Oban is a fantastic place to come for a day, even if you don't have your own transport. To help our daytime visitors make the most of their time here, we’ve put together a list of the top things to do in the town that are within walking distance of the train station.
There are spectacular viewpoints around the town. The most prominent landmark and viewpoint, sat high overlooking the town of Oban, is McCaig’s tower. A steep walk up the hill, approximately 20 – 30 minutes depending on your fitness, or a quick taxi from the train station will take you up to McCaig’s Tower. The tower, which was erected by wealthy banker John Stuart McCaig between 1897 and 1902, boasts hilltop views over the harbour and to the Isle of Mull, Isle of Kerrera and down the Firth of Lorn.
Take a walk along Oban’s Esplanade, heading towards Ganavan Bay, and discover Dunollie Castle. The ruined keep and the seat of the Clan MacDougall has been standing for around six hundred years. The walk along the Esplanade to the foot of the castle takes approximately 20 minutes, well worth it for the views across to Lismore & Mull!
On the way to Dunollie Castle, you’ll come across the Oban War Memorial & the Lighthouse, at the end of the Esplanade opposite the Barriemore Hotel. The coastal edge site has picnic benches and a grassy area and offers a first class view of Dunollie Castle, the Isle of Kerrera and the ferries and boats coming in and out of the bay.
Right in the heart of Oban, nestling beneath the steep cliff that overlooks the town, one of Scotland's oldest sources of single malt scotch whisky is but a stone's throw from the sea. Situated on Stafford Street, just off George Street which runs parallel to the bay, Oban Distillery is open every day including Sundays, July to Sept. Visit their website »
The museum on Corran Esplanade is open every day, including Sunday, from March to November, and has excellent displays depicting Oban over the years and not just during the war. A quiz is available to keep the youngsters occupied. Admission is free but donations by visitors are welcome. Visit their website »
Oban is surrounded by the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean so it is tempting to get in it or get on it! Boat trips are in abundance offering wildlife, loch and island tours. Coastal Connections offer a fast RIB for a range of tours from pick up points around the Oban coastline (01631 565 833). There are a number of operators offering wildlife boat trips in and around Oban, cruising the Sound of Mull & the Firth of Lorn Special Area of Conservation, where marine & bird life abound. There are several day trips operated by Calmac. Check them out on http://www.calmac.co.uk/destinations/day-trips-by-ferry
For those wanting to get closer to the water and wildlife, sea kayaking in Oban is the perfect solution. The kayaking itself in the area is of high standard with sheltered lochs and passages. Suited for all levels of experience and ages, the National Kayak School is based on Argyll Street right in the centre of the town. They offer half day sea kayaking trips for individuals or families from 1.30pm to 4.30pm on Sundays, so enough time for lunch, an afternoon sea kayaking and back in time for the train! Telephone 08456 436 054 or 07774644660.
Ganavan Beach is a picturesque sandy beach, easily accessible from the main town via bus (not on Sundays) or taxi, just 10 minutes away, or via a scenic walk (approximately 40 minutes). The road to Ganavan is only partially paved for pedestrians so please do take care. There are public toilet facilities at the beach too. There are fantastic views out to Mull, Lismore and Morven. Head out past the beach and walk the secluded, rugged coastal lines. From the beach, there is also a great new cycle and walking track that takes you through scenic countryside inland to Dunbeg. You can take your bike on the train - and most of the new national cycle network between Oban and Fortwilliam is now open. And if the weather turns and you want somewhere warm and dry to exercise then Atlantis Leisure is the place to go. Swimming pools, soft play centre, climbing cube, squash courts, tennis courts and friendly local staff. Or there is the Oban Phoenix Cinema which is open every day and has a wide range of films.
A stroll along George Street reveals not only stunning views from Oban Bay but also a variety of shops showcasing local crafts, jewellery and gifts. Leading off George Street are small lanes hiding many more independent shops well worth exploring. There are plenty of coffee stops and quirky cafes throughout the town and a visit to Oban Chocolate Company on Corran Esplanade is a must! Oban is a fairtrade town and you will find fairtrade coffee on sale throughout the area.
As the Seafood Capital of Scotland, it is definitely worth trying some locally caught delicacies. For seafood fans, the modern and award-wining Ee-Usk (which means “fish” in Gaelic), sits right on the water’s edge of Oban Harbour. Next door you’ll find Piazza, a pizza/pasta restaurant which has a great atmosphere and every dish is cooked to order, using the finest ingredients. For a truly Celtic environment, visit Cuan Mor, a contemporary seafront restaurant right in the heart of the bay. The Waterfront Restaurant has two AA rosettes and is listed by Taste of Scotland and Michelin. They have an 'open' kitchen at the Waterfront so there is the opportunity to meet the team or at least observe them cooking. Further along the bay is The Seafood Temple.
A romantic walk along North Pier with Scotland’s finest fish & chips is always a low budget winner!
For other restaurants in town check our Eating Out page here »