Finlaystone Country Estate is a definite gem of a place to spend a day outdoors. If you travel by car, it’s conveniently located just off the M8 between Greenock and Glasgow. The estate offers woodland walks, an adventure playground, a cafe, walled gardens, a shop and on many weekend days, also activities.
What I like best about Finlaystone is the stunning location and the wonderful views over the Firth of Clyde. If you take a stroll past the walled gardens the views are breathtaking. The woodlands on the other side of the estate give a real sense of being in a forest, and the paths are windy and give a sense of space that is greater than the actual size of the woodland.
The woods are interspersed with quirky adventure playground items, such as a massive pirate ship which is always a big hit with the kids, a bus that offers endless climbing up the stairs and sliding down the choot, jeeps, slides, swings tippees, activity trails and so much more. Today we discovered lots of mushrooms and a perfectly built den, and got mad chasing each other with the photo camera.
I also like the tranquility of the walled garden, with the fountain centre piece which is also very popular with younger children. The cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating but you can also take your own food and enjoy a picnic outdoors (and be stung by wasps, I guess it’s that time of the year) on the many picnic benches (one of which is covered). Talking about covers – there are a few huts to take cover in case of heavy showers, and some of the trees are equally good at serving that purpose.
There is also a little stream that is so low in water that it’s safe for children to walk in it and explore. Finally there is a nice little shop that occasionally also sells plants from the estate.
Finlaystone runs regular activity days at the weekend and has a Facebook presence to if you want to keep in touch.
Cost: £4 adults, £3 children over 3. Membership available.