Dunoon registration office covers the areas of Toward, Kirn, Hunters Quay, Strone, Blairmore, Ardentinny, Loch Eck, Strachur, Strathlachlan, St Catherines, Carrick Castle, Lochgoilhead, Ormidale, Tighnabruaich, Portavadie, Kilfinan and surrounding villages.
Address: Ellis Lodge, 5 Argyll Road Dunoon PA23 8ES
Tel: 01546 605521 (Option 2)
Samantha Gillies – Registrar of Cowal
Started in Registration – October 2007
Holds the Certificate of Proficiency in the Law and Practice of Registration (Scotland)
‘I started working in registration straight from leaving school in 2007. I absolutely love my job, whether it is a small elopement wedding or a massive event it is amazing being involved in a couple’s special day. From the time a couple book their wedding with ourselves I take the time to get to know them and help create a ceremony perfect for them. Once the wedding day arrives even if I haven’t met them we feel like friends and the couple can feel relaxed as they know I am there to help them enjoy their ceremony. Argyll and Bute Registrars is a great team to be a part of, always available to help out. This has allowed me to be able to conduct ceremonies for some of the other areas. Argyll and Bute is really full of beautiful places for your wedding day. It is so exciting to go on an adventure to find where a couple have chosen to hold their magical day.’
Stephanie Wright – Assistant Registrar
Started in Registration – January 2015
Holds the Certificate of Proficiency in the Practice of Law and Registration
‘I have been working in Registration for nearly 7 years and love this part of my role. I have been lucky enough to conduct the marriages of friends and family and met lots of new people through the role. It is always lovely to build up a relationship with a couple in the time leading up to their wedding and to be able to be there to support them and keep them calm on the day before the ceremony when they are quite often feeling anxious.
As Registrars it is a very interesting and varied job.’
From the very first communication, the team at Argyll and Bute Registrars couldn’t have been more helpful. Samantha was an absolute pleasure to work with. She took the time to talk us through the ceremony, consider additional factors about the day (and venue), and was so easy to get along with. Our ceremony was wonderfully personal, filled with giggles and eye rolls (from us, not her!) and really reflected us as a couple.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the whole team. Thank you so much.
Simon and Elizabeth – Sept 2023 – Mount Stuart
Stephanie was amazing all throughout the process. Samantha also for getting us our initial appointment. We really felt Stephanie put her whole heart into our ceremony and made it a very personal loving experience.
Karen and Jordan – April 2023 – Drimsynie
Travelling to Dunoon
By Road – 35 miles from Glasgow down M8 then by ferry – Western Ferries (Vehicle and Passenger ferry) * Buy tickets before boarding at the Co-op in Greenock or Pauls shop in Gourock for a reduced fee.
By road – 75 miles from Glasgow via Loch Lomond
Cowal lies at the gateway to the Highlands and also provides the marine gateway to Scotland’s first national park, the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
If you are travelling by road from Glasgow on the M8 you should head to Gourock, where there are two ferry services across the Clyde to Dunoon – one carries vehicles and passengers (Western Ferries) and the other is passenger only (Caledonian Macbrayne). This trip gives you a wonderful introduction to the Cowal peninsula, including a different perspective on the town of Dunoon as you arrive by sea. The mountains surrounding the sea lochs provide a spectacular backdrop as the ferry docks at either Dunoon town centre or Hunters Quay, just a few minutes outside the town.
Alternatively, you can travel by road using the A8, which takes you along the ‘bonnie banks of Loch Lomond’ to join the A815 itself well worth travelling with its magnificent scenery and views of beautiful Loch Eck. Five miles north of Dunoon on the A815 is the Younger Botanic Garden at Benmore, best known for its avenue of Giant Redwood trees which were planted in 1863 and are now among the highest in Britain.
Dunoon is the second largest town in Argyll and Bute, and came to prominence in the 19th century when paddle steamers offered easy access to visitors from Glasgow. The world’s last ocean-going paddle steamer, the PS Waverley, still operates during the summer season.
The town is also home to the Cowal Highland Gathering, a world-renowned Highland games which also includes the Scottish and World Highland Dancing Championships, held annually in August attracting around 23,000 visitors and competitors from all over the world.
The Victorian-era wooden Dunoon Pier which was built in 1867 has undergone extensive repair and refurbishment and is now being used for many different events. Several other buildings within the central area of Dunoon have been refurbished in the last year and have brought many people to the town for various events.
In 2018 The World Championship Water Skiing competitions were held for a week in the town and also the Royal National Mod
The marriage ceremony rooms in Dunoon are based on the ground floor of Castle House, an imposing building in its own grounds and enjoying panoramic views over the Firth of Clyde. Built in the 1820s as a holiday home for Lord Provost Ewing of Glasgow, it was originally more modestly named Marine Villa before it was renamed Castle House reflecting its splendour.
In later years it housed the Tulloch Library, a collection bequeathed by a local councillor, and is now home to Castle House Museum, a rich store of Victorian memorabilia on the top floor of the building.
The Castle House grounds are also home to a statue of Highland Mary, looking towards Ayrshire where her true love Robert Burns lived. The beautiful grounds are an ideal location for outdoor civil ceremonies and there are numerous spots particularly well suited to spectacular photographs in particular if you climb the stairs to the top of Castle Hill to the viewpoint which has stunning views looking over the River Clyde.
Dunoon’s ceremony rooms include private waiting facilities for the wedding party and are furnished in keeping with the character of the building.
The larger of the two ceremony rooms can accommodate the wedding party of 4 and 56 guests, while the smaller room accommodates the wedding party of 4 with a maximum of 10 guests.
Floral displays are provided in both rooms but if you prefer to have flesh flowers, you can arrange this yourself – please discuss with your registrar before your wedding.
Music can be provided, either from a selection held by the registration office or you can supply a CD of your own choice, make sure to provide it to the Registrar at least a few days before the ceremony. We also have a Bluetooth speaker available for use.
Castle House has disabled access and limited parking available. However public parking is within easy walking distance.