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15 Best places to visit in Paisley

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15 Best places to visit in Paisley.

I asked the question to members of our Facebook Community recently “Where are the best places to visit in Paisley or where is the best place to go?” We had a fabulous response and some I would not have even thought of, I will thank everyone personally at the bottom of this page.

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I am sure even if you live and work in the town you have been to a few of the places listed below, if you have your own favourite and its not listed then please use the comments form at the bottom of the page to add your very own..

  1. Paisley Museum & Art Gallery – The memory of the interior is a big draw for many as it holds a special place in peoples’ thoughts, so shows how much an impact it can make.
  2. Barshaw Park – The serenity of sitting on one of the benches watching the world go by and having a great view of Paisley’s landscape. You can take it easy or use the outdoor gym, there is also a hidden garden which is a real Paisley treasure and often overlooked.
  3. Saucel Hill – Sitting at the top of this hill, which is close to the hustle and bustle of the busy life in town makes it seem a million miles away.
  4. Glennifer Braes Country Park – Its a hit with many visitors, the beauty of living in Scotland is you can be in the countryside within 5 minutes and with stunning views of the town and quiet peaceful soundings this place helps most people gather their thoughts for the day.
  5. Oakshaw area of Paisley – This historic area is abundant in fascinating buildings and has a story around every corner, from Meetinghouse Lane, The Wynd, PACE Theatre, The High Church with its steeple and associated history, The Gaelic Chapel, Thomas Coats Observatory and the old school building of John Neilson makes Oakshaw a must visit.
  6. The Statues of Paisley – Paisley has many fascinating statues and each tells the story of a segment of the town’s history, from Paisley’s poet Robert Tannahill and The Coats brothers through to modern day Scouts statue and lots more. Don’t miss Witherspoon’s statue at the front of The University of the West of Scotland and also our glorious Cenotaph right in the centre of town.
  7. The Sma’ Shot cottages – This really is a place where you can walk through Paisley’s history and also meet some fascinating people. There is so much to see, from the original looms and the cottage set up as a museum of the time, to a relaxing cup of tea from a china cup in the café.
  8. Thomas Coats Observatory – Look outwards towards the universe of which Paisley is of course the centre. This place is astronomical!
  9. Paisley Town Hall – Paisley’s magnificent Town Hall has recently been refurbished outside and in for the recent visit of the Royal National Mod. You will find helpful information about the town at the main desk, lovely events space and a great venue for any kind of party, of course being Scottish we need no excuse.
  10. Paisley Abbey – Parts of the Abbey date back to 1163 when it was a Cluniac Monastery, it has been frequented by many Scottish Kings. William Wallace was educated here. This is the most prominent building on this list and it is rightly so, this is a must visit.
  11. Anchor Mills – Right next to the Hamills waterfall on the River Cart which flows right past this building. This now renovated building is the least visited of all our places due to it being a business centre and private housing, this is usually only open to the public once a year on Doors Open Day, with the beautiful atrium being the main attraction.
  12. The Hamills Waterfall – Mentioned above, this is a place so close to the town centre with many fishermen trying their luck in a now healthy river. This is an excellent place for photographs and some peace and quiet.
  13. Town Centre Walk – Follow the Heritage trail and you will be guided around most of the buildings and statues of the town, information on this can be had from the Town Hall.
  14. Woodside Cemetery – The resting place for many of our ancestors, the walk around the cemetery is likely to be an informative look at the stories of people who are now at peace. The Beild is just as you enter the cemetery and is home to the 7th Paisley Scouts in their newly refurbished centre.
  15. Thomas Coats Memorial Church – The Baptist Cathedral of Europe also features on our list of favourites and when you see this Gothic Style building you will see just why. If you know someone who studied at Paisley’s University then they probably had their graduation ceremony here, making this another jewel in Paisley’s visitor attractions.

 

When asking for this information from our members one of the group Stuart Duffy, who is a local photographer, posted the following statement which I found fascinating and is actually why I started taking interest in the town to begin with.

Stuart says “Paisley: An enormous resource for photographers

No matter your main hook in photography, Paisley presents itself to you as a golden place to spend a day.

Street: Street Photographers will find the “Buddie” a fantastic subject, they are honest and earthy. They are also more approachable than their cousins in other towns and cities, and in Paisley Town Centre there is a backdrop of historical buildings nestled in the architectural mistakes of the 70’s which are being removed/upgraded. Which leads me into …

Architectural: You could spend a day without having to travel more than a mile from the train station and have a months’ work at the end of the day. Cobblestone roads and paths, architecture running from the early 19th century and an Abbey that is not just old, open and friendly, they are positively welcoming.
Take a trip up the hill and pass the Coats Observatory, graveyards and roads and paths that easily let you experience Victoriana

Nature and Wildlife: I have spent a day in Barshaw Park, regardless of the season, but if you travel further afield you have wide open spaces and wild woods to allow you to capture natural wildlife.

Fashion/Social/Portraiture: There are amazing backdrops, panoramic views and cubbyholes where you can really make the session pop… within 15 minutes walk you can go from a waterfall to an ancient building and on to a leafy avenue.

Best of all, its friendly, it’s greatest asset is that the people of Paisley are friendly … oh, and you are normally only 10 minutes from coffee and cake.

When you leave by train, you might want to give yourself some time… Paisley Gilmour Street Station is worth some time!”

I hope that you have found this list helpful and the next time you are in town you will think differently and visit one of these fascinating places.

You can find more paisley Visitor Attractions listed on our Visitor Attraction Section.

Thanks to: Betty McLatchie, Nic Armstrong, Catherine Steel, Aileen Wilson, Anne McNair, Lynsey Moore, James Murray, Robert Smith, Lyndsay Cameron, David McLean, Andy Campbell, John McCue, William Robertson, Stuart Duffy, Mags MacGee, Scott Manson, Margaret Blair and Roddy Boyd.

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Coats Observatory 130th Anniversary

Thomas Coats Observatory

Coats Observatory 130th Anniversary

Tuesday 1 October will mark the 130th anniversary of the opening of Coats Observatory. To commemorate this event the observatory will play host to an evening of astronomical-themed events.

Coats Observatory is Scotland’s oldest public observatory. A gift to the town from the Paisley Philosophical Institution and funded primarily by Thomas Coats of the Coats thread-manufacturing family, Coats Observatory first opened its doors to the public on the night of October the first, 1883. Coats Observatory was the first purpose-built observatory in Scotland which allowed members of the public access to a powerful telescope to see the wonders of the universe up close.

Thomas Coats Observatory

The building now operates as a visitor attraction and museum. During the day visitors can enjoy a guided tour around the building, taking in some of the fantastic Victorian-era scientific equipment once used to record earthquakes, the weather and observe the stars and take in the view from the balcony. In the winter months the observatory opens twice a week to keep up the tradition of allowing members of the public to look at the night sky through the telescope. If the weather is poor a state of the art digital planetarium provides a virtual tour of the cosmos without having to leave the comfort of your seat.

To celebrate its 130th anniversary Coats Observatory will open from 7pm to 10pm on Tuesday 1 October. Amongst the activities on offer will be planetarium films, guided tours, a talk on the history of the institution and, weather permitting, night sky viewing from 9pm – 10pm. If the weather prevents the use of the telescope planetarium shows will operate instead.

Admission to Coats Observatory is free, although places must be booked for the planetarium films as spaces are limited. Please call Paisley Museum on 0300 300 1210 to book. Films will operate at 7.30pm, 8pm and 8.30pm.

Entry to Coats Observatory that evening will be via 49 Oakshaw Street West, Paisley, PA1 2DR.

For any other information on the event, please contact Coats Observatory on 0141 618 5119.

For further information on Renfrewshire Arts & Museums’ events log on to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts or Twitter @RenArtsMuseums.

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New digital planetarium at Coats Observatory

Coats Observatory, Paisley.

Now you can see the stars at any time, thanks to a new digital planetarium at Coats Observatory.

The old and the new combined at Coats Observatory recently when Scotland’s oldest public observatory, managed by Renfrewshire council’s arts and museums service, installed a new £11,500 digital planetarium, purchased from the Thomas Coats bequest, which can be enjoyed by daytime visitors as well as those attending the popular night sky viewings.

The observatory has had a planetarium since the late 1980s, allowing visitors to view a virtual version of the night sky from the comfort of their chair. Recently the planetarium has been upgraded to a state of the art digital version. This can project thousands of stars in an accurate representation of the night sky, can show the constellations by joining up the stars and then add the constellation art, which helps to show what the constellation represents and how its shape is made up from a group of stars.

The projector can also zoom in on many of the objects too faint to be seen except with a powerful telescope. High resolution images of distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters can all be called up at the push of a button, bringing the wonders of the universe much closer to visitors. All of the planets in our Solar System can also be viewed in incredible detail.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said; ‘Coats Observatory is one of Renfrewshire’s most unique buildings, experienced by thousands of visitors each year. The Grubb telescope gives visitors to the night sky viewings an incredible opportunity to view the wonders of the universe, but unfortunately our weather doesn’t always work in our favour. The new digital planetarium will allow visitors to learn about our skies at any time of the year and regardless of the weather. This investment demonstrates Renfrewshire council’s commitment to building on the unique assets of this authority and it is hoped that the new planetarium will encourage even more visitors locally, nationally and internationally.

As well as its ability to display the night sky the digital planetarium can also show films. These full-dome movies immerse the viewer completely as the image is projected onto the entire roof above their heads. The observatory hopes to expand the library of films available and develop a programme of shows which will bring the most up to date astronomical discoveries to our visitors in an interesting and innovative way.

Members of the public are invited to experience this stunning new technology, for free, at the weekly planetarium shows every Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm. Booking is essential and can be made in person at Paisley Museum or by phoning 0141 840 6179. Maximum of 15 places.

To find out more about Coats Observatory click here.

 

All Paisley Photographs taken by Alex Kyle find more of photographs on Alex’s Facebook.

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Solar Viewings at Coats Observatory

Thomas Coats Observatory

New season of afternoon viewings launches next week

On Thursday 12 July, Coats Observatory in Paisley launches its regular solar viewing season.

We all owe our existence to the Sun. Without it, life on Earth would be impossible.  The Sun provides heat, light, nourishment for plant and animal life right down to the very atoms that make up our bodies, which are made of the same material found inside the Sun.

You can get a closer view of our nearest star by attending one of the solar observing sessions at Coats Observatory. These will run every Thursday afternoon, 2pm-4pm from July 12 to Aug 31 in the garden of Coats Observatory. Telescopes dedicated to safe Sun watching will be set up, allowing visitors to see detail such as sunspots, solar flares and prominences, and observatory staff will be on hand to answer any questions that visitors may have.

Coats Observatory point out that, on a point of safety, the telescopes in use at Coats Observatory to view the Sun are specially designed only for solar viewing. We should never look at the Sun with binoculars, an unfiltered telescope or even with the naked eye as permanent damage to your eyes will occur very quickly.

Admission to the solar viewing events is free and there is no need to book. For further information log onto www.renfrewshire.gov.uk or follow us on facebook at www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts.

Please note that solar viewing is weather dependent and will not take place in the event of thick cloud or rain.