Inverkip is a village of about 3300 people (2016) in Inverclyde, the western reaches of Clydeside in the Central Belt of Scotland. It's best known for its large marina. Three miles south is Wemyss Bay (pronounced "Weems"), the railway terminus and ferry port for the Isle of Bute. Wemyss Bay merges to the south with Skelmorlie across the border into Ayrshire, but sights associated with that village are even further south, see Largs.
Trains run hourly (06:00-22:30) daily from Glasgow Central via Paisley Gilmour Street (for Glasgow Airport), Bishopton and Port Glasgow to 1 Inverkip (45 min) and 2 Wemyss Bay (another 5 min) where the railway station is next to the ferry pier. This station is worth a look, an elegant 1903 creation of glass and steel curves, and has a good bar while you're waiting.
Calmac ferries sail from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. They take 35 min and sail at least hourly daily year-round 07:00-20:00. Return fares are £24 per car plus £6.70 per adult passenger including driver. You don't have to return the same way, as another ferry connects Bute to the Cowal peninsula.
By bus: Stagecoach Bus 585 runs along the coast from Ayr via Prestwick Airport, Saltcoats, Ardrossan (for ferries to Arran and Campbeltown) and Largs (for ferries to Great Cumbrae) to Weymss Bay and Inverkip, continuing north to Greenock. It runs every 30 min M-Sa and every two hours on Sunday.
McGill's Bus 901 runs from Glasgow Buchanan station via Port Glasgow, Greenock, Gourock (for ferries to Kilcreggan and Dunoon), Inverkip and Wemyss Bay to Largs. This bus runs hourly M-Sa and every couple of hours on Sunday.
The villages are small and walkable, but take Bus 585 or 901 to get between them. You need a bike or car to reach anywhere away from the main road, such as Loch Thom.
- Inverkip Parish Church was built in 1805. A hundred yards southeast on Millhouse Road, the old cemetery is on the site of the medieval church; some of its stone was re-used in the Shaw-Stewart mausoleum, now derelict. People from Greenock had to walk six miles each way to attend here until in 1859 they got their own church.
- Ardgowan House is a plush 18th-century mansion at the north edge of Inverkip. It's hired out as a wedding venue (sleeps 20) but doesn't operate as a hotel / restaurant or do tours. So you'll have to be content with glimpses of the exterior and of its predecessor castle as you drive past on A78.
- Walk along the shore: it's a decent beach between Inverkip and Wemyss Bay now the former power station has been cleared away.
- Loch Thom and The Cut: see Greenock for description, but these walks are closer to Inverkip, three miles up the Shielhill Glen lane.
- Sea sports: various boat operators offer trips, sea-fishing, sailing, boat-handling courses and scuba-diving in the Firth. These are all for organised groups, so get in touch with the relevant sport / training agency, there's nothing here that you can just rock up and join.
- Scotland's Boat Show is held at Inverkip Marina in early October. The next event is F 9 - Su 11 Oct 2020; free entry but parking £5 per vehicle. On the evening of Sat 10 this includes a "River of Light", with a flotilla of illuminated small craft. Or if that palls, watch the bath-duck races down the River Kip.
- Inverkip has a Sainsburys, open daily 07:00-22:00.
- Buy a boat. The glitzy new stuff is all at the boat show. For better prices come another time, when craft and chandlery will range from serviceable to rusty bathtubs.
- 1 The Chartroom, Harbourside, Inverkip PA16 0BF, ☏ . Daily 10:00-22:00. Seafood restaurant plus live entertainment venue. Got good reviews till summer 2019, but poor ratings since for food and service.
- Kipper Bistro on Main St does good seafood. It's open Tu 10:00-15:00, W-Sa 10:00-22:00.
- Wemyss Bay near the ferry pier has McCaskies Cafe (Tu-Th 08:30-16:00, F-M 08:30-17:00) and Macaris chip shop (Th-Tu 11:30-20:00, W 09:00-20:00). Turn south, whereupon you cross into Ayrshire, and half a mile away is a Chinese takeaway, Skelmorlie Kitchen (daily 17:00-23:00).
The two restaurants and the hotel in Inverkip have bars.
- Inverkip Hotel, Main St, Inverkip PA16 0AS (By Inverkip railway station), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Friendly, well-run 3-star, gets good reviews for food and accommodation. B&B double £90.
- Foresters House, Station Rd, Inverkip PA16 0AY, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small friendly B&B. Price includes continental breakfast, eggs is eggstra. B&B double £60.
- Bellevue B&B is also near the railway station. Further out is Roztom B&B on Langhouse Rd.
- Nothing for passing visitors in Wemyss Bay or its surrounds. The caravan site on the hill above the ferry pier is open all year but has ten nights minimum stay. Northcliff Manor in the village is self-catering, sleeps ten.
- You're probably here to reach the Isle of Bute, where Mount Stuart House is the top sight.
- Further down the "Costa Clyde" is Ayrshire, with Largs, Troon, lots of golf, and Robert Burns' birthplace near Ayr.
- The main reason Inverkip and Wemyss Bay have limited amenities is that central Glasgow is only an hour away. Take the hint.