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Free Things to Do on Your Next Trip to Glasgow

Glasgow sightseeing

Free Things to Do on Your Next Trip to Glasgow

Scotland’s largest city is waiting for you to explore.

The Scottish metropolis Glasgow is a fascinating, colorful city. Alongside the exciting nightlife, culture and history are present at every step. Luckily, many of the fascinating sites are open to the public and free of charge.

The city is teeming with museums, parks, and architectural wonders. But there are even more free things to do in Glasgow beyond these. All it takes is the will to discover them and make the most out of your visit. 

Take a look at our list of amazing things to do in Glasgow without spending a dime.

Take a Free Museum Tour

There’s no shortage of museums in Glasgow, and all the major ones are free to visit. Besides that, the museums feature outstanding exhibits and cover various fields. While Scotland’s famed for the fantastic countryside, there’s plenty to leave you speechless within the confines of the city as well.

A visit to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will easily take half a day. You can see exhibits of natural history – from dinosaurs to modern species. The museum section also features fascinating relics from ancient cultures. Scottish archaeological and historical findings have a place here as well, including an armor collection that’s highly appreciated worldwide. And its art gallery features art by Scottish, French, and Dutch masters.

The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel offers an entirely different experience. Among the exhibits, there are thousands of historic vehicles for you to check out. Steam trains, cars and bikes, trams, and trolleys of old are on display. The museum sits on the river bank and includes the Tall Ship Glenlee that you can enter and explore.

Stroll Through Glasgow’s Amazing Parks

Glasgow, naturally, shares the gorgeous landscape with the rest of Scotland. This is most apparent in the city’s parks. 

The award-winning Pollok Park lies only three miles from City Center. It’s a huge estate that’s filled with woodlands and gardens that welcome visitors and wildlife alike. This overwhelmingly beautiful park is open for walks but also serves as a cycling hub.

Right by the University of Glasgow, Kelvingrove Park is a unique location that surrounds the Kelvin River. The lush treetops give way to extensive grassland, and various parts of Glasgow’s cityscape are visible beyond. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is also located inside the park. This impressive building emerges above the trees when you look to the west. You can even see the University of Glasgow nearby and to the north, the gorgeous Glasgow Cathedral.

Perhaps the most impressive, Glasgow Green is the oldest public park in the city. It hugs the Clyde River and stretches through several Glasgow neighborhoods. You can walk the park for hours, look at the many monuments found here, and pass through the famous McLennan Arch. Glasgow Green is a true marvel you’ll always want to come back to.

Admire the Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis

Glasgow Cathedral is one of the biggest attractions among the fascinating city architecture. A medieval 12th-century building, it’s considered the oldest in Glasgow and the oldest surviving cathedral on the country’s mainland. The cathedral is also known as the High Kirk, St Kentigern’s, or St Mungo’s and is the prime example of Gothic architecture in Scotland.

Inside, the Glasgow Cathedral has rich stone carvings that decorate the impressive interior. The organ, built in the late 1800s, has seen several restorations. Today, the instrument has an imposing sound that wonderfully takes advantage of the building’s acoustics. You have to hear it to believe it.

Overlooking the cathedral and the whole city is the Glasgow Necropolis. While strolls through a graveyard might seem too macabre for some, the site has a unique atmosphere. 

The Necropolis is a renowned landmark of the city, and it’s easy to understand why. Every artistically crafted gravestone seems to tell a story as old as time. The city, viewed from the Necropolis, gives off a different impression. It becomes colored by the silent stone monuments, and the experience gets a new meaning.

The Glasgow Necropolis is a Victorian garden cemetery, and it truly is a garden. The perfect spot for peaceful, quiet walks, it has a specific kind of beauty not found anywhere else. Some gravestones give the more inquisitive visitors a look into ancient Glasgow secrets. Attention to details could lead you on a journey of mystery through the city’s long, rich history.

Climb the Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is home to the Centre for Design and Architecture. It houses exhibitions, events, and visitors in a central location in Glasgow. Although it’s hard to miss the iconic Mackintosh tower, The Lighthouse remains hidden away among the streets. For many travelers, it can be readily counted among the Glasgow secrets.

There are four floors with galleries, multi-purpose spaces, and a cafe. The Mackintosh Tower and a newer viewing platform offer the stunning sight of the city skyline. The Lighthouse is unique both in its looks and its purpose. The main idea behind the center is the promotion of the creative industries – one of the reasons for the choice of the building. Because prior to becoming what it is today, the Lighthouse was the seat of the Glasgow Herald.

The building was the very first commission of the famous Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Mackintosh is to Glasgow what Gaudi is to Barcelona. The city’s marked with his work and the Lighthouse could be an excellent starting point for a Mackintosh tour.

Visit the People’s Palace

Return to the marvelous Glasgow Green and you’ll discover the People’s Palace right in the middle. 

You might consider it as one of the city’s museums, but a visit to the Palace is a grander experience. The setting plays a big part, as you’ll walk through the fascinating Green to get to the building. 

First, you’ll see a lush, gorgeous fountain, the Palace, and the cityscape behind. After the approach, memorable in itself, you’ll find in the palace stories from personal lives to historical milestones. The People’s Palace takes you back in time with tales of old Glasgow. You’ll see pictures and objects illustrating the city’s rich history. 

This is why the Palace can’t be simply described as a museum. It’s really a portal to the past and the legacy that lives on in today’s Glasgow.

Bring the Priceless Memories Back

Glasgow is a city with deep historical roots. As such, it has a unique soul and atmosphere that’s unlike most other locations. The sites that you can visit for free in Glasgow are a treasure to appreciate. 

Not only will you not have to spend money visiting the attractions – you’ll earn life-long memories.

Glasgow

Glasgow-Bound – The 11 Places You Need to Visit in Scotland’s Second City

Places to visit in Glasgow Scotland

Glasgow-Bound – The 11 Places You Need to Visit in Scotland’s Second City

Glasgow embodies Scotland’s rich history in every step. It’s a hot tourist spot not just for history buffs, but also for architecture enthusiasts and even plant lovers.

Glasgow may be Scotland’s second city, but it might be the most important tourist attraction in the country. It’s rich in history, art exhibits, and gorgeous buildings and views.

Everything is on display in such a way that the famously terrible Scottish weather shouldn’t ruin your trip. Check out some of the most popular tourist attractions in Glasgow.

1.   Visit the Glasgow Cathedral

There’s a good reason why any Glasgow sightseeing list starts with the 12th century Glasgow Cathedral. It’s the city’s most important landmark and historic site.

What makes it eye-catching is its clear lines and having no unnecessary ornamentation. Yet, it’s gorgeous and complex, truly an architectural gem.

You can go on a guided tour or visit it on your own. Either way is great. as it’s also free of charge. What makes your visit even better is that it’s right next to another top Glasgow attraction.

2. Tour the Necropolis

If you’re a fan of Victorian gothic scenery, the Glasgow Necropolis is a must-see. This garden cemetery spans some 37 acres featuring gorgeous memorial stones and buildings. Not only that, but it also features various sculptures by famous local artists.

Walking tours are available here, too. And the view goes beyond Celtic motifs, as there are paths with open views of the city and the cathedral.

3. Visit the Museum of Religious Life and Art

The St. Mungo Museum is another top Glasgow destination. It’s near Glasgow Cathedral so it’s easy to add to your itinerary. Along with exhibits of world religions and various related practices, there are other exciting things for you to see here.

The museum displays Hindu statues and Egyptian mummies, among others, and also has an outdoor Buddhist garden. Commissioned in 1989, it’s a rather new building. Yet, it’s also close to the oldest house in Glasgow, the Provand’s Lordship. As such, it also offers a nice comparison of architectural styles.

4. Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, open since 1901, is another one of the top tourist attractions in the city. It’s even as popular, if not more so than the cathedral.

This museum looks amazing from the outside and hosts many impressive galleries on the inside. The majority of the paintings are French impressionism, but there are plenty of other unique art displays as well.

It’s no wonder art lovers flock to Glasgow each year.

5. Tour the Science Centre

Once you’re done with taking in the history in the old part of town, a trip to the Glasgow Science Centre provides a great contrast. It’s located on the waterfront area and boasts a hull-style construction.

The museum offers many exhibits of technology, human health, and even laboratory stations. It’s a hands-on experience that not many other museums offer, making it great for educational purposes and recreation.

Furthermore, you can also take a trip to the nearby planetarium. The Glasgow Tower, a freely-rotating tower, is also found nearby. However, it’s not open as often as other attractions.

6. Visit the Glasgow Botanic Gardens

If you get tired of architecture and museums, the botanic garden should offer a nice change of pace. The garden is home to the Kibble Palace, which is a massive glasshouse. It’s also among the biggest in the UK and it houses many rare orchids, as well as other exotic African, South American, and Eastern plants.

The garden has outdoor trails and also many greenhouses with unique environments. You can also see Victorian sculptures surrounded by plants here, which make for amazing sights. And if you’re tired of walking, you could always relax and take it all in while on the tearoom’s patio.

7. Check Out the Winter Garden Conservatory

The conservatory is part of the Glasgow Green. This park is a historic spot, as it’s one of the oldest parks in the city. It’s also very close to the city center and makes for a nice stroll.

You can see many subtropical and tropical plants in the conservatory. Not only that, but the park also features some historical exhibits from the 18th to the 20th century.

8. Take a Loud Ride

If there ever was a time when you could learn more about the bagpipe, this is it. Glasgow is home to the National Piping Centre and houses the Museum of Piping. It also hosts lessons and courses, as well as the venue for the World Pipe Ban Championship in August.

You can learn the history of the instrument, listen to different samples, and look at very old memorabilia. And if you’re a performer, it’s a great place to buy modern supplies.

9. Take a Tiny Tour of the Lighthouse

This is not your traditional lighthouse attraction. While it offers two great panoramic views of the city, it also houses art and design exhibitions all year round. And there is even a historic exhibit at the Mack Centre.

The tower is easy to access for everyone, as you can take either the helical staircase or the lift to reach the top.

10. Get Your Dose of Soccer

Soccer, the king of sports in Scotland, is well represented. The National Stadium down at Hampden features tours of the stands and, on some days, you can step onto the pitch.

This stadium also has a museum where you can check out a massive memorabilia exhibit. Part of their collection includes the old Scottish Cup. It’s known as the oldest surviving trophy of the sport in the world.

11. Watch a Movie at the Glasgow Film Theatre

The Glasgow Film Theatre is Scotland’s first true arthouse cinema. The city’s last movie theater of its kind, it’s worth a trip and a movie ticket if you like foreign-language flicks and documentaries.

But it’s also worth paying a visit just for the experience. That’s because the old retro interior and exterior architecture are well-preserved and truly one-of-a-kind.

12. Sample Some Whiskey

You can’t end a trip to Glasgow without sampling some fine whiskey.

While the Clydeside Distillery is one of the newest in the city, it’s also a facility that you can tour. Here, you’ll see how whiskey and artisan chocolate go from factory to shelves.

Best of all, you can sample a bit of both to end the tour on a high note.

Don’t Forget Your Umbrella

Scotland sees plenty of rain, so definitely start your tour with an umbrella. That said, many of the tourist hotspots are indoors so bad weather shouldn’t ruin your trip.

The city has many historic sites and architectural gems for you to see, as well as premium accommodations at the best Glasgow hotels.

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Glasgow

Where to Take Your Kids in Glasgow

Glasgow attractions

Where to Take Your Kids in Glasgow

Have a fun and educational family vacation in the Scottish metropolis.

Glasgow is a beautiful city full of history. There are medieval buildings, museums, and historical parks. Although it might seem too serious, there are plenty of things to do in Glasgow with your kids, too.

Places for kids in Glasgow include exhibits that offer fun tours, parks, and a range of outdoor and indoor activities. These include a trampoline park and the science center in Glasgow. 

The largest city in Scotland has many attractions waiting for you to discover with your kids. And we’ve listed down five for you to check out.

1. The Tall Ship Glenlee

Glenlee is the exhibit ship at the Tall Ship, a maritime museum on the Clyde River. It is open for guests to explore in detail, from the top deck to the cargo hold. The tour of the ship is free, although there’s a small fee if you want the audio guide.

The Tall Ship designed the Glenlee tour with children in mind. Your kids can go through every deck and learn about the ship. There’s even a play area for children under five in the cargo hold. The organized events include a daily Captain’s Challenge and the Mouse Hunt, named as such because kids are to find every mouse toy hidden on the ship.

The Glenlee has many features on different decks. The second, or tween deck houses a cafe and a gift shop. Below, on the lower deck, there’s an education room. Finally, the play area mentioned above is in the cargo hold, along with a mini-cinema. A visit to Glenlee is one of the most fun things to do in Glasgow for kids and adults alike.

2. Loch Lomond Sea Life Aquarium

Located on the shore of the fabulous Loch Lomond, the Sea Life Aquarium showcases Scotland’s fascinating marine life. The lake is near Glasgow and it takes only 20 minutes to get there from City Center. There are several themed zones where kids can discover numerous species that inhabit the local waters.

The Lochs of Scotland zone exhibits the creatures of local lakes. Meanwhile, the Deep Loch Tank is home to more dangerous species, such as UK-native sharks and rays. You can have a closer look at the rays in the Bay of Rays zone. The Tropical Ocean Tunnel will take you from the lochs to the deep sea, exploring the ocean wildlife.

Kids will particularly enjoy some of the milder hands-on features, such as Rockpools. This zone has micro-habitats of sea creatures, like starfish and shrimps. The whole family can marvel at the fantasy-like miniature seahorses at Seahorse Cove. Finally, the Sea Life Aquarium is home to three cute short claw otters, a kids’ favorite.

3. Glasgow Spy Mission Treasure Trail

If your kids want an exciting adventure on Glasgow’s streets, this is the perfect activity. The Glasgow Spy Mission Treasure Trail will take you on a spy investigation and make everyone feel like sleuths. The trail map can come by mail or you can download it in PDF.

The trail is circular and goes around Glasgow’s West End, so you can explore the city while solving the mystery. There are clues you need to solve to progress in the story, and you can get additional helpful texts.

The Glasgow Spy Mission Treasure Trail is self-guided, so there’s no time limit. There are also no opening or closing hours. However, the trail is best completed during the daytime. Other than that design choice, there are no limiting factors. You can solve the mystery in about two hours, or you can take it easy and spread the exploration to the whole vacation.

The Treasure Trail is a perfect way for kids to get to know Glasgow. They’ll get to see many of the city’s landmarks during this fun investigation game.

4. Glasgow Science Center

The Science Center in Glasgow is an amazing place where kids can learn while having a great time. There are various exhibitions with educational, interactive, and hands-on experiences. If your kids have a passion for science-related questions or love to find out how things work, this is the best place for everyone to go.

The Bodyworks exhibition takes you on an interactive exploration of the human body. There are eight zones covering different aspects of human biology. Children can learn more through fun features, such as the balance boards or giant hamster wheel. All of the exhibits are interesting and colorful, made to intrigue the investigative children’s minds.

Meanwhile, the Space Zone takes you on a walk through the solar system. It’s a very immersive experience that gives kids the opportunity to learn about space and planets. The entrance to the Planetarium is at the end of this walkway.

Of all the things to do in Glasgow, a visit to the A Question of Perception exhibition is among the most memorable. The exhibition features optical illusions, puzzles, and different challenges. A visit to this exhibition is also a great opportunity to take some fun family photos.

5. Trampoline Fun in Glasgow

No list of the best places for kids in Glasgow would be complete without mentioning a visit to the trampoline parks. Fortunately, there are numerous locations for trampoline fun around the city. All parks are child-friendly and safe, so the kids can spend the whole day bouncing around.

The Flip Out Glasgow trampoline park features over 200 trampolines, a ninja warrior course, and more. There are also various special sections, including the low-lights, relaxing autism section. The party rooms are available to book for kids’ parties, and there are even children’s fitness classes.

Ryze – Xtreme Air Sports offers oversized trampolines, foam pits, trampoline dodgeball, and giant airbags. The whole family can have amazing bouncing fun, and you can grab food, drinks, and snacks at the local cafe when everyone needs a break.

Bring Your Kids on a Memorable Vacation

Glasgow has a lot to offer to everyone. There are attractions to see and new experiences to discover. Best of all, kids can have a great time in the city and learn much in the process. 

Visit Glasgow and you’ll find more activities than would fit into a single visit. The fun memories you get here will be the best reason to revisit the city.

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