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Showing posts from April, 2018

People's Palace & Winter Gardens

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Standing proud in the middle of Glasgow Green is the People's Palace: a huge, ruddy-bricked structure dating to Victorian times. Fittingly given its name, the palace houses a museum documenting the colourful social history of Scotland's largest city, or to describe it another way, Glaswegian life from the perspective of its people. Adjoining the museum is a large conservatory containing exotic plants which share the floor with a café and occasional events space. An hour should be enough time to browse the three levels - all free of charge, though donations are welcome.


📌People's Palace and Winter Gardens★★★☆☆
Location: Glasgow Green, 20-min walk southeast of George Square, Glasgow, G.R.: NS 600642 ///boom.jazz.poster
Open (2019): Daily
Cost: Free




Glasgow Green

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Flanking the River Clyde east of central Glasgow, Glasgow Green is known as "the people's park" and is the city's oldest - first granted to residents in 1450. The flat lawns might be rather featureless if it weren't for grand monuments such as the Doulton Fountain and Nelson Monument. Pride of place is the People's Palace: a grand museum backing onto a massive glasshouse. The park has a busy schedule of concerts and other events, but outwith these times it's a very pleasant place for stroll, especially if the sun's shining.


📌Glasgow Green★★☆☆☆
Location (Nelson Monument)20-min walk southeast of George Square, Glasgow, G.R.: NS 598643 ///estate.pool.online
Public transport: Train (Bridgeton), 400 metres; bus, <200 metres

>> People's Palace and Winter Gardens★★★☆☆






Vikingar!

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In 1293, the Battle of Largs took place on the North Ayrshire coast between Scottish and Norwegian forces, in a bid for ownership of the western seaboard of present-day Scotland. The battle only started because the Viking longships were blown aground during a storm, and neither side emerged victorious from this particular skirmish. Nevertheless, Largs is now home to an interactive experience about the Vikings, housed in part of the town's leisure centre. The partly-guided tour comprises a replica longhouse, introduction to Norse gods, film and exhibition area; it's especially geared towards families and children, but there's just enough to interest adults too.


📌Vikingar!★★★☆☆
Location: Greenock Road (A78), 10-min walk north of Largs town centre, G.R.: NS 203601 ///sank.seagull.loitering
Open (2019): Daily, March to October; weekends, February & November
Cost (2018): £4.50 (adults), £3.50 (children)


Largs

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Largs is a good, old-fashioned seaside resort on the Firth of Clyde, beloved for decades by Glaswegians going "doon the watter" for their holidays. The town has been a tourist destination since Victorian times, and comparing old black-and-white photos with the present day shows that large parts haven't changed much - and we mean that in the nicest possible way. If you have a sweet tooth, you're in for a treat: the Art Deco-style ice cream parlour Nardini's is a bit of an institution, with a long list of unusual flavours all made on site; we also fell in love with the delicious cakes in Bagel Basket on the High Street. Wander along the esplanade or the shingle beach to work off the calories; there's an interesting attraction dedicated to the Vikings (the Battle of Largs took place here in 1263), a handful of striking churches and a rather dull museum through which you can arrange visits to Skelmorlie Aisle (which is anything but dull). Add in the popular excu…

Haylie Brae

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Perhaps some of the romance in going "doon the watter" has been lost now so many day-trippers head to Largs by car rather than boat or train. But one highlight of driving is the nearly obligatory stop at Haylie Brae: a charming, lofty viewpoint overlooking the Clyde coast just before the road descends through a couple of hairpins into the seaside town. The islands of Great Cumbrae, Little Cumbrae, Arran, Bute and Ailsa Craig all make it into the panorama backed by Kintyre and the hills of Argyll; views should be clearest in the morning, but it's a pretty special spot for savouring the sunset too.


📌Haylie Brae ★★☆☆☆
Location: A760 a mile southeast of Largs, G.R.: NS 215582 ///trapdoor.flatten.skill
Anything else? Viewpoint car park is signposted from the A760. From here it's a 2-min walk uphill on a clear path to the nearest viewpoint.

Calderglen Zoo

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Meerkats, tamarins and coatis; wildcats, burrowing owls and leaf-cutting ants... Calderglen Zoo doesn't have the big-name animals to rival Edinburgh Zoo, but for the tiny admission fee you won't be complaining. This family-friendly menagerie occupies a small corner of Calderglen Country Park on the edge of East Kilbride, and has around 50, mostly fun-sized species housed around an attractive garden area, with a few more inside a warm conservatory. If you've time to spare afterwards, take a walk along the Rotten Calder river.


📌Calderglen Zoo and Conservatory★★★☆☆
Location: Next to the main car park, Calderglen Country Park, G.R.: NS 654527 ///shrub.dignify.empty
Open (2019): Daily
Cost (2018): £1.45 (adults), 50p (children)










Dick Institute

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The Dick Institute is one of the finest buildings in Kilmarnock, the county capital of East Ayrshire and (according to the road signs) "Scotland's most improved town". The building opened its doors in 1901 and functions as the town's museum as well as a library and events venue. Kilmarnock is a large town with a broad history, and industries ranging from bonnets to railway engines. The grand upper floors are spacious enough to do a good job of telling it, spread across two large galleries. In this case at least, size does matter...


📌Dick Institute★★★☆☆
Location: Elmbank Avenue, 5-min walk east of Kilmarnock town centre, G.R.: NS 433378 ///swims.bolts.slope
Open (2019): Tuesday to Saturday except public holidays
Cost: Free