Dunoon sits on the Firth of Clyde in the Cowall Peninsula and bordered to the north by the villages of Kirn, Hunter’s Quay and Sandbank, and by the Holy Loch. The town has a connecting ferry with Gourroch that for a hundred years has been transporting tourists to the picturesque town, today tourists can still get aboard the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world, The Waverley, which still calls in regularly at Dunoon through the summer months.
Interestingly the Holy Loch during the Second World War was used as a submarine base, and it played host to an American Naval Base during the Cold War. It has now been transformed into a sophisticated marina, with facilities for boat and yachts that is enjoyed by sailing enthusiasts from across Scotland.
One of the main tourist attractions in Dunoon is the Cowal Highland Gathering, the largest Highland games in the world held on the last Friday and Saturday of August. The tournament includes the World Highland Dancing Championships, piping and shinty competitions; attracting participants and spectators from around the world.
Also of interest is the Castle Toward that dates back to the 15th century, since then it has been renovated several times in different decades. Ownership of the castle passed to the council in the 1990’s and it has since turned into an outward bound activity centre, and most recently the grounds of the castle have been used in the BBC’s children’s TV series Raven. Another Historic attraction has to be the Castle House Museum, a glorious house bought by the Glasgow Lord Provost in 1984 to be used as a holiday home, the house has since had its second floor transformed into a beautiful museum telling the history on Cowall and the surrounding areas.
If you are interested in botany or enjoy strolling through parks and gardens then Dunoon and Cowal host some of the best flora and fauna in the West of Scotland. Situated seven miles north of Dunoon is the Benmore Botanic Gardens, 150 acres of garden featuring some of the tallest trees in Britain including a great avenue of Giant Redwoods. If you enjoy the Botanic Gardens then there is also Morag’s Fairy Glen beside Innellan a woodland walk area that has a wide range of trees specimen including beech, birch, oak and ash lining the paths that run alongside the Berry Burn which follows into waterfalls and picturesque pools. Ardkinglas Woodland Gardens, at the North of Loch Fyne holds one of the finest collections of rhododendrons and conifers within the British Isles; a visit during summer is highly recommended to take advantage of the beautiful blooms.
Eating out in Dunoon
There is an abundance of restaurants which are all famed for their hospitality and excellent use of the local produce. The Loch Fyne Oyster Restaurant in Clachan is one of the finest restaurants in the area serving mussels and oysters reared and smoked using the restaurants traditional methods and smokehouse.