Dunoon is situated on the Cowal peninsula, on the western shore of the Firth of Clyde where Loch Long and Holy Loch join the sea. It became one of Scotland's premier holiday resorts in the 1800's, during the heyday of the paddle steamer; in fact, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world, the 'Waverley', is still a regular visitor to Dunoon.
The town has a fine Victorian heritage, with lovely gardens and century old villas which back onto a four mile flat promenade running along the front. Tourist activity is focussed on the 19th Century pier with its lively entertainment and panoramic views across the Firth. The town's facilities include a modern indoor swimming pool with sauna, bowling greens and tennis courts and both a 9 and 18 hole golf course.
There is also a cinema and in the season, a range of entertainment at the Queens Hall. The resort stages internationally recognised jazz and dance festivals and plays host to the Cowal Highland Gathering, the biggest Highland games festival anywhere in the world.
Dunoon is situated in Scotland's first National Park and is surrounded by both the rolling hills and woodlands of the Argyll Forest Park and the lochs and mountains of the southern highlands. Enjoy spectacular walks or make for the lochs for relaxing cruising and excellent sailing.
For those with a cultural interest, Argyll is awash with history, myth and legend from pre-historic times to the present day. The countryside is filled with churches and castles which bear testimony both to the cultures and beliefs of Scotland and to the country's diverse and often turbulent history.
Dunoon has one of the largest town centres in the area. Its main street is partially pedestrianised and is filled with shops selling an array of goods, from fresh bakery items to outdoor clothing.
Activities and Attractions
Tourist Information Tel:01369 703785
Benmore Botanic Gardens Tel:01315 527171
The garden contains the tallest tree in Britain, as well as exotic plants and shrubs. There is also a visitor centre and a cosy tea-room. Open March to October.
Queen's Hall Tel:01369 702800
Stages a range of events from stand up comedy to sporting activities. There is also a café and bar.
The Castle House Museum Tel:01369 703206
The museum details the turbulent history of the area and in particular the buildings which have stood on Castle Hill for many years.
Cowal Golf Club Tel:01369 705673
Boasts a beautiful clubhouse facility and a course equal to any in Scotland, with views across the Firth of Clyde.
Ardkinglas Woodland Garden Tel:01499 600261
Situated near Cairndow, Ardkinglas holds one of the finest collections of rhododendrons and conifers within the British Isles.
Bishop's Seat is a hill overlooking the town which provides panoramic views of the Firth of Clyde, Rothesay Bay and the neighbouring sea lochs.
Cowal Highland Gathering Tel:01369 703206
One of the oldest and best of the Highland Games includes a range of events from pipe playing to hammer throwing.
CowalFest Tel:0870 720 0629
Scotland's biggest arts and walking festival features 10 days of walks, cultural and social events.
Cowal Open Studios takes place in September and gives visitors a chance to see local artists, including potters, jewellers and painters at work in their private homes and studios.
Dunoon Highland Dancing Festival Tel:01396 704533
Dancers from across Scotland perform the country's most traditional dances. The event takes place over four days in August.
Loch Fyne Food Fair takes place in May in an idyllic setting at the head of Loch Fyne and features food and beer tents, live music and entertainment. Admission is free for the daytime events.
Bute Jazz Festival Tel:01369 705202
Taking place in May, this feast of jazz includes many of Britain's most respected musicians. 2012 marks the festival's 25th anniversary.
Tarbert Seafood Festival is held in July on the banks of Loch Fyne and includes cookery demonstrations, street entertainment, exhibitions, craft stalls, live music and a carnival parade.
For more events and information see:
Places of Interest
Inveraray Castle Tel:01499 302203
The 15th century castle is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. There is a visitors centre, a gift shop and a tearoom set in 16 acres of formal gardens and woodland.
Inveraray Jail Tel:01499 302381
Voted the 'Best Scottish Attraction of the Decade', it shows the courtrooms and the torture chambers used by the Scottish legal system of the past.
Helensburgh is an attractive town situated on the Clyde. One of its most striking features is an obelisk on the waterfront, dedicated to Henry Bell who built Europe's first commercial steamboat, the 'Comet'. Close by is a statue commemorating another famous son of Helensburgh, John Logie Baird, pioneer of the television set.
Toward A small village close to Dunoon, Toward has the remnants of a pier and of a castle steeped in bloody clan history which was once visited by Mary Queen of Scots.
Oban Tourist Information Tel:01631 563122
Recognised as the unofficial capital of the Western Highlands, there is plenty to see and do in Oban, whether it is a boat trip on a loch or a visit to one of the intriguing museums.
Bute This wonderful island is rich in history and natural beauty. Rothesay Castle, the old home of the Stuart Kings, dates back to the early 1200's and affords wonderful views over the town.
Loch Lomond Tourist Information Tel:01389 722199
The largest 'lake' in Britain is surrounded by delightful bays, rising hillsides and picturesque villages.