8 reasons to go wild about Glasgow & Cowal

The Heart & Soul of Scotland

Glasgow is the perfect city for an urban adventure. It’s packed with incredible opportunities to get active indoors or on the many cycle routes and riverside walkways.

Why not pack more into your break in Scotland, by twinning Glasgow with a visit to Cowal? It's located just across the Clyde estuary and includes part of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

In less than an hour you can be on the Cowal peninsula in Argyll, where there are rugged hills and tranquil lochs just waiting to be explored. 

Here are eight reasons why you should go wild with a trip to Glasgow and Cowal.

Glasgow & Cowal



#1 Paddlers' Paradise

Head to Pinkston Paddlesports for exhilarating whitewater rafting and kayaking at the heart of the city. You can also enjoy a paddle on the sheltered flat water.

#2 Rock Solid

Make your way to the Glasgow Climbing Centre for a unique rock climbing experience. Located in a converted church, the climbing routes stretch up into the original oak beamed ceiling. If bouldering’s more your thing, try the Climbing Academy Glasgow, based in the old News International building.

#3 Jump!

You’re guaranteed adrenalin-fuelled fun at Glasgow’s Airthrill. With a trampoline rampolines, inflatable fun, basketball, football, dodgeball and more. It’s located in an 18th-century b-listed building, so you can experience some awe-inspiring architecture too.

#4 Eat, Drink and Play

With all this activity, you’ll be feeling peckish! Grab a lunchtime gourmet sandwich at Piece. These are no ordinary fillings; try Banh Mi, featuring slow-roasted pulled pork. If you’re in need of a mid afternoon pick-me-up, stop into Tantrum Donuts to feast on an artisan donut.

Chaakoo Bombay Café provides dinner with a difference. This Irani-Indian inspired café serves up a big hit of colonial-styled ambience, delicious curries and cracking cocktails. Next stop is Drygate, Glasgow’s finest craft brewery complete with beer hall. For clubbing, it has to be The Garage on Sauchiehall Street.

Stay in Ibis Styles for urban chic, with a choice of locations in the city centre or west end. Another good option is Fraser Suites Glasgow in Merchant City.

Glasgow & Cowal



#5 Off Roading

Dunoon is the destination for mountain bikers in the know. There are some awesome trails in Bishop’s Glen, a wooded, hilly area just behind the town. Hop off the ferry at Dunoon (bikes go free) and you’ll be there in under ten minutes. Other good places for mountain biking near Dunoon include Glenbranter, Ardgarten and Glenmassan.

#6 Adrenalin-Fuelled Fun

Explore the forests, farmland, and hillsides around Dunoon with Quadmania. After your instruction, you’re off over the open countryside tackling farmland, streams, woodland and hills.

#7 Fairy Trails

Go gorge walking in the magical woodland at Puck’s Glen. There are two trails here: one winds through the gorge with its tumbling waterfalls, the other takes a longer route to great viewpoints.

#8 Eat, Drink & Play

There are lots of great places to eat and drink in Cowal. Enjoy a spot of lunch at Benmore Cafe on the edge of Dunoon or drive to the award-winning Inver on Lachlan Bay. For dinner, take a stunning 50-minute drive across the Cowal peninsula to Portavadie on Argyll’s Secret Coast. Dine on the freshest Loch Fyne seafood and have a dram or two at the bar.

Stay at Portavadie where there’s a fantastic choice of contemporary accommodation, from luxury apartments to lodge rooms. All shore-side accommodation includes free access to the spa and leisure facilities.


Glasgow is served by Glasgow Airport and there are regular bus links from the airport into Glasgow city centre. It's well connected by train from across the UK and is easily accessible by Scotland's extensive road network. Visit the Scotrail website and check out Traveline Scotland

Argyll is well connected from Glasgow. You can fly from Glasgow to Campbeltown, Tiree and Islay or head into Glasgow city centre and travel to the region by bus or train. You can also hire a car. Catch a ferry from Gourock to Dunoon and Wemyss Bay to Bute. 

​The Glasgow Subway is the easiest way to get around the city centre and west end of Glasgow. To get to Cowal, jump on the Scotrail train from Glasgow Central to Gourock. From here, it’s a mere 20-minute ferry ride with Argyll Ferries across the Firth of Clyde to Dunoon. Bikes go free. Western Ferries, which takes cars, is just up the road. An alternative is to hire a car with Enterprise rent a car and drive via the famous Rest & Be Thankful pass.

Visit Glasgow

Explore the Glasgow's must-see sights, cultural attractions, amazing shopping, vibrant nightlife and more - discover Glasgow and make your next stop Argyll - the Heart & Soul of Scotland.

Visit Glasgow

Visit Cowal

The Scottish Highlands are nearer than you think. Visit Cowal and see the spectacular beauty of highland hills, glens and lochs but packed with things to do and see, yet only one hour from Glasgow.

Visit Cowal and Argyll's Secret Coast 


'The Heart & Soul of Scotland' campaign is a partnership between Argyll & The Isles Tourism Cooperative and Glasgow Life, supported by partners: Visit Scotland, Argyll & Bute Council, Love Loch Lomond, ScotRail, Calmac Ferries, Loganair, Enterprise rent-a-car and West Coast Motors.