About the Isle of Bute

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Bute has been occupied for over five millennia and has borne witness to key periods in Scotland’s history. Standing stones and Bronze Age burial sites serve as testimony to the island’s ancient past; a past that has witnessed attacks across the ages from Viking raids to Cromwellian occupation. A key strategic point in the medieval wars against England and in the internal power plays between the Scottish monarchs and the Lords of the Isles; Bute is home to Rothesay Castle, ancient home of the Stewarts of Bute. However, Bute’s past wasn’t all violent: Celtic missionaries made the island one of the earliest Christian centres in Northern Europe while the Stewart kings made their holiday residence here starting a trend that would see the island emerge as Scotland’s most popular holiday destination, earning it the title of “the Madeira of Scotland”.

Long before that the island’s most dominant geographical feature - the Highland Boundary Fault - appeared. The fault divides the island into highland and lowland terrain so it is possible to stand with one foot in the Highlands and one in the Lowlands! Bute, influenced by the Gulf Stream, enjoys a peculiarly warm microclimate that has made it home to a surprising variety of exotic plants, such as the beautiful Tatellopia Truncata from Tasmania.

Visiting Bute is the perfect opportunity to experience Scottish island life within easy reach of Glasgow’s urban centre. Alongside the island’s stunning scenery, diverse flora and fauna, unique heritage and farming traditions; you’ll discover the heart of the community alive in the elegant seaside town of Rothesay. Bute offers something for everyone, whether you’re interested in nature, sports, heritage, good food or simply peace and quiet.

Use our interactive map to discover the array of wonderful things available to visitors on Bute.