Oban is a small town with around 8000 people but due to its tourist
industry provides a variety of facilities and services that allow
students, staff, delegates and short-term visitors to enjoy an active social life. The town has a modern leisure
centre, a public library, and many pubs, shops and restaurants. The
Corran Halls put on a variety of shows, plays, music performances,
ballet events etc, and the community has recently bought up the two-screen Phoenix Cinema. The stunning scenery offers access to nearly all
outdoor pursuits and ferries can take you to many Hebridean
destinations. Students usually find it relatively easy to gain temporary
or permanent part-time jobs.
Look at the following websites for information about Oban as a tourist destination:
The Argyll & Bute Council website has information on services such as schools, transport and leisure.
Click here for information of how to get to SAMS from further afield.
Students and delegates are responsible to arrange their own accommodation unless explicitly stated otherwise.
SAMS offers a number of accommodation options for students and visitors
- SAMS student hostel with 11 en-suite rooms located at the Institute
This accommodation is mostly provided to first year students and students with particular needs. To check for availability please email firstname.lastname@example.org
All other student accommodation is provided via a letting agent and is in Oban.
For delegates on short courses or conferences and term-time visitors
Previous visitors and course participants have stayed in the following accommodation providers in the area:
- Ards House, Connel: £35-£45
- Ardtorna, eco-friendly 5 gold star B&B in Barcaldine: £80-110 per person
- Backpackers Plus, refurbished hostel accommodation in a lovely old chuch, from £15 per dorm bed or £25 per private room
- Barriemore Guesthouse, on Oban's seafront: £33-£75
- Blarcreen: Luxury guest house in Ardchattan on Loch Etive: 100-110 per room (£30 reduction for single occupancy)
- Corriemar House B&B, on Oban's seafront. (From our recent experience, Corriemar is slightly higher in price than some local B&Bs, but worth the extra investment.)
- Cologin Country Chalets and Lodges (self-catering, 3 miles south of Oban): from £40
- Falls of Lora Hotel, Connel: £29.50-£75.50
- Kimberley Hotel, Oban: £40-£60
- Manor House, Oban: £86-£118.50 dinner, bed and breakfast
- Oban Backpackers for budget dorm accommodation in central Oban
- Oban Bay Hotel and Spa on Oban's seafront: £45-£85
- Oban Caledonian Hotel opposite Oban railway and bus station: special rate for SAMS delegates from £59 - please quote SAMS.
- Oban Youth Hostel on the seafront for en-suite dorm and family accommodation
- Oyster Inn Hotel and Restaurant, Connel: £50-£75
- Queens Hotel on Oban's seafront
- Ranald Hotel: Oban's newest hotel (opened 2012) from £55 per room
- Regent Hotel on Oban's seafront
- Ronebhal, B&B in Connel (01631 710310): £35 per person
- Rowantree Hotel, Oban centre: £30-£50
- Royal Hotel on Oban's Argyll Square
- Strumhor B&B in Connel near Falls of Lora (T: 01631 710167): £30-40 per person
- Wellpark House on the esplanade in Oban. Recent reports are that the owners are particularly attentive and have looked after our visitors extremely well.
- ... and for those looking for something very special try The Isle of Eriska Hotel: from £170 (min 2 nights stay)
For new staff relocating to the area
Oban has a letting agency / property management firm that has been helping many of our staff and students find accommodation. For more information visit www.west-property.co.uk of follow them on Facebook.
These estate agents sell and rent out properties in and around Oban:
Our local newspaper, The Oban Times, also carries regular adverts for properties available to rent.
- Most students and many delegates for short courses or conferences stay in Oban. There is a regular bus service - operated by West Coast Motors - from Oban to Dunbeg, the village adjacent to SAMS. Just catch the 405 from Oban and it will take you to us!
- Many students and staff choose to cycle to the institute and a new cycle track from Oban's Ganavan beach is a pleasant and safe way to make the three mile journey.
- If you want to come by taxi: Alba Taxis (01631 566 676); Argyll Taxis (01631 565 293); Etive Taxis (01631 566 880); Lorn Taxi (01631 564 744); Tower Taxis (01631 569 999); West Coast Taxis (01631 563 777)
- If you would like to hire a bus for transporting larger groups around the area, this can be arranged through West Coast Motors.
- There is easy access to the islands through Oban’s Caledonian MacBrayne ferry terminal. There are also regular buses and trains running to Fort William and Glasgow, and connections from there to the rest of the country.
- For general public transport information for Scotland visit the Traveline Scotland website.
- There is also a small airport in North Connel, owned by Argyll and Bute Council, with scheduled flights to the the islands of Coll, Colonsay and Tiree. The nearest international airport is Glasgow International, which is two hours by car away from the institute. Both Edinburgh and Prestwick Airport are three hours car journey away from Oban.
You will most likely be able to do any kind of sport in Oban you never dreamt of doing, as this is "the great outdoors". At SAMS there are pretty much daily lunchtime fitness activities and many students and staff go running, swimming or even sailing during their lunch break. Below are just a few sport clubs in the area; if you are after anything else, locate one of the more fit looking people at SAMS and ask who to get in contact with for doing your particular sport.
- Atlantis Leisure Centre:
Oban’s large, community-run sports and leisure centre with: indoor pool, fitness suite, health suite, tennis, squash, bouldering wall, basketball, Astroturf, sports hall activities (archery, basketball, badminton, 5-a-side, hockey, netball, table tennis, volleyball, aerobics, yoga, karate, kickboxing, gymnastics, athletics etc.). Atlantis also has a crèche, soft-play area, outside play park, cafe and offers family activities and clubs
- Bowling: Oban Bowling Club, Dalriach Rd , Oban
(next to Atlantis Leisure)
- Canoeing: Oban Canoe Club (for all canoeist, sea kayaker or open boat enthusiast)
Climbing: The Ice Factor, Kinlochleven
- Diving: SAMS students have developed a local dive club at SAMS
- Fitness: Face West Fitness, Energie Fitness Club Oban, Atlantis Leisure Fitness classes
Flying: Connel Flying Club
Golf: Glencruitten Golf Club, Glencruitten Rd, Oban T: 01631 562868
- Hillwalking with the Nevis Hillwalking Club. For multi-day trips contact the Mountain Bothy Association
- Hockey (there are men's and women's teams catering for all ages from high school onwards)
- Horse-riding: Achnalarig Riding Centre, Glencruitten, Oban T: 01631 562745 OR Lunga Riding Stables
- Kayaking: Sea Kayak Oban OR Seafreedom
- Outdoor activities: Stramash outdoor social enterprise T: 01631 566080 E: email@example.com
- Rugby: Oban Lorne Rugby Football Club, T: 01631 570268 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Running: Meeting point is Atlantis Leisure Club
- Sailing: Oban Sailing Club T: 01631 563999 E: email@example.com OR Oban Sea School
- Shinty: Oban Celtic Shinty Club
Skiing: Glenshee OR Nevis Range. Members of the Scottish Ski Club may access huts and discounts.
- Walking: Lochaber and Lorn Ramblers
There are a multitude of places to eat around Oban and surrounding villages, and the following selection is just to get you started in exploring the culinary opportunities of a town calling itself the 'Seafood Capital of Scotland':
- Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant and Sloans Bar - No 1, The Pier, Oban T: 01631 563 110
- Ee-usk (seafood restaurant), North Pier, Oban T: 01631 565666
- Coast (contemporary restaurant), 104 George Street, Oban T: 01631 569900
- Waypoint Bar & Grill, Oban Marina (take free ferry from N pier), Kerrera, T: 01631 565333 (1 June - 30 Sep)
- Manor House (Hotel and Restaurant), Gallanach Road, Oban T: 01631 562087
- Cuan Mor Restaurant, Bar & Brewery, 60 George Street, Oban T: 01631 565078
- Piazza (Oban's Pizza and Pasta House) - North Pier, Oban T: 01631 563628
- The Olive Garden Mediterranean Restaurant, 2 Railway Pier, Oban T: 01631 570347
- Rowantree Hotel with Steakhouse, George Street, Oban T: 01631 562954 (next to cinema)
- Oyster Inn Hotel, Restaurant and Pub, Connel
- The Barn - country inn 3 miles south of Oban
- Taj Mahal (Indian), 146 George Street, Oban T: 01631 566400 (near cinema)
- Light of India, 43 Stevenson St , Oban T: 01631 563728
- China Restaurant, 39 Stafford Street, Oban T: 01631 563575
- The Lorne Bar Oban, Stevenson Street, Oban T: 01631 570020
- Markie Dans (pub), Victoria Crescent, Corran Esplanade, Oban T: 01631 564448
- The Gathering Restaurant (Scottish Banqueting) & O'Donnels Irish Bar, Breadalbane St , Oban T: 01631 564849
- Paparazzi Cafe Bar and Restaurant, Breadalbane Street, Oban T: 0163 565421 - Facebook
- Aulay's Bar (pub), 8 Airds Place, Oban T: 01631 562596
- Oban Chocolate Company
- The Kitchen Garden coffee shop
- Julie's Coffee House, 33 Stafford Street, Oban T: 01631 565952
- Poppies Garden Centre (and tea room) - on A85 between Dunbeg and Connel, near SAMS T: 01631 565718 - one of our staff's favourite luncheon venues (if you don't find them in our own Cafe Scientifique in the Ocean Explorer Centre)
There are also several great fish and chip shops in town and one at Tralee!
- Oban's two-screen Phoenix Cinema is in community ownership and SAMS held a number of fundraising events to contribute to having this great resource in town. A mobile cinema visits more outlying areas.
- Oban Comedy Club is hosted by Cuan Mor
- Lively pub quiz at the Olive Garden every first Wednesday of the month, usually starting 19:45
Corran Halls (theatre, panto, music, ballet, conferences etc), Box office 01631 567333
- Mull Theatre, Royal Buildings , Main St , Tobermory, Mull T: 01688 302828
- Stramash provides great outdoor activities
Tralee Rally Karting – 18 Keil Crofts, Benderloch T: 01631 720297
Vertical Descents (canyoning, archery, fun yakking, mountain biking, abseiling): Inchree Falls , Inchree, Onich T: 01855 821593
Provisions at SAMS
- There are regular visits by an occupational health nurse who tends to staff and students during regular drop-in sessions
- Two members of staff are trained as welfare officers: Dr David Hughes and Miss Nicola Longman
- Fiona Wallace acts as our dedicated student support and disability officer
- Several members of staff are trained in first aid and basic fire-fighting
- A dedicated Health and Safety Officer ensures the safest possible working environment
General practitioners and dentists
- Lorn Medical Centre, Soroba Road, Oban, PA34 4HE. T: 01631 563175
- Taynuilt Medical Practice, Taynuilt, PA35 1JE T: 01866 822684 (surgeries in Taynuilt, Connel & Dalmally)
- Shore Street Dental Surgery, Oban T: 01631 563006
- Argyll Square Dental Practice, Oban T: 01631 562791
- West Highland Dental Studio, Oban T: 01631 565050
- Scottish Episcopal Church: Oban Cathedral Church of St John T: 01631 562323
- Roman Catholic: Oban St Columba’s Cathedral T: 01631 562123
- Church of Scotland Centre, Glencruitten Rd , Oban T: 01631 562405
- Lorn Christian Fellowship T: 01631 710208
- Oban Free High Church , Rockfield Rd , Oban T: 01631 562154
Other support services
The area provides opportunities for many exciting weekends, days or half-days out. Here is a small selection of possible tours - for more visit Great Days Out:
- The latest addition to our tourist destination is the 1745 Dunollie House in Oban, could be linked with a visit to the Oban War and Peace Museum and the Oban Distillery
- Go to the islands (e.g. Iona, Mull): numerous tours are offered through Caledonian MacBrayne
- Visit the archaeological sites with museum and cafe/shop at Kilmartin
- Go for an afternoon to the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary at Barcaldine
- Explore Cruachan, the 'hollow mountain' and find out about hydro schemes and renewable energy: display, tour and cafe/shop
- If you are looking for a day or half-day of gorge scrambling, canyoning, canoeing, kayaking, archery or coasteering in and around the Oban area, contact Stramash
- Go for a walk in Glencoe and learn about its geology and history at the award winning Glencoe visitor centre.
- Sea.fari Adventures offers exciting boat trips from the lovely island of Seil - and build in a trip across to the slate island of Easdale (home to the annual world stone skimming championship) and its museum too
- Go south to the Craignish peninsula and explore some of the lovely art and crafts available.
- Magical wildlife boat trips are also provided by Coastal Connection, Argyll Charters (both operating out of Oban) and Sealife Adventures (from Easdale)
- Lovely gardens in the area include: An Cala, Ardchattan Priory Garden, Angus Garden, Arduaine Garden, Kinlochlaich House Gardens, Ardmaddy Castle Garden
- Learn ice or rock climbing at the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven (also available for families!)
- Go island walking: a small ferry takes you from Oban to Kerrera, where you can walk to the tea garden and bunkhouse and visit the ruined Gylen Castle. Or why not take a ferry to Lismore for a walk (or cycle) and don't forget to stop at the Lismore Gaelic Heritage Centre with cafe.
- Visit Inverary: Your tour might include a visit to the Castle and Gardens, the Jail (interactive museum), a trip to the highland township of Auchindrain, and finally some well deserved pub food in the atmospheric George Hotel or seafood in the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar.
There are a number of things to do with young children:
Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA
T: 01631 559000
F: 01631 559001