Last Updated on
Helensburgh was once one of the busiest holiday resorts in the West of Scotland. All though this humble seaside town has quieted down over the years, the town and the area around it, have plenty to offer those looking for the perfect Scottish escape. This guide to Helensburgh looks at the top things to do in Helensburgh.
Get to know the town with our ‘Complete Guide to Helensburgh’.
In This Post
Things to do in Helensburgh
Helensburgh has a rich history. It was named after the wife of Sir James Colquhoun, the man who founded the town during the 18th century.
Tourists fall in love with the town’s grand buildings, romantic pier and open park and garden spaces.
This town is a great choice for those looking to spend the weekend in a seaside resort in the west of Scotland as there is a great selection of hotels and B&Bs in Helensburgh.
We have picked out the top things to do in Helensburgh below.
The John Muir Way
The John Muir Way is one of the top things to do in Helensburgh for outdoor enthusiasts.
Many tourists start their Scottish journey in Helensburgh as they attempt the famous ‘John Muir Way’.
If you are unfamiliar with John Muir, he is known as ‘the father of national parks’ in America. Mr Muir supported saving Yosemite Valley, founded the Sierra Club and is now recognised today as a fundamental player in the conservation movement.
If you fancy taking on the 134-mile challenge (or 215 km across Scotland’s heartland), the route runs from Helensburgh through to Dunbar, John Muir’s birthplace.
In upper Helensburgh, you will find the Hill House a beautiful building which is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.
This stunning building was developed by wealthy Victorian Glasgow merchants between 1902-1904.
This iconic tourist attraction is one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s most famous works of arts and many visit here just to see this fine piece of work.
Fancy a ‘chippy’ at the seaside? Tuck into a portion of fresh fish and chips at Helensburgh Beach.
This part of the town boasts excellent views as it overlooks the Upper Firth of Clyde. It is backed by a promenade where tourists can admire the views across Rosneath peninsula.
If you would rather dine in rather than out, there are lots of great places to eat near the promenade, where you can meet the town’s lovely locals.
Loch Lomond & Balloch
Both Loch Lomond & Balloch are short drives away from Helensburgh. It will take you just under twenty minutes to get to both.
If you are planning a day trip to either of these you won’t be short of things to do!
Thrill-seekers will find paradise here as the areas around Loch Lomand are some of the best in Scotland for trying out watersports activities, such as jet-skiing, water skiing and kayaking. Boat trips are also available if you want to take it easy while you are site seeing on the shores of Loch Lomond.
For those that love to explore the outdoors on foot, there are many woodland trails here and mountains to climb if you want to capture the views from a height!
One of the things to do in Helensburgh that is not to be missed is climbing Ben Lomond. The drive here will take you 50 minutes but the hike is worth it for outdoor enthusiasts.
Read a detailed guide of Ben Lomond at Walkhighlands.
Helensburgh Golf Club
If you are into golf then you will have a lot of things to do in Helensburgh.
Scotland’s west coast is famous for its scenic golf courses and Helensburgh is no different.
Players have been travelling to this stunning moorland course which sits above Helensburgh town since 1893.
Golfers that come to play at Helensburgh Golf Club will enjoy first-class views over the Clyde Estuary and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
The tranquil course is easy to get to from Helensburgh town and is only 20 miles from Glasgow.
Rated four stars by VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourist Board – Sea Life at Loch Lomond is a must-see tourist attraction.
By car, Sea Life is just a fifteen-minute journey from Helensburgh.
This popular tourist attraction is open 7 days a week throughout the year.
This is the perfect day out for kids (and big kids too).
You can explore the aquarium zones and see some of Scotland’s rarest sea life up close.
The aquarium is home to otters, sharks, rays, seahorses and tropical breeds.
The Sea Life Centre ethos is “breed, rescue, protect” and the experts at this centre are dedicated to conservation.
Sea Life has established multiple breeding programs for its rare residents “to better understand species, from Undulate Rays to Big Bellied Seahorses.”
While you are staying in Helensburgh book in for a spa day and luxury treatment at the glamorous Cameron Spa.
This is the perfect place to relax and unwind during your visit to the West of Scotland.
Within this highly recommended spa, there are 17 treatment rooms.
Facilities at the spa include a VIP couple’s room with a mineral bath, a relaxing steam room and private balcony, a Rasul mud chamber with steam room, and a Relaxation Suite.
If that hasn’t won you over – the views here will.
The highlight of your so day will be a swim in the Cameron Spa rooftop infinity pool. Spa guests are welcome to take a dip while they take in the views across The Carrick golf course and beyond into the Scottish mountains.
Day trip to Glasgow
The town is located on the River Clyde, west of Glasgow.
It takes just forty-five minutes to get into the city by car and there are regular transport links from Helensburgh to Glasgow.
While you are visiting Scotland’s biggest city make sure you visit one or two of the museums here – The Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, the Transport Museum are just a few of the options on the table for tourists.
Glasgow also has a thriving street food scene and foodies are spoiled for choice! There are several regular large scale food venues showcasing the city’s rich cultural gastronomic heritage; Platform which is based in the city centre, The Dockyard which is based in Finnieston and The Big Eat which is south of the River Clyde.