Rothesay, Argyll and Bute

Rothesay, Argyll and Bute

Infobox UK place
official_name= Rothesay
gaelic_name= Baile Bhòid
country= Scotland
map_type= Scotland
population= 6,000
os_grid_reference= NS0864
latitude= 55.83
longitude= -5.07
post_town= ISLE OF BUTE
postcode_area= PA
postcode_district= PA20
dial_code= 01700
constituency_westminster= Argyll and Bute
unitary_scotland= Argyll and Bute
lieutenancy_scotland= Argyll and Bute
constituency_scottish_parliament= Argyll and Bute

The town of Rothesay ( _gd. Baile Bhòid) is the principal town on the Isle of Bute, in the council area of Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It can be reached by ferry from Wemyss Bay which offers an onward rail link to Glasgow. At the centre of the town is Rothesay Castle, a ruined castle which dates back to the 13th century, and which is unique in Scotland for its circular plan. Population about 6,000.


Rothesay is the county town of the former county of Buteshire, which included the islands of Great Cumbrae, Little Cumbrae and Arran. The former county buildings, not partially closed down, overlook the castle.

During the Victorian era, Rothesay developed as a popular tourist destination. It became hugely popular with Glaswegians going "doon the watter" (lit: down the water, where the 'water' in question is the Firth of Clyde), and its wooden pier was once much busier with steamer traffic than it is today. The town also had an electric tramway - the Rothesay and Ettrick Bay Light Railway - which stretched across the island to one of its largest beaches. However, this closed in the mid 1930s. The centre of activities was the Winter Gardens building (built 1923) which played host to some of the best known music hall entertainers of the day.

The impressive bauhaus-inspired pavilion of 1938 is the other significant stand-out on the seafront.

However from the 1960s onwards with the advent of foreign package holidays, Rothesay's heyday was largely over. The Winter Gardens was closed and lay derelict for many years. However in the 1990s it was redeveloped and is now a tourist information and exhibition centre.

Duke of Rothesay

The heir to the British throne is known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland. This practice was begun by Robert III, who regularly resided at Rothesay Castle, and first granted the title to his son David in 1398. The title was given to the heir of the Scottish throne until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. However, unlike the equivalent English title of Duke of Cornwall, there is no land attached in the form of a Duchy. The main landowner on the island is actually the Marquess of Bute, whose principal seat, Mount Stuart, is located a few miles to the south.

Rothesay today


The most successful sporting club on the island is Bute Shinty Club who play at the highest level of the sport (the Marine Harvest Premier League). In 2006 Bute won promotion to the Premier League by winning the South Division One. Bute also won the Ballimore Cup and were runners up in the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup in 2006.

The town has a senior amateur football club called Rothesay Brandane F.C. who play in the Caledonian Amateur Football League, and an under 15 youth team called Rothesay Brandane Rovers who compete in the Paisley & District Youth League.

One of the island's three golf courses is situated on the outskirts of the town, the 18-hole Rothesay Golf Club.

The town hosts the High School of Glasgow rugby camp every summer.


There are currently three primary schools; St Andrews Primary, Rothesay Primary School, North Bute Primary and one secondary school, Rothesay Academy, in the town. In 2007 a joint campus school was opened merging Rothesay Primary with Rothesay Academy.


There are now just two law Firms practicing on the island. William Skelton & Co. are based in the High Street, whilst Hannay Fraser & Co, who recently bought out the former Firm of Macbeth & Maclagan, operate from both King Street and Castle Street.

Famous people

*George Hunter, the colourist painter
*Johnny Dumfries, former Formula One racing driver and current Marquess of Bute
*Lena Zavaroni, singer and child star
*Sir William MacEwen, pioneer of brain surgery
*Ashley Lilley actress, played the role of Ali in the 2008 film adaptation of "Mama Mia":

ee also

*Isle of Bute
*Rothesay Castle
*Mount Stuart

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