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Reviewed on 1 Mar 2020
Reviewed on 28 Sep 2019
Reviewed on 9 Mar 2020
Oban is a traditional little Scottish town sitting along the banks of a bay in the Sound of Kerrera. The jumble of Victorian stone buildings that wind around the waterfront are overlooked by the elaborate McCaig's Tower, a late 19th-century granite structure modelled on the Colosseum in Rome, which occupies the summit of Battery Hill. During the summer, the sleepy town bursts into life with travellers descending on the Oban bed and breakfasts to use as a base for exploring the Hebridean Islands or go hiking along the Argyll coastline. This influx of tourism has helped build a variety of restaurants which celebrate Scottish produce, particularly the waterfront seafood eateries.
Staying in a bed and breakfast in Oban just feels right. While there are several hotels in town, the B&Bs trump them with their intimate home-away-from-home ambience, knowledgeable owners, and proximity to the centre. Some are housed in the town's streets of terraced Victorian properties, others in centuries-old cottages. If you prefer to stay outside the town, there are plenty of old farmhouses with just a handful of guestrooms nestled in the stark Scottish countryside – you can start your hikes right from the doorstep, there – while others are in stately old homes with tartan furnishings that add a pinch of luxury to the proceedings. You can find whatever you're looking for on Expedia, whose listings can be filtered by price, location and style, for the perfect match.
Guestrooms differ, depending on where you stay, but you can always expect to find them equipped with facilities for making hot drinks, ensuite bathrooms and comfortable double or twin beds, as well as WiFi to help you plan your adventure while you're in town. If it's important to find an Oban bed and breakfast that welcomes pets, offers free parking or has family-sized rooms, you'll find them on Expedia. You couldn't call a place a B&B if it didn't offer a good breakfast. After waking to views across the waterfront, head downstairs for a hearty Scottish breakfast. Porridge done the right way, full Scottish fry-ups, or healthier treats, like yogurts and fruit, are all accompanied by milky tea or strong coffee. It's the perfect start to a day out along the windswept hiking trails. Want a little urban adventure afterwards? Consider hopping on the train and heading south to the historic city of Glasgow.
The summer months might be the busy high season, but there are things to keep you busy all year round, when you stay at an Oban bed and breakfast. If you've brought the family, don't miss a day at Sealife Adventures, where you can hop aboard one of the boat trips with a marine biologist to spot whales and other ocean life. If you'd rather go it alone, you could always rent one of the sea kayaks to paddle along the coast or lace up your boots to go hiking along the shoreline trails.
History buffs can dive into the region's history at the 19th-century Inveraray Jail, where live actors portray life as it was lived 200 years ago, or Kilmartin Museum, at Lochgilphead, where the ancient rock carvings and stone circles shine a light on the region's prehistoric past. Both of those are about 1 hour's drive from Oban. Scottish castles are things of legend. The ruins and grounds of Dunollie Castle and 13th-century Duart Castle don't disappoint. The latter is the seat of the Clan Maclean and is situated on the Isle of Mull – you can get there by ferry from Oban. You can finish the day with a dram of whisky at one of the distilleries or cosy pubs.