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The port and town of Greenock on the west coast of Scotland has had a long and interesting connection to the sea. Its maritime past has seen it thrive as a shipbuilding location, provide a home for a torpedo factory around the time of the World Wars, and be used as a base for the Home Fleet during World War II. It’s a historical town that overlooks the Clyde estuary and enjoys views across the water to some of Scotland’s most beautiful and remote islands. For travellers visiting Scotland by cruise ship, this is the closet dock to the city of Glasgow and ideally situated to enjoy an abundance of activities and attractions on the west coast.
Greenock isn’t the largest town but it does have some interesting sights to offer tourists. If you’re out for a full day sightseeing, take the opportunity to head into the city of Glasgow, around half an hour by train, where there’s plenty of shopping and cultural activities to enjoy, but right off the boat at the port of Glasgow, here are a few ideas for places you might want to visit:
Funworld: This kids indoor play centre is one of the biggest of its kind in Scotland, and with inflatable ramps, mini go-karts, trampolines, a café and other amusements all under one roof, it’s a great place to visit for the whole family, especially if the weather is bad.
Lyle Hill: Overlooking Greenock and its port, Lyle Hill is the highest point in the surrounding area and on a clear day the views are impressive. It’s a great spot for a photo opportunity and the walk to the top is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The Free French Memorial Cross, a large dedication to French Armed Forces, can be found here.
McLean Museum: This museum is an interesting and informative day out for the whole family. It focuses on life in the World Wars, as well as on the men and women who shaped the history of Scotland. It’s free to enter, and there are some unusual artefacts from around the world in its international collection.
Greenock has a very healthy retail industry, and not far from the port there is a wide variety of independent shops and malls that are perfectly located for some local retail therapy. The Oak Mall Shopping Centre at the heart of the town is one of the best locations for finding everything under one roof. It is home to high street chain stores, designer stores and international brand names, as well as a few cafes and some amusement centres.
The west end of Greenock is an affluent location and the best place to find independent shops and exciting cafes. The villa’s here are enormous, once owned by big names in the shipping industry, and the mile long esplanade that runs along its length is dotted with local shops and souvenir stalls.
Restaurants and cafes in Greenock are abundant and there are several to be found within minutes of the port, making them ideal dinner destinations without having to walk far from the ship. The local cuisine makes great use of fresh fish and seafood, thanks to its connections to the sea, although while you’re in Scotland you might like to try some more unusual foods, with the local cafes here serving some of the country’s best-loved delicacies.
Haggis is a unique blend of sheep’s blood, intestines and internal organs, an oatmeal mix and hefty doses of spice, all combined into an outsized sausage. It’s cut into slices and fried, and although commonly regarded as a breakfast product, it’s also used in dinner menus as well. A favourite dessert is the deep fried Mars Bar which was originally tried as a joke but caught on surprisingly fast.
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