Infobox UK place
official_name= Largs
gaelic_name= An Leargaidh Ghallda
country= Scotland
map_type= Scotland
population= 11,241
os_grid_reference= NS203592
latitude= 55.7925
longitude= -04.8678
post_town= LARGS
postcode_area= KA
postcode_district= KA30
dial_code= 01475
constituency_westminster= North Ayrshire and Arran
unitary_scotland= North Ayrshire
lieutenancy_scotland= Ayrshire and Arran
constituency_scottish_parliament= Cunninghame North

Largs is a town on the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire, Scotland, about 33 miles (53 km) from Glasgow.

It is a popular seaside resort with a pier. The original name means "the slopes" ("An Leargaidh Ghallda") in Scottish Gaelic. The town markets itself on its historic links with the vikings and an annual festival is held each year in early September. The National Mod has also been held here in the past. Some Scots Gaelic signposts are still up.


Largs evolved from the estates of North Cunninghame over which the Montgomeries of Skelmorlie became temporal lords in the seventeenth century. Sir Robert Montgomerie built Skelmorlie Aisle in the ancient kirk of Largs in 1636 as a family mausoleum. Today the monument is all that remains of the old kirk.

From its beginnings as a small village around its kirk, Largs evolved into a busy and popular seaside resort in the nineteenth century. Large hotels appeared and the pier was constructed in 1834. It was not until 1895, however, that the railway made the connection to Largs, sealing the town's popularity.

It also became a fashionable place to live, and several impressive mansions were built, the most significant of which included 'Netherhall', the residence of William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, the physicist and engineer.

Largs has historical connections much further back, however. It was the site of the Battle of Largs in 1263, in which parts of a Scottish army attacked a small force of Norwegians attempting to salvage ships from a fleet carrying the armies of King Magnus III of Mann and the Isles and his liege lord King Haakon IV of Norway, beached during a storm. The Norwegians and islemen had been raiding the Scottish coast for some time, and the Scots under Alexander III had been following the fleet, attempting to catch its raiding parties. The outcome of this confrontation is uncertain, as both sides claim victory in their respecive chronicles and sagas and the only independent source of the war fails to mention the battle at all. The battle was followed soon after by the death of the 59-year old King Haakon in Bishop's Palace on Orkney. Following the king's demise, his more lenient son Magnus VI agreed the Treaty of Perth in 1266, under which the Hebrides were sold to Scotland, as was the Isle of Man after the demise of King Magnus III of the Isle of Man.

During World War II the Hollywood Hotel was designated HMS "Warren" which was Headquarters, Combined Training. A conference was held there between 28 June 1943 and 2 July 1943, code name RATTLE, under Lord Louis Mountbatten, it was known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold because of the number of high ranking officers taking part. The decision that the invasion of Europe would take place in Normandy was taken at this conference. ["Shield of Empire - the Royal Navy and Scotland", Brian Lavery, Birlinn 2007, ISBN 9781841585130] King Haakon VII of Norway, then in exile in Britain due to the German occupation of his kingdom, visited Largs and was made the town's first honorary citizen.

Places of Interest

Despite its diminished status as a holiday resort, much of Largs is still geared towards tourism. There is the award winning Vikingar Centre at Barrfields, an interactive look into the history of Viking life; Kelburn Country Centre, Barrfields Pavilion Theatre, Largs Swimming Pool, Douglas Park and Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre. But it is best known for 'Nardinis', the famous ice cream parlour, cafe and restaurant, that has dominated the Esplanade for decades, but has been closed pending clearance from Historic Scotland for renovation.

Also of interest is a neolithic tomb behind Douglas Park. Known as the Haylie Chambered Tomb it was once covered by a cairn of stones (known as Margaret's Law). When it was uncovered in the early twentieth century the tomb was dated to around 3000 to 2000 BC.

Skelmorlie Aisle, adjoining the local museum, is in the care of Historic Scotland and is open during the summer.

Kelburn Castle, situated close to Largs, is the ancestral home of the Boyle (originally de Boyville) family, the hereditary Earls of Glasgow. Kelburn is believed to be the oldest castle in Scotland to have been continuously inhabited by the same family. The de Boyvilles who originated in Caen in Normandy came up after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The forebears of the modern day Boyles settled at Kelburn around 1140.

A Caledonian MacBrayne ferry service runs from Largs to Great Cumbrae, and the paddle steamer "Waverley" also calls in at the pier during cruises. The town is served by the railway line from Glasgow to North Ayrshire (the Ayrshire Coast Line) and also lies on the main A78 road. It remains a popular destination for holiday-makers and weekenders from Glasgow all year round.

Largs is also the birthplace of the soldier and Governor General of Australia Sir Thomas Brisbane, the actors Daniela Nardini and John Sessions, the footballer Lou Macari and the golfer Sam Torrance. Though not born in Largs, musician and songwriter Graham Lyle of Gallagher and Lyle was brought up there and still returns to visit his holiday home.


Further reading

*McSherry, R&M (1997) "Old Largs"
*Ross, David (2005) "Scotland - History of a Nation"

See also

* Largs Academy

External links

* [ Largs Thistle Football Club]
* [ - The Most Comprehensive Guide to Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland]
* [ Vikingar]
* [ Largs Old Kirk/Skelmorlie Aisle]
* [ Skelmorlie Aisle]
* [ Largs Lifeboat]
* [ 2001 census]

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