The island itself is a beautiful and fascinating place which straddles the Highland fault line leading to its nickname of Scotland in miniature. To the north mountains rise up almost out of the sea while the southern end of the island consists of more low-lying, gentle terrain. Small villages dot the rugged coastline and wildlife abounds.

You see the strangest things here...

Most activities revolve around the great outdoors and although the weather, in true Scottish fashion, was unpredictable, there is no shortage of things to do, from visiting historic sites of interest such as Brodick Castle, parts of which date from the 13th century and the Giants' Graves (a neolithic burial site) to guided treks through the mountains and hiking the many miles of marked paths all around the island.

On rainy days you can visit the Auchrannie Spa in Brodick where the pool is open to the public as are the kids' play areas, with a soft playroom, computer games and pool table. You could visit the fascinating Arran Aromatics ( shop and factory where they make all sorts of lotions and potions and the kids can try their hands at making their own soap or candles. Next door is the Island Cheese Company ( where all sorts of local goodies can be bought.

Arran also boasts some good pubs and restaurants including Eilean Mor ( on the shorefront at Brodick which has some lovely Italian dishes and a two for one Pizza offer which is ideal for the kids. The venison casserole at the Ormidale Hotel ( is sensational (as is the barman's spangly 'Pop Star' jacket worn for the regular weekly pop quiz). The bar here sells a wide range of whiskies and also the local beers (like Arran Ale and Arran Blonde).

The brewery offers tours and tastings as does the Isle of Arran Distillery at Lochranza in the north west. King's Caves lies between the villages of Blackwaterfoot and Machrie on the west coast and a coastal path leads north towards Machrie taking in the caves and some fantastic forest tracks offering amazing views across the island and over to the Kintyre peninsula.

While kids may get bored on very rainy days (mercifully, there tend to be few) there is in general a huge range of things to do. As well as the above mentioned activities you could take in Sea Kayaking, Archery, Gorge Scrambling and Mountain Biking so there is really no excuse to get bored.