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West coast weekends: short stays on Scotland's islands
The islands are closer than you think – some are even day trip-able from Glasgow
What are you up to this weekend? Fancy some slap-up seafood and a few craft beers by the sea? How does hanging out on a secluded beach sound? What about mountain biking with eagles? A boutique romantic break? The most fun you've had in forever?
Instead of emptying your pockets at security and watching the departures board for your delayed flight, next time you fancy a quick getaway, hop on the ferry and in a couple of hours you could be doing Instagrammable handstands on the beach or watching the sunset from a seaside beer garden over a plate of boat-fresh seafood.
Stay a day
Go on a day trip with a difference – do it old school style with a day at the seaside. From Glasgow, it's just hour by car or on the train (the holiday starts at Central, right?) to Ardrossan for the hour's hop over to Brodick on Arran where you can climb a mountain, go on a brewery or distillery tour and be back in time for tea.
Likewise, Bute is a short trip from Wemyss Bay, and the tiny island of Cumbrae is just 10 minutes on an even tinier ferry from Largs.
Relive childhood holidays, and revel in traditional holiday fun. Play crazy golf, eat an ice cream on the front, suck on a stick of rock, eat fish 'n' chips and send a postcard to your gran. And, as you're a grown-up now, the pub's no longer off limits. Take your bikes, or hire them. Take a picnic. Find your own beautiful beach. Stay for dinner. Get the last ferry home. And smile all the way.
Stay the night and you'll feel like you're really getting away from it all. Take your cheap fizz and plastic glasses for a DIY sundown salute on the beach in Bute, or book a table somewhere swish for langoustines and fizz. Stay in a cool boutique hotel or a traditional B&B. Hold hands. Laugh. Live life to the full. And do it all again next time.
On just a short trip, you can get your fill of adventure to last until your next round-the-world trip. From Oban, take the ferry to incredible islands out in the ocean like Mull, Colonsay, Coll and Tiree all of which have some of the best beaches in the world.
Or from Mallaig, head to Eigg to go mountain biking in the company of eagles. Go on a Segway tour, or learn to sail in a day on Skye. You won't quite be good enough to sail your way back home, but the sea air will be in your veins so you'll be back again and again. We're sure of it.