The Scottish Highlands and Islands are nearer than you think! Our holidays departs either from Tobermory, Isle of Mull, during the high season or from Holy Loch Marina, near Dunoon in Argyll, during the low season.
Both places are easy to reach by public transport, and we are very happy to help with local travel information.
Please be aware that it is not possible to board your vessel before boarding time as the boat is still being made ready for you. Boarding times are strict. The boat normally sets off about an hour after boarding. You will disembark after breakfast on the last day of your holiday.
Pass the famous MacGochans pub (they do a good lunch) near the free car park, also where the buses from Craignure arrive, and on down to the quayside (in the marina). There are small booths for charter yacht passengers before you descend the gangway to the pontoons. We will meet you at the charter booths. Please note that boarding time at the pontoon is at 14:00. If you spend the night before departure in Tobermory, you could have the time to visit the Tobermory Whisky Distillery: http://tobermorydistillery.com. It is also very close to the free car park.
You might prefer to spend the night before your trip in an Oban B&B or hotel. You can then catch the morning ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. There are regular buses from Craignure to Tobermory or you can use a taxi to get to Tobermory in time for the 14:00 boarding time.
a. By Car
Oban is about 2.5 hours to 3 hours drive north from Glasgow Airport. If you want to leave your car in Oban there is secure, paid for parking or a free, council-run, long-term car park. There are three, car ferry routes (see below details) from the mainland to Mull. Check in closes 30 minutes before departure for cars and 10 minutes for foot passengers.
b. By Air
Oban airport is a short taxi ride away from Oban and has car hire. More likely you will arrive at Glasgow International Airport which has car hire or you could take the train from Glasgow Queen Street Station to Oban. There is a bus to take you from Glasgow Airport to Glasgow Queen Street Station. We can also supply Airport taxis numbers or organize a taxi to take you from the airport to Oban. The drive from Glasgow to Oban takes around 2.5 hours to 3 hours.
c. Public Transport
By train: A scenic train route from Glasgow Queen Street train station to Oban: https://www.scotrail.co.uk/scotland-by-rail/great-scenic-rail-journeys/west-highland-line-glasgow-oban-and-fort-williammallaig . Trains depart Glasgow in the morning and at lunchtime and arrive in Oban some 3 hours later. The Oban - Craignure ferry, on the Isle of Mull, has regular connections with the Glasgow trains.
Once in Craignure there are regular buses to Tobermory (about 50 minutes ride), which connect with the ferry. Alternatively there are taxis (07493 886237, 07760 426351). You will easily arrive in Tobermory for the 14:00 boarding time if you catch a morning ferry to Tobermory.
If you decide to take the bus from Craignure, please note that the bus does not meet every ferry so it is very important to check the bus times in advance: http://www.tobermory.co.uk/information/travel-2/bus/
By bus: There are regular buses from Glasgow to Oban.
Please note that boarding the St Hilda is at 15:00. If you arrive before 15:00 there is a nice café in the marina for a light lunch.
a. By Car
From Glasgow take the M8 west for Gourock. You travel through Gourock to catch (the red) Western Ferries car ferry (www.western-ferries.co.uk) after the town. Western Ferries leave every 20 minutes and the trip takes 20 minutes. When you get off the ferry turn right and follow the road along the loch for 5 minutes or so until you see the Holy Loch Marina gates ahead of you. Drive through and park. You will find the St Hilda on the north pontoon nearest the open water. It is very safe, but at your own risks, to leave the car at the marina and it is free for our passengers. The marina is locked at night time from 10pm.
As you drive through Gourock, watch out for Paul’s Food and Wine which is in the High Street on the left with a red frontage – you can buy your return ferry tickets at the local rate there at about 2/3 of the price of what you would pay for them on the ferry. It takes around 1 hr 45 mins by car from the centre of Glasgow to Dunoon and 1 hr 15 mins by car from the airport to Dunoon. If you are planning to spend time in Glasgow from when you arrive to when you board the St Hilda we would NOT recommend hiring a car for use within Glasgow city. However, if you plan to tour a bit, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park are within easy reach. Car hire is around £30 - £40 a day. If you do decide to hire a car and keep it while you are on board, it can be safely left in Holy Loch Marina.
b. By Air
Glasgow Airport to the Holy Loch Marina is about 1h 15 min. We can arrange for a taxi to pick you up or you can travel by public transport (see below).
c. Public Transport
By train: The Glasgow train connects with the Argyll Passenger Ferry to cross the Clyde and takes around 1.5 hours, so you do not need to arrive in Dunoon the day before. Find their schedule on the following website: http://www.argyllferries.co.uk/timetables-and-fares.htm
For 15:00 boarding on the St Hilda there is a train that departs from Glasgow Central to Gourock, which picks up the Argyll Passenger Ferry. It departs 13:25 Glasgow Central; arrives 14:06 Gourock. The ferry waits and is a few hundred yards walk – 14:20 depart; arrives 14:43 Dunoon pier. Buy your train ticket all the way through – it is cheaper. We can arrange for a taxi to take you from the Dunoon pier to Holy Loch Marina, which is a c.5 min trip. Please check ferry/train website for 15:00 boarding of St Hilda.
You might want to spend your first night in Glasgow where is much to do and see. In Glasgow, there is the Premier Inn at Charing Cross: http://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/scotland/strathclyde/glasgow/glasgow-city-centre-charing-cross.html, 0871 527 8438). To get from Glasgow airport to Charing Cross you will need the bus service 500. The bus stop is just outside the terminal building. Or you could take a taxi. The taxi rank is also located at the front of the terminal building. Taxis are available 24 hours a day. The taxi fare to Glasgow city centre is approximately £16.50.
The Premier Inn at Charing Cross has train connection to both Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street train stations which will be useful if you travel to Oban by train. Trains to Oban leave from Queen Street.
Alternatively you could stay at the The Premier Inn at Glasgow Airport: http://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/scotland/strathclyde/glasgow/glasgow-airport.html, 0871 527 8434.
In Oban there are many Bed and Breakfasts and Hotels. There are a few morning ferry Oban giving you plenty of time to arrive in Tobermory for 14:00 embarking time.
Here is a link for Blair Villa: http://www.blairvillaoban.com and their phone number is 01631564813. They say that it is simpler if you book straight through Booking.com. They are close to the train station and to the ferry terminal. You can also get very good deals on https://www.trivago.co.uk/oban-41557/hotel.
There are at least three good hotels: Park Lodge Hotel (upper road) 01688 302430, Tobermory Hotel (main street) 01688 302091 and Western Isles 01688 302012.
The following Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs) are recommended by Visit Scotland. There are others that are not on the list. Reasonably priced ones are: Brockville (upper hill above Tobermory) 01688 302741, Carnaburg (on waterfront) 01688 302479 and Lonan (upper views of the bay) 01688 302082.
Some more expensive B&Bs are: Cuidhe Leathain (upper) 01688 302504/07842 138186, Harbour View (upper views of the bay) 01688 301111 and Highland Cottage (upper road) 01688 302030.
d. Holy Loch
These B&Bs have sea views. The Anchorage (within walking distance of the marina) 01369 707646 and Dhailling Lodge 01369 701253.