Port of Stranraer is Scotland's gateway to Ireland, located at the mouth of the River Wyre on the southern tip of Loch Ryan, South West of Scotland. Stena Line operates the Stranraer Ferry Port Terminal and Port of Stranraer offers excellent passenger and freight facilities. Stranraer is situated just over the English border, less than two hours from Glasgow.
Ships leave for Belfast from the East Pier of the Stena Line Ferry terminal, where the railway station is also located. The bus station is on Port Rodie. The fast Stena HSS Catamarans leave for Belfast from the West Pier. Five miles north of Stranraer is the port of Cairnryan where P&O Irish Sea Ferries operates its Cairnryan to Larne service.
Stranraer serves as a market town, seaport, garrison town and administrative centre. Stranraer town centre is surprisingly attractive and bustling and also serves as the gateway to the Rhins of Galloway; roads from here head north to Leswalt and south past Drummore to the Mull of Galloway, Scotland's most southerly point. To the west lies Portpatrick, now a beautiful resort complete with harbour. The Southern Uplands Way long distant footpath provides another link with Portpatrick.
Stranraer Attractions. There is much to do in Stranraer and it's hinterland. Take a walk around 'the Toon' and along the shore, visiting the museum and the Castle of St. John, the four-storey tower house now lying as a ruin on the main street only a block inland from the front of the harbour. Visit Stranraer Museum exhibition to learn about local Arctic explorer John Ross, who discovered the North Pole.
Stranraer is a great centre for the serious walker and is surrounded by the Southern Upland Way. For those who enjoy a garden walk, there are three famous gardens in the area that are open to the public - Castle Kennedy, Glenwhan and Logan. Children will love Agnew Park with its pedal boats, train rides, adventure playground and crazy golf. West End and Stranraer Bowling Club are two bowling greens in the town where the visitors are welcome and at Stair Park you can play tennis, watch a football match, or relax in the Gardens of Friendship. Creachmore is an 18-hole golf course.
A few miles from Stranraer, at Sandhead and New England Bay, sandy beaches stretch for miles, and all around the loch are pebbly beaches. The Sailing Club at Wig Bay is a haven for all sizes of yachts. At the Ryan Centre you can swim in the Leisure Pool, or hire a hall for badminton or ball games. Spend an evening watching a film or seeing a live show at the Ryan Theatre. From October to April, visitors can participate in the ancient Scottish game of curling on the ice rink at the North West Castle.
Stranraer History. Stranraer is the largest settlement in South West Scotland. The town's origins date back nearly 500 years to the building in 1511 of Stranraer Castle, also known as the Castle of St John. This now stands in the centre of the town, but it was originally built behind the wide beach at the top of Loch Ryan and the settlement began to grow around it. By 1600 it had become the market town for the Rhins of Galloway to the west and the rural areas to the east. Portpatrick was then the main port for Ireland. It was only in the mid 1700s that a harbour was first built in Stranraer and further port development took place in the 1820s. Once a railway was established from Dumfries in 1861, Stranraer became as the area's main port. The proximity to Ireland has led to close links with the Emerald Isle.
Stranraer Access. From the south, follow the M6/A74 past Carlisle to Gretna and then take the A75 west directly to Stranraer. Follow the signs for the Ferry Port, which is located close to the town centre. From the north, Stranraer is reached by following the A77 Coast Road from Ayr.