North Ayrshire

©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland


A resort town and ferry port in the Cunninghame district of North Ayrshire, Largs is situated on Largs Bay, an inlet of the Firth of Clyde, 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Greenock in North Ayrshire.

The defeat of Haakon of Norway by King Alexander II in 1263 at the Battle of Largs resulted in Norway giving up the Hebrides and the Isle of Man to the Scots. Douglas Largs became a burgh of barony in 1629 but only developed as a resort following the construction of a steamer pier in 1834 and the arrival of the railway in 1885. Today, there is still a railway station here and a ferry link with the island of Great Cumbrae.

Places of interest include Largs Museum; The Park, which contains a hill-fort and burial chamber; the Pencil Tower (1910) which commemorates the Battle of Largs; the Skelmorlie Aisle, a Renaissance mausoleum (1636) once part of the old parish church; the Three Sisters, stone columns erected in the 19th century by the astronomer General Sir Thomas Brisbane who gave his name to the city in Queensland, Australia; the Prophet's Grave, erected in memory of the 17th-century minister William Smith who died of the plague; and the Christian Heritage Museum at the Benedictine Monastery. The Royal Largs Yacht Club was established in 1882 and a large yachting marina was created to the south of Largs in the 1980s.

Born in Largs were comedian and actor John Sessions (1953 - 2020), golfer Sam Torrance (1953), actress Daniela Nardini (1968) and paralympic swimmer Abby Kane (2003). The notable physicist Lord Kelvin of Largs (1824 - 1907) lived and died at Netherhall House.

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