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10 Free Things to Do in Glasgow, Scotland

Lynsey enjoys travelling, and is sure to have a camera and a notebook with her wherever she goes, even in her home country, Scotland.

Glasgow is a world-class city that can be explored and enjoyed on a budget.

Glasgow is a world-class city that can be explored and enjoyed on a budget.

Glasgow is a wonderful place, full of great architecture, restaurants, attractions, and friendly people. There is always something to do, but there is usually a price to pay for this! This hub will list, in no particular order, 10 things to do in Glasgow, free of charge!


I have fond memories of coming here as a child, and I still often visit. While there are always the old favourites in situ at this museum, there are also loads of seasonal exhibitions, as well as spectacular themed exhibitions, often found on the basement level.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery is a huge building, but it is easy to navigate, and there is never a feeling of being lost. It is an ideal place to visit for adults and children alike, and there will always be something there to fascinate you. It features many historical artefacts and famous paintings, and is home to the famous Salvador Dali painting: "Christ of Saint John of the Cross."

There are various play areas for the kids, and there are many early learning points dotted throughout the museum, encouraging interaction and provoking thoughts. There is also a coffee shop for the adults, should you wish to take the weight off your feet for a few minutes.


Riverside Museum of Transport

Another old favourite of mine. The Transport museum used to be located across the road from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, but it had outgrown its surroundings, and the building capacity, so had to be moved to a nice, shiny new building.

The Riverside Museum of Transport was created by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. the new building takes on a flowing, wave-like appearance from viewpoints on the ground and in the sky, which works as a nice tribute to the river it lies on. The choice of building materials also works nicely, and often reflects the sky much like water would do.

Architecture aside, there are plenty of exhibits for car enthusiasts, from classic cars and motorbikes, to model boats and planes. Some of the pieces are situated so to suggest that they are coming out of the wall, which can be a tad surreal, and again there are plenty of interactive learning stations and other activities. Many of the exhibits are opened so that you can actually hop on and off, and there are various themed rooms that show life through the years.

Walking and Wandering

If you enjoy being outdoors, Glasgow is full of sights to see! There are so many monuments and historically significant places, it has literally taken me a lifetime to see them—and I haven't even got round them all yet!

With a little planning, you can work your way through the various attractions for yourself. Luckily, the planning has been done for you! Historic Glasgow has devised a series of downloadable Heritage Trails that are within walking distance of each other.

Whether you're into medieval Glasgow, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, or the Govan Shipyards that Billy Connelly so often refers to, Historic Glasgow offers plenty of variety and plenty to see!

Scotland Street School

Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the early 1900s, Scotland Street School was an actual school up until 1979. The building features many of the distinctive Mackintosh trademarks, with the windows and gates featuring decorative motifs.

It is now a museum that shows the various eras of schooling and gives you the chance to slip back in time. Featuring classrooms from Victorian days, as well as WW2 and more modern decades, this is one for nostalgic adults as well as kids who need to see that school really is not that bad, nowadays!

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Glasgow Botanic Gardens & Kibble Palace

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens and Kibble Palace are peaceful and idyllic. The scenery is great to relax, have a picnic and read a book. In the Summer, there are various events, particularly during the West End Festival.

The botanic gardens consist of various outdoor gardens and glasshouses. You can see many types of tropical plant life, pond life and fungi within the glasshouses, and the most spectacular of them all is Kibble Palace. It has recently been restored, and the daylight shines through the many windows all day long.

This spot is ideal for artists and photographers alike, as there is always time to sit and sketch the various statues and scenery, and the beautiful flowers make for nice shots, both in winter and summer. That's not to say that everyone else won't have a great time! Educational and fun, with a touch of the outdoors indoors, this spot is ideal any time of year.

The gardens also lead onto the River Kelvin, and you can walk along the banks of the river into the next attraction...

Kelvingrove Park

Kelvingrove Park is definitely worth a walk-through. It is very popular, particularly in the summer months, as a place to socialise and relax. There are a lot of hills, too, so good for a workout!

Various events are arranged in the park throughout the year, and it has been host to Bollywood dancers, Snowboarding jumpers, and various musicians throughout the years.

There is a play-park, a skatepark, and usually an ice cream van throughout the summer. If that doesn't strike your fancy, there are many paths to explore throughout the park which lead to plenty of beauty spots and areas where the kids can exhaust themselves.


Pollok Country Park and The Burrell Collection

I have included both of these, as The Burrell Collection is actually located within Pollok Country Park.

The park itself is host to a beautiful estate of the Maxwell Family, and the large house and gardens are open to the public. The White Cart River runs through the park, with a scenic picnic area upon the banks, in front of the house. This park is great for adventure, as well as relaxation, as there are many paths that are off the beaten track.

In amongst this lies The Burrell Collection, which was until 1944 the private collection of Sir William Burrell, which was then gifted to the council. There are many original pieces of historical art, as well as more modern pieces. Statues and busts, as well as antique furniture, make for spectacular exhibits. There are various events held throughout the year, as well as semi-permanent exhibitions so that the museum stays fresh.


Victoria Park & Fossil Grove

The facilities in Victoria Park outshine those in the others, I must say. There are tennis courts, basketball courts, bowling greens, a putting course and a boating pond. Many of which, are free of charge to use, unless you need to hire equipment. There is also plenty of open space, where you can have a game of football or rounders, and the pathways are smooth, so ideal for roller skating.

There are various trails and paths around the park, leading to beautiful rose gardens and the standards are immaculate! Another one for photographers, as the contrast between sandstone and flora is truly awesome.

If you follow the paths around the park, you will be sure to stumble upon Fossil Grove, which houses the remains of an ancient, fossilised forest. It is spectacular to see, with your own eyes, trees which are 330 million years old!



The city's Gallery Of Modern Art has an ever-changing array of exhibits and installments from contemporary artists, as well as events for children, and art classes for adults. The space allocated for the classes, on the top floor, gives beautiful views across the city, but it is normally restricted.

The gallery itself is located in the city centre, very near George Square (another sight to see that I had to mention somewhere) and has the famous "conehead" Duke of Wellington statue standing outside it. Funnily enough, there is always a cone on top of this statue, and even if the council removes it, another soon appears.

The neoclassical building has a nice, open layout which is extremely easy to navigate, and the museum features on many postcards of Glasgow, so is very well known!


Glasgow Cathedral & The Necropolis

Glasgow Cathedral is a magnificent example of historic architecture. It is nearly 1000 years old, yet is still standing, as an active church. Sermons are still held regularly, and the congregation sees it as their church.

Tourists, on the other hand, see it as one of the oldest attractions in Glasgow. With free entry, the views inside the building are beautiful, particularly on a sunny day as the light shines through many of the stained glass windows. Definitely a bargain!

Outside, the Necropolis is the final resting place of many important people, with the size of the memorial often reflecting their importance. Large, derelict tombs lie scattered in the huge graveyard. Beautiful sculptures and statues adorn the graves of many, while some are in a state of disrepair, having fallen over or been vandalised over the years.

Once you climb to the top of the massive Necropolis, the city-wide views are amazing. Due to the location, you can literally see the city, far and wide, from a staggering vantage point.


Explore Scotland

If you have more time to spare, remember that Scotland is full of beautiful countryside to explore, as well as other bustling cities. Glasgow is an ideal, central location to base yourself while enjoying the country, so why not try going to nearby Edinburgh, or even a little further, towards, Aberdeen, Dundee or Inverness? The rail links mean there are plenty of choices to explore Scotland—enjoy!

© 2013 Lynsey Hart

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