Thinking of moving to Cumbrae?

If you’re thinking of moving to Cumbrae, here is some practical information as well as some general background on the island. We also thought you might like to hear what some of our residents say.

Practical information

How accessible is the island?
Cumbrae is an 8-minute ferry journey from Largs. Prices and timetables can be found on CalMac’s websiteThe ferry terminus in Largs is a short walk from the railway station, with quick and easy access to Glasgow airport (1hr 24mins) and Glasgow Central Station (1 hr). A number of Cumbrae’s residents commute on a daily basis.

Is the broadband connection good?
The island has superfast fibre broadband which enables a number of our residents to work in tech and web businesses from home. Cumbrae was the first island in Scotland to be fully connected.

What Council area is Cumbrae in?

How many people live on the island?
Approximately 1,300 people live permanently on the island. This number increases in the summer as the island is popular with holiday home owners, tourists and holiday makers.

Why do some people call the island Millport?
Millport is the name of the town on Cumbrae, and many people call the whole island Millport.

Are there midges?
Cumbrae is lucky not to be overly troubled with midges. There are occasional mornings and evenings when they appear, but the sea breezes soon disperse them.

Is there an estate agent?
Robert F Duff & Co. Ltd & Cumbrae Property, 38 Stuart Street. 01475 531177

Is there a bank?
Bank of Scotland, 42 Stuart Street. 0345 602 0000

2. General information

How big is the island?
The Isle of Cumbrae is a small island four miles long and two miles wide just off the coast of west Scotland.

What is the island like?
Millport is a busy and cheerful town with a Victorian promenade and beautiful row of shops. The island has a ten-mile nearly-flat coast road with spectacular views and many secluded beaches. The island enjoys unparalleled views of Arran and the Firth of Clyde. It feels remote even though it’s only just eight minutes from the mainland and an hour away from Scotland’s largest city.

Why is the Isle of Cumbrae so popular?
Residents enjoy everything the island has to offer. They live on Cumbrae for the quality of life and the connected, thriving community.

What is there to do?
  • The island offers wonderful opportunities for walking, golf (there is an 18-hole course overlooking the sea), putting, crazy golf, bowls, wild swimming and watersports as well as freshwater and sea fishing (plans are underway to build a marina). The island is loved by cyclists and runners for its 10-mile coast road offering spectacular views of the Firth of Clyde.
  • Nature-lovers and wildlife-watchers enjoy the island’s stunning coastline which is home to over 125 species of birds, seal colonies, porpoises, and basking sharks.
  • Have a look at the many groups on the island
  • Cumbrae has a range of food and drink venues, scenic gardens and geological sites of interest.
  • It is still possible to experience a traditional paddle steamer journey on board The Waverley

  • What is there for families?
    Cumbrae has safe beaches, one with its own resident crocodile… There are two children’s play areas, one at West Bay and the other off Marine Parade. Some of our P6/7 pupils told the BBC why they think Cumbrae is a wonderful place to live.

    What about culture and learning?
  • There is a library in Garrison House.
  • The historic Garrison House is also home to the Museum of the Cumbraes.
  • The island is also home to the UK’s smallest cathedral, the Cathedral of the Isles which puts on public concerts and recitals.
  • The screen machine makes regular stops on Cumbrae.
  • There is a primary school on the island and secondary school pupils get a bus and ferry to Largs Academy on the mainland.
  • The Field Studies Council (FSC) Millport has an aquarium and runs courses for children, families and adults. 

  • What about medical and emergency services?
  • There is a doctor’s surgery in the Garrison.
  • Lady Margaret Hospital is equipped to treat minor injuries, with ten beds managed by NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
  • The ambulance uses helicopter transfer from the island’s helipad to mainland hospitals if required.
  • The police station is at 6 Millburn St, KA28 0EU. 01475 531365
  • The fire station is at Hastie Avenue, KA28 0BS, the island has two fire engines.
  • Contact the Coastguard in an emergency by calling 999 and ask for Coastguard. You can find out more on Facebook.

  • What about care services?
    There is a care home on the island for adults with complex needs. 19 George Street, KA28 0BQ.

    3. What our residents say

    "Living in Millport for over 50 years & travelling through work to most of the Scottish Islands, Cumbrae comes up trumps, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else." Duncan Fraser, Skipper, Field Studies Council and lifelong resident

    “The Isle of Cumbrae and the people of Millport are very special to me. Our family has a holiday flat for many years and I’ve decided to retire here. I have lovely memories of holidays and weekends when my daughter was young and my mum was well. When my mum became ill I looked after her here and Millport folk were exceptionally kind. Now making new memories knitting a new future and hoping to give something back to Millport.” Carol Fox, retired solicitor, owner Cumbrae Yarns

    What do our children think about living on Cumbrae?
    “There are so many things to do.”
    “It feels like you’re permanently on holiday.”
    “There’s lots of green space for playing with friends and walking.”
    “It’s easy to make friends and meet new people.”