cruises on the loch available), public toilets, and a gift shop.

P.S. Luss is a small village and accessed by a turnoff from the A82. If you blink you could miss the sign for the turnoff, so if you plan to stop there keep your eyes peeled.

Posted by
5470 posts

Kilmartin Glen is lovely. I stopped off on my south from Oban to Tarbert. It is fascinating archaeology and I particularly enjoyed climbing up to Dunadd. Here's the Undiscovered Scotland Link. It's a great resource to explore.


Posted by
1669 posts

If you go to Kilmartin, make a side trip to Castle Sween and Knap Chapel on the way. They are close by. They hold special interest for me since the MacMillan Cross is housed in Knap Chapel.

The drive from Glasgow to Oban via Helensburgh and Kilmartin is easy. We had plenty of time to catch the 3:00 pm ferry to Mull. Mull is well worth the visit. Most folks head to Iona, but travel north and see Tobermory as well. We stayed in a B&B in Dervaig. It was great, off the beaten path. We actually preferred Mull to Skye.

Posted by
67 posts

I drove from Glasgow to Kilmartin and chose to stay at a little BnB in Kilmartin so that I would have time to go to the museum and walk around to see the standing stones. I had a beautiful afternoon there and it really was quite picturesque. It only took about 1 hr the next morning to drive to Oban and catch the ferry (I made reservations ahead of time). I had thought about just going on to Oban but so glad that I did not. My plane was late arriving in Glasgow and then on the drive to Kilmartin, there was an accident that stopped the traffic for about 1 hour. It is a winding road and some people do drive a little crazy with passing on the curves. What could have been an awful afternoon turned out pretty darn OK as I met some nice locals while waiting for the traffic to move again. We all got out of our cars and chatted and I got some great tips on things to see and do while in Scotland. I think it would have been about a 2 hour drive from Glasgow airport with no delays. There is a little pub in Kilmartin that I ate at and someone was playing bagpipes that evening as I was going to bed (windows open so I could hear it). So staying there is worth it - but maybe it depends on when you would be leaving Glasgow.