We’re just back from a weekend away near Arisaig, on the West coast of Scotland. An idyllic area of coastline with stunning views and lots of things to do for everyone, couples and families alike.
There’s a range of accommodation available for all budgets; camping, self catering, B&B or hotel. We were camping at Invercaimbe campsite, a great little family run site with direct access to the beach. With views over to Eigg and Rum it was the perfect location for us as a family.
If you have 3 days in the area as we did, this is what I would recommend as a good itinerary for your holiday.
On the way across to Arisaig stop at Glenfinnan viaduct to see the Jacobite steam train cross the viaduct, famous from the Harry Potter films. It gets incredibly busy at the visitor centre around the peak times (i.e. when the train is about to cross!), so get there an hour before the train is going to cross the viaduct to park the car. Have a look around the Jacobite exhibition, grab something to eat at the cafe or climb the monument whilst waiting.
You can either walk up to the top of the view point above the visitor centre or park at the station (small car park) and walk over to the viaduct for an even better view. It’s easiest to climb up to the viewpoint behind the centre if you have children, it’s not so easy to get along above the track at the station.
The times vary depending on time of year and during the summer there are two services, but the train usually passes at 10.55 and 3.00. If you are there for around 3pm in the afternoon during the summer you will see two the two trains cross the viaduct.
Lunch At Arisaig House
Enjoy a light lunch on the terrace of Arisaig House, with delicious fresh produce. A family run hotel which also serves non-guests, booking is required, so don’t forget to phone in advance.
Explore Prince Charlies Cave
A little walk down from Arisaig House is Prince Charlie’s Cave, one of the many that he stayed in after the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1746. Apparently this particular one was where he stayed for his final night on the Scottish mainland before heading off to France in September 1746.
You could also walk along to Borrodale Beach from the cave, with stunning views. Check out this page for more information about the cave and Borrodale walk.
Book the M.V. Sheerwater in advance to take the ferry across to the island of Eigg. You are best to phone or email rather than turn up on the day as it can get very busy.
One of the best parts of the trip to Eigg is the Wildlife watching. You are guaranteed to see seals of course, but there’s also a good chance of seeing dolphins, Minke whales, Basking sharks and other sea creatures. We managed to see 2 Minke whales and several groups of dolphins on our journey to and from Eigg. Definitely a highlight of our trip to Arisaig. Maybe you might be better at photographing the animals though, I mainly got clouds and splashes in the sea!
When you arrive on Eigg you can grab a bite to eat at the cafe beside the pier, the food is delicious, but it can be busy at peak times. There is usually a 4 hour time frame to explore the island before the ferry returns. If you are quick you can up to the highest point of the island, the Sgurr. If you phone in advance you can also hire bikes or kayaks from beside the shop and cafe to explore areas further out of reach from a walk. When our boys are a little more confident in water we will definitely be hiring kayaks!
Or, if you don’t feel like going too far there is a lovely coastline and beach area to play on just along from the pier.
We also found this cute little pirate ship next to the cafe, which the kids had a great time playing on whilst waiting for the ferry to return.
Watch The Sun Set Over The Isles
After dinner go for a drive toward Mallaig and pull up near Camusdaruch beach to watch the sun set over the isles. It can be rather spectacular during the summer!
Mallaig is the end of the line for trains and you can often see the Jacobite steam train waiting for passengers to finish browsing the town before heading back to Fort William.
There are lots of lovely craft shops to browse and cafe’s for a bite to eat, or just grab an ice cream and watch the boats coming in and out. You definitely get the coastal vibe in this busy little town.
Walk Along The Beach
Before you leave the area I definitely recommend exploring one of the many beaches between Arisaig and Mallaig. There are plenty of different beaches to choose from, including the stunning Silver Sands and Camusdarach beach. If you’re really quiet you might even see a few seals or even otters.