Cumbernauld is a town on Clydeside in central Scotland, 13 miles northeast of Glasgow, with a population of 52,000. The name is Gaelic, comar nan allt meaning the meeting of waters, and it's near the watershed of the Clyde and Forth water catchments. It grew up as a weaving centre in the 19th century as the railway arrived, then expanded rapidly from 1955 when it was designated a "New Town". It was the third of five such towns built to alleviate Scotland's housing shortage, preceded by East Kilbride and Glenrothes, and followed by Livingston and Irvine; the intended sixth at Stonehouse was never built. So it shares their drab brutalist architecture, but was especially influenced by the 1960s fashion for vertical segregation of pedestrians and vehicles. Thus, there are few zebra crossings, but many bridges, flyovers and underpasses, which rapidly became linear lavatories for the town drunks.
Gregory's GirlCumbernauld is the setting for the 1981 Bill Forsyth film Gregory's Girl - the gawky teenage Gregory being as inept in love as he is in football. In the final scenes he and his pals set off to hitchhike to Caracas, hearing that women there greatly outnumber the men, and it's as far away from Cumbernauld as they can imagine.
By plane: see below for the direct bus X24 from Glasgow Airport (GLA) to Cumbernauld and St Andrews. It may be quicker to take Bus 500 into city centre and change.
Cumbernauld Airport only has private aviation.
Trains run from Glasgow Queen Street every 30 mins, taking 30 mins via Stepps and Greenfaulds, and continuing east via Falkirk Grahamston, Polmont and Linlithgow to Edinburgh, 50 mins.
Trains also run from Glasgow Central every 30 mins, taking an hour to orbit the southern burbs via Rutherglen, Hamilton, Motherwell, Coatbridge and Greenfaulds. Coming up from London, the Midlands and Northwest England, change for this train at Motherwell.
For Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and the Highlands, change at Falkirk Grahamston. Or it may be more convenient to pick up the Stirling train at Croy, a couple of miles northwest of town.
is off S Carbrain Street on the east edge of town, with Greenfaulds station a mile further southwest.
Buses: Stagecoach Bus X25 / 25A runs every ten mins from Glasgow Buchanan station via Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Greenfaulds to Cumbernauld town centre, taking 25 mins, and continuing into the eastern burbs of South Carbrain and Abronhill. Some of these buses start from Glasgow University. Bus X28 runs from Glasgow every 30 mins via Mollinsburn, Condorrat and Greenfaulds, taking 35 min.
First Glasgow Bus X3 runs to Cumbernauld every 30 mins via Muirhead, Moodiesburn and Greenfaulds, taking an hour.
First Scotland East Bus X37 runs hourly from Glasgow to Cumbernauld on a similar route to X3, then continues via Bonnybridge to Falkirk.
Bus X36 runs hourly from Glasgow to Cumbernauld then continues via Bonnybridge and Denny to Stirling.
Stagecoach Fife Bus X27 runs every 30 mins from Glasgow via Cumbernauld to Dunfermline, Halbeath Interchange, Kirkcaldy and Leven. Bus X24 runs hourly from Glasgow Airport via Buchanan station and Cumbernauld to Dunfermline, Halbeath Interchange, Glenrothes and St Andrews.
By road: most approaches are along M80 which runs northwest of town.
You can walk or take the buses which circle the town, to little point as there's nothing to see. But with your own wheels - and a bike will do nicely - you can quickly escape into nearby countryside, eg north to the canal towpath and Campsie Fells.
- , but only if you're curious to see post-war New Town architecture, all drab plazas and shopping centres and brutalist concrete slabs.
- , a mile northeast of town, has open and wooded areas for strolling. It's ranged around 18th century Cumbernauld House, which is nowadays private apartments, and continues into a bosky glen.
- has a petting farm, wildlife areas, woodland and open heath. It's two miles east of town next to the golf course, and open daily 09:00-17:00, free.
Watch football (ie soccer) at
Clyde FCThey were promoted in 2019 and now play in League One, the third tier of Scottish football. Their home ground, capacity 8000, is Broadwood in Cumbernauld, a mile north of M80 junction 4A.
- Minor teams Cumbernauld United play soccer at Guy's Meadow, and Cumbernauld RFC play rugby union at Condorrat.
- Palacerigg Golf Course (see park, above) is 5972 yards, par 71 / 72.
- Fannyside Loch just east of the golf course has sailing and windsurfing, but the footpaths are in poor condition.
- The main shopping centre is along the snappily named "Central Way", with ASDA 200 yards north open daily 06:00-00:00.
- Town centre eating places include La Bella (daily 12:00-22:00), Beefeater Dovecote (daily 07:00-23:00) and the usual fast-food chains & takeaways.
- There's a Little Asia huddled around the railway station.
- The Village, the historic core before the New Town grew up further south, has Coorie In @ The Black Bull (daily 11:30-00:00) and Invitation Indian & Nepalese (Su Tu-Th 16:00-22:00, F Sa 16:00-23:00).
phone: +44 1236 850260address: 52 Teviot Walk G67 1NGJD Wetherspoon's pub with real ales, and food until 22:00.
phone: +44 871 527 8424address: 4 S Muirhead Rd G67 1AXDecent budget chain hotel near town centre.
phone: +44 871 559 1822address: Auchenkilns Park G68 9AWBasic budget hotel for a stopover, right by motorway.
phone: +44 1236 457171address: 1 St Andrews Drive G68 0EWReliable mid-range hotel next to motorway.
- Glasgow and Edinburgh are within an hour and both deserve an extended stay.
- Stirling is a miniature Edinburgh, and has routes into the Highlands.
- The Roman Antonine Wall runs a few miles to the north through Kilsyth, with the Campsie Fells beyond.
- To discover if they made a better job of Scotland's other four New Towns, see East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Livingston and Irvine. But to be fair to the planners, also go see what unplanned expansion looks like, eg in Dumbarton.