Gourock was a fishing village, historically part of Renfrewshire. In the 18th century the "Tail of the Bank" of the Clyde became industrial between Port Glasgow and Greenock, but the wealthy merchants and shipbuilders kept Gourock and western Greenock unspoiled for their fine villas. When the railway arrived in 1889, Gourock became part of the "Costa Clyde" or "Glasgow Riveria" of holiday destinations along the coast down into Ayrshire. It still has that role, but nowadays as a springboard for reaching the Cowal and Rosneath peninsulas rather than as a resort in its own right.
Trains from Glasgow Central run every 15 min via Paisley Gilmour Street, Bishopton, Port Glasgow and Greenock Central & West, taking 40-50 min to 1 Gourock. The first train is around 06:00 and the last is towards midnight.
The railway station and foot-passenger ferry terminal are almost adjacent. As both trains and ferries are frequent, they're not normally held for each other. If you're running late to make the last connection of the day, make your plight known to the conductor or ferry steward, and the connection might be held.
McGill's Bus 901 runs from Glasgow Buchanan station via Braehead, Port Glasgow and Greenock to Gourock (80 min), continuing to McInroy's Point, Inverkip, Wemyss Bay and Largs (another 30 min). This bus runs every 30 min as far as Greenock but only continues to Gourock and Largs hourly M-Sa, and every couple of hours on Sunday.
Sailings from 2 Gourock Ferry Terminal are for foot passengers only. Until Nov 2020:
- - Calmac ferries take 25 min to Dunoon on Cowal peninsula. They sail (06:30-22:30) every 30 min M-Sa, hourly Sunday; foot passengers only, adult single £4.90, return £9.80.
- - SPT ferries take 15 min to Kilcreggan on Rosneath peninsula. They sail M-Sa roughly hourly 07:00-18:00, no Sunday service; foot passengers only, adult single £3.60, return £7.
The car ferries sail from 3 McInroy's Point. These Western Ferries sail every 20 min (07:00-23:40) to Hunters Quay at the north end of Dunoon by the mouth of Holy Loch. The crossing takes 20 min, car plus driver is £18 single and £35 return, plus £5/£10 per adult passenger (until Nov 2020). It's cheaper to buy online, but you have to pay £3 for them to post your tickets by snail mail to UK addresses only; they've yet to grasp the concept of internet sales.
Cruise ships often visit nearby Greenock.
It's only a couple of miles to walk to Greenock, along the scenic Esplanade. See that page for points of interest along the way and in the town. Any bus going east from Gourock is running via Greenock.
- 1 Granny Kempock is a megalith or menhir just above the main street. It's a grey mica schist: it's not known when it was placed here, which may not be its original position; Bronze Age has been suggested but the markings on it are much more recent. Various superstitions and rituals have attached to it, eg departing sailors or newly-weds walked seven times around it for luck. In 1662 Marie Lamont confessed to dancing round the stone and trying to throw it into the sea to sink shipping, also to changing her shape into a cat, stealing milk by an incantation over a tether made of cows' tails, and having sex with the devil when he appeared as a brown dog. She and her accomplices were burned at the stake. Marie was 16.
- 1 Gourock Pool, Albert Road, Gourock PA19 1NQ, ☏ . May-Sept M-F 07:00-19:00, Sa Su 10:00-16:30. Outdoor saltwater pool heated to 29 °C: length 33.3 m, width 15 m, max depth 3.5 m. Great views over the Firth to Argyll. Free parking. Adults £4.50, child & conc £3.90.
- Gourock Highland Games are held in mid-May in Battery Park. The 2020 event was cancelled so the next is expected to be Sun 9 May 2021, tbc.
- There are just small convenience stores here, e.g. Co-op Food opposite the ferry terminal (daily 07:00-22:00). Head to Greenock for your big shop.
- Fusion at 2 Hopetoun St (opposite ferry terminal) is highly rated for its European and traditional cuisine. It's open Tu-Sa 12:00-15:00 & 17:00-23:00.
- Cafe Continental, 40 Kempock St, Gourock PA19 1ND (100 yards west of railway station), ☏ . Food served daily 09:00-21:00, bar till 00:00. Cosy pub, gets great reviews for food, beer, service and views.
- Others along the same strip are My Kitchen, Gianni's Pizzeria, Bakehouse and Taj Mahal.
Along the main strip are Kempock Bar and Cleat's Bar. A little way south of the railway station are Victoria Bar, Darroch Bar and Monteith's.
- 1 Spinnaker Hotel, 121 Albert Rd, Gourock PA19 1BU, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Pleasant friendly 3-star overlooking the Firth. B&B double £70.
- Gourock is short of accommodation as most people just pass through, try Greenock which has budget chain hotels along the main road.
- Stay in a castle at 2 Castle Levan, 300 yards west of McInroy's Point ferry terminal. It's a restored 16th C tower house, open as a B&B March-Oct, doubles from £125.
- Above Greenock is Loch Thom, and you can walk along its aqueduct "The Cut".
- Take the ferry to Dunoon, where Benmore Gardens and Kilmun Arboretum are the main sights. You can then travel on to Inveraray, Lochgilphead, Oban or Kintyre.
- Head south along the mainland coast to Ardrossan for ferries to Arran, and to Ayr for the birthplace of Robert Burns.