Free Things to Do in Paisley

sma shot cottages

Are you a student or local resident looking to uncover the hidden treasures of Paisley without breaking the bank? You’re in luck! Paisley, an animated town with a rich history, offers a wealth of free activities and sights that cater to everyone. From historical landmarks and scenic parks to lively community events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. In this blog post, we’ll take you through some of the best free things to do in Paisley, providing insider tips to make the most of your experience. Let’s get started on this budget-friendly adventure!

Introduction to Paisley

Paisley is a historic town located in Renfrewshire, Scotland. Known for its significant role in the textile industry, particularly the famous Paisley pattern, this town is steeped in history and culture. Paisley Abbey, dating back to the 12th century, stands as a testament to the town’s rich past and architectural splendour. The town also boasts a variety of museums and galleries, such as the Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, which offer insights into its cultural and industrial heritage. With its charming streets, stunning architecture, and welcoming community, Paisley is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the best of Scotland. If you’re interested in history, art, or simply enjoying the local cafes and shops, Paisley has something to offer every visitor.

Why Explore Paisley on a Budget?

Exploring Paisley on a budget is not only possible but incredibly rewarding. The town boasts numerous attractions and activities that are free of charge, allowing you to enjoy the best of what Paisley has to offer without spending a dime. If you’re a student looking for affordable ways to have fun or a local resident wanting to rediscover your hometown, exploring Paisley for free is a great way to immerse yourself in its rich culture and hie.

Cultural and Historical Sights

Paisley is a treasure trove of cultural and historical landmarks that tell the story of its storied past. By visiting these sites, you can delve into the town’s rich heritage and discover the pivotal role it played in shaping Scotland’s history, all for free!

Paisley Abbey

Paisley Abbey is a must-visit landmark that dates back to the 12th century. This stunning medieval church is not only a place of worship but also a historical treasure trove. Visitors can admire the intricate architecture, and beautiful stained glass windows, and learn about the abbey’s fascinating history.

Paisley Town Hall

Another architectural gem in Paisley is the Town Hall. This grand building, built in the Victorian era, serves as a hub for various events and activities. While admiring the exterior is a treat in itself, keep an eye out for free events and exhibitions that are often hosted inside.

Sma’ Shot Cottages

Step back in time with a visit to the Sma’ Shot Cottages. These restored 18th-century weavers’ cottages offer a glimpse into the lives of Paisley’s textile workers. The cottages are open to the public, and guided tours are available for free, providing an educational and enjoyable experience.

Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church

The Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church is a remarkable example of Gothic Revival architecture. With its towering spires and intricate stonework, this church is a sight to behold. Visitors are welcome to explore the church and attend services without any cost.

Paisley Museum and Art Galleries

Currently undergoing a major redevelopment, the Paisley Museum and Art Galleries will soon reopen with a fresh new look. Once open, visitors can enjoy free access to a wide range of exhibits, including art, history, and natural sciences. Keep an eye on their website for the latest updates on the reopening.

Parks and Outdoor Activities

For those who love the great outdoors, Paisley offers an array of beautiful parks and engaging outdoor activities that won’t cost you a penny. If you’re looking for a peaceful place to relax, a scenic spot to enjoy a picnic, or a trail to satisfy your adventurous spirit, Paisley’s green spaces have something for everyone.

Barshaw Park

Barshaw Park is a beautiful green space perfect for a relaxing day out. The park features a boating pond, a walled garden, and a play area for children. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the serene surroundings—all for free.

Gleniffer Braes Country Park

For those who love the great outdoors, Gleniffer Braes Country Park is a must-visit. This expansive park offers stunning views, walking trails, and plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting. Pack a picnic and spend the day exploring the natural beauty of Paisley.

Fountain Gardens

Fountain Gardens is one of Paisley’s oldest public parks, featuring beautifully landscaped gardens, a historic fountain, and plenty of benches to relax on. It’s a great spot for a peaceful afternoon walk or to simply unwind amidst nature.

Community Events and Markets

Community events and markets in Paisley offer an exciting way to connect with locals and experience the town’s vigorous culture. From seasonal festivals to weekly farmers’ markets, these events provide the perfect opportunity to discover local crafts, taste delicious food, and enjoy live entertainment—all while staying on budget. Here are some of the top community happenings you can enjoy for free in Paisley.

Regular Events in Paisley

Paisley is home to a variety of community events that cater to all interests. From music festivals and art exhibitions to food markets and cultural celebrations, there’s always something happening in town. Many of these events are free to attend, making them a great way to experience Paisley’s high-spirited community.

Local Markets

Local markets in Paisley offer a unique shopping experience where you can find everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. While you might be tempted to make a purchase, simply browsing the stalls and soaking in the atmosphere is a delightful and cost-free activity.

Bars & Clubs

Paisley is not just about history and culture, but also offers a lively nightlife for those looking to unwind and socialise. If you enjoy sipping on artisanal cocktails, dancing to live music, or simply relaxing with friends over a pint, Paisley’s bars and clubs provide a dynamic and exciting atmosphere to suit every taste.

The Bull Inn

The Bull Inn is a historic pub in Paisley that has been serving locals for over a century. With its cosy interior and friendly atmosphere, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy a drink. While beverages aren’t free, the pub often hosts live music and events that you can enjoy without spending a dime.

The Wee Howff

The Wee Howff is another popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Known for its lively atmosphere and welcoming staff, this pub frequently hosts live music and quiz nights.

The Cave Paisley

The Cave Paisley is a trendy bar and music venue that offers free entry to many of its events. Enjoy live performances by local bands and DJs, and soak in the lively atmosphere without spending a penny.

Kennedys Bar

Kennedys Bar is a beloved local hangout known for its friendly vibe and regular events. From karaoke nights to live sports screenings, there’s always something happening at Kennedys. Drop by and join in the fun without any entry fee.

Insider Tips for Maximising Your Experience

To make the most out of your visit to Paisley, a few insider tips can go a long way.

Best Times to Visit to Catch Events or Festivals

Paisley hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, but some of the best times to visit are during the summer months and holiday seasons. Keep an eye on local event calendars to plan your trip around major festivals like the Paisley Food and Drink Festival or the Sma’ Shot Day celebration.

Recommended Routes for a Walking Tour of Paisley

One of the best ways to explore Paisley is on foot. Start your walking tour at Paisley Abbey, then make your way to the Town Hall and Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church. From there, head to the Sma’ Shot Cottages and Paisley Museum. Finish your tour with a stroll through Barshaw Park or Fountain Gardens.


Paisley is a town brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty – all waiting to be explored free of charge. From its stunning architectural landmarks to its serene parks and entertaining community events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

While You’re Here

Looking for somewhere to store your things over the summer break? Cheque out our excellent short-term student storage offer. We can collect your belongings from your flat, transport them to your storage unit, and deliver them back when you’re ready. Call us at 0800 802 1822.

We hope this guide inspires you to discover the hidden gems of Paisley and make the most of what this charming town has to offer. Get out there and start exploring today!

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