Aros Centre Portree - updated for 2011
I'm writing this as the Tourist Trap review for the Aros Centre is seven years out of date.
Aros has free parking, a lot of it and Disabled Access. There is a pleasant bar and cafe - kept very clean, as are the lavatories. Food is from a limited menu, snacks, salads, sandwiches, soup - freshly prepared and reasonably priced. You can eat inside or outside (weather and midges permitting!). There is an outside Children's Play Area (free) and some woodland walks (free) where you can take your pet dog. Shopping areas inside are Cook Shop, Book Shop, Clothing, Gifts, tourist items and souvenirs and good quality jewellery. There is a Gallery showing work from local/visiting artists and a rack full of leaflets for tourist attractions and comfortable seating to peruse them at leisure. The theatre hosts films, drama, concerts, classical music and dance for local and international artists not just during the tourist season but throughout the year. There is a Conference Room too. Smoking is banned in all indoor public places in Scotland and has been for a number of years - see the 2004 review. The Sea Eagle Exhibition now has a webcam to show a nest and the adult birds feeding fledglings.
Unique Suggestions: Make the most of the free facilities here on a rainy afternoon - it is a safe, comfortable place for families, and to meet up and chat with friends. If you want to have a snack or buy some gifts it is entirely your choice.
Fun Alternatives: Only other place with extensive free parking, free loos and shopping is the Co-op on Dunvegan Road
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Aros Centre - Portree - Rip Off
"Aros" is one of the few places to go on a wet or midgie day (many) and can leave a bitter taste!
The centre pupports to have displays and exhibitions about the Sea Eagles and Highland Clearances / Life on Skye, which it does - just about.
It costs £4 per adult and isn't worth a penny. It should be free, with donations and the revenue from the cafe & souvenire shop on site. A 12 minute slide show of aerial pictures of Skye and a man from the RSPB (Society for Bird Protection) chatting at images on a TV screen image of Eagles nest prior to selling membership (approx £26 pounds!) isn't worth £4 pounds stirling.
Aros is a 10 minute walk from centre of Portree, south on road to Sligachan / Kyle. Its the first place you'll see on arriving in Portree.
Unique Suggestions: Access to the toilets and shop is free. Food in the cafe is quite ok, and the centre has film showings and concerts (well worth going to, as an alternative to smoky, crowded pubs / bars). Walks in woods are also free, but of very limited appeal, unless the lack of trees on Skye is "getting to you".
Fun Alternatives: Get a book about the Highland Clearances, research for free on the internet and travel around Skye for real - you'll see and understand better by being there - and be £4 better off.
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