A classic, set piece of Scottish Georgian architecture, INVERARAY was built on the site of a ruined fishing village in 1745 by the third duke of Argyll, head of the powerful Campbell clan. Inveraray has a truly memorable setting, the brilliant white arches of Front Street reflected in the still waters of Loch Fyne, which separate it from the Cowal peninsula.
Squeezed onto a promontory some distance from the duke's new castle, Inveraray's "New Town" has a distinctive Main Street, flanked by whitewashed terraces, whose window casements are picked out in black. At the top of the street, the road divides to circumnavigate the town's Neoclassical church, originally built in two parts: the southern half served the Gaelic-speaking community, while the northern half served those who spoke English.
East of the church is Inveraray Jail (daily: April– Oct 9.30am–6pm; Nov– March 10am–5pm; £6.50), whose attractive Georgian courthouse and grim prison blocks ceased to function in the 1930s. The jail is now an imaginative and thoroughly enjoyable museum, which graphically recounts prison conditions from medieval times.
A ten-minute walk north of the New Town, the neo-Gothic Inveraray Castle (April, May & Oct Mon– Thurs & Sat 10am–1pm & 2–5.45pm, Sun 1–5.45pm; June– Sept Mon– Sat 10am–5.45pm, Sun 1–5.45pm; £5.90) remains the family home of the Duke of Argyll. Built in 1745, its most startling feature is the armoury hall, whose displays of weaponry – supplied to the Campbells by the British government to put down the Jacobites – rise through several storeys.