Greenock and Gourock are two towns sitting on the upper Firth of Clyde in the Inverclyde area of Western Scotland. They are about 40-50 minutes from Glasgow, and a short drive up the coast from Wemyss Bay. Greenock was known as early ago as the 12th century, and there was a Hugh de Grenock who was given a Scottish peerage in 1296. Fishing was important to the area with the Clyde Estuary on hand, and a custom house was built, Greenock becoming a custom house port in 1714. Europe’s first steamboat service called at Greenock, Helensburgh and Glasgow from 1812. Greenock had increasing prominence as a centre of trade and commerce, and this is reflected in the large villas in the West End of Greenock which were never cheap. The town suffered badly from the Second World War, but regained momentum to become a centre of industry once more. Now it is benefiting from investment and regeneration.

Looking from Craigendoran Pier across the Clyde to Greenock.

Despite war damage, Greenock retains a number of interesting and beautiful period buildings for visits to enjoy. James Watt Memorial College is opulent and made of red stone, while Greenock Town Hall is a magnificent and grand building. Greenock Custom House at Custom Quay is a reminder of the town’s important maritime heritage, as is the Sugar Warehouse at James Watt Dock.

There are a number of very good walks in the area. A fantastic viewpoint can be found at the Free French Memorial on Lyle Hill, and at Craig’s Top on Lyle Hill, a popular viewing point over nearby Gourock for viewing the sunset over Helensburgh, Kilcreggan and Argyll. There is a popular esplanade walk in Greenock town itself. There is an aqueduct behind the town called The Cut which offers fantastic views over the Clyde, the path linking round to Loch Thom which is a wonderful spot offering fishing opportunities. Also look out for Battery Park, a nice green park between Greenock and Gourock. Also look out for Underheugh Cottage, a self sufficient smallholding where activities can be booked in advance by appointment, including pig keeping, nature treks, gardening courses and a Highland dress-up experience.

Why not visit the McLean Museum and Art Gallery while in Greenock? This includes historical information in shipbuilding in Greenock, as well as a taxidermy, animals and insects section. Finally, for shopping head to Greenock’s Oak Mall. If coming to Wemyss Bay from the Glasgow or Edinburgh direction, why not stop off at Greenock for a few hours or even an overnight stay? And if coming from Ayr, Girvan and the south, Greenock is less than 20 minutes by car from Wemyss Bay, so hardly a diversion at all!

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