Kilsyth was founded in medieval times as a small settlement with strategic significance on the main lines of communication across Scotland, with two castles, now both totally ruined. It lays claim to be the birthplace of the winter sport known as curling. In 1645, the armies of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, loyal to Charles I, defeated a force of Scottish Covenanters under William Baillie a few miles outside the town. The Battle of Kilsyth is represented on the town's Coat of Arms as two crossed swords. The town subsequently underwent the transformation from craft industries such as weaving, to heavy industry such as mining, to todays light engineering and service industries.
The town is home to roughly 10,000 inhabitants.
Aside from the private Cumbernauld airport, the nearest airport to Kilsyth is Glasgow Airport (40 km). This is served by many major airlines, including British Airways. Edinburgh Airport is slightly further out (56 km), as is Prestwick Airport (80 km). Public transport links from all three airports are adequate, using a mixture of fast and regular bus and rail services.
Although Kilsyth does not have its own railway station, it is only two miles from Croy Station, which can be reached by a short bus ride (on either the Stagecoach-run dedicated station bus number 349, or the local Canavan’s Bus service, number 43).
Croy Station is conveniently situated on both the Glasgow-Edinburgh and Glasgow-Dunblane lines, so until around 7 pm in the evenings, there are four trains an hour from Glasgow Queen Street to Croy. Depending on whether a Dunblane or Edinburgh train is used, the journey takes from between 15 – 20 minutes. A Cheap Day Return will cost £4.20.
From Edinburgh, trains are half-hourly until after 6 pm, when they run hourly.
From Glasgow, the quickest route involves driving along the A803, via Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch. It is essentially a straight road, although one does pass through residential areas. Caution is advised when driving at night, as between Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch, and Kirkintilloch and Queenzieburn, there are stretches of road which are poorly lit. Kilsyth is also easy driving distance from both Falkirk and Stirling.
First Bus runs services to Kilsyth from both Glasgow, Falkirk and Stirling. The town can also be accessed by bus from nearby Cumbernauld.
Due to its size, Kilsyth can easily be covered on foot.
Most of the shops in Kilsyth are situated on Main Street. The RBS and Lloyds TSB have banks with ATMs, and there is a further ATM at the Post Office during opening hours. There is a fair choice of butchers, bakers, greengrocers and fishmongers. Most of the shops are run by local families. There are two principal supermarkets – The Co-operative on Main Street, and a Lidl just off Main Street.
Local restaurants include the Coachman Hotel, the Scarecrow Grill, and the Gulistan. There are also a good choice of takeway restuarants catering for all major tastes.
Coachman Hotel, The Scarecrow or the Boathouse at Auchinstarry
Coachman Hotel or the Boathouse at Auchinstarry