Located right next to Glasgow, the historic county of Renfrewshire may not be big as some of its neighbours, but it still boasts an array of historic sites.
The town of Paisley in particular is home to many fascinating attractions, from a grand medieval abbey to the relics of its former industrial glory.
Here are 6 of the best sites to visit in Renfrewshire.
1. Paisley Town Hall
For almost 140 years the town hall has brought some grandeur to the centre of Paisley. In 2019 it was announced that the building would the turned into a centre for performing arts. The current estimated time of completion is 2023.
2. Paisley Abbey
The High Medieval church was founded in 1163 by a Breton knight. Most of the original buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1307, before being restored in the coming years. The abbey is the final resting place of Scottish King Robert II, for whom Queen Victoria provided a memorial. With the arrival of protestantism in the 16th century, the monastery was disbanded and the main building left to wither away. Major reconstruction works were done centuries later during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
The site is still a practising religious site, though it has opened its doors for all visitors.
3. The Anchor Mills
The red brick structure was built in 1886 as a domestic finishing mill, showcasing the past industrial prowess of the region and its importance in the global cotton economy. Following decades of decline the mill was finally closed in 1980, after almost 100 years in operation. In 2005 the complex reopened, following major investment, as an apartment/office building.
4. Thomas Coats Memorial Church
This beautiful church was erected in the memory of Thomas Coats who was a local entrepreneur and philanthropist. The building was completed in 1894 and towers 60 meters high into the sky. Like many other building of that era, the church was built in the Gothic Revival style. For a while the structure was slowly decaying, though from 2019 to 2021 extensive renovation works took place that transformed the religious building into an event venue.
5. Castle Semple Church
Near the village of Lochwinnoch one can find the early 16th century remains of the Castle Semple Church. The ruins are surrounded by beautiful countryside, making it a worthwhile destination for a calm country walk. The building fell out of use with the arrival of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. After 1560, the church was left to the elements.