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The local area guide to living in Tarbert

Tarbert is a fishing village in Kintyre, Argyll, backed by rugged hills and a stunning harbour landscape. The village’s name actually comes from the Gaelic word Tairbeart, which translates as “across-carrying”. This relates to the activities of the harbour town and the strip of land over which goods and boats can be carried.

Tranquil and beautiful, the village is renowned for its peaceful atmosphere and harbour charm. There’s a seafood festival held in the village each year, as well as the Scottish Series, which takes places annually in May. Both events are extremely popular, with the Scottish Series being one of the biggest boat races to take place in Britain – beaten only by Cowes Week. The restaurants here are pretty good too – not a surprise when you consider the abundance of fresh seafood available in the village!

Information about the local residents

The 2011 census revealed a population of 1,179. The median age of females at this time was 50 years of age, while the median age for males was 46. Furthermore, 61.1% of the population was aged between 16-64, 12.8% were under the age of 16, and 23.1% were aged 65 or over.

The types of property lived in varied by a fair amount, with 24.4% of properties being detached, 21.1% being semi-detached, 11.4% being terraced, and 43% of properties being flats, maisonettes or apartments. The average number of persons per household was two.

There was also a mix of professional and non-professional jobs at the time of the census, with 20% of those working in skilled trade occupations. The unemployment rate was good too, with just 3.8% of the population unemployed.

Nearby schools

Tarbert Academy is the main school in the village and provides both primary and secondary education. The school, which provides education right from the age of 3 to 18, has been praised for its achievements and is one of the best schools in Scotland. Pupils' achievements and attainment are recognised throughout Scotland with the Academy featuring in the top 10 state schools in Scotland for attainment at Higher. The school has also received national recognition for subject areas including Engineering, Art and Photography.

Tarbert Academy performed well in its recent inspection by Education Scotland. The report assessed ‘improvements in performance’, ‘learners’ experiences’ and ‘meeting learning needs’ as ‘very good’.

Getting around

Tarbert can be reached via the A83, which offers stunning views of the mountainous range and beautiful harbour. Driving in the village itself is easy too and offers enviable views.

For those requiring public transportation, there are plenty of options in the area. There are regular bus and coach services, with direct coach services to and from Glasgow and Campbeltown. The bus services are run by West Coast, Garelochhead, and Wilsons, and offer transportation to nearby towns and villages, the ferry terminal, and school. The great ferry links are just another perk, with the village offering no fewer than four ferry terminals. The ferries offer transport to Gigha, Arran, Islay and Portavadie, as well as many more of the popular islands.

Unfortunately, there are no rail networks that currently travel to, or through, Tarbert. The closest railway stations are Arrocher and Oban, which are just over an hour away by car.

Local shops

Tarbert offers little in terms of big name brands, but has plenty of independent stores and gift shops – as you might expect from a harbour town. The Larder, Tarbert’s local fruit and veg deli, has been up and running for many years now and is a popular spot for groceries amongst locals. There’s also a good selection of gift shops and unique craft shops dotted around the village. Residents can also do their food shopping at the village Co-op.

If you’re looking for high street brands, head to Dunoon, located 32 miles away. Here, you’ll find plenty of traditional shops and specialist shopping outlets, as well as brand names like Boots.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.