Live /

Over 20 of our staffed sites have now reopened and we are delighted to welcome you back. Booking in advance is essential. Find out more and book now



Imagine the heat and noise of Bonawe, the most complete charcoal-fuelled ironworks in Britain. Founded in 1753, it ceased firing only in the 1870s. Today, displays show every stage of how pig iron was made – as well as cannonballs for use in the Napoleonic Wars.

Bonawe’s stunning setting, at the head of Loch Etive, seems at odds with its industrial past. But the nearby Glen Nant National Nature Reserve is just one example of the Argyll woodland that Bonawe relied upon.

What to see and do

  • Soak up the splendour of Bonawe’s location, nestling beside Loch Etive and within sight of dramatic Glencoe
  • Marvel at the two cathedral-like charcoal sheds, whose architectural details reveal their Cumbrian builders’ origins
  • Learn the history of the iron furnace and the chemistry of iron making – and see cannonballs and iron pigs on display
  • View the furnace itself, still remarkably complete, but now missing its cold blast and hot pig iron
  • Visit the nearby Glen Nant National Nature Reserve and walk through the oak woods that supplied the fuel for Bonawe
  • Complete our Explorer Quiz or ABC Quiz while you visit the furnace, or why not do both. Also available on site
Historic Scotland

Opening times

The site is now open and we are delighted to welcome you back.

1 Apr to 30 Sept:
Daily, 10am to 4pm


Download our visitor app

Discover more on the go – the Historic Scotland app lets you find out about Scotland’s most iconic places wherever you are.

Plan your visit

More than 20 of our sites are now open. Please book your tickets in advance.

Become a member

Join Historic Scotland to visit our properties free of charge for a full year and support our work at the same time.

Hire a site for filming

Use one of our fantastic locations on your next shoot for an awe-inspiring backdrop to your work.

Learning visits

Our 300+ historic places serve as creative inspiration for all sorts of learning activities – and for learners of all ages.

Search our events

See the past brought to life by the imaginative year-round programme of events at our properties.