The Scottish Highlands and Islands are nearer than you think! Our small ship cruises depart from Oban (Dunstaffnage Marina) and occasionally from Holy Loch Marina, near Dunoon.
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 on the last day of your holiday at 12:30.
Please note that boarding time at the pontoon is at 13:30. You might prefer to spend the night before your trip in an Oban B&B or at the marina at 'The Frog' which has rooms finished to a 3 star standard and a bistro and bar.
a. By Car
Oban is about 2.5 hours to 3 hours drive north from Glasgow Airport and Dunstaffnage Marina is just 3 miles North of Oban on the A85. If you want to leave your car in Oban there is secure, paid for parking with Hazelbank Motors or a free, long-term car park at Atlantis Leisure. Alternatively, you can leave your car at the marina parking for £25 per week.
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.
By bus: There are regular buses from Glasgow to Oban.
By taxi: If you travel by train or bus to Oban then you will need to take a taxi to the marina which costs about £9 and takes about seven minutes. One Taxi company operating out of Oban is Lorn Taxis (01631 564744). Try to book the day before.
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 there 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.
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. You can also get very good deals on https://www.trivago.co.uk/oban-41557/hotel.
c. Holy Loch
These B&Bs have sea views. The Anchorage (within walking distance of the marina) 01369 707646 and Dhailling Lodge 01369 701253.