The Isle of Bute is situated in Scotland’s Firth of Clyde, to the north of Arran, and is easily accessible by regular ferry services from the mainland.
There are two ferry access ports to the island both operated by Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries.
The Waverley, the world’s last seafaring paddle steamer, also makes regular trips to Bute. You can book a trip on the Waverley here.
Colintraive – Rhubodach
There is a tiny hop of 350m from the mainland having driven the scenic route from Glasgow (approximately 75 miles by car ) and takes you along the shores of Loch Lomond and through the Arrochar Alps in the heart of Argyll. This is some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland. Stop at the top of “Rest and Be Thankful” and admire the view. Skirting the top of Loch Fyne, with views across to Inveraray Castle, you head south and arrive at the Colintraive ferry for the 5 minute crossing to Rhubodach on Bute. The crossings are frequent, so if you just miss the boat it’ll be back soon. Rothesay is about 7 miles from here.
Wemyss Bay – Rothesay
The principal route to the island is by car & passenger ferry from Wemyss Bay. The crossing takes 35 mins with sailings every 45mins – 1 hour depending upon the time of day. You can’t book – you turn up and pay at the pierhead. If you’re not driving catch one of the frequent trains from Glasgow Central Station – jump on the train at Paisley if you have flown in to Glasgow Airport.
Travelling to Scotland by Air
Bute is handily placed for access from both Glasgow Airports and only an extra 45mins or so from Edinburgh Airport. The 2 Glasgow Airports are Glasgow International and Prestwick. Prestwick airport is actually not that close to Glasgow but it is the west of Scotland Ryanair hub with many incoming flights. There is car hire available and the connection to Wemyss Bay by road takes between 30-40 mins. If you are flying in to Glasgow International, you can also rent a car. Wemyss Bay is about 40 mins. Alternatively a short taxi or bus ride takes you to Paisley Gilmour Street station for a connecting train to the pier at Wemyss Bay.
Edinburgh Airport is also a Ryanair hub – mostly for northern European routes. The road connection to Wemyss Bay takes approximately 1.5 hrs depending on the traffic, but is motorway for all but the final 10 miles or so.