Known as one of the friendliest cities in the world, Glasgow is also a great place for a family day out! There are plenty of child-friendly attractions including (free!) museums, stunning architecture, parks, a lively city centre and lots of family-friendly restaurants. We love visiting our family through in Glasgow and have built up a top 10 of favourite places to take our children. Here’s hoping it’ll provide you with some inspiration too!
1. Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
This place needs to be at the top of your list of things to do with kids in Glasgow! Located in the West End of Glasgow, this world class museum, which opened in 1901, is housed in a stunningly beautiful red sandstone building. There’s something for everyone from full-sized suspended Spitfire to world famous artworks. Your kids will love exploring the 22 galleries with an incredible 8000 objects on display. Allow a good 2 hours to get round the museum and don’t expect to see everything on your first visit!
Urban legend states that the building was built back to front and that the architect took his own life when he realized his mistake. Our curiosity got the better of us on one of our recent visits and so we decided to query this legend with a lovely member of staff. She was very pleased to dispel the myth explaining that back when the museum was built – some 100 hundred years ago – there was far less traffic and that the road that runs outside didn’t exist yet. This now gives the impression that the entrance is at the wrong side of the building.
2. Riverside museum
The Riverside museum, formerly known as the Transport Museum, is the place to go to if your kids are into Lightnight McQueen, Herbie or Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang. The museum is a wonderfully family friendly place that houses a wide array of vehicles including cars, bikes, motorbikes, trams, carriages, buses, steam engines and more. Not only does the museum feature every conceivable mode of transport, it also provides an insight into Victorian day Glasgow. Old street scenes have been recreated complete with horse and carriage as well as shop access.
Our kids loved dressing up in the Edwardian photography studio and having a giggle at the ‘No Spitting’ sign in the subway. Best of all, like most of Glasgow’s museums, it’s free of charge and makes for a great inexpensive family outing.
3. The Tall Ship
You don’t have to venture very far if you’re visiting the Riverside Museum as the Tall Ship is moored at the museum. You simply head out the back door and you’ll come face to face with the impressive Glenlee. The ship was originally built at the Bay Yard at Port Glasgow back in the late 19th century. Children can learn about maritime history, the living conditions of the crew onboard and they will no doubt delight in clanging the bell! There’s an audioguide available, a mini-cinema and an under 5s play area.
Entrance is free (although donations are encouraged).
4. Glasgow Science centre
This is an awesome place to visit for a family day out in Glasgow. The science centre is set over three floors and provides over 300 interactive science exhibits, robotics, intriguing illusions and much, much more. In fact, there’s so much to do you’ll have trouble fitting it all in! There’s an additional charge for the Planetarium. Highly recommended for all ages. Click here for information on how to get to the Glasgow Science Centre.
5. Scotland Street School Museum
This school-turned-museum was designed by the famous architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, in the early 1900s and offers a fascinating insight into life at school during the course of the last century. You can visit 3 classrooms which have been reconstructed in their original Victorian through to 50s style. There’s a dressing up area where children can try on Victorian era ‘Eton’ collars and waistcoats as well as the more basic war-time uniform (ties, collars and jumpers).
We were aware that parking was difficult in the area and so opted to catch the subway which stops almost directly across from the museum (Shields Road Subway station). Click here for subway timetable and map.
6. The People’s Palace
This is a great museum that explores Glasgow’s history from 1750 onwards. It’s set in the city’s oldest park, Glasgow Green, in the East End of Glasgow and you’ll discover how Glaswegians lived through the years. Be sure to check out the Doulton Fountain which dates back to 1888 when it was unveiled at Glasgow’s Empire Exhibition. Our kids particularly loved visiting the Steamie which is where housewives used to do their laundry before the advent of washing machines. The Winter Gardens are well worth a visit – set in a Victorian glasshouse – are part of the same building.
Good to know: The People’s Palace is closed on Mondays and the Winter Gardens are open daily.
7. Pollok Country Park
You can’t beat a large open space for kids to run around, can you? Pollok Country Park is Glasgow’s largest park and is the perfect spot for little ones to run off some energy. Located in the south side of Glasgow, approximately 5 miles from the city centre, you’ll need to drive or alternatively catch the train to Pollockshaws West.
There are plenty of trails and paths, a great children’s playpark, a fairy village in the walled garden, a café, sheltered woodlands and Highland cattle. The estate is also home to the famous ‘Burrell Collection’ which is unfortunately closed at present as it’s undergoing restoration work.
8. The Lighthouse
Another Charles Rennie Mackintosh gem! Located in the city center, the Lighthouse was the first public commission completed by the famous Glasgwegian architect, artist and designer. The building used to house the Glasgow Herald but is now Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. There are a number of exhibits to check out and your kids are bound to enjoy climbing to the top of the impressive spiral staircase. You’ll be rewarded with some fabulous panoramic views of Glasgow from the top.
9. Street Art Mural Chasing
Back in 2008, Glasgow city council launched a mural art trail project. The idea was to help rejuvenate and revitalize tired and rundown areas within Glasgow. The project was officially launched in 2014 and there are now almost 30 murals dotted across the city. We have found it so much fun to go on a street art hunt with our kids depending on what part of town we were in. You can download the mural trail map here. A recent addition is a mural trail audio map which provides a virtual guided tour of the city centre murals. It’s such a great way for Glasgow to showcase what a fantastic city it is!
10. Trampolining Centre
Architecture, science, art… hmmm yeah, they’re higher on my list of priorities than my kids’, lol. They’ll choose trampolining any day over a bit of ‘culture’. Hey ho, sometimes you just have to roll with it. Any time we’re heading to Glasgow they want to know if we’re going to the *massive* trampolining centre. There are several and the one we’re most familiar with is Ryze which is located close to the city centre. Alternatively, if you have your own transport, you can head to Flip Out Glasgow in Rutherglen or Gravity Trampoline Park at Soar in Braehead.
Bonus! City Sightseeing Bus
This is a bonus one! Maybe you’re short on time and wanting to fit in as much as possible into to your trip to Glasgow or perhaps you have little ones with tired legs… if so, why not consider catching the Hop-on Hop-off tour bus. It’s a great way to visit the entire city and to get dropped off at all the must-see visitor sites. Check the tour map here
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of things to do in Glasgow with kids. Undoubtedly there are many more family attractions to be added to the list but we thought this would hopefully be a good starting point for you. Let us know if there’s an absolute must that we’ve missed and we’ll include it in this post!