The Bute Museum


Stuart Street, Rothesay, Isle Of Bute, PA20 0EP

    Enrich your experience of the island - explore the museum first! Experience the archaeology,history and natural history of the island with our extensive displays from every period of Bute's past.

    Bute Museum's collections are mainly concerned with recording and preserving the Island's past and showing examples of the wildlife which might be seen there today.

    The very distant past is well represented in the Natural History room's collection of rock samples illustrating Bute's complicated geology caused by its position on the Highland Boundary Fault and the subsequent violent activity associated with it.

    First evidence of man is shown in a fine collection of Mesolithic microliths found in the south of the Island. Stone tools and items of pottery left by later Neolithic settlers at various grave and settlement sites are worth studying.

    A cist containing some bones and the well preserved skull of a young Bronze Age woman was excavated in 1962 on Inchmanock off the west coast of Bute. Beside her lay the scattered beads of a jet necklace which has recently been restrung and displayed beside a facial reconstruction based on her skull.

    Artefacts and metal working implements of Iron Age date were excavated at Dunagoil Fort on the south west coast of Bute and form an important and outstanding collection.

    History began with the coming of Christianity which brought Celtic Saints to Bute. The remains of their Chapels, sited all over the Island, has provided the Museum with a source of carved stones from this period.

    Excavations at Rothesay Castle moat yielded domestic and military items from the Castle's turbulent past. Viking raiders attacked the Island and its Castle on numerous occasions and the Museum has a rare Viking sword hilt found near Ettrick Bay.

    Farming and fishing provided employment for most Islanders but the 19th century saw the rise and decline of a substantial cotton spinning and weaving industry which lasted about 100 years and its extent is explained in the History room.

    The coming of the steamboat with fast cheap travel brought a new industry---Tourism. Cases of recent bygones and steamer models are worth a nostalgic look. Bute's part in two World Wars is well documented with photographs and artefacts.

    Back to the present day---the Natural History room houses cases of mammals and birds from a wide variety of habitats reflecting today's wild occupants of Bute. Records of the flora and insect life are carefully kept, while a display of wild flowers is on show during the season. Children can enjoy handling various natural objects set out on the Touch Table. The Museum houses a Lecture room and Library with a fine collection of books, documents, photographs and archival material relating to Bute.

    Opening Times
    Winter Opening (2)
    1 Feb 2016 - 31 Mar 2016
    Summer Opening
    1 Apr 2016 - 30 Sep 2016
    Winter Opening (1)
    1 Oct 2016 - 30 Nov 2016

    Daily hours

    Summer Opening
    Mon-Sat 10.30am-3.30pm
    Sun 1.30pm-3.30pm

    Winter Opening
    Tues,Wed,Thurs,Sat 1.30pm-3.30pm

    Closed January & December for routine maintenance

    Ticket Information
    Adult £3.00 per ticket
    Child £1.00 per ticket
    Concession £2.00 per ticket

    Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.


    • Children Welcome


    • Island Location
    • Town Location

    Special Requirements

    • Allergy Sufferers
    • Business Travellers
    • Coach Parties Welcome
    • Disabled Citizens
    • Families
    • Groups Welcome
    • No Pets Allowed
    • Non smokers
    • Senior Citizens
    • Single Travellers
    • Young People

    Leisure Facilities

    • Gift Shop

    Payment Methods

    • Cash
    • Cheque
    • No credit cards accepted


    • Coach Parking Off-site / street
    • Free Parking Off-Site/Street
    • Public Parking Nearby
    • Taxi Rank < 100m from station

    Road Directions

    From Rothesay ferry terminal via High Street and turn right into Stuart Street

    Public Transport Directions

    From the nearest information centre:- Via High Street past Rothesay Castle and turn right into Stuart Street

    Getting there by railway:- Glasgow Central station to Wemyss bay ferry terminal - ferry to Rothesay pier - 5 minute walk via High Street and turn right into Stuart Street

    Getting there by aeroplane:- From Glasgow Airport, bus/taxi to Paisley Station to Wemyss Bay ferry terminal - ferry to Rothesay pier - 5 minute walk via High Street and turn Right into Stuart Street

    Getting there by ferry:- Wemyss Bay ferry terminal -ferry to Rothesay pier - 5 minute walk via High Street and turn right into Stuart street.

    Transport within Scotland

    For public transport information to visit here from within Scotland, enter your postcode and visit date below.

    Journey Planner

    Access to Public Areas (Displays, exhibits, rides etc)

    • Level access (i.e. no steps or thresholds) or access by a ramp or lift to :
      • a public toilet
      • the gift shop
      • the information point
      • the ticket issuing point


    • Routes / pathways throughout the attraction suitable for visitors with limited mobility
      • all routes
    • There is an audible alarm system
    • Seating available throughout the attraction at appropriate intervals, for visitors with limited mobility
    • Good colour / tonal contrast used throughout the attraction e.g. doors contrast strongly with floors/walls
    • Clear signage throughout the attraction (e.g. colour contrasted, large lettering, use of pictograms etc.)
    • Contrast markings on all glass doors and all full-height windows
    • Lighting effective throughout the attraction for visually impaired visitors e.g. pools of light and dark areas are avoided


    • Staff who have contact with visitors have disability awareness training

    Attraction Entrance

    • There are steps to the main entrance
      • Number of steps 3


    • The route from the parking area to the nearest public entrance is :
      • with steps and no ramp
    • Parking provided for visitors
      • Within about 50 metres of the attraction

    This information is self-assessed; therefore we accept no liability for its accuracy. Please contact the venue for further information.

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