Paisley is a small town located in the lowlands of Scotland. It borders the city of Glasgow to the east and overlooks the banks of White Cart Water, a tributary to the most prominent river in Scotland — River Clyde.
You might not know Paisley as the small suburban town, but instead, you are familiar with the paisley pattern found in fabrics. This pattern is characterized by a large buta or boteh (a tear drop shape with a curved end) adorned with small dots and other motifs.
While this pattern for fabrics originated in the Mughal empire of India, it was produced widely by textile factories here in Paisley, in Scotland. Thus, the pattern was named after the small town.
In the onset of the industrial revolution, large textile factories and thread work companies settled here in Paisley. Including Coats and Clark that provided employment to most town natives or workers from nearby towns. While at present, Paisley’s textile factories have mostly diminished in activity, the town still thrives from this wealth.
Let’s take a lot around this small town west of Glasgow that used to be favored by Kings of Scotland and unravel its long history of textile and Scottish territory.
- Things to do in Paisley
- 1. Visit the Paisley Abbey
- 2.Have Fun at Barshaw Park
- 3.Drop by the Paisley Cenotaph
- 4.Get lost in the Fountain Gardens
- 5.Marvel at the Historical Artifacts that is the Sma’ Shot Cottages
- 6.Enjoy at Glenifer Braes Country Park
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Things to do in Paisley
1. Visit the Paisley Abbey
In the center town of Paisley, just right beside the town hall is Paisley Abbey. It is the only surviving abbey in Scotland to have survived the reformation. And at present, it is now used as a Protestant church.
The Abbey is now 800 years old, dating back to the 12th century. It is considered as the “Mother Church” of all churches in Scotland and has its doors open for anyone who wish to visit, in order to show the the love of God.
As it was constructed in the 12th century, it boasts the typical architecture style found in Scotland during the Middle Ages. It boasts thick columns decorated with angular motifs and filled with colorful stained glass windows depicting different scenes from the bible.
Several Kings of Scotland are buried in the abbey, and you are sure to learn a lot and enjoy your time attending mass there, as assured by the Paisley Abbey website itself.
The Paisley Abbey has its doors open for everyone and anyone for free.
Monday to Saturday: 10AM – 3:30PM
It is only open exclusively on Sundays for services only.
Address 575 Cotton St., Paisley PA1 1JG, UK
Phone +44 141 889 7654
2.Have Fun at Barshaw Park
Barshaw Park is a huge recreational centre and parkland of 55 acres. It was built in 1912 by local authorities of Paisley as a public recreational park and has since then served its purpose as being open to the public.
It is free of charge, and is open to Paisley locals and tourists of all ages and sizes. There are a lot a lot of amenities: from children’s park play area, a boating pond, a walled garden, a BMX track, a municipal golf course, a miniature railroad and so much more!
There are lots of things to do in Barshaw Park itself — from feeding the animals in the animal corner, to riding a bike along the BMX track, or even sailing through the yachts that are available — everyone is bound to find their cup of tea. The Park also hosts special galas and events on holidays.
It’s one of the best places to visit in Paisley if you are coming with your family because it is a family recreational park, after all.
There is no admission fee to get into Barshaw Park. However, some selected amenities and equipment aren’t for free. Price can range anywhere from 5 – 20 GBP.
Monday to Saturday: 7:30AM to 9PM
Sunday: 7AM to 9PM
Monday to Saturday: 8:30AM to 4PM
Closed on Sundays
Address 176A Glasgow Road, Paisley PA1 3LT, UK
Phone +44 141 889 2908
3.Drop by the Paisley Cenotaph
Standing proudly in the middle of the Paisley towns square at 25 meters, the Paisley War Memorial is a bronze depiction of Meredith Williams, flunked by four infantrymen. The inscription on the memorial reads, “In glorious memory of the 1,953 men of Paisley who gave their lives in the Great War.”
It is to serve as a reminder to the current generations (and generations to come) of Paisley to strive for the ideal which stimulated these 1,953 men who gave up their lives for their town, for their country. It was unveiled in 1924 to a crowd of 20 thousand people.
There really is nothing to do at the Cenotaph, except to take pictures and learn about its history, origin and significance. It’s an icon of Paisley and is a good representative monument of the town.
It requires no money to drop by the Cenotaph.
It is open any hour of any day.
The Paisley Cenotaph, Paisley PA1 1BG, UK
4.Get lost in the Fountain Gardens
Paisley’s oldest public garden is the Fountain Gardens, which is also home to a large parkland and recreational play area.
Right smack in the center of the garden is an A list fountain, intricately decorated with dolphins, herons, cherubs and walruses. It was designed by George Smith and the Company of Sun Foundry in Glasgow. It’s color of red, green and cream is from the idea of Daniel Cottier, the stained glass artist who painted the fountain.
The Fountain Gardens’ layout consists of large geometric walkways that all lead to the iron-cast fountains from different areas such as playgrounds and recreational corners.
The Park is also home to one of the finest statues of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet.
The park is open to visit by anyone for free.
Monday to Sunday: 8:45AM to 7PM
Address Love St., Paisley PA3 2DZ, UK
Phone +44 300 300 0380
5.Marvel at the Historical Artifacts that is the Sma’ Shot Cottages
Right after stepping foot at Shuttle Street, you would feel as if you were transported in the 18th century. Especially when you get close and manage to witness the Sma’ Shot Cottages, which are weaving cottages built in the 1750s.
These cottages are well-preserved and provide a good insight into the two textile eras that happened in Paisley in the 18th century. Textile was a huge part of the Renfrewshire era back then, and the Sma’ Shot Cottages serve as the best living witness of this history.
Inside the white, tiny cottages are weaving looms, and local guides will actually fill you in the information about the typical life of weaving families here in Paisley back in the day. Overall, it’s a great experience one should grab when visiting Paisley.
There is also the Sma’ Shot Day Celebration, held every Sixth of July, ever month. If you ever happened around Paisley in July, don’t miss this festival celebration.
This museum had no entrance fee. Local guides also offer their service for free.
Open from April to September:
Wednesday: 12PM to 4PM
Friday: 1PM to 5PM
Saturday: 12PM to 4PM
Address 2 Sma’ Shot Land, Shuttle Str., Paisley, Renfrewshire PA1 2HG
Phone +44 141 889 1708
6.Enjoy at Glenifer Braes Country Park
Recommended as the best place to unwind in Paisley, the Glenkfer Braes Country Park offers a lot of nature related scenery — from woodland area of birds and grazing cattle to hiking trails with a lot of footpaths to choose from that lead to the very top of the hill.
You can enjoy the great outdoors in here by watching the wildlife — which is mostly of grazing cattle and the occasional birds teetering in the tree branches. Aside from the wildlife, it is also a good place to have a picnic in Paisley.
The trees and grazing land, almost feel like you are transported somewhere in Africa. The orchids and wild flowers growing are also quite the sight to behold in this park in the country.
One of the best parts about Glenifer Braes Country Park is it’s hiking trails. There are lots of footpaths to choose from, and the trail is well-marked and pretty easy to find your way around to get to the top. But once you get to the top, the view is so worth it — it is simply stunning.
Bonus points if you hike in liminal times of sunrise and sunset, when the colors of the sky turn different hues of oranges, reds, yellows and purples.
All amenities and activities in Glenifer Braes Country Park are available for free.
It is open 24 hours, every day of the week.
Address Glenfield Rd., Paisley PA2 8TE, UK
Phone +44 300 300 0300
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