The large area covered on this page includes more than the title suggests. Glasgow is perhaps the major tourist attraction but the area as a whole, which includes Inverclyde, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire has a lot to offer as well. The area is both the industrial and, as far as Ayrshire is concerned, the agricultural heart of Scotland and is the most dense populated area in Scotland as well.
Ayrshire offers magnificent golf opportunities with over forty quality courses, including three Open Championship courses. The area is home to numerous visitor attractions such as magnificent castles and country parks. Ayrshire is also one of the most agriculturally fertile regions of Scotland. Potatoes are grown in fields near the coast, using seaweed-based fertiliser, and in addition the region produces pork products, other root vegetables, cattle and summer berries such as strawberries are grown abundantly. The granite mountains, ancient stone circles and the sheltered waters of the Firth of Clyde attract walkers, cyclists, fishermen and sailing enthusiasts. Ayrshire is also the birthplace of world-renowned poet Robert Burns, and there are plentiful reminders of the man and his world to explore here. There are several seaside places worth visiting in Ayrshire such as Largs, Troon, Saltcoats and Ardrossan where the Calmac operates the ferry service to the Isle of Arran, which also belongs to Ayrshire but has a separate page in the islands section.
Romantic Culzean Castle is located on the south Ayrshire coast on a rocky promontory with superb panoramic views over the Firth of Clyde. It is the former home of the Marquess of Ailsa but is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The clifftop castle lies within the 600 acres Culzean Castle Country Park, offering woodland and formal gardens, and is opened to the public. Some of the facilities are a visitor centre, gift and food shop, second-hand bookshop and plant sales.
Renfrewshire, to the west and south of Glasgow, has some interesting tourist attractions such as the historic Castle Semple Loch at Lochwinnoch which is part of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, Coats Observatory and Abbey in Paisley and the Weaver’s Cottage at Kilbarchan, in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.
Largs on the Firth of Clyde
Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire are situated in the Clyde valley, to the west and north of Glasgow. Dumbarton Castle sits on Dumbarton Rock, at the east bank mouth of the River Leven, where it flows into the Clyde estuary. The Castle has an illustrious history and many well-known figures from Scottish and British history have visited it. The castle was a royal fortress long before Dumbarton became a Royal Burgh, its ownership went from Scottish to English and back again. The castle was an important place during the Wars of Independence and was used to imprison William Wallace for a short time after his capture by the English. It was also from here that Mary, Queen of Scots, was conveyed to France for safety as a child. Mary was trying to reach Dumbarton Castle when she suffered her final defeat at Langside. In later times, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II were also visitors to the castle. To the east of Glasgow is the county of Lanark, East and West Lanarkshire.