40 miles from Ardfern
Inveraray enjoys a picturesque setting on the shores of Loch Fyne, where it meets Loch Shira. It was built on the site of an earlier fishing village in the mid 1700s by the 3rd Duke of Argyll, chief of the powerful Clan Campbell. He demolished the old village to build a grand castle and rehoused the population in attractive Georgian houses on a new Main Street.
The Duke also built a church, All Saints, in elegant neo-classical style. In consideration of local culture, it was divided into two parts so that services could be held in both English and Gaelic.
A later addition, a memorial to the Campbells who fell in World War I, is the Bell Tower, which opens to visitors during the summer months. There are 10 bells in the Tower, reputedly the second heaviest peel in the world. The views from the top of the Tower are outstanding.
Inveraray Jail also dates to the 3rd Duke's redevelopment of the town. The Georgian courthouse and grim prison blocks closed for use in the 1930s but have been re-opened as an imaginative visitor centre and museum. The museum tells the story of prison conditions from medieval times up to the 1800s using interactive displays and live performances. Inveraray Jail is open daily throughout the year.
Moored at the town pier is the Arctic Penguin, a triple-masted schooner built in Dublin in 1911. Its 21st Century use is as a museum of maritime history. The Arctic Penguin is open all year.
Inveraray Castle, on the edge of the town, is still the family home of the Dukes of Argyll. Building began in 1746 and despite two major fires, in 1877 and 1975, most important artefacts have survived. There is outstanding furniture and paintings by Gainsborough, and a huge arsenal of weaponry including the dirk, the traditional highland dagger, used by Rob Roy.
Telephone: + 44 (0) 1499 302203.