Helensburgh SeafrontWest Clyde Street, Helensburgh, G84 8ES, United Kingdom
'Doon the Watter' - A Walk Along Helensburgh Seafront
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Wheelchair, Powerchair, Mobility Scooter
*please note, that this review was done during coronavirus/lockdown, so photos show it quieter, and in areas, more overgrown than usual* Historically a tourist town, people used to travel from Glasgow 'Doon the Watter' from Glasgow by steamship to Helensburgh. Most now come by train, a 40min trip from the city. Although generally referred to as being at the seaside, its actually on the banks of the River Clyde.
Transport & Parking
Helensburgh Central Station takes you into the centre of town, from there you can walk/roll straight down Sinclair Street to the seafront. This train line goes straight to Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are local buses (which stop outside the train station, or near colquhoun Square). The Pier has the towns main car park. There are marked disabled bays as long the very top wall. Otherwise, it's useful to know that parking is free for everyone at the bottom part of the carpark (nearest the water) but there is a charge for parking at the top. There is also street parking, with some disabled bays. Beware though of different streets having different lengths of times which you can park. Alternatively, at the opposite end of this walk, at the West end of Helensburgh, there is a small car park at Kidson Park. This is an unmarked, free carpark.
This review is as if walking East to West, starting from the pier along to Kidson Park, but could of course be done the opposite way round. From the Pier, there is a smooth broad path, all the way along the seafront. Approximately one mile in length from there to Kidson Park, though you could extend your walk by continuing on to the village of Rhu. As you walk (or roll) the River Clyde is on your left, and there is a grass on your right separating you from the road. For some of the way, there is no wall or fence on the 'shore' side of the path. With a drop down to the shingle beach. It would perhaps be useful if there was some textured paving here to make a clearer distinction, particularly for people with visual impairments. This first section, nearest the town has been refreshed most recently. A low wall to the right side of the path doubles as seating. It's popular to perch here eating your ice-cream or fish & chips! There are smooth ramps, lowered kerbs, and textured paving if you want to leave the esplanade to cross the road to the shops. The shingle beach itself is not particularly accessible for anyone using a wheelchair. There are a couple of steep ramps down, but even if attempting this you would still be restricted to just that section of beach due to the way its divided. There are also steps down, at intervals along the esplanade. Some of these have handrails, but others don't. Some are quite worn, so some people would find them difficult to navigate. Continuing along, you pass the Henry Bell Monument (who built and launched his steamship in 1812. It was these steamships who then brought many visitors from Glasgow to Helensburgh). And further still, you'll find a statue of John Logie Bird - inventor of television, who was born in Helensburgh. Initially any benches on your right side are sitting up on top of the grass (unaccessible to wheelchair users), but continue further and benches are on same level as the path. As you approach the west end, a low wall is on your left between the path and the shore. This is a broad wall, and often children like to walk along it! As you reach Kidson Park, the path splits, the top taking you straight to the small carpark. The bottom path continues to follow the shoreline, and takes you towards the playpark. Between the two is a cafe (reached from the carpark) which has an outdoor terrace looking towards the Clyde. Kidson Park was updated a few years ago and has modern playground equipment. You have to go over grass to reach it. The Park was closed at time of review. You might be lucky, and see a beautiful sunset from here.
There is an accessible toilet, which requires a radar key to use, at the top of the pier. Alongside male and female toilets. At time of writing, these were all closed due to coronavirus procedures. The cafe at Kids on Park has a toilet located on the outside of its premises, which anyone can use for a charge of 30p. I don't believe this to be an accessible toilet, but was unable to check as this was also closed at time of writing.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
Near the pier, look out for a bench made of Scottish Oak and a circular stone plinth - this is the start of the John Muir Way. A walk which goes all the way to Dunbar.