If you head out of the major port city of Glasgow and explore the nearby fishing town of Greenock, you’ll undoubtedly be charmed by this shipbuilding community with a rich history. Greenock is based 5-miles west of Port Glasgow and sits on the Firth of the Clyde. The former burgh is also filled with attractions, and many visitors will find that there are many things to do in Greenock.
The town’s heavy industry of ship repair and its port harbour are well known throughout Scotland, and the former burgh is even celebrated at the Custom House Museum. Greenock is also the home to the first dock built on the Clyde in 1711, which later expanded along with sugar refining, textiles, and other industries.
Today, the people of Greenock are highly proud of its architecture, as many of the Victorian buildings built here are still standing on the west end of the town. But its architecture is only one of many reasons to see this town.
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Things to do in Greenock
This buzzing little town in the west of Scotland has everything you will need to enjoy a holiday away from the hustle and bustle of life.
The town of Greenock was home to many impressive old building facilities throughout its history, like the Old West Kirk, the Clyde Torpedo Factory, and the world’s oldest Robert Burns club.
There are still many places to see and things to do like explore fine restaurants, incredible art galleries, historic museums and churches, and pubs where you can get to know Greenock’s friendly locals.
The local bus routes also allow for quick and easy transport between hot spots in Greenock, and the numerous railway stations facilitate your journey further into Scotland. There are so many things to do in Greenock that it’s sometimes difficult to decide what you should see while touring the area. See our guide for the best things to do in Greenock!
Lyle Hill Viewpoint
Any local from the major port of Greenock will tell you to climb Lyle Hill while you are staying there. This famous viewpoint in Inverclyde is one of the best things to do in Greenock.
Be prepared with your hillwalking boots as its highest point reaches 426 feet above sea level. The Lyle Hill Viewpoint is a fantastic picnic spot to enjoy some time with your family or your children that provides a panoramic view across the Clyde, MOD Pier, Greenock Cemetery, and even distant Glasgow!
The Lyle Hill Viewpoint is a great way to introduce yourself to the city, so make some time to explore the trail up to this site while in Greenock.
The Beacon Arts Centre
The Beacon Arts Centre, next to Victoria Harbour and Pier, ensures a visit to one of the best art galleries and performance arts centres in the greater Glasgow area. Visitors attend the Centre to watch performances in music, drama, dance, comedy, and the visual arts.
The beautiful building is right on the town’s waterfront and brings in visitors from Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the UK. Check out their website for more information about upcoming performances and shows.
The Beacon Arts Centre is a great place to go if you want to enjoy the views that Greenock offers, as the Centre overlooks the River Clyde estuary towards the hills of Argyll and Dunbartonshire.
Lunderston Bay Beach
Lunderston Bay sits between Greenock and Gourock and is the nearest beach to Glasgow. If your definition of a holiday involves basking under the sun during beautiful balmy weather, then the shores of Lunderston Bay are just the thing you’re looking for.
Lunderston Bay Beach is also a great place to take your children and have a fun-filled day enjoying the summertime weather of Scotland.
Families will travel to this beautiful sandy beach site throughout the year to enjoy a picnic and a walk along the shore.
Many will travel from Greenock to Gourock on a hot summer’s day to enjoy the town’s outdoor pool, an easy journey since Gourock is under ten minutes away from Greenock.
This saltwater pool is heated to 29 ºC, which is perfect if you aren’t brave enough to try wild swimming in Scotland. After a swim, you can chill out on Gourock Pools’ traditional patio and enjoy the views of the Clyde Estuary.
These outdoor pools are an excellent place to enjoy with your children and family after a long day of travelling and seeing the sights of Greenock.
This pool is a four-star Scottish Tourist Board site and was recently refurbished as part of a £1.8m renovation project consisting of modern and contemporary changing facilities.
Greenock Ice Rink
Get your skates on and head along to the town’s Ice Rink. This activity in Greenock is prevalent during the Christmas holidays; however, the rink is open all year round.
A great activity to do with your children, the Greenock Ice Rink guarantees a few hours of fun and laughs as you try and combat falling over while wearing ice skates. Spending some time at the Ice Rink is undoubtedly one of the best things you can do when you visit the town.
Ice skating is not the only draw; curling lessons are also available here if you want to take home a new skill!
The mighty River Clyde runs through Glasgow, joins the Firth of Clyde at Greenock and serves as the town’s leading source of tourists. Besides acting as a hub for cruise ships to stop in Greenock, the River is also an excellent place for a spot of fishing and sightseeing!
You can see the River transform as you move towards Port Glasgow, with multiple viewpoints along the Clyde Valley route. When the weather is excellent, this creates a gorgeous adventure while travelling to Glasgow or your next destination in the UK.
This fantastic attraction boasts stunning visuals and should be on the top of your list of destinations to see as you travel.
McLean Museum & Art Gallery
One of the most engaging museums & art galleries you’ll visit is in Greenock – the McLean Museum & Art Gallery.
Their expansive collection of over 430 oil paintings from the 18th century onwards is thanks to contributions by significant Scottish artists like Allan Ramsey, William Page Atkinson, The Glasgow Boys, and more. McLean is undoubtedly one of the best art galleries you can check out in Greenock.
Dive into the rich and detailed history of incredible artworks from all over the United Kingdom, an experience you won’t be able to get in any other Scottish museums or art galleries!
For those interested in the art galleries of Greenock and Scotland, a trip to see the marvellous paintings of the Mclean Museum is a must-see attraction.
A focal point of Cathcart Square is the gorgeous Lyle Fountain, which was gifted to the port town in 1880. The fountain is no longer operational, but the grand display and atmosphere it grants the street are extraordinary.
The fountain is just opposite the town hall building in Greenock, and Lyle Fountain is a great way to start your journey through the former fishing village.
The Lyle Fountain makes for an excellent setpiece for pictures to commemorate your holiday, so walk down Cathcart Street to visit this 141-year-old site while in Greenock.
Enjoy some time at Laser Matrix
One of the most fun experiences in Greenock is a session at Laser Matrix! Whether you’re young or old, Laser Matrix lets you immerse yourself in the tactics of team laser tag.
Laser Matrix Tag Arena provides a great way to spend an afternoon with friends, family, and even children while competing in a fast-paced and challenging game. All with a ‘Matrix-style’ theme to boot to get your heart pumping! Check out their website for more information.
Laser Matrix Tag Arena is a unique attraction to experience while in Greenock and will make you want to come back for more.
Standing at a mighty 245-feet tall, the Victoria Tower dominates the surrounding skyscape of Greenock and can even be seen from the various boat tours that pass by the town.
The Tower, built-in 1889 in honour of Queen Victoria, now stands as a brilliant site of architecture to admire as you explore the port town and is a testament to the shipbuilding and waterfront histories of the city.
Victoria Tower, located near the town hall, provides an excellent backdrop to the city and is one of the major attractions you should see while in Greenock.
Free French Forces Memorial Cross
Just off the summit of Lyle Hill in Greenock, you can find the beautiful Free French Forces Memorial Cross.
During the Second World War, Allied French Forces created a naval base within Greenock and England to fend off the Axis power. This memorial was unveiled in 1946 to commemorate their efforts and loss of lives. The beautiful monument is in the shape of the Cross of Lorraine with an anchor at the bottom.
Historical sites like the Memorial Cross are steeped with history and are one of the many unique experiences in Greenock.
Dutch Gable House
In the historic William quarter, the Dutch Gable House is one of the oldest buildings in Greenock and was built in 1755 by a Tobacco merchant.
The House has been renovated and refurbished by one of Greenock’s local groups. It now allows you to look at the history of one of this robust harbour town’s oldest locations. You can experience its history through its photograph exhibit, “Inverclyde at War”.
The Dutch Gable House is an excellent historic site waiting to be explored when you arrive in Greenock. Definitely one of the town’s top attractions!
The rediscovered Newark Castle reveals spectacular Renaissance details and the immense antiquity of the Castle and its notable resident, Sir Patrick Maxwell.
You can explore the Castle’s Jacobean details, delving underneath the Castle to find out about the servant’s quarters and see the stunning views.
A trip to Newark Castle is an excellent opportunity to tour the beautiful 16th-century building hidden near Greenock.
The verdant Corlick Hill is just outside of the town of Greenock and is one of the best hiking spots in the area, with great views of the beautiful heathlands as well as the port town of Greenock.
The route takes about 3-4 hours and covers a 6-mile loop around the hill, so it’s best to set aside a morning or afternoon to tackle it. You can pass by Whitelee Cottage and search for the immense variety of birdlife that swoops through Corlick Hill.
Treat yourself to a fantastic wildlife walk around Corlick Hill while spending some time in Greenock; it’s a great way to refresh the mind and body.
One of the most stunning natural walking trails you can take is on Auchmountain Glen, with outstanding scenery.
Auchmountain Glen has been restored by the local community to its beautiful state and has many beautifully crafted bridges, benches, and walkways. The half-mile route of Auchmountain Glen leads you through the impressive greenery of the glen and eventually lands at “The Monarch” statue.
This easy walk is short and sweet, with many gorgeous sights and sounds along the way.
In between the towns of Greenock & Gourock, the Battery Park provides an extraordinary amount of activities for everyone that spends time here. It’s an excellent spot for joggers, dog-walkers and a brilliant place for families to take their children on a warm Sunday afternoon.
The Battery Park has world-class amenities, two grass pitches for footballs and rugby, and children’s playground areas. The Battery Park also has a few nearby bars, cafes, and restaurants with delicious drinks and food and amazing views of Greenock Harbour and its dock.
The Park has a community atmosphere unlike anywhere else in Greenock, making it the perfect place for some fun and exercise.
The Watt Institute, named after the world-famous inventor Greenockian James Watt, allows you to explore and see many artefacts, art galleries, and relics showing Inverclyde’s national heritage and history.
The Watt Institute is a gorgeous building designed by Sir Edward Blore, the same person who designed Buckingham Palace!
The Watt Institute is a must-see attraction while exploring Greenock, so commit some time to thoroughly relishing this fantastic destination.
Scottish Fire & Rescue Museum
Located on Dalrymple Street in Greenock, the Scottish Fire & Rescue Museum grants an in-depth look into firefighting history. While exploring the polished and preserved fire station, you can learn how dangerous this job can be and how firefighting has changed.
Watch as the Museum portrays how firefighters used horse-drawn firefighting vehicles before trucks, peruse the many newspaper clippings containing some of the worst fires in Greenock’s history, and learn about famous firefighters who have committed their lives to save people.
The Scottish Fire & Rescue Museum presents an opportunity to engage with a part of Greenock’s history that will show its people’s bravery.
Loch Thom is a beautiful loch surrounded by low-laying heathlands south of Greenock. The Loch has many stunning trails that take you around its serene waters and offer incredible views of Greenock’s natural landscape.
You should set aside a portion of your day to tackle the nearly three-hour trail. It’s a relatively straightforward route that is perfect for hikers, runners, or a casual stroll with beautiful Scottish views.
The Loch is serenely calm, and you’ll find yourself in bliss as you walk amongst the quiet – the perfect addition to any holiday to Greenock.
Greenock Cut Visitor Centre
The Greenock Cut Visitor Centre, situated in the heart of Inverclyde’s water catchment, is perfect for anyone who wants to wander the wildlands of Scotland by biking, running, or hiking and holds several unique activities to enjoy.
You can enjoy sailing, paddle sports, and powerboating upon the expansive water catchments of the Centre, with excellent instructors and guides to help you through every step of the way.
The Visitor Centre is an excellent way to enjoy a catered experience of the rich Scottish heritage and culture while in historic Greenock.
More Things to do in Glasgow, Clyde & Ayrshire:
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- Things to Do in Clydebank
- Things to do in Girvan
- Things to do in Glasgow
- Things to do in Gourock
- Things to do in Helensburgh
- Things to do in Kilmarnock
- Things to do in Largs
- Things to do in Maybole
- Things to do in Motherwell
- Things to do in Paisley
- Things to do in Renfrew
- Things to do in Troon