Whether you’re searching for free things to do in Glasgow for families, couples, groups or solo travellers, we think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised by this list. This stately city by the River Clyde is packed with history and culture, and offers some lovely outdoor spaces to discover too. 

This list will show you that seeing Glasgow on a budget really is possible. Included here are 20 top places to see in Glasgow for free, so you don’t have to spend a penny to have a good time. As well as really getting under the skin of this appealing Scottish city. 

So if you’re seeking things to do in Glasgow for free, look no further! From fine parks to world-class art galleries or museums and the city’s most historic buildings, here are 20 of the best free places to visit in Glasgow.

Free guided tour of Glasgow City Chambers

Inside Glasgow's City Chambers

Best for Glaswegian grandeur

  • Where: George Square, Glasgow G2 1DU
  • When: 10.30 am to 2.30 pm Monday to Friday

If you time it right, one of the many top places to visit in Glasgow for free is the City Chambers. This handsome building is Category A listed, and stands on the eastern edge of George Square. The structure was completed in 1888, and has been the city council headquarters for over a century. 

Tours take place at 10.30 am and 2.30 pm on weekdays. You can take a tour for free, and get tickets from the reception desk half an hour before the start time. Places cannot be pre-booked, so expect spots to be dished out on a first come, first served basis.

Visit to Glasgow Cathedral

Tomb of St Mungo inside Glasgow Cathedral

Best for a contemplative moment

  • Where: Castle Street, Glasgow G4 0QZ
  • When: 9.30 am to 5 pm daily

Another of the historic free attractions in Glasgow is the city’s impressive cathedral. As a working church, this is both Scotland’s oldest structure and the earliest to be built in the entire city. Part of the Church of Scotland, it was completed in 1484. 

The cathedral can be found within walking distance of Glasgow’s centre. If you want to visit, you can attend a Sunday service at 11 am, or pop in for a peaceful moment throughout the day. While donations are not necessary, they are very much welcomed by Historic Environment Scotland. 

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow

Best for a religious epiphany

  • Where: Castle Street, Glasgow G4 0RH
  • When: 10 am to 5 pm daily, except opens 11 am Friday and Sunday

The St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art has been called the world’s only public museum devoted only to religion. Named for the patron saint of Glasgow, it’s housed in a Scottish baronial style structure. 

The museum is packed with artworks and artefacts reflecting the place of religion within individual lives, families, communities and society as a whole. Outside, you can enjoy Britain’s very first Zen garden too. There’s no need to book; simply drop in if the whim takes you when in the area. It’s worth combining with a visit to the Cathedral or the Necropolis (see below).

Necropolis (Heritage Trail)

The Necropolis in Glasgow

Best for exploring on foot

  • Where: Start and end at St Mungo Museum
  • When: Anytime

If you feel like stretching your legs and are wondering what to do in Glasgow for free, why not take one of the city’s many walking trails? There’s over 25 of these, and we heartily recommend the Necropolis heritage trail

Completing the route takes around an hour and 45 minutes, and you set out from St Mungo’s. Glasgow Necropolis is a cemetery, and was formerly known as Fir Park. Among more than 50,000 people buried here are monuments by notable local architects. The garden cemetery is considered a fine example of Victorian Glasgow.

Police Museum

Best for law and order

  • Where: First Floor, 30 Bell St, Glasgow G1 1LG
  • When: 10 am to 4.30 pm daily, except opens midday on Sunday

This is a wee gem of a place! We’re not surprised to hear that The Glasgow Police Museum won a recent TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award. Located in a residential block of flats, you’ll need to buzz at the doorway to be let into the building. It’s a small, quirky museum and the real highlight is the guides that bring the place to life. It is run by retired police officers who kindly volunteer and provide a detailed history of life and times of the first police force in Britain, between the dawn of the 19th century and 1975.

Again you can drop in here when the mood takes you, as entry is free and no advance booking is required. It’s among the top free things to do in Glasgow with kids, not least on a rainy day. As well as the history of the City of Glasgow Police, you can discover policing across the globe at the International Police Exhibition.

Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)

Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow

Best for contemporary artworks

  • Where: 111 Queen St, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow G1 3AH
  • When: 10 am to 5 pm daily, except opens 11 am Friday and Sunday

The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow is Scotland’s main venue for showcasing contemporary art. With the highest visitor numbers, it’s also the most popular modern art gallery in Scotland. Both local and international artists have their work featured here, via permanent and temporary exhibitions. In fact, the renowned artist, Banksy, chose it as the venue for his “Cut & Run” exhibition this summer 2023.

GoMA is free to enter, apart from special paid events and expositions. Again you can just call in without any prior booking required. 

The People’s Palace

The People's Palace in Glasgow

Best for local history

  • Where: Glasgow Green, Templeton Street, Glasgow G40 1AT
  • When: 10 am to 5 pm daily, except opens 11 am Friday and Sunday

The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens can be found in Glasgow Green in the east end of the city. This museum also has a glasshouse on site, and has been open since early 1898. It’s called the People’s Palace as its displays are devoted to how local people have lived in the city since 1750. 

Glasgow Green is positioned on the north bank of the Clyde, on the eastern side of the city. This pretty park and garden occupies 55 hectares, and is the oldest park in Glasgow by a country mile. 

Self-guided visit of the Mural Trail

Mural of Saint Mungo in Glasgow

Best for street art

  • Where: Across the city
  • When: Anytime

The city centre mural trail in Glasgow embraces the city’s street art scene via around 30 wall murals. Number one on the trail is at Strathclyde University, with others dotted around the town. 

Subjects range from famous faces like local lad Billy Connolly, St Mungo or St Enoch to ‘Study of a Woman in Black’ 1, 2 and 3, ‘The Musician’, ‘Wind Power’, ‘The Swimmer’, ‘Are Ye Dancin?’ and many more. 

Riverside Museum

Riverside museum building, Glasgow

Best for an ultra modern museum

  • Where: 100 Pointhouse Road, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS
  • When: 10 am to 5 pm daily, except opens 11 am Friday and Sunday

If you think of museums as dusty depositories, take a look at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum and you might just change your mind. This one was purpose-built, and is situated where the Clyde and Kelvin rivers meet. 

Technology and transport are key themes here, showcasing human advancement. Browsing the 3,000 or so objects clarifies the city’s importance when it comes to heavy industry such as train manufacture, shipbuilding and other forms of innovative engineering. 

The Tall Ship

Tall Ship in Glasgow

Best for maritime history

  • Where: 1150 Pointhouse Rd, Stobcross Rd, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS
  • When: 10 am to 5 pm Wednesday to Monday, 11 am to 5 pm Tuesday, closed Friday

Another of the most awesome free things to see in Glasgow is the Tall Ship, and this can also be found in the Govan district by the two rivers, right next to the Riverside musuem. The Victorian sailing ship, named Glenlee, has been completely restored and can be fully explored by visitors. 

Glenlee was built in Glasgow, and during her time served with the Spanish Navy. In 1993 the Clyde Maritime Trust saved the ship from being scrapped, and now you can learn all about the vessel’s colourful life while admiring the attractive Victorian design.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove in Glasgow's West End

Best for museum enthusiasts

  • Where: Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AG
  • When: 10 am to 5 pm daily, except opens 11 am Friday and Sunday

The name of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is synonymous with Glasgow. After undergoing a three year refurbishment programme, the museum and gallery opened once more in 2006. 

Kelvingrove offers it all: beautiful architecture, family friendly features and absorbing exhibits. Despite its fame, discovering this famous and breathtaking place is, perhaps surprisingly, among the free activities in Glasgow that anyone can enjoy. If you have any time afterwards, you can also explore the surrounding Kelvingrove Park.

Visit Scotland’s Oldest Museum – The Hunterian Museum

The Hunterian Museum in Glasgows West End

Best for Scotland’s oldest museum

  • Where: University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QQ
  • When: 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday

Wander over to the university and you can find even more things to do with a small budget in Glasgow. In fact admission to The Hunterian is free. Not only that, but you also get access to a complex of museums rather than only one.

The Hunterian includes anatomy and zoology museums, an art gallery, Mackintosh House and more. The latter is home to the only Charles Rennie Mackintosh interior that survives today, which you can discover in the artist and architect’s city of birth. Although there’s an admission fee to the actual Mackintosh house.

Hunterian Art Gallery

Hunterian Art Gallery

Best for meaningful art

  • Where: University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QQ
  • When: 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday

Just along Hillhead Street from the main Hunterian Museum is the art gallery of the same name. As well as displaying a range of classic and contemporary art, the Hunterian Art Gallery aims to share the meaning of art with more members of the public. 

Visit the Hunterian Art Gallery and you can see a diverse selection of works, including many by under-represented groups. Here you can also find a sculpture garden, a vast print collection and an ever-changing programme of modern art exhibitions. 

Hunterian Zoology Museum

Best for natural history

  • Where: University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QQ
  • When: 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday

An eclectic mix of dinosaur fossils, old coins and Viking and Roman artefacts awaits at the Hunterian Zoology Museum. The collection is housed in the striking Graham Kerr building, and is a must for any big fans of fauna. 

At the Hunterian Zoology Museum you can see lots of familiar creatures, demonstrating the incredible diversity of the natural world. More unusual species can also be seen, including tiny marine animals, sponges that resemble glass objects and gut dwelling worms. It’s guaranteed to keep the kids interested!

Harry Potter Vibes at Glasgow University

University of Glasgow

  • Where: Glasgow, G12 8QQ
  • When: Anytime

If you’ve come to Scotland for its many centuries of history, then a Glasgow must see for you is going to be the local college. Glasgow University is steeped in history, and is the fourth oldest  to be found within any English-speaking country. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a Harry Potter filming set.

The respected institution is also a world top 100 university, and also one of the four ancient Scottish universities along with Aberdeen, St Andrews and Edinburgh. The Hunterian museum (mentioned above) and The Cloisters (see below) can also be found at Glasgow University.

Insta-shots at The Cloisters

The Cloisters at Glasgow University

Best for soaring arches

  • Where: Glasgow, G12 8QQ
  • When: Anytime

Also referred to as The Undercroft, The Cloisters are also situated within the Gilbert Scott Building at Glasgow University. One of the really cool things to do in Glasgow is to capture on camera the soaring arches here for posterity. 

The Cloisters connect the East and West quadrangles at the university, and also lead to the equally breathtaking Bute Hall. These incredibly photogenic arches and their handsome supporting columns have even featured on famous TV shows such as Outlander

The Botanics

Botanic Gardens in Glasgow

Best for global flora

  • Where: 730 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0UE
  • When: 7 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday

If you love plant life, then one of the best things to do in Glasgow for free has to be paying Glasgow Botanic Gardens a visit. As well as more than 9,000 plant species, the site has both tropical and temperate glasshouses. 

You can enter both the gardens and the glasshouses for free. The site also has added appeal as much of it is positioned on the banks of the River Kelvin. You can also find a lovely tea room here, so it’s easy to make a whole morning or afternoon of it. 

Enjoy nature in Glasgow’s many Parks

Glasgow Green

Best for green space

  • Where
    • Glasgow Green – Greendyke St, Saltmarket, Glasgow G1 5DB
    • Kelvingrove Park – Park Terrace, Glasgow G3 6BY
    • Pollok Country Park – 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Bellahouston, Glasgow G43 1AT
  • When: Varies

Free and cheap things to do in Glasgow on a dry day include making the most of the city’s lovely outdoor spaces. The city’s best parks include Glasgow Green, Kelvingrove and Pollok Country Park. 

Glasgow Green by the Clyde is the oldest in the city and where you’ll find the People’s Palace. Kelvingrove is a west end park by the River Kelvin, and home to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. 

Pollok Country Park occupies over 145 hectares, and in 2008 was named Europe’s best park. The vast gardens and woodlands at this country park make the perfect escape from the city.  

Wander around the Barras

The Barras (Glasgow)

Best for bargain buys

  • Where: 244 Gallowgate, Glasgow G1 5DX
  • When: 10 am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday

Whether you’ve picked up any Glaswegian during your travels or not, the name of The Barras is more self-explanatory than it may seem. The term literally translates as ‘barrow’, in the barrow boys and girls of any busy market.  

The Barras market in the East End of town is a great Glasgow attraction if you’re there on a weekend. Expect iconic archways, global food options and plenty of bargains to be had. It’s ideal for sampling a slice of local life too. 

The Burrell Collection

Best for decorative artefacts

  • Where: Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Bellahouston, Glasgow G43 1AT
  • When: 10 am to 5 pm daily, except opens 11 am Friday and Sunday

Along with the likes of Kelvingrove and the Gallery of Modern Art, the Burrell Collection is one of the most famous places to visit in Glasgow. Don’t miss it if you’re heading to Pollok Country Park, as it’s located there on the southwestern fringes of the city. 

The Burrell Collection is named for the well-heeled family who owned this artistic treasure trove. It comprises a combination of types, including ceramics and glass, woven tapestries and other decorative pieces. A major refurbishment completed in 2022 breathed even more life into this beautiful assortment of objets d’art.

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