Paisley is the largest town in the historic county of Renfrewshire. It is the fifth biggest settlement the whole of Scotland and is often called ‘Scotland’s largest town’. Located in the West-Central lowlands the town has a border with Glasgow and sits north of Gleniffer Braes. The Paisley population is approximately 77,000. The town is known historically for weaving and the paisley pattern comes from the name of the town.
How to get to Paisley
The town is serviced regularly by busses from Glasgow and other neighbouring towns. If you are coming by train then ScotRail services Paisley from Glasgow.
Things to do in Paisley
There are many things to do in Paisley and the surrounding area. Here are a few tourist attractions, activities and other places you might want to visit when you come to Paisley.
Paisley Abbey and the Alien
This abbey dates back to the 12th century and was built on the site of an old Celtic church. The historic Abbey has an interesting past and it is believed that one William Wallace was educated here by monks of the abbey.
If you visit the abbey try to spot the ‘alien’ lurking here. During some restoration work in 1991 most of the gargoyles had to be removed and replaced. Medieval tradition states that every gargoyle should look different. Perhaps the designers ran out of ideas or perhaps they just wanted some fun but one of the gargoyles here has a certain extra-terrestrial look to it.
If you have any time in Glasgow while you are visiting you could take in this strange and unique site that is home to fossil tree stumps. They are approximately 330 million years old and preserved exactly where they grew.
Towards the end of 1887 a new path was being cut through a disused roadstone quarry when the stumps were discovered. Luckily they were not destroyed and a building was quickly erected to protect the site. The same building still houses the stumps today.
The Coats Observatory (named after its doner Thomas Coats) was opened in 1883. It features a state-of-the-art Planetarium which can accurately project thousands of stars to represent the night sky. On clear nights the telescope is trained on the moon, planets and constellations and stars. The observatory is open for viewing by the public. Admission to the observatory is free.
This museum is dedicated to the local area and it’s history including The Singer Sewing Machine Factory and houses a collection of the machines dating back to 1850. There are contemporary artworks by Scottish artists displayed in the Garden Gallery and they are also available for sale. The museum also has items of interest relating to the history of ship building in Clydebank.
The Big Adventure
After visiting museums and the like your children might be ready for some more energetic activities. The Big Adventure is an indoor play area for children. Not just any play area, this is believed to be Europe’s largest! It has five levels containing slides, tunnels, tubes, a helter skelter, mazes, rope bridges and nets, an aerial runway and much more. There are areas for babies and infants to keep them safe and parents are able to relax nearby and watch.
East Yonderton Farm Fruit Picking
During the summer this small farm can be visited to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. The farm has been here since the 1920’s and has seen many visitors but the real fun comes from the fruit picking. Bring your children here and have fun picking fresh strawberries or gooseberries together while spending a little time in the fresh air. Once you get the little ones interested they will have a great time as long as you can stop them eating all the strawberries!
The Pendulum Bar & Grill is a casual restaurant serving burgers and steaks. They have a range of drinks including cocktails and are family friendly but the main selling point is the view. The view from the restaurant is probably one of the best from a restaurant anywhere in Scotland.
Linwood Farm and Carvery
Another family friendly establishment and very suitable for children. Serving pub favourites, breakfast buffets and traditional carvery this restaurant in the heart of Paisley also features a children’s play area to keep the little ones amused while you relax between activities and touring Paisley.
Paisley has many great pubs and bars and live music is available in some venues. There are plenty of restaurants and some nightclubs too if you want to dance the night away. However if you want a different kid of night you could visit one of the casinos that Glasgow has to offer. The Alea is the biggest casino in the whole of Scotland. 33 gaming tables and over 50 electronic gaming machines like book of dead and other slot machines. Poker, blackjack and roulette are all here as well as other casino games.
Another place to consider might be Genting Casino which has 17 tables and 10 gaming machines. They offer ‘graze and play’ so you can eat snacks and bar food while still enjoying your favourite games.
If you find that after a long day exploring and having enjoyed a lovely meal you just want to relax in your hotel then you can still enjoy the casino experience by using the hotel’s free WiFi and going on to an online casino and playing your favourite card game or a few spins on the slots.
Gleniffer Braes Country Park
Paisley has so much more
There are many more things to do and see in and around Paisley such as Sma’ Shot Cottages and Gleniffer Braes Country Park. You can go for a dip at the Lagoon Leisure Centre and go ten pin bowling in Braehead. There, go karting and visit Paisley Museum and Art Galleries. With Glasgow so close by you won’t be spoilt for ideas regardless if you are single, a couple or travelling as a family.