Pictured above (l-r): Evolution by Joan Melville; Collage by Ruth Walsh; FOMO by Sperman Universe; new work by Caroline Gormley

Big Art Show is a large-scale public exhibition in Paisley – and it’s a must-see!

It runs from 26 August – 26 November and is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm.

The Art Department is a former four-floor department store in Paisley now operated as a temporary (two years) arts centre by Outspoken Arts in partnership with other art organisations and art exhibitors.

Big Art Show will take place in a large, open-plan space over several floors. Most artworks are expected to be for sale to be for sale.

Children can sign up to Gadgeteers, the Summer Reading Challenge 2022, produced by the Reading Agency and delivered by OneRen libraries.

The theme this year is a celebration of the science and the power of books!

Sign up at the library and you will receive a starter poster which you can add stickers to as you read books to complete the challenge.

Find a fantastic range of books for all ages and interests – and you can also read or listen to books online using the Libby and Borrowbox apps!

There are special prizes as you go through the challenge including a free swim pass for any OneRen pool when you read 3 books and a certificate and a medal when you complete the Challenge. .

The Summer Reading Challenge is aimed at children ages 4 – 11. Younger children can also join in with the special mini challenge.

Click here for more information.

Plus, OneRen libraries will be running free STEM activities throughout the summer and the Skoobmobile, mobile library service will be visiting communities across Renfrewshire with fun crafts, digital play and reading adventures.

More great things to do this summer

There are few things better than packing a blanket, some sandwiches, drinks – maybe even a sweet treat or two – and heading out to enjoy a picnic in the sun.

Luckily, Renfrewshire is home to a host of great parks, green spaces and delightful hidden gems where you can unpack and unwind.

Take a closer look at these great places to spend a lunchtime or afternoon with friends and family. 


Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park – Lochwinnoch

Castle Semple Trail in Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park

Looking for a chilled-out afternoon soaking up the sun and scenery or something more adventurous? Well, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park offers the best of both.

You’ll find lots of beauty spots to enjoy a leisurely picnic, with benches and tables handily located around the park.

You can also book a BBQ site at the park by contacting one of the park rangers. Remember, if you’re bringing your own portable BBQ, make sure to place it on bricks or stones rather than directly onto the grass or picnic table. You don’t want to be damaging the beautiful landscape.

Located in the regional park is Castle Semple Country Park and Castle Semple Loch. Here, visitors can launch their own kayak, canoe, windsurf or join one of the boating clubs to learn skills on the water with fully qualified instructors. The park offers a variety of courses to suit all levels.

Explore the range of things to do at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park here.


Boden Boo & Erskine Beach


Enjoy a picnic on the edge of the River Clyde, under the impressive Erskine Bridge.

Boden Boo and Erskine Beach is a gem of a location, with sandy shores, grassy slopes and picnic benches for you to tuck into a tasty lunch.

The woodlands offer fantastic trails for a leisurely stroll or cycle. There’s also accessible paths ideal for buggies and walking your pet pup too.

Find out more about Boden Boo and Erskine Beach here.


Gleniffer Braes Country Park – Paisley

Gleniffer Braes

With outstanding views, Gleniffer Braes Country Park offers fantastic spaces for picnics surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife.

Among the serene spots found within the park is the stunning Craigielinn Waterfall. It’s a particular favourite with locals, visitors to the area and photographers.

Birdwatchers are in for a treat with skylarks, meadow pipits, kestrels, sparrowhawks and many more often spotted at the park. You’re also likely to see some Highland cows grazing the fields during a visit. You might even be lucky enough to spot some deer.

Fancy taking in more sights after your picnic? Renfrewshire Council’s Ranger Service regularly lead guided walks to help you find out more.

Get everything you need to know about Gleniffer Braes here.


Finlaystone Country Estate – Langbank

Finlaystone Play Area Boat

With around 140 acres of woodlands, Finlaystone Country Estate offers fantastic BBQ and picnic areas.

The attraction is managed by the family of the Chief of the Clan MacMillan, who welcome visitors with open arms to the estate’s beautiful gardens and range of walking trails.

Handy maps can be found at the visitor centre to ensure you don’t get lost around the grounds.

Have a spot of lunch beside trees that are well over 400 years old or take one of the many Ranger-led activities.

There are also brilliant adventure playgrounds to entertain the kids for hours on end.

The estate is open every day of the year from 10am – 5pm, April to September and 10am – 4pm in winter months. It’s located at Langbank, just 10 minutes west of Glasgow Airport.

Find out more about the estate and admissions here.


RSPB Lochwinnoch


Pack a picnic and spend a great day outdoors at the RSPB!

This wetland reserve is another great spot to enjoy some amazing wildlife with the family.

It’s located just 30 minutes from Glasgow city centre by car or train – and close to the Castle Semple visitor centre at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.

The reserve is home to an outdoor natural play area, accessible trails, hides, and events suitable for families. Plus there’s daily drop-in kids’ activities from April to October.

While you’re there, see how many different kinds of birds and ducks you can spot around the wetlands.

Find out more about RSPB Lochwinnoch here.


Barshaw Park – Paisley

View of Barshaw Park

Located near Paisley town centre, Barshaw Park has lovely scenery and range of great facilities for a fun afternoon out.

Visitors can enjoy children’s play areas, a BMX park, crazy golf and putting (seasonal). There’s a pond used by model boat enthusiasts, outdoor gym, peaceful walled gardens, café and fantastic miniature railway (seasonal).

Barshaw park also has accessible paths and wheelchair accessible swings.

Find out more here.


Fountain Gardens – Paisley

Grand Fountain in Fountain Gardens

Where can you enjoy a picnic with a view of a Category A-listed fountain containing statues of herons, dolphins and walruses? Paisley of course!

Originally laid out in 1797, Fountain Gardens is Paisley’s oldest public park. The current layout and name dates to the 1860s.

Lined with benches, picnic tables, grassy areas and broad walkways, the park is lots of fun.

All paths lead to the ornate cast-iron Grand Fountain at the centre of the park, which is a popular photo spot for visitors.

Find out more here.


Robertson Park – Renfrew

Robertson Park, Renfrew

With a beautiful pond and rich grassy areas, Robertson Park in Renfrew is a pretty location to unpack a picnic.

The park was opened in 1912 as an open space for the children of Renfrew. It was gifted to the Royal Burgh of Renfrew by William Robertson, a successful local businessman.

Today, it continues to offer great amenities and activities for families to enjoy.

Find out more here.


Thomas Shanks Park – Johnstone

Enjoy a picnic in a park steeped in history. Thomas Shanks Park is named after a leading industrialist of the 19th century who owned a company of heavy machine toolmakers – Thomas Shanks and Company.

Thomas’s daughter, Mrs J Polson, gifted the park to the town in the name of her late father for the recreation of the local people of Johnstone.

The park contains play areas, a skateboard ramp and two grass football pitches for visitors to enjoy.

Renfrewshire is the place to be for events and family days out this summer.

With the school holidays underway, there’s so much happening in the area to keep the kids entertained.

Take a look some ideas for great family events and things to do in the area below.

Renfrew Pipe Band Competition – Saturday 23 July

Get ready for the skirl of the bagpipes and the beat of the drum.

Renfrew’s Robertson Park will play proud host to its first ever pipe band competition on Saturday 23 July.

The event will also feature aerial workshops, a farmer’s market, food village and much more.

Find out more here.


Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park – events across the summer

The beautiful Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park has an extensive calendar of family events and activities to enjoy.

This includes its Summer Kids programme every Wednesday during the school holidays.

Each week will feature different practical outdoor events, including a variety of guided nature and wildlife walks with park rangers.

The park also offers sailing courses and paddle sport sessions for varying levels of experience.

Tickets for all events can be purchased from the Clyde Muirshiel website.


RSPB Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve – events across the summer

The nearby RSPB Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve is home to stunning scenery and equally brilliant activities to go wild with the family.

A range of events are taking place at the reserve across a number of weeks this summer. Enjoy scavenger hunts, self-led activity trails and even a special dinosaur hunt!

Guided wildlife walks and pond dipping events will also take place on select days in July and August.

See the full list of what’s on at the RSPB Lochwinnoch website.


BRICKLIVE’s Fantasy Kingdom – Paisley – now until Sunday 14 August

This summer, Paisley First is bringing BRICKLIVE’s Fantasy Kingdom to town for a fun, free family day out.

Take the fantasy trail to spot amazing brick models located around the town centre, including knights, princesses, wizards and deadly dragons.

To take part, all you have to do is collect a trail leaflet and activity sheet from the leaflet racks at the Piazza Shopping Centre and the Paisley Centre.

The trail will run every day until Sunday 14 August. Find out more at the Paisley First website.

Funbox – Johnstone Town Hall – Saturday 16 July

Family favourites Funbox are bringing their Jungle Party to Johnstone Town Hall.

Full of classic singalongs from Anya, Kevin and Bonzo (formerly of The Singing Kettle), this show will be jumbo-sized join-in fun for all the family.

Two performances will take place on Saturday 16 July. Get your tickets from the OneRen box office.

Find more family day out inspirations

Renfrewshire is such a great place for wildlife spotting thanks to its many country parks and nature reserves.

Whether it’s somewhere to feed the ducks, do a bit of bird watching or ramble past fields with Highland cows, we’ve listed some popular wildlife spots in the area.

Each outdoor attraction also provides beautiful scenery and viewpoints. There’s no reason not to visit!

Tick off your wildlife checklist at these locations below.

Castle Semple Country Park – Lochwinnoch

Located beside the impressive Castle Semple Loch in Lochwinnoch, this country park is home to an abundance of wildlife.

You’ll be able to see a range of animals across the different seasons. Spot otters, roe deer, whooper swans and geese, blue tits and great tits. You may also see some fox and badger cubs in the summer months.

Before you visit, make sure to check out the park’s handy wildlife almanac which details what you might be able to see each month.

Plus, make sure to pop into the visitor centre to see its interesting wildlife and local history exhibitions.

Find out more here.


RSPB Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve – Lochwinnoch

One of the few wetlands left in the west of Scotland, Lochwinnoch is the perfect place to go birdwatching.

Spring is a particularly special time to see the elaborate displays of the great crested grebes.

In the summer, broods of cygnets and ducklings can be seen on the loch. You’ll also find a wide variety of butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies among the colourful displays of wildflower.

Catch sight of large gatherings of swallows, flocks of redwings and fieldfares, tits, goldcrests and treecreepers in the woodland during Autumn.

Then, in the winter months you can find whooper swans, wigeon and a variety of ducks.

Find out more about the reserve and what you can see here.


Gleniffer Braes Country Park – Paisley

Highland cows grazing in Gleniffer Braes Country Park

Paisley’s very own country park sits high above the town and boasts some of the best views in Renfrewshire.

Wildlife found here is typical of woodland and moorland. See skylarks, kestrels and sparrowhawks feeding in the treetops along with goldcrest and chaffinches.

Highland cows are regularly seen in the fields. Shy roe deer can also be spotted stepping from the shadows to graze as dusk falls.

Find out more here.


Jenny’s Well Nature Reserve – Paisley

Jenny's Well Local Nature Reserve

This nature reserve along the White Cart Water is a peaceful haven for wildlife, near Paisley town centre.

Formerly a quarry, the area has been landscaped and has a network of paths. Here, you’ll be able to spot dozens of species of birds, trees and flowers.

With its handy location beside the water, you might even see otters, eels or a kingfisher from the viewing platform overlooking the River Cart.

Find out more about this great location here.


Finlaystone Country Estate – Langbank

Finlaystone Woods

Finlaystone is home to approximately 140 acres of beautiful woodlands, including trees estimated to be well over 400 years old.

There’s no fear of getting lost in the varied landscapes as maps and further information is available from the estate’s visitor centre.

You’ll also find a calendar of ranger-led activities designed to promote the natural environment.

Look out for a host of wildlife, including roe deer, fox, grey squirrel, stoat, and a large colony of herons.

Plus, the neighbouring mud flats on the River Clyde are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This is due to their national importance for wintering birds such as redshank, greenshank, oystercatcher, goldeneye and eider.

Regular sightings of birds at the estate include robin, blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, blackbird, buzzard, jay, kestrel, sparrow hawk, chaffinch, thrush, swallow, house martin, sparrow and tawny owl.

Find out more about the estate and admissions here.


Paisley Moss Nature Reserve – Paisley

Paisley Moss Nature Reserve

Forming part of Glasgow Airport and bounded by motorway slip roads, Paisley Moss is a hidden oasis for wildlife.

The local nature reserve contains ponds, mossy marshes, reeds and sedge beds supporting hundreds of different animals and plants.


Barshaw Park – Paisley

View of Barshaw Park Sunset

Located not far from Paisley town centre, Barshaw Park has lovely scenery and range of great facilities.

Within the park is a lovely pond, which is used regularly by Paisley Model Yacht club today.

The pond is also popular with visiting swans and dozens can be seen in the water at any one time.

Find out more about the facilities at Barshaw Park here.


Robertson Park – Renfrew

Robertson Park, Renfrew

With a beautiful pond located within the grounds, Robertson Park in Renfrew is a perfect place to go and feed the ducks.

With great grassy areas, playgrounds, a BMX course and skatepark, there’s more than just wildlife to enjoy on a family trip here.

Find out more about Robertson Park here.

You don’t need to book a holiday or head off to the coast to enjoy the beach. There’s a perfect spot to take the family for a sunny day out in Renfrewshire!

Located on the banks of the River Clyde, beneath the Erskine Bridge, is a hidden gem called Boden Boo and Erskine Beach. Here, you’ll find a glorious sandy beach and grassy slopes to relax and unwind.

Offering stunning views down the water, this playful spot is ideal for kids, adults and dogs with fantastic woodlands and picnic areas.

Boden Boo is great for enjoying some sun, sand and paddling, but it’s important to be careful around the water and be aware of strong currents and tides. Families should make sure that children aren’t left unattended when playing in the water.

In addition to the beach, you’ll find two miles of trails for easy walking and cycling. There’s also accessible paths for buggies.

To get to Boden Boo, take the turn-off on the A726, just off the south end of the Erskine Bridge. The nearest post code is PA8 6AX if using a SatNav. Parking at the site car park is free.

You’ll also find lot of places to eat, drink and shop, and public toilets, at nearby Erskine and Bishopton.

Plus, Boden Boo is part of the Clyde Walkway – a 55-km trail from Glasgow’s west end to the New Lanark World Heritage site. The trail allows visitors to discover more of the River Clyde, natural attractions and communities along the route.

Find out more here https://forestryandland.gov.scot/visit/boden-boo

Music and arts journalist and broadcaster Nicola Meighan takes a look Paisley’s popular The Spree festival, which is back with another brilliant line-up this September.

In 2012, Paisley’s cultural stomping ground was shaken up thanks to a new music, arts and comedy festival called The Spree. Since then, it’s revelled in the town’s history, landscape and architecture, bringing homegrown stars like The Twilight Sad, Paolo Nutini, Justin Currie and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to Paisley Abbey, and global icons like Martha Reeves and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi to Paisley Town Hall.

The Spree’s kaleidoscopic crowning glory is its glorious Salon Perdu Spiegeltent in the town centre, which has become the festival’s lively, yet cosy and intimate home in recent years, hosting – among many others – The Bluebells, Arab Strap, The Rezillos and Kathryn Joseph, and all of 2022’s shows will take place under its picturesque canvas.

Tide Lines

This year’s programme reflects Paisley’s touchstones of tradition and innovation (Highlands and Islands folk rock favourites Tide Lines play on September 1), its folk roots (Fife’s Barbara Dickson and Rab Noakes – both enduring collaborators and friends of Gerry Rafferty – are set to bring their treasure trove of songs to life on September 7), and its punk exuberance (Glasgow pop livewire Clare Grogan and Altered Images are live on September 9, replete with a new album under their belts), and the town is set to sing out with Scottish music, old and new.

Altered Images

Elsewhere on 2022’s eclectic bill, there’s a chance to see three of the UK’s most influential and best-loved songwriters joining forces. Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Bernard Butler (Suede, McAlmont & Butler), and James Grant (Love and Money) will take to the stage on September 5, performing work from their seminal back catalogues, and no doubt some surprises too.

There’s more indie / classic ‘90s kicks thanks to Ocean Colour Scene’s Simon and Oscar who come armed with ‘The Riverboat Song’, ‘The Day We Caught The Train’ and myriad gems on September 2 – and their band’s deep-seated love of ‘60s counter-culture resonates throughout that weekend, as local charity LNP Productions’ ModStuff bring their all-dayer on September 3, featuring an array of Northern Soul and Mod acts, along with – of course – a Scooter ride out.

Charity scooter ride out for ModStuff 2018

For far-flung kicks, West African / Saharan collective and Grammy Award winners Tinariwen are set to raise the Spiegeltent roof with their unmissable fusion of trailblazing world music and soulful desert blues on September 4, which is their only Scottish date this year.

True to its name, The Spree offers a dizzying wealth of music, but there’s also the popular comedy strand which welcomes multiple Scottish comedy award-winner Susie McCabe. A former construction worker who started out in stand-up as a dare, McCabe brings her glorious musings to Paisley on September 10 (alongside Manchester rock rabble Slow Readers Club), weaving narratives as rich and colourful – and entertaining – as Paisley itself.

Nicola Meighan is a music and arts journalist and broadcaster (The Herald, STV, BBC Scotland). She presents the Afternoon Show on BBC Radio Scotland, every Friday, 2-4pm.

Find out more about Paisley’s rich music story with our film below.

Find out more about The Spree 2022

More great blogs from Nicola

Have a great family day out in Paisley this summer with BRICKLIVE’s Fantasy Kingdom!

This summer, Paisley First are bringing BRICKLIVE’s Fantasy Kingdom to Paisley town centre – so don’t miss this fun and FREE family day out.

The trail will run every day from Saturday 25 June until Sunday 14 August.

Amazing brick models will take you on a fantastical quest through a medieval fantasy land with chivalrous knights, brave princesses, duelling wizards and deadly dragons. And with a nod to Scotland’s national animal, Brilliance the Unicorn!

Help Princess Orra on her quest to save the Brick Kingdom and defeat the evil Baron. Join her friends as they show you the wondrous sights in this medieval fantasy land and experience life-sized brick models including Princess Orra, Abbra the Wizard, Sir Studley the Knight, Chester the Jester and Torre the Huntswoman.

Let yourself be amazed by Tarygon, our huge life-like green dragon standing more than 3m tall and 4m long…just don’t get too close!

Follow the trail to reveal the Baron’s plans and help Princess Orra thwart them and you will have the chance to win in Paisley First’s grand prize draw too!

Visit the Paisley First website for more details or collect your trail leaflet and activity sheet from the Paisley First leaflet racks at the Piazza Shopping Centre and the Paisley Centre when you are heading out on the trail.

Once you’ve had fun with our summer adventure, there is a wide range of great shops and an abundance of fantastic food and drink venues, catering to every taste and budget, where you can have a well-earned rest.

Don’t forget to collect your illustrated Paisley Food and Drink Map when you collect your trail leaflet and free activity sheet. Plus, Paisley is Paw Friendly so no need to leave your four-legged friend at home!

OK, please don’t take our headline literally!

But if you’re quick enough, you can sign up to run the Paisley 10k Road Race with Fun Run at a discounted price.

The Paisley 10k is back! It’ll take place on Sunday 21 August 2022 and a reminder that it’s suitable for runners of all levels – from novices to experienced club and international runners.

The shorter Fun Run takes in some of Paisley town centre’s most famous landmarks. It’s ideal for families, friends and youngsters.

Erskine return as race charity this year, and you can donate to Erskine during sign up. Erskine provides unrivalled support to veterans across Scotland.

So, these Early Bird prices then?

They are only available until Tuesday 31 May so sign up now to avoid missing out!

Click here to sign up for Paisley 10k Road Race with Fun Run

Major events in Renfrewshire are back with a spectacular live programme set to take place across 2022.

Organised by Renfrewshire Council, the bumper calendar will see the Paisley Food and Drink Festival return in-person for the first time since 2019, alongside area highlights The Spree, Paisley Halloween Festival and many more.

Events in the area begin next week as Paisley plays host to About Us – the opening event of the Unboxed: Creativity in the UK programme of major celebrations across the UK – from Tuesday 1 until Sunday 6 March, with a public preview on Monday 28 February.

The free, outdoor spectacle will transform Paisley Abbey with a stunning visual and sound experience, taking attendees on a thrilling ride through 13.8 billion years of history.

The popular Paisley Food and Drink Festival returns to Abbey Close and Bridge Street, with a tantalising offer of top street food from across Scotland, fantastic local traders, live music, workshops and more on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 April.

Paisley’s annual Sma’ Shot Day celebrations will also see a live programme for the first time since 2019, as the event commemorating the historic victory of local weavers takes place on Saturday 2 July.

Summer will also see a new Renfrew Pipe Bands competition take over Robertson Park on Saturday 23 July.

The Spree, Paisley’s annual music and arts festival, is on the move from its traditional October slot in 2022 as the iconic Spiegeltent comes to town from Thursday 1 – Saturday 10 September, promising a top line-up for gig-goers. The 10-day programme will also be accompanied by the Spree for All fringe festival of events across Renfrewshire’s towns and villages.

The Wee Spree programme will take place from Saturday 15 – Saturday 22 October, providing fun activities and shows for children and families during the school holidays.

The award-winning Paisley Halloween Festival is widely regarded as one of the best events of its kind in the UK and this year’s spectacular trail format will be staged from Thursday 27 October to Sunday 30 October.

A programme of festive town centre activity will take place across Paisley, Renfrew and Johnstone in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with lights on display across Renfrewshire’s towns and villages to bring in the season.

See the dates for your diary below:

  • About Us – UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK – 28 February – 6 March
  • Paisley Food and Drink Festival – 29/30 April
  • Platinum Jubilee beacon service – 2 June
  • Renfrew Gala Day – 5 June
  • Barshaw Gala Day – 18 June
  • Sma’ Shot Day – 2 July
  • Renfrew Pipe Bands – 23 July
  • The Spree – 1–10 September
  • Renfrewshire Doors Open Days – 17/18 September
  • The Wee Spree – 15-22 October
  • Paisley Halloween Festival – 27-30 October
  • Renfrewshire Christmas – Across December

We can’t wait to welcome you to our events throughout the year!

We are thrilled to be hosting a full year of live events for 2022 and to welcome back local supporters and visitors to what, for so many, are must-see dates in the diary.

Louisa Mahon
Head of Marketing, Communications and Events for Renfrewshire Council