Oban, in Argyll & Bute, is a popular seaside town in the Highlands. Its remarkable scenery, landscapes and seascapes attract many visitors, along with the area’s sensational seafood. Meaning ‘The Little Bay’ in Gaelic, Oban is fondly known as ‘the Gateway to the Isles’, with regular ferries leaving for nearby islands including Mull, Coll and Tiree. If you’re thinking of going on a mini-break with amazing sea views and fantastic local food, be sure to read on for our pick of the best things to do in Oban…
Take a walk up to McCaig's Tower
This Roman-style colosseum is a prominent local landmark, dating back to 1897. It was built by local banker John Stuart McCaig, with the aim of providing work for local stonemasons during the winter months, with the structure also standing as a reminder of the McCaig family. Get the full experience by leaving your car behind, and climbing the hill to the tower. The view at the top is certainly worth the effort, with panoramic views of Oban Bay and the surrounding area, including the Isle of Mull to the west.
Eat fish & chips by the seaside!
Not to be missed in Oban! The local fish and chip shops are fantastic, offering an abundance of freshly caught fish. There's lots of Chippies to choose from including The Oban Fish & Chip Shop on George Street recommended by Celebrity Chef Rick Stein or Nories Fish and Chips which was recently visited by Celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay, Gino De Campo and Fred Siseix - it's clear to see there's lots of competition for the best chippie in Oban. Whichever one you choose, make sure you take your order away and enjoy your meal as you look out onto the water.
If you’re optimistic and think you can squeeze in dessert, then we suggest you finish up with ice cream from one of the local ice cream shops, such as the ingeniously named The Pokey Hat on Stafford Street. As well as specialising in the frozen classics, they also have a variety of unusual flavours which include Mince Pie and Liquorice Allsorts!
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Take to the open water
Oban’s waters aren’t only popular with fishermen - you too can uncover Oban’s spectacular waters. Seafari Adventures has a range of wildlife and nature boat tours, so if you’re determined to spot whales, porpoise, dolphins, basking sharks, otters, golden and white-tailed sea eagles in their natural habitats, then this activity is for you! The tour operators also recognise how important it is not to disturb nature and wildlife in this area, which has been named a European Special Area of Conservation. If you’re not afraid of getting wet then you should give kayaking a go whilst you’re there too – Oban is the sea kayaking capital of Europe, so it’s the perfect place to paddle.
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Book a workshop at Highland Glass
The sunshine does seem to constantly shine on the little bay of Oban but for those days where the weather doesn't play ball, there's no place better to escape the weather than Highland Glass. You can create lots of things in their workshops from glass coaster painting to making your own stained glass panel. If you are a tourist passing by, we would highly recommend the glass coaster painting as it only takes a few hours to do and is only £15 per person. What makes Highland Glass special is the owners Gail and Colin who make you feel instantly at home with their banter and constant supply of tea and biscuits!
Visit Oban Distillery
Frankly - whether you enjoy a dram or not - no trip to Oban is complete without a visit to Oban Distillery & Visitor Centre. The modern town of Oban grew up around the distillery, which opened in 1794, increasing in popularity in 1880 when the railway arrived, bringing more visitors. Choose from a variety of whisky tours and find out about one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries and the interesting craft of whisky production. You’ll finish up by sampling complimentary drams of the Oban 14-year-old West Highland Malt. Slainte!
Book your accommodation at our 5* Oban Youth Hostel today!