Discover Ayrshire and Arran Foodie Trails Day 2

On the second day of our foodie adventure and first full day in Arran we awoke after a good night’s sleep and could then fully appreciate why our room at the Douglas Hotel was named after Goatfell, Arran’s highest point. Read about what we got up to on day 1 of our Arran and Ayrshire adventure here.

Then it was time to head downstairs for breakfast – Salmon with scrambled eggs and a full Scottish, a well-cooked non-greasy fry up with big slices of bacon and thankfully a tattie scone – from a local supplier Wooleys as well (too many Scottish hotels don’t provide them!).

douglas hotel breakfast buffet
Douglas hotel breakfast table
douglas hotel breakfast

We said goodbye to the Douglas Hotel and then headed to our next destination just a short walk / drive along Shore Road.

James of Arran – Arran Chocolate Factory

Taste Trail: Arran

Shore Road, Brodick, KA27 8AP

We remember this shop from our first visit to Arran, in fact, it may have been our first stop! At James of Arran you can not only buy handmade chocolates but also, if you are lucky, get to see them being made. We missed out on this, however, you can still peek into the Willy Wonka world through a window in the shop. Note that as a result of COVID they are only permitting one family inside the shop at a time so we had to wait on a couple buying gifts for all their children and grandkids! However, it is worth the wait.

jamesofarran.com

james of arran chocolate shop
inside james of arran chocolate shop
james of arran chocolate shop chocolate making
clootie mctoot
chocolate puddingss

Crofters

Taste Trail: Arran

Knox House, Shore Road, Brodick, KA27 8AJ

Crofters, just a few doors further along Shore Road is a bar and bistro which not only embraces an ethos of selling Scottish products but as a result of lockdown, they are now also making their own range of pickled sauce and condiments, Crofters Larder, which is available to in the bistro and online. We sampled a fair few of these alongside Arran cheeses and oatcakes.

They have a great selection of Scottish beers, and where possible Scottish spirits, so will find plenty of Scottish gins and rums in addition to the usual whisky. If you’re after something non-alcoholic their coffee is roasted just outside of Brodick by the aptly named Arran Coffee. They are also dog-friendly.

Closed Monday – Thursday. Open Fridays from 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon – late.

croftersarran.com

view crofters arran
crofters larder range arran
crofters larder

Arran Botanical Drinks

• Taste Trail: Tipple

Cladach Beach House, KA27 8DE

Just outside of Brodick is Arran Botanical Drinks, a large shack with an idyllic beer garden beside a sandy beach thus making it possibly Scotland’s only beach bar!? They began life as Arran Gin but then branched out and started making cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). Now they have collaborated with the small-batch brewer Seagate Brewery, who are based in Lamlash in the south of the island.

arran botanicals panorama
arran botanicals outside

Inside, it was cosy with a wood-burning stove doing its thing. We got a tour around the premises and learned about some of the unusual botanicals that go into making Arran Gin. Compared to other gins the juniper takes a back seat to more earthy, savoury flavours. This is as a result of the foraged seaweed and coastal plants that are used in place of more conventional, and often imported, ingredients. All of the botanicals used in the gin are found locally on Arran, with the exception of juniper as there simply isn’t enough of it to go around. It’s a pretty unique flavour and quite different to Gordon’s!

We also sampled their lovely Cassis and their latest beer, a light lemony brew called Botanical Blonde.

arran botanicals kir royale
arran botanicals gin tasting
beach at Arran botanicals

Just imagine sitting here with drinks on a warm summers day.

Open Wednesday and Thursday 12-6pm
Friday and Saturday 12-7pm
Sunday 12-5pm

arranbotanicaldrinks.com

The Bay Kitchen and Stores

• Taste Trail: Arran

Whiting Bay, Arran, KA27 8PZ

We turned around and headed back through Brodick towards the south of Arran stopping in Whiting Bay to visit a shop-cum-cafe who have a fresh milk vending machine, unpackaged goods, fresh bread from the Blackwater Bakehouse (which was still warm when we visited), local herbs and massive vegetables.

bay stores whiting bay arran

For a village on an island with a total population of around 5,000 The Bay Kitchen and Stores stocks an incredible amount of unusual, organic and vegan products in addition to the local, fresh produce. They also stock all the basic essentials of course.

So much can be purchased from here, it really is incredibly well-stocked.

We loved the packaging on these local eggs as well.

As we were leaving we noticed an interesting display of rubber ducks on a neighbour’s hedge, then we got back in the car and as we were driving off we saw a group of people looking out onto what appeared to be a seal posing on a nearby rock! If there wasn’t already traffic behind us we would have stopped for pictures but that is something to be aware of when you’re in Arran, wildlife is everywhere.

Honesty Box

Our next destination was the Lagg Distillery, but just before the bend before the entrance we spied an honesty box at the edge of the road and had to stop!

A well-stocked honest box is something we like to see so we picked up a few items, deposited our money and continued the short journey to the distillery.

Lagg Distillery

• Taste Trail: Tipple

Kilmory, Arran, KA27 8PG

outside of lagg distillery

The first thing you notice about Lagg Distillery is that it looks so modern, clean and tidy compared to most other distilleries. It only opened in 2019 so is not yet bottling spirit that can be legally called whisky, but that time will come later this year.

It’s owned by Isle of Arran Distillers, who are the same people who run the well-established Lochranza distillery in the north of the island. The key difference is that at Lochranza they produce non-peated whisky but here at Lagg, they are making peated whisky only.

Some people refer to whiskies made on islands as ‘island’ whiskies (unsurprisingly) but although there are legal definitions for the five main whisky regions (Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay and Campbeltown), Island isn’t one of them so according to our tour guide, because of the where the line was drawn between Highland and Lowland, the whisky made at Lochranza is officially ‘Highland’ while the whisky at Lagg is ‘Lowland’ yet it tastes more like an Islay – Scotland in miniature indeed! We sampled two drams made at Lochranza, one peated and one not, as the original distillery had dabbled with peated malt before opening this new venture.

We also enjoyed a big bowl of cream Cullen skink for a late lunch before departing.

lagg distillery arran whisky

As we were driving the distillery kindly gave us a driver’s dram for taking our whisky home with us but if you do plan on arriving by public transport the bus stops near to the entrance, though note there is no pavement.

lagg distillery sunset2

We even got to enjoy a wonderful sunset over Mull of Kintyre from the Lagg Distillery car park – as did a few others.

laggwhisky.com

Bellevue Farm

• Taste Trail: Farm to Fork

Blackwater Foot, KA27 8EX

arran bellevue barn

Our last stop of the day before checking into our next hotel and dinner was Bellevue Farm. Here, you can buy free-range eggs and home reared pork and lamb, you can even take the family on a farm tour to see a Shetland pony, donkeys, Highland cows, chicks, rabbits, ducks, hens, goats, and alpacas. But we were here to find out all about the Farmers Market, which is held here and draws in customers and producers from all over the island, some of whom we had already visited. We met up with Cameron Bruce from Arran’s Food Journey who told us more.

The market takes place inside the big barn above so don’t be put off if you are on Arran when the market’s on but the weather is rubbish! also, if you don’t have a car there is a bus stop (both directions) less than 5 mins walk on the main road outside.

bellevue farm arran

The video below shows what to expect at the Farmers Market.

bellevue-arran.co.uk

Auchrannie Resort

• Taste Trail: Arran

Auchrannie Road, Brodick, KA27 8BZ

Arran Auchrannie Resort

Auchrannie is a well-known and well-regarded spa resort in the Glencloy valley a few streets away from the main road in Brodick. Our room was modern and well-equipped with tasteful furnishings with tartan touches.

arran auchrannie room

We dined at Brambles Seafood + Grill, which was a relaxed and informal restaurant. The menu is modern and embraces local produce such as Arran cheese and mustard.

We learned that Bramble’s have a famous chunky fishcake so I ordered this, which was a beast of a fishcake with a lemon & pepper mayonnaise, just what was needed on a cold, wintery day. Mark picked the tempura style broccoli with chilli, soy & sesame dip to liven up his tastebuds. We then moved on to mains with steamed Scottish mussels in an Arran smoked cheddar & cider broth served with sourdough bread & butter. Lots of lovely sauce to dip the bread into and plump mussels as well. We continued the fish theme, well we were on an island, with their 6oz salmon burger, which was served on toasted ciabatta with smoky bacon, sun blushed tomato, rocket & mayonnaise, and a side of hand-cut chips. This moist and unusual sight on the menu was chunky like the fishcake but not overly fishy.

Before heading to bed, we had a quick drink in the cosy bar, which of course stocks local Arran ales and has a roaring log fire. There is also a tapas restaurant here, it’s closed in winter but should you stay at Auchrannie in summer you will have three restaurants to choose from.

auchrannie.co.uk

Read about day 1 of our Ayrshire and Arran Experience and day 3 of our Ayrshire and Arran Trails Experience.

Emma

Emma

Hello!

I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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