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Living in Paisley
Places get remembered for lots of different things: famous people, battles or important events that happened there... Not many places get remembered for a pattern. Paisley is.
Do an online image search for ‘paisley’ and you’ll recognise that fat swooshy teardrop shape immediately, probably from that Christmas tie your dad still has stashed away in his sock drawer somewhere. Paisley folk (or ‘Buddies’) are rightfully proud of their heritage, and you’ll see it a lot as you go round Paisley. Fortunately for you they don’t just make swooshy ties anymore. (They do shirts as well! Sorry, sorry, we’re just kidding... They do though.)
Paisley, home of the University of the West of Scotland, is a good-sized town with a very cushty location. Its sits about halfway between the city of Glasgow and the borders of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, which means it’s a bit hilly in places, but then you are in Scotland so you probably should have seen that coming.
There’s some great local architecture around, which you can see when you’re walking to the two large shopping centres in the middle of town. Both are within a twenty minute walk of the campus, and this area is also where you’ll find most of your clubs, pubs and bars. For anything that’s not covered in the town centre, the Renfrew Riverside complex is a few miles outside of town. This big retail park has a number of shops, the Clydebuilt Maritime Museum, and an Xscape centre (a kind of bringing-the-outdoors-indoors leisure centre). This has climbing walls, a cinema, and an indoor ski slope of real snow so you can powder-surf all year round.
Something a bit more unique in Paisley is the Coats Observatory. Scotland has only four Public Observatories, and the rest of the UK doesn’t have any at all! The Observatory is a beautiful building and walking up the spiralling walkway to get to the telescope, past old-fashioned brass weather equipment and an Orrery (a working model of our Solar System), is a bit like stepping back in time. There are two large telescopes set up on the site, trained on whatever is most interesting on a particular night, and also an indoor planetarium so you can explore the skies without having to venture out into the cold. The Observatory is open a couple of nights a week as long as the weather is clear, and is free to enter, so check the council’s websites for dates and times.
- Golf: You didn’t honestly think you could come to Scotland and not golf, did you? There are half a dozen golfing ranges within 15mins drive of the university.
- Town Hall: The Hall, and the Arts Centre just down the road, are hubs for community life in Paisley. They put on fairs, local shows, exhibitions, and community events. Check their websites for the schedule.
- Paisley Abbey: This stunning building is over 800 years old, but still keeps up its historic role in Paisley life. As well as the big services, there are often musical events held here.
- Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park: This is one of the largest regional parks in Scotland, and a great place to get stuck into the great outdoors. You can take yourself around, or there are guided group activities in everything from canoeing to wildlife walks.
- Glasgow: You’re only 11 miles away, and there’s easy access by train if you don’t have a car.
- Get fit! There’s a couple of sports facilities in and around Paisley, including the Power League Football centre and the ones at the university. Today could be the day you fulfill all those failed New Years resolutions and get some serious gym-time in! Or, if that all sounds a bit too hardcore, you could just go to Lagoon Leisure Centre and play around on the waterslides.