In the industrial area of Port Glasgow (pop. 19,000; 25mi/40km west of the city center) stands a well-maintained 16th century mansion with gatehouse and tower house, once the seat of the Maxwell family. The oldest sections of the building date from the 15th century. A small museum traces the development of Glasgow's harbor.
Greenock (pop. 50,000) was the birthplace of the engineer James Watt, the man who made the Clyde navigable. The town was famous for its shipyards but most of them have now closed and the name Greenock has become synonymous with computers. The body of "Highland Mary", immortalized by Robert Burns, is buried in the town's central cemetery.
By the coast at Gourock (pop. 11,700; 34mi/55km west of Glasgow) stands a 6ft/2m high slate monolith that was probably a meeting place for druids. Later, fishermen came here and made small offerings in return for fine weather and good catches. It is still the custom for newlyweds to circle the stone after the wedding ceremony in the hope that Granny Kempock will bring good luck to their marriage.
Dumbarton Castle perches on a basalt rock on the north bank of the Clyde, facing Port Glasgow. This strategically important stronghold was started in the sixth century and remained in the hands of Britons until the 11th C. In the 13th C it was taken over by the royal family. Only the dungeon and 12th C gateway remain from the medieval edifice. Mary Stuart embarked for France here at the age of five.
Helensburgh - Hill House
Lovers of Art Nouveau will not be disappointed by a visit to Hill House in Helensburgh's Upper Colquhoun Street. After Charles Rennie Mackintosh had designed Windyhill in Kilmacolm on the other side of the Clyde for his friend William Davidson (1901) and in the same year had produced the plans for his Art Lover's House, he began work on a third private residence, this time for publisher Walter Blackie. Hill House, set on a hill with views over the Firth of Clyde, is surrounded by a delightful garden. Viewed as a whole there are similarities with a Scottish castle, while the figural elements, rounded edges, oriel windows and small chimney stacks bear all the hallmarks of the gifted designer. Internally, Mackintosh left his imprint too. Nearly all the furniture was designed by him. In the wide hall, the dark wooden panels contrast with the light wallpaper, supplemented with abstract patterns and delicate pastel shades. The L-shaped lounge furnished simply but stylishly seems bright and airy despite the black ceiling. Art Nouveau patterns in pink and light green soften the effect of the walls, windows and lamps. The bedroom on the first floor above the lounge is regarded as the most successful of Mackintosh's "White Rooms". The carefully placed pink and green flower ornamentations show a masterful touch as do the two black chairs with their severe geometric design. The building is now run by the National Trust for Scotland.
Forth and Clyde Canal
The Forth and Clyde Canal (1790) winds its way through the Strathkelvin District to the north of Glasgow. The pleasure boat "Ferry Queen" plies up and down the canal during the summer.The Island Hopscotch ticket, which is valid for three months from the date of the first journey, entitles you to economy fares for cars and accompanying passengers on 24 different Caledonian MacBrayne routes.
Drumpellier Country Park
Drumpellier Country Park lies to the west of Coatbridge in Monkland District. Broad expanses of heathers, a butterfly farm and a golf course are among the attractions.
Summerlee Heritage Park
Summerlee Heritage Park in West Canal Street, Coatbridge (pop. 49,000) looks at the region's industrial history. Exhibits include Victorian steam engines, an exhibition on coal mining ca. 1840 and Scotland's only working electric tram.
Timecapsule Leisure Centre
A "fun" swimming pool and an ice-skating rink are just some of the facilities available at the Timecapsule Leisure Centre in Buchanan Street.
Renfrew District with Paisley (pop. 75,700) as its administrative center lies on the western edge of the Glasgow conurbation.
Some surviving parts of Paisley Abbey (1193) date from the 12th century. St Mirin chapel (1499), the chancel and the windows are worth closer inspection.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Paisley - Museum and Art Gallery
The development of the textile industry and the story of the distinctive "drop motif" on the world- famous Paisley pattern is told in the Paisley Museum. Exhibits include the old looms on which the best-selling designs were produced.The "drop motif" is based on the Indian "bota." The collection includes original woven and embroidered shawls from Kashmir which were the inspiration for the Scottish production.
Sma Shot Cottages
Kilbarchan - Weaver's Cottage
The Weaver's Cottage in Kilbarchan (pop. 3,800) dates from 1783. The exhibits on display inside offer an insight into the techniques used by Clydeside weavers.
Address: The Cross, Kilbarchan PA10 2JG, Scotland
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Sep 30: 1pm-5pm; Closed: Wed, Thu
Entrance fee in GBP: Family £15.50, Adult £6.00, Concession or reduced rate £5.00
Transit: Bus: frequent service from Paisley, Glasgow and Johnstone railway stations.
Typical Visit: 30 minutes
Between Lock Lamond and the Trossachs is the vast Queen Elizabeth Forest Park which features cycling paths, nature trails and footpaths suitable for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Glasgow Zoopark (closed)
Glasgow Zoo lies in some 60acres/25ha of Calder Park (6mi/9.6km southeast of the city center; entrance in Hamilton Road). Lions, leopards, reptiles, elephants, polar bears, monkeys and camels are the main attractions but young children will find plenty to entertain them.ATTRACTION IS CLOSED.
Kirkintilloch - Barony Chambers
The Barony Chambers of Kirkintilloch is a museum which documents the social and economic development of the region.The Auld Kirk and its graveyard form one of the finest and oldest sites in the town of Kirkintilloch.
Gleddoch Country Estate, Langbank, Scotland
Once the home of Glasgow shipping baron, Sir James Lithgow, Gleddoch Estate has an 18-hole, par 72 golf course and driving range, as well as club hire and a golf professional who is on site to give lessons.Other facilities include an equestrian center.
Shotts - Heritage Centre
At the Shotts Heritage Centre visitors can experience the sights and sounds of Shotts history from the 17th century. Covenanters to the heyday of the iron and coal industry.
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