A Love Letter to Bishopton
Writer Kirsteen Paterson is your field guide to a little village with lots to offer.
Accessible, friendly and safe, it’s not hard to see why more and more people are choosing to live in Bishopton. That’s thanks in no small part to the Dargavel Village development, which is still under construction and promises to bring new amenities, including a school and supermarket, to this Renfrewshire community. But there’s no need to wait for future facilities, there’s already plenty to do in and around the village, which can trace its history back to Roman times.
BISHOPTON TENNIS CLUB
Dating back to the 1920s, this family-friendly club has been part of the fabric of the village for almost 100 years. The best way to find it for the uninitiated can be to listen out for the action taking place on its three all-weather courts. The club caters for even pre-school children, and if Dunblane can deliver two Wimbledon champions in the form of Andy and Jamie Murray, maybe Bishopton will be the training ground for Scotland’s next tennis aces. Bishopton Tennis Club, Poplar Avenue, PA7 5AD. 07790 782 645.
INGLISTON COUNTRY CLUB & HOTEL
This family-owned destination offers dining with a difference in its Palomino’s restaurant, where you can tuck into Italian and Scottish cuisine while watching the canters and capers in its equestrian facilities. Competitions here draw a sizeable crowd, as do regular weddings in its stylish function rooms – I often visit with the kids for lunch at weekends, and I’m struggling to remember a recent trip which didn’t include the sights and sounds of skirling pipes and sparkling gowns. No visit is complete without a stroll into the stables and a wheech round the swing park. You can pick up a copy of Mill there too. Ingliston Country Club & Hotel, Old Greenock Road, PA7 5PA. 01505 864 333.
This A-list celebrity haunt has welcomed the likes of Kylie, Ricky Gervais and Martin Compston, who got married there. Dating back to 1828, the five-star hotel and spa is certainly impressive, but it’s the extensive grounds that my family loves. The 240-acre estate includes peaceful woodlands that are popular with dog walkers, ramblers and off-road cyclists, but are never overcrowded. Pull on some wellies or sturdy trainers and make your way through the gorgeous green space to the edge of the River Clyde, where hardy souls can whip them off and splatter across the mud flats. On the way you’ve a chance to spot some of the stars of the animal world, such as rabbit, deer and woodpeckers. Mar Hall Avenue, PA7 5NW. 0141 812 9999.
MAY’S COFFEE SHOP/ANGELINI’S PIZZERIA & CAFÉ
It’s crazy to think that before this friendly café opened, Bishopton was without a coffee shop. May’s opened in 2017, serving up a much needed meeting place along with its sandwiches, cakes and lattes. It’s open from breakfast ‘til late afternoon and it’s hard to pop in without meeting someone you know: the essence of village life. Across the road lies another new addition, Angelini’s Pizzeria & Café, which offers fresh calzones, masses of pasta choices and, arguably most importantly, Italian desserts. Try the tiramisu or panacotta while the kids dine out on ice cream and chocolate kebabs – always a winner. Home delivery is available for those joggers-on-the-sofa nights. Handy, as is the fact Mill is available in both eateries. May’s Coffee Shop, 19 Greenock Road, PA7 5JW, 01505 863 777. Angelini’s Pizzeria & Cafe, 76 Greenock Road, PA7 5JB, 01505 851 500.
Tucked into the tree-lined rural roads on the outskirts of Bishopton, this historic site truly deserves its status as a local landmark. It’s known to most as the Monkey House for obvious reasons – the simian statues on the roof. This playful touch speaks volumes about John Augustus Holms, the businessman behind its creation. While the gatehouses and other buildings are created in the style of the 17th century, they only date back to the early 1900s. That doesn’t matter, they’re wonderful. The estate was in public hands for a time in the 80s – hands up anyone who remembers skiting down the zip line – but is now made up of a clutch of private residences. Tours are offered during annual Doors Open Days. Formakin House, Houston Road, PA7 5NX.
Follow Kirsteen on Twitter via @Kapaterson. This feature was published in Mill issue 5, May/June 2019.