Doon the Watter

Going 'doon the watter' has a long history in Scotland, with generations of city-dwellers sailing down the Clyde to popular coastal Ayrshire destinations such as Arran, Ardrossan, Ayr, and Troon. Trips to the shore were previously a pastime for only the wealthiest of Glaswegians, but with the launch of Henry Bell's steamer in 1812, the chance to escape the city meant more and more day-trippers and tourists became more affordable. Click on the image to find out more.

With the increased production of paddle steamers and improved rail infrastructure, tourism to Ayrshire boomed. By the turn of the 20thcentury, going doon the watter became very popular during the Glasgow Fair weekend, with thousands of people queuing for boats, trains and buses to take them out of the city.


Nowadays, package holidays and cheaper airfare mean that going doon the watter has decreased in popularity, with families deciding on more sunny and exotic locations across the globe. Nevertheless, a few steamboats like the PS Waverley still take tourists around popular coastal beauty spots such as Largs and Cumbrae.

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