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Surroundings, Glasgow

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle and grounds.

The German writer Theodor Fontane who traveled extensively in Scotland during the 19th C fell in love with Stirling and its castle. He spoke glowingly about the sun setting over the mountains and the Highland Regiment's pipe band playing on the castle forecourt. Visitors, he said, would "take home from Stirling the most beautiful picture that the Scottish landscape could provide". The town still leaves a deep and lasting impression on visitors. Much of Stirling Castle that is visible today, located in a commanding position above the town and crowning a 250ft/77m volcanic crag, dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. The history of the fortifications is closely linked with the Stewart dynasty. It has been historically proven that Alexander I died in 1124 in the castle. In 1296 the town was handed over to the English; however, a year later, after William Wallace won the Battle of Stirling Bridge, it was returned to the Scots, who held the castle as the last bastion of Scottish rule. In 1314 Robert the Bruce decisively defeated the English at the Battle of Bannockburn and under the Stuarts Stirling became an important royal seat. James II (1430), James III (1451) and James V (1512) were all born here. In 1543 Mary Stuart was crowned as queen of Scotland in Stirling and she continued to live here before moving to France.

Address: Castle Wynd, Stirling FK8 1EJ, Scotland

Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

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.


Younger Botanic Garden

Take the A815 northwards past Holy Loch and on to Benmore and the Younger Botanic Garden (7mi/11.2km). These gardens at the southern end of Loch Eck are an outstation of Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden. More than 250 different species of rhododendron and azaleas flourish here. The avenue of giant Californian redwoods makes a splendid sight.

Argyll Forest Park

Established in 1935 Argyll Forest Park was the first of its kind in Great Britain and with its network of footpaths covering 186mi/300km, it offers nature-lovers plenty of beautiful countryside to explore.

Isle of Bute

An old tree beside standing stones on the Isle of Bute.
The island of Bute is accessible by ferry from the village of Colintrave.

Newark Castle

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.
Address: The Gilstrap Cente, Castlegate, Port Glasgow PA14 5NH, Scotland

Greenock, Scotland

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.

Gourock, Scotland

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

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

The Hill House Museum in Helensburgh.
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.
Address: Upper Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh G84 9AJ, Scotland
ENLARGE MAP PRINT MAP EMBED < > Hill House in Helensburgh - Floor plan map Hill House in Helensburgh Map

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

Renfrew District with Paisley (pop. 75,700) as its administrative center lies on the western edge of the Glasgow conurbation.

Paisley Abbey

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.

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.
Address: High Street, Paisley PA1 2BA, Scotland

Sma Shot Cottages

Looms and other everyday objects of the Victorian era are on display in the two faithfully restored cottages in George Place.
Address: 11-17 George Place, Paisley PA1 2HZ, Scotland

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

Ballachulish, Scotland

A church and its cemetary in Ballachulish.
Ballachulish is located on Loch Leven, an offshoot of Loch Linnhe.

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.

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