Scottish Maritime Museum

Museum tells the story of the inventors, craftsmen and explorers who helped shape shipbuilding across the world. Step inside the vast, family-friendly Victorian glass-roofed Linthouse, which was once a shipyard engine house, and discover some of Scotland's most important historic vessels, shipbuilding tools and engineering. Enjoy a host of interactive exhibits, including stepping aboard the 100 ton, 66 feet long MV Spartan, the last surviving Scottish-built puffer in Scotland.

The main gallery building, the Linthouse, is part of the collection itself. It was built for shipbuilders Alexander Stephen and Sons of Govan in 1872 to the design of John Frederick Spencer, a naval architect who had worked with Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It was extended and altered more than once over the following hundred years until the shipyard closed and the building was threatened with demolition for industrial redevelopment in the late 1980s. Dismantled and rebuilt in Irvine, it is now home to the Scottish Maritime Museum.

Within the Linthouse, visitors can explore some of Scotland's most historic boats, including SY Carola, possibly the world's oldest seagoing steam yacht, and MV Kyles, the oldest Clyde-built vessel still afloat in the UK and recognised as one of Britain's most important historic vessels. Highlights also include the country's largest collection of shipbuilding tools, engineering and inventions which influenced maritime history across the world as well as art and sculpture from the Museum's new national art collection.

The Museum, which is also home to the Scottish Boat Building School, was founded on the historic and continuing importance of the sea to Scotland. It opens up the past to everyone and also features a tour of a 1920s shipyard worker's flat and a permanent exhibition inside the hold of MV Spartan, the only surviving Scottish-built Puffer in Scotland.

With so much to see and do, visitors can refuel in the Linthouse Coffee Bar, enjoying a cup of fresh coffee, refreshing tea or delicious hot chocolate with a cake and browse for that perfect memento whether that's a pocket money buy or a large maritime model. Visits aren't complete without a stroll onto the Harbourside, a few minutes walk away. Here, the Museum's Boatshop hosts temporary exhibitions, the Museum Gift Shop and the extremely popular Puffers Café. Perfect for families, visitors can enjoy uninterrupted panoramic views over the Garnock and Irvine river estuary at Puffers' Café as well as a selection of hot meals, salads, soups, sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks (last orders at 4.30pm). The Scottish Maritime Museum is ideal for group visits; whether a group of students wanting to learn through unique activities and stimulating experiences; a special interest group wishing to find information on maritime culture or a coach party looking for a leisurely place of interest. Excellent group rates available.


The Linthouse Building, Harbour Road,
Irvine, Ayrshire, KA12 8BT


01294 278283