Perfectly located just a stone’s throw from Glasgow airport and providing easy access to Glasgow and the whole west coast lowland region, as well as to the Campsies, Paisley is a town with enduring appeal to tourists. In fact, people have been travelling there since at least the 13th century, as its abbey was a major attraction for pilgrims and still draws many admirers today.
The town also has a splendid cathedral and numerous elegant Victorian and Georgian buildings, including an observatory and a museum which celebrates its history of enterprise, from ceramics to weaving and the pattern that carried its name all across the world.
With significantly more affordable accommodation than its larger neighbour, Paisley attracts around 50,000 visitors a year, a number which looks set to rise if it is successful in its bid to become European City of Culture in 2021. If you’re planning a visit, what do you need to know?
Paisley is built around the River Cart, a tributary of the Clyde. The public gardens adjoining the river are fairly safe, with tall railings, so you can relax and let your children run around. Elsewhere in the town, however, there are some rather precarious river paths. If you choose to cycle on these, it’s important to take the signs seriously – there are areas where you should dismount for you own safety.
Whether you’re cycling or walking, it’s best to avoid them in strong wind. When the weather is good, however, they’re an attractive place to spend time. In summer they’re surrounded by flowers and you can see rare ducks and swans on the water.
Paisley’s roads are fairly safe but in recent years there have been some problems with potholes because of the toll taken by rough winters. There’s a central roundabout which some drivers find difficult to manage because of the way the lanes work, and the proximity of the airport means that heavy goods vehicles cut through quite close to the town centre, especially along Love Street.
The centre itself is mostly paved and very friendly to pedestrians, but you’ll need to be patient with multiple crossings as you move in and out of it. It’s worth remembering that people unlucky enough to be injured in UK car crashes can often get compensation to help them recover.
The weather in Paisley is usually mild but in recent years the town has been hit by some powerful storms. It’s important to heed warnings about strong wind and stay indoors if advised to, because tree branches and slates from rooftops can present a serious risk. Paisley has suffered serious flooding in the past and is considered to be at ongoing risk of this, but it is not a routine problem, so as long as you pay attention to warnings you should have no difficulty staying safe.
Overall, Paisley is a very safe place. It’s easy to get around, making it particularly attractive to older visitors, but it’s an appealing destination whatever your age or ability.