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, to discover over 1000 years of history at the Seat of the Clan MacDougall. Explore ancient collections, take in stunning views, wander enchanting garden’s and see a 19th century loom at work. Treat yourself to some delicious home baking on your visit or shop for locally sourced gifts. Join one of Dunollie’s guided tours or listen to a piper play at the ancient ruin. Admission prices apply.
Oban War Memorial & Lighthouse
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 September.
Oban War & Peace Museum
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. Telephone 01631 570 007.
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. 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 but for most of these you will need more than the five hours provided by the Sunday train! 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, new soft play centre, climbing cube, squash courts, tennis courts and friendly local staff.
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! 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. Oban caters for all tastes and budgets, and most restaurants have lunch menus available.
A romantic walk along the Esplanade with Scotland’s finest fish & chips is always a low budget winner!
For a selection of restaurants in town check our Eating Out page »
ScotRail launched its Sunday summer train service for day trippers to Oban direct from Edinburgh, Linlithgow and Polmont (no changing in Glasgow!) in 2010. It gives visitors five hours in Oban; plenty of time for a good look round and lovely seafood lunch. Of course you can stay for more than one day and we hope you will do so as five hours is not enough time to appreciate any of the surrounding attractions in Lorn. Consider it a wee taster of what's on offer.
'For Argyll' (an online newspaper for the area) has posted an extremely useful route guide which will help visitors travelling on the train appreciate the countryside and its history. Some of this journey is along the West Highland Line - voted the 'best train journey in the world' - and the scenery is spectacular. The service also calls in both directions at Falkirk High and Dalmuir - and at stations Helensburgh Upper-Connel Ferry inclusive, with Falls of Cruachan by request. The trains are also included in the public timetable and offer products such as Kids Go Free.
The service runs from the end of June to the end of August.
For more information and to book tickets, visit the Scotrail website »