Bearsden is a small town 6 miles north-west of Glasgow in Clydeside, central Scotland. It was an insignificant village called New Kilpatrick until the 1860s, when the railway arrived and it sprung up into a commuter suburb that took its name from Bearsden railway station. No-one knows where that name originated, except that no bears were involved. The new town was prosperous and its buildings were substantial Victorian creations in red sandstone, many of them still standing. The main reason to visit is the Roman bath house, dating from the brief period when the Romans occupied the Antonine Wall.
Trains run from Glasgow to Bearsden every 15 mins, taking just under 20 mins. They run both from Glasgow Queen Street (lower level) every 30 mins originating in Edinburgh, and from Glasgow Central every 30 mins originating in Motherwell. Both services run via Partick and Westerton so you can interchange, and they continue from Bearsden to Hillfoot (handier for the east side of town) and Milngavie.
1 Bearsden railway station is at the south end of town along Drymen Road, with Hillfoot station half a mile east.
By bus: Glasgow Citybus 15 runs from Glasgow North Frederick St via Hillhead, Kelvinside and Anniesland to Bearsden, taking 55 mins, and continuing to Milngavie. It runs hourly M-Sat, no Sunday service.
By road exit M8 onto A81 and head north via Maryhill.
You can walk almost everywhere, Bearsden is a small place.
- 1 Roman Bath House, Roman Road G61 2HS. 24 hrs. The Antonine Wall was built more simply than Hadrian's Wall, and the Romans only occupied it from 142 to 162 AD then again briefly after 208, so its remains are sparse. But building work here in the 1970s uncovered a Roman bathhouse, with seven rooms, plus hot and cold water systems and latrines which showed traces of the military diet. So it's the most extensive Roman structure in Scotland. It was part of New Kilpatrick wall fort, with Bearsden wall fort a couple of miles west, but hardly anything remains of these. Free.
- 2 Kilmardinny Loch, Kilmardinny Ave G61 3NN. 24 hrs. This small freshwater loch has a footpath dotted with wooden sculptures of the Gruffalo creations of Julia Donaldson, who lived locally 1989-2014. It'll take most of ten mins to stroll around. The Art Centre overlooking the loch is now run by the council and hired out for weddings and the like. Free.
- 1 Bearsden Ski Club, The Mound, Stockiemuir Rd G61 3RS, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su-F 09:30-18:00, Sa 13:00-22:00. Beginners & kids facility with main slope 100m of Dendix, freestyle and nursery slopes are made of less abrasive Snowflex. Hire regular skis & snowboards; they also have tubing parties. Hours vary considerably (eg when booked out for groups) so check ahead. Two hours with kit hire adult £20, child £15.
- Bearden Golf Club is at the west edge of town. This is a nine-hole course, but with alternate greens to make an 18-hole round of 5512 yards, par 68. Adult 9 holes £15, 18 £20. Other nearby courses are Glasgow Golf Club at Killermount, Douglas Park Golf Course at Hillfoot, and Windyhill near Baljaffray.
- Walk along the Allander Water which flows south from the hills around Milngavie and along the east edge of Bearsden to join the River Kelvin. There's a firm walkway, which continues south along the Kelvin into Glasgow Maryhill.
- Bearsden & Milngavie Highland Games are held in June at the West of Scotland rugby ground, midway between Bearsden and Milngavie. The next event is probably Sat 12 June 2021, tbc.
- There are several small independent shops at Bearsden Cross and a Marks & Spencer food store. ADSA is at the junction of Boclair Rd and Milngavie Rd.
- Dobbies Garden Centre on Boclair Rd B8094 has a large selection of garden, pet and gift items and a delicatessen/butcher, plus a busy coffee shop.
- There's a straggle of places along Milngavie Road, with a couple more on Drymen Road.
- Burnbrae, Milngavie Rd G61 3TA (next to Premier Inn). Daily 08:30-23:30. Greene-King traditional pub with open fires, good food and service.
- 1 The Tickled Trout, 878 Boclair Rd G62 6EP (next to Dobbies Garden Centre). Daily 12:00-23:00. Reliable pub with good selection of food, dog-friendly.
- The Station, 2 Station Rd G61 4AN, ☏ . Daily 11:00-00:00. Pub with food in a former station building at Bearsden railway station, a handy refuge whenever Scotrail leave you waiting in the drizzle.
- 1 Premier Inn Glasgow Bearsden, 279 Milngavie Rd G61 3DQ (A81 behind Burnbrae pub), ☏ . Reliable budget chain hotel. B&B double £70.
- There's another Premier Inn just 200 yards north, see Milngavie listing.
- 2 Boclair House Hotel, 100 Milngavie Road G61 2TQ, ☏ . Upscale 15-room hotel in an 1890 mock-Tudor building, does a lot of weddings & similar functions. B&B double from £100.
Good mobile signal everywhere.
- You need to transit Glasgow to reach most other destinations, but don't just treat it as a transport hub - it's a great city that deserves several days to explore.
- From Milngavie the West Highland Way leads to Loch Lomond, and eventually all the way to Fort William.
- The Forth & Clyde canal runs south of town from Glasgow via Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth then descends into West Lothian.