Inverclyde and Renfrewshire sit side by side with the steady Firth of Clyde running along the length of these two unique districts.
The Clyde is not the only thing these areas share, the current climate within Inverclyde and Renfrewshire is awash with new and exciting things to see and experience. Engage the senses with these six hidden gems…
For over 300 years, this family run, Hidden Gem on Scotland’s beautiful West Coast has been providing industry leading Scottish hospitality in the quaint farming village of Inverkip. Whether you are a first time guest, regular visitor and friend, or a new face to Inverkip village, you will always be warmly welcomed at Inverkip Hotel.
Their Dining offering has a Gastro Pub philosophy with a Male and Female Head Chef duo, who excel at genuinely utilising produce from local farmers, growers and suppliers. Each dish is served with the perfection expected of this Hidden Gem, offering a la carte throughout with daily specials. There are Gluten Free, Vegetarian and Vegan menus which are as extensive and delicious as the main a la carte menu. Their Barra langoustine scampi tails are legendary.
Titled ‘An Ode Tae a Wee Dram’ their drinks list is one you could get lost in, over 100 malts, gins craft beers and a list of adventurous yet classic wines. Their Elbow Room is the wee pub where all of the locals gather for pints a’plenty and village banter.
Their dining space offers two distinct areas, ‘The Lounge’ is a cosy fireside setting, a popular choice for their locals. The other is a beautifully modern room that creates the perfect atmosphere for bustling weekends and special occasions. Culture is communicated throughout the historic building by the retained character, the local artwork and photography, stained glass, crafted Elm furniture and seasonal floral arrangements.
The accommodation at Inverkip Hotel reflects the quaint Scottish setting, individually designed rooms with everything you could need for your stay. Some special little touches aim to make your stay as comfortable and relaxing as can be – even a Tunnocks Tea Cake for with your cup of tea.
‘The Inverkip’ really is the hub of the village and proudly everyone’s ‘local’. They have a whisky club, hold regular tastings with some of Scotland’s leading brewers, distillers and wine suppliers, and on the last Friday of every month they invite some of Scotland’s finest Folk musicians to play in their bar for their ‘Thank Folk It’s Friday’ music sessions.
For over 30years, The Hardy Family and their team have built a reputation as one of the most popular eateries and bars in the Inverclyde and West Coast area. With the younger generation having honed skills at some of the world’s best restaurants and managed the Isle of Skye’s ‘Three Chimneys’ restaurant, you get a feeling you are in safe Scottish hands from the moment you walk in the door.
Keep an eye on their fun social media for all events, exciting produce, local recommendations and a true feeling of the authentic Scottish hospitality this family provides.
This Hidden Gem is a welcoming environment all year round.
Taste Inverclyde: Inverkip Hotel
Classical Ballet in Inverclyde- it’s hard to believe with the areas Industrial past.
However the areas first ever Performing Classical Ballet Company was formed by Julie Gunn Kavanagh in 2011.
Alba Ballet was created to give students the opportunity to train and perform in full blown Classical Ballet Productions. Despite many in the industry saying it would be impossible to do, Julie forged ahead and put together the initial company of 33 talented dancers. Students were aged from 10 through to their early 20s, and came from Greater Glasgow, Ayrshire, Argyll and Inverclyde. Students trained every second Sunday and in 2014 they took the stage at The Beacon Arts Centre with their first ever production, The Nutcracker.
Julie explained that in the Ballet world students spend hours training and doing exams but do not get the opportunity to perform in a Classical Ballet Production. Yes they may do end year performances, but these are maybe 10 min slots rather than an hour and half production. It’s like training two nights a week at football but never taking part in a full game. Alba Ballet is the only Company in Scotland to give these talented dancers an opportunity like this.
The training is over and above normal Ballet classes, and Julie hopes that having the experience of these productions will help enhance the CVs of any Dancers as they look to further their career in the world of Ballet.
Following on from The Nutcracker, Alba produced Cinderella in 2016. Building on the success of The Nutcracker, Alba went on tour and after two performances at The Beacon, they took the production to Barrfields in Largs.
At the moment Alba are putting the final touches to their 2018 production of Coppelia. The cast is again 30 strong and this includes 9 original Alba members from 2014. Luckily they were able to put together a 10 min taster of Coppelia on at The Beacon in June, in front of two packed audiences at Julies Summer Show for her other RAD Ballet School – Elite Academy of Dance
Coppelia is on at The Beacon Arts Centre 2nd and 3rd of November and Barrfields in Largs on the 17th of November. It’s a must see for all Classical Ballet followers.
Moving forward the company will be recruiting again for their 2020 production, so if anyone is interested in performing in a Classical Ballet- Alba Ballet just might be what you are looking for.
Facebook: facebook page link
When you think of Italy, it’s easy to imagine the amazing pizza & pasta dishes. So when customers have described Toninos as ‘even better than the real thing’ it’s because like so few Italian restaurants, Tonino’s Pizzeria and Delicatessen is the real thing.
The restaurant has become an institution in the Greenock with family ties in the area stretching over 20 years. Step inside the Grey Place eatery and there is little wonder why Tonino’s has earned itself a reputation as one of Inverclyde’s leading Italian restaurants.
Run by Chef, Tony Bonatti, the recipe to success lies in the restaurant’s mouth-watering dishes. Offering a true taste of Italian cuisine, prepared using the freshest ingredients, is ingrained in the very DNA of the restaurant – with each dish expertly prepared by a chef who combines passion with experience to create vibrant flavours that dance on the palette.
With an array of delicious antipasti platters & pasta dishes to choose from, your Italian experience is taken to another level with their choice of pizzas. Their pizza dough (including a gluten free option) is made fresh on-site daily and there is a tasty range of toppings include high quality Italian meats and a selection of cheeses. From the chance to tuck into trusted favourites or something a little different, Tonino’s is proud to dish-up something for everyone to enjoy.
Whether planning a date night or a celebration with those who matter most, Tonino’s is honoured to offer the ultimate Italian dining experience.
Taste Inverclyde: Toninos
Overview Beacon Arts Centre is a registered Scottish charity and exists to provide life enriching creative, social and work training experiences whilst aspiring to offer the widest choice of affordable arts and cultural activities to everyone in Inverclyde.
Located on the banks of the Clyde in Greenock, the Beacon offers spectacular views over the hills of Argyll and Bute, within a lively yet always idyllic surrounding. Beacon Arts Centre plays a major role within Scotland’s rich tapestry as both a producing house and touring venue, we offer a diverse range within our programme including music, theatre, dance, musicals, comedy, children’s work and an abundance of creative classes and workshops. The Beacon boasts a 500-seat main theatre, a studio theatre that can transform for theatre (120 seats) and cabaret style (80 seats) and standing (150 people). We house a range of flexible event spaces suitable for meetings, events development and rehearsal rooms, each with waterfront facing views out over the Firth of Clyde.
The Future of the Beacon Beacon Arts Centre has recently adopted a new green initiative in 2018, comprising of various steps towards becoming more environmentally friendly and forward thinking in our product usage and sustainability. Taking the first steps last month, we introduced fully compostable straws and plastic cups last month in our bistro and bars and looking ahead, are switching to new vegetable inks on FSC approved paper for our new Autumn/Winter brochure print, in which the supplier ensures the print becomes completely carbon balanced. We still have a way to go but are fully committed to continually progressing with our green initiative in 2018/19.
Autumn/Winter 2018 Season We have a fantastic programme for September to December, including the festive family favorite pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, starring Mark Cox and Jane McCarry (Still Game) with performances starting in December, an array of live music from all era’s and amazing performances from worldwide talent throughout the season. With a perfect blend of music, comedy, theatre, exhibitions and creative classes and workshops for all, the Beacon has you covered for entertainment this Autumn/Winter.
Facebook: The Beacon
Serving the Greenock community for over 70 years, Esplanade Café is proud to serve up delicious food and snacks to locals and visitors alike. The charming community café provides breakfast options, lunch, coffee, tea and cold drinks. Choose from the range of freshly made sandwiches, breakfast rolls, hot food and more.
Whilst sunny weather can’t always be guaranteed in Scotland, we can still enjoy summer treats like ice-cream come rain or shine. Renowned for their ice-cream cones, sundaes and toppings, choose from delicious flavours including chocolate explosion, chocolate chip and raspberry, biscoff, coffee, toffee, banana and meringue and much more.
On their Facebook page many customers believe them to be ‘the best ice-cream in town’, this is certainly the case as they have won a National Award for their Ice-Cream & where also a Finalist in the 2017 Italian Awards. Esplanade Café are recognised ice cream aficionados.
Esplanade Café is where you should be going to when you’re looking to get your food to-go or enjoy the outdoor seating area for sunny days. Many customers like to pop in for some food and take it away to enjoy whilst strolling along the esplanade on dry days.
Owner Marco Medinelli and staff will be pleased to welcome customers inside and provide friendly service.
Find Esplanade Café at 3 Campbell Street, Greenock or call 01475 725 618.
Follow them on Facebook for updates. Visit Esplanade Café on facebook
Ravenscraig Activity Centre
Ravenscraig Activity Centre is a facility that truly caters to all member of the family. After undergoing a major transformation, the refurbished centre is capturing people’s attentions far and wide, Offering You So Much More.
Ravenscraig now boasts the first adventure X Height climbing walls in Scotland as well as a soft play area, party rooms, Costa Coffee cafe and a state-of-the-art 100+ -station gym on an extended mezzanine floor.
Upstairs in the activity centre is the ‘Fitness for Less’ budget gym with a full range of equipment including fixed weights, free weights, cardio and functional. There is also gym based classes such as Group Cycle, Kettlebells and HIIT.
Ravenscraig Activity Centre is found on Auchmead Road, Greenock, PA16 0JE. Open seven days a week, with late night gym access, Ravenscraig is a hub of activity. Also, look out for special events like their Family Fun Day on Sunday 12th August.
Enjoy a day out with the kids and watch them release their energy in the soft play area or let them learn to climb on the X Height climbing walls. Adults who wish to get active too can also climb or take full advantage of the fully equipped gym on site, just £18.50 per month, or alternatively relax in the comfort of the café.
For more information call the Ravenscraig Activity Centre on 01475 213 126, or to keep up to date with all the news and events taking place follow them on Facebook @RavenscraigActivityCentre.
Edited by Taste Inverclyde
Original Article can be viewed here.