Millport – Scottish Island Getaway
As the only town on the island of Great Cumbrae, located in the Firth of Clyde off Scotland’s North Ayrshire coast, tourism plays an important role in the economy of Millport. A ferry runs between the island and the town of Largs on the Scottish mainland, with the town of Millport located around four miles to the south of the ferry docking slipway on the island. Millport is a popular day-trip and holiday destination for visitors from Glasgow, which is only 33 miles from Largs, with a trip on the River Clyde paddle steamer, PS Waverley a popular option. With its free-to-use visitor moorings and other facilities, Millport Bay is also a great destination for sailing enthusiasts in the summer months.
Millport has a number of interesting features, with the Garrison House located in the centre of the town dating back to 1745, when it was built as the barracks and home of the Earl of Glasgow. The stately Garrison House was recently renovated and is now home to the Museum of the Cumbraes, the local library, some council offices and a café, while the Garrison Model Rail Club located on the grounds is open each week to visitors who would like to view the model railway layouts.
Due to its strategic location, Millport served as the base for Customs and Excise as the River Clyde gained importance in the Victoria era as a main thoroughfare for goods – both legal and illegal. A number of the streets in the town bear the names of crew members who manned the Royal George, a cutter owned by the revenue services that monitored traffic on the River Clyde during this time of rapid growth. Other landmarks reminiscent of this era are the many superbly maintained Edwardian and Victorian houses found to the east and west of the old harbor, as well as the Cathedral of the Isles, commissioned by the 6th Earl of Glasgow, George Frederick Boyle, and completed in 1851. With seating for only one hundred people, it is considered to be the smallest cathedral in Great Britain.
Millport’s 18-hole golf course offers stunning views over the Firth of Clyde to the Isles of Bute and Arran, while fresh water reservoirs and the coastline offer excellent fishing opportunities. The town also boasts a bowling club, miniature golf course and two football pitches, and hosts an annual Country and Western Festival in September. The National Sailing School on the island offers watersports such as windsurfing, sailing and canoeing, and walking and cycling enthusiasts will find a host of trails and routes to suit every fitness level. Buses run between the ferry and the town and there are plenty of accommodation options for those who want to take full advantage of all that Millport has to offer.