Visit Glasgow and South West Scotland on Your Next UK Holiday
No matter what you're looking for in a fun-filled holiday, Glasgow and South West Scotland has something for you to sink your teeth into. If you want to get in touch with nature, the area's blissful nature trails and cycle paths through Galloway Forest Park has you covered. Culture vultures will also love seeing the spectacular Culzean Castle and visiting the birthplace of Robert the Bruce.
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Things to do in Glasgow and South West Scotland
So much is waiting to be discovered just across the border, including towering castles, blissful parks, and one of the best golf clubs in the country. There's so much to do, we've created a list showcasing the best activities Glasgow and South West Scotland has to offer so you don't miss out.
Places to Visit
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and enjoys a thriving arts scene with fantastic shopping areas. Marvel at the beautiful medieval cathedral, the gothic design of the University of Glasgow, and the Victorian architecture that can be found across the many city streets. For high-street shopping, Buchanan Street is filled with major brands and just outside the city centre is Finnieston, home to some of the hippest restaurants in the country serving seafood, game, beef, and vegan food. It’s the perfect place for a bite to eat before exploring the bars and nightlife of the West End, where art house cinemas, basement comedy clubs, and underground nightclubs are waiting to be found.
A historic market town close to the border, Dumfries is a welcome sight for day trips and long weekends in the South of Scotland. Known as the ‘Queen of the South’, you can easily while away the hours strolling along the grassy banks of the River Nith and visiting the two nearby castles – Caerlaverock Castle and Comlongon Castle. One of Scotland’s most famous monarchs, Robert the Bruce, has strong ties to Dumfries, and the tale of his exploits can be heard everywhere from the local museum to a pub named in his honour! Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the town is the magnificent architecture, best seen in Greyfriars Church and the bridge built by Devorguilla of Galloway in the 12th century.
Though perhaps not as famous as some other Scottish towns, Paisley blossomed thanks to a rich history in textiles. Chronicled in the Paisley Thread Mill Museum, learn how the textile industry left an indelible mark on the town, boosting trade and even sparking a dispute that is celebrated with the annual Sma’ Shot parade. Then visit Paisley Abbey, built in 1163 and the birthplace of the Stewart Dynasty, before moving onto the town’s wide variety of local shops, bars, and cafés. Of course, a trip out in Scotland wouldn’t be complete without hitting the links, and Paisley Golf Club gives you stunning views of the Clyde Valley and Lock Lomond to take in while you’re teeing off.
Where to Stay
Whether you're searching for an action-packed family holiday or taking a relaxing break away from everything, we have lodges and cottages perfect for every getaway. Check the links below to see all our locations across Glasgow and South West Scotland.
If you’re after breath-taking views, Galloway Forest Park brings the majesty of the Highlands to South West Scotland. Hundreds of thousands of people are drawn to the park every year, and it’s easy to see why. There’s something for the whole family to enjoy, with quiet fishing spots to be sought out and cycle trails to conquer. Try your hand at clay pigeon shooting or take in a spot of stargazing in what is one of only four Dark Sky Parks in the western world. The remoteness of the park means it has ideal night skies for catching shooting stars, viewing the Andromeda Galaxy, and even witnessing the Aurora Borealis.
Culzean Castle and Country Park
Always a popular destination for tourists, Culzean Castle is a glorious 18th-century building that enjoys a stunning, clifftop view out onto the Firth of Clyde. Once the home of David Kennedy, the 10th Earl of Cassillis, the castle is filled with resplendent rooms and treasures, including flintlock pistols and military swords, that carry the history of its many previous residents. After you’ve marvelled at the interiors, roam the surrounding country park estate that leads out onto the sandy beaches of the coastline. Take in the formal gardens, complete with a swan pond, before letting your kids run wild in the Adventure Cove play area nearby.
The Isle of Arran
One of the joys of a holiday in Scotland is visiting the many islands that surround the mainland. The South West holds a destination not to be missed, as the Isle of Arran delivers everything you need for a great day out. Wanting to dive into history? Take to Brodick Castle and Gardens, known as ‘the quintessential Victorian Highland estate’. Looking to sample great local produce? Cosy cafés and restaurants provide beers, chocolates, ice creams, and a host of other dishes you can nibble on to your heart’s content. And for nature lovers, don’t miss out on a trip up Goatfell, the island’s largest mountain and home to a wide range of wildlife – not to mention spectacular views!
Few counties rival the natural beauty of Lanarkshire, making it a must-visit area for outdoor enthusiasts. The Falls of Clyde are magnificent waterfalls that host badgers, otters, and over one hundred species of birds, including kingfishers and peregrines. Lanarkshire is an ideal place to bring man’s best friend, as dog-friendly routes can be found at Drumpellier and Palacerigg country parks, as well as the luscious Carmichael Estate. Learn about Scotland’s industrial heritage at Summerlee – The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life, hosting 22 acres of open-air attractions including heritage trams and a recreated mine, or explore the quaint delights of market towns such as Carluke, Biggar, and Rutherglen.
Learn About Robert Burns
One of the world’s best-known poets, and a pioneer of the Romantic movement, Robert Burns was born an Ayrshire ploughman and spent his final days in Dumfries. Visiting South West Scotland gives you a great opportunity to learn about his life. The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum sits just a short trip away from Ayr and lets you read samples of his work while learning about his life. Then, move on to his childhood home, a cottage that was beautifully restored in 1881 to its former glory after spending time as an alehouse. Finish off your trip by learning about his days in Dumfries and enjoying a drink in his favourite watering hole, The Globe Inn.
Hit the Fairways
With the modern game of golf being born in Scotland, you can’t pass up a chance to tee off in one of the world’s golfing meccas. Courses can be found surrounding many towns and villages in the South West, including Langholm, Dumfries, and Rockcliffe. To really put you through your paces, head to Royal Troon Golf Club on the west coast. Founded in 1878, the club began with only five holes and has grown to become one of the venues of the Open Championship. But you’ll have to get in quick if you want to tackle the same course as the pros – Royal Troon is rightfully one of the busiest golf clubs in the country.
Seek Out Nocturnal Wildlife
Tucked away to the west of Dumfries is the town of Castle Douglas, which offers you a unique experience to engage with the local wildlife. Nocturnal Wildlife Tours let you take control of your own state of the art thermal camera and see the Scottish countryside come to life as owls take flight and deer roam the woods. Experienced tour guides transport you to the liveliest locations, and everything captured by your camera is recorded so you can keep it as a memento of your visit. With so much of South West Scotland covered in beautiful countryside, wildlife is also buzzing all around you, but you’ve never seen the animal kingdom like this before!
My Perfect Stay
Glasgow is like nowhere else on Earth, there is a magical vibe in Glasgow, a pulsing atmosphere and the most incredible history. There is so much to see and do, not only is Glasgow a hub to explore the surrounding Scottish land but it is a destination on its own.
You can be dining in George Street, shopping until you drop on Sauchiehall Street or topping up your knowledge at the Glasgow Science Centre. There is something for everyone and everything for someone.
While in Glasgow I love to spend hours mooching around The Hunterian museum followed by some cocktails, or when I want some peace and tranquility and for a quiet venture, the beauty of Kelvingrove Park is a must for those days when doing nothing is everything. The opportunity to just sit with a book under the trees or enjoy a hot chocolate and scone in the café is a peaceful retreat from the buzzing and charming city life.
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