Largs – ‘The Viking Town’

Largs is a relaxing and friendly seaside resort in North Ayrshire, on the West Coast of Scotland. Located on the charming Clyde Riviera approximately 34 miles west of Glasgow.

The historic town of Largs is blessed with stunning scenery, wide-open Victorian promenade vistas, and is renowned for its traditional Art Deco ice cream parlour, Nardinis.

This scenic, splendid little town, was once one of the busiest holiday seaside resorts on the Clyde Coast, for Glaswegians, who affectionately called the holiday experience as “going doon the watter”.

Largs is a perfect base to explore other regions of Scotland

Largs is a wonderful town to relax in, to explore, and to embark on wonderful day trips from.

If you would like to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and be surrounded by beautiful scenery, whilst having a gateway to the Islands, Highlands and Southern Scotland, then Largs ticks all the boxes.

Nestled below the slopes of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, Largs is still considered a popular holiday destination, and an ideal base for walking, cycling, golfing, touring the Highlands, Islands and hidden gems in the West of Scotland.

Golf in Largs

Affectionately known as “Ayrshire’s Augusta”, Largs Golf Club, nestled under Kelburn Castle’s woodland estate, offers a warm and friendly welcome to visitors of all ages and abilities.

Routenburn Golf Club, (designed by James Braid), is often referred to by the locals as ‘The Millionaires Club’, for it’s spectacular views of the Isles of Arran, the Ailsa Craig, the Cumbrae Isles, the Isle of Bute and the Mull of Kintyre (on a good day).

The course is home to European and Ryder Cup legend, Sam Torrance, who learned the game under guidance and tuition from his guru father, Bob Torrance.

Largs is a ‘Gateway to the Highlands and Islands’, and the South West of Scotland.

Isle of Cumbrae

Isle of Cumbrae

The ferry sailing from Largs to the picuresque quaint Isle of Cumbrae, takes approximately 10 minutes. Caledonian Macbrayne operates the route, and no advance booking is necessary. Simply turn up with a vehicle, or go as a foot passenger, and enjoy a wonderful day trip to the Isle of Cumbrae. Once over there, you may wish to participate, as thousands have for many generations, the traditional, cycle round the island. There are bike hire shops available in Millport, the island’s wee town. You will also find traditional cafes and fish and chip shops, so you won’t go hungry over there!!  The ferries are frequently ran throughout the day.

The Isle of Arran (Brodick Castle)

Isle of Arran (Scotland in Miniature)

Largs is only 11 miles north from Ardrossan Port, which serves the Isle of Arran (Scotland in miniature). This is a very popular sightseeing island for many visitors, as it has many outdoor activities to enjoy, as well as some breath taking views, a distillery, and many other little craft shops to explore.

The Isle of Bute

The Isle of Bute

Wemyss Bay Port is 7 miles north of Largs, which serves the Isle of Bute. Mount Stuart House is a really fascinating place to visit, and a must see for visitors. The Isle of Bute, has some beautiful beaches, and its town of Rothesay, is a traditional holiday resort for many generations of Glasweigans, particularly in the beginning of the last century.

The History of Largs

The Battle of Largs, 1263

The last pitched battle between the Vikings and Scots, took place in Largs in 1263.  King Alexander III of Scotland defeated the Vikings, led by King Haacon Haaconson of Norway. This ended Norwegian control of the Western Isles of Scotland.

Each year in September, friendly Vikings invade Largs, where an annual festival is held in commemoration of the Battle of Largs, ending the week long festivities with a fireworks display and ‘burning of the Viking longboat’. This is enjoyed by young and old alike.

Fun Fact – It is believed that on the night before the attack, a barefoot Viking trod on a thistle and shrieked out in pain. This alerted the Scots, who went on to win the Battle, and hence why the thistle is named the ‘Flower of Scotland’.

Interestingly many street names in Largs are named after these historic times:

Alexander Avenue, Alexander Walk and Alexander Court after Alexander III.

Danefield Avenue – reputedly where Vikings were imprisoned and also after the Norse language.

Haco Street after King Haacon Haaconson of Norway.

Viking Way and Pencil View, which look onto the Pencil Monument, built in memory of the Battle of Largs.

The Pencil Monument can be found on the Largs Heritage Trail, jutting out at Bowen Craig, near Largs marina.

The magnificent Pencil Monument built in 1912, towers up to 17.3 m (57 feet), commemorating the Battle of Largs. The tower is a replica and originally, towers such as this would have been a bell tower, treasury or refuge.

Places of Interest whilst holidaying in Largs

Heading south from Largs, you can visit Portencross Castle, Troon, Ayr, Alloway (birthplace and museum of our national bard, Rabbie Burns), Dumfries House, Dean Castle, Culzean Castle, Portpatrick and the Rhins of Galloway.

Glasgow can be reached in under 1 hour by rail.

The Trossachs National Park, Argyll and Bute, are all within close proximity for day trips also.

Scenic walks in Largs

There are many walks for all abilities in Largs. Simply enjoy the scenery as you stroll along the promenade. If you are looking to really stretch the legs, then you can walk from Largs all the way to the next seaside village Fairlie, on a designated seaside coastal path.

For the energetic, then head to Douglas Park and enjoy a hill walk, with a flight of 138 steps up the final escarpment, rewarding you with spectacular panoramic views of the majestic islands in the Firth of Clyde.

Where to eat and drink in Largs

There are many places to dine in (and out) in the Largs area, including, hotels, restaurants, seaside café, local pubs and award winning fish and chip shops.

The Buena Onda Restaurant on the promenade, offers locally sourced freshly cooked fare, and fantastic views of the Isle of Cumbrae. You can you can sit outside and soak up the atmosphere of the coastal town, weather permitting of course, alternatively there is large windowed indoor seating also.

Places to stay in Largs

There is a fantastic range of accommodation to choose from in Largs, including Air Bnb, a variety of Bed and Breakfast accommodation, and choice of excellent local hotels.