Oban literally means “The Little Bay” in Scottish Gaelic and also happens to be a lovely little resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. Despite its small size, it is the largest town between Helensburgh and Fort William and garners plenty of tourists during the high season come to try its tasty whiskey and traditional Gaelic music. Here are a few insider tips from us on top things to do in Oban, UK.
1. Easdale Island Folk Museum
Easdale Island Folk Museum isn’t exactly on Oban but is located just off the coast. The island gained prominence during the 18th century with the rise of the slate industry, and the folk museum has well-designed displays to depict that, touching on topics such as Army volunteers, education, public health, geology, boats, and entertainment. There are also genealogical records for the Kilbrandon and Kilchattan parish as well as rent books, Masonic records, and a map of Easdale Island circa 1881 on hard copy.
Easdale Island Folk Museum
Address: 4 Ellenabeich - Easdale, PA34 4TB Oban, UK
Website: Easdale Island Folk Museum
2. Oban War and Peace Museum
The Oban War & Peace Museum contains countless fascinating artifacts and photographs charting the rich cultural history of the busy port town and its people. Visitors can learn about the town’s history in the fishing and maritime industries, the railway, road transport, local sports, the building of the iconic McCaig’s Tower, and the strategic role played by Oban during the Great War, when the town became home to Australian, Canadian and US aircrew and RAF Flying Boats operated from the bay. There’s plenty to enjoy here, and with a team of awesome volunteers, do donate generously to maintain its upkeep!
Oban War and Peace Museum
Address: Old Oban Times Building, Corran Esplanade, PA34 5PX Oban, Argyll
Website: Oban War and Peace Museum
3. McCaig's Tower
McCaig’s Tower is a prominent landmark in Oban, built in 1897 by local banker John Stuart McCaig, The tower was intended to provide work for local stonemasons and act as a lasting monument to the McCaig family. The most exciting thing you do with towers, of course, is to climb them. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with spectacular views across Oban Bay to the Atlantic Islands. Not to mention, when you finally do get to the gardens inside the tower, you’ll have a perfect cubby hole and peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of town life in Oban.
Address: Duncraggan Road, PA34 5DP Oban, Argyll
Website: McCaig’s Tower
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4. Scottish SEA Life Sanctuary
Oban is also home to the Scottish SEA Life Sanctuary, providing an interesting, educational and fun day out. The sanctuary is definitely a must see and has adorable animals such as seals available that will be fed by the keepers, along with plenty of aquatic creatures from mammals to fish for aquarium lovers of all ages.
Scottish SEA Life Sanctuary
Address: Barcaldine, PA37 1SE Oban, UK
Website: Scottish SEA Life Sanctuary
5. Dunollie Museum, Castle and grounds
With more than 1,000 years of history, Dunollie Castle used to be ruled by Clan Chiefs and Lords of Lorn ruled large areas of Argyll & the Isles from Dunollie. Sounds very Game of Thrones-like? Absolutely. Now, it remains the ancestral home of the Clan MacDougall. At the museum, visitors can discover Dunollie’s heritage with unique exhibitions and displays, and wander the surrounding enchanting woodlands and ancient castle ruins, alongside seasonal activities and events by castle and museum staff
Dunollie Museum, Castle and grounds
Address: Dunollie House, PA34 5TT Oban, UK
Website: Dunollie Museum, Castle and Grounds
6. Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel
Here’s another castle for history buffs and enthusiasts. On an immense rock near Oban stands the remains of one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland and the former stronghold of the MacDougalls. Built around 1220 by Duncan MacDougall, Dunstaffnage Castle was built during the height of the battle between Scotland and Norway and acted as a critical stronghold for the eventual winners of said battle. Its formidable stone curtain still inspires awe in visitors while Dunstaffnage Chapel beside it is a stunning and gorgeous example of 13th-century architecture.
Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel
Address: Dunbeg, PA37 1PZ Oban, Argyll
Website: Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel
7. Falls of Lora
Want something truly spectacular? Then take a trip to Lora, about 10 kilometers (six miles) northeast of Oban. The falls provide excitement for kayakers and divers as well as a stunning sight for tourists and photographers, simultaneously capturing the power of water and the beauty in natural features. It is certainly a highlight that you must visit while in Oban.
Falls of Lora
Address: Connel Bridge, Connel, PA37 Oban, Argyll
Website: Falls of Lora
8. Oban Distillery Tour
You didn’t think that we’d do a list of things to do in Oban and forget about one of its absolute best exports, did you? Visitors to Oban cannot and must not miss out on trying Oban’s finest whiskey, straight from Oban Distillery. Situated on the West Coast of Scotland, the distillery produces Oban 14-year-old West Highland Malt whiskey, a favorite and classic. When you go on the tour, a warm welcome awaits you with friendly guides running guided distillery tours regularly throughout the year, showing you around an excellent exhibition and of course, ending off with a shopping trip around the well-stocked tasting bar and whiskey gift shop for all your whiskey needs.
Oban Distillery Tour
Address: Stafford St, PA34 5NH Oban, UK
Website: Oban Distillery Tour
All in all, come to Oban if you’ve got a hankering for beautiful natural scenery, ancient castles, and some good whiskey. It is the perfect place to learn about Gaelic culture and history. Visit Oban and you won’t be disappointed!
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