CAT Thomson explores Argyll, where plenty of natural wonders – and delicious meals – are waiting to be found and admired
Discover Loch Lomond, aboard the Lomond Duchess. Enjoy the one hour cruise sailing from Balloch (www.sweeneyscruises.com). Spot six stately homes whilst taking in views of Ben Lomond and Inchmurrin, the biggest isle on the loch. Adult tickets £10.20, children under 12, £7.
Drive from Arrochar and marvel at the vista from the summit of “the rest and be thankful” road.
Enjoy lunch at historic Cairndow Stagecoach Inn (www.cairndowinn.com).
Channel your inner Downton Abbey with a stay below stairs in the Butler’s Quarters at Ardkinglas House. Step back to 1907 when the big house was created by architect Sir Robert Lorimer as a summer house for Sir Andrew Noble.
Explore Ardkinglas Estate, pictured, with its secluded boating lake and walled gardens, or wander down to the shore at Loch Fyne.
See how the other half lived with a private tour of the “big house”. Ardkinglas has been used as a film location for productions including The Crow Road, and The Water Horse.
Go to Inverary, and head directly to jail. Don’t panic; it’s an award winning tourist attraction situated in a 19th-century prison and courthouse (www.inverarayjail.co.uk); adults, £10.95, children 5-16, £6.50.
Stop for a late lunch at The George Hotel, Main Street East, Inverary, with tasty family dishes including freshly battered fish and chips with salad (£10.95) plus Scottish smoked hake fillet served with mash potatoes and seared spinach (£9.95).
Double back to Cairndow and explore the gardens at Ardkinglas Estate, working up an appetite for dinner.
Treat yourself to fine dining at Loch Fyne Restaurant and Oyster Bar (www.lochfyne.com) washed down by local brew, Jarl ale. The daily menu features dishes from smoked salmon and crispy oysters with horseradish, to Tarbert crab and smoked haddock chowder. It won’t disappoint.
• Two nights at The Butler’s Quarters, a two bedroom apartment at Ardkinglas House for five people costs £190-£330, www.ardkinglas.com