Top free things to do in Glasgow

Must-see free things to do in Glasgow

Glasgow is filled with historical charm with the likes of its medieval cathedral and Mackintosh-designed buildings, but it’s also very renowned for its top modern and contemporary art collections, which can be appreciated at the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. Despite it being a popular city break, take the chance to embrace the green side to the city, whether it’s with a stroll around the leafy Botanic Gardens or further afield to country parks offering family friendly fun.

  1. Glasgow Cathedral
  2. Art mural trail
  3. The Lighthouse
  4. Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)
  5. Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
  6. Riverside Museum of Transport & Travel
  7. Botanic Gardens
  8. Mugdock Country Park

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1. Glasgow Cathedral

Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, Glasgow Cathedral is believed to be the burial site of St Mungo, the city’s patron saint. Guided tours generally take place twice a day, and if you book ahead there is also the opportunity to have a specialised tour focusing on one particular aspect of the cathedral, such as a stained glass or military memorial tour. While the tour and visit is free, you may feel inclined to leave a donation!

Best for: Seeing medieval Glasgow.

While you’re there: In the adjacent garden is the Victorian cemetery, which you can also take a tour of.

2. Art mural trail

Walking around Glasgow, you won’t miss the giant art murals that adorn many buildings’ walls. These vibrant splashes of art are often created by local artists, and taking a free street art tour – either with a guide or with your own audio/trail map – will see you wind your way through the streets of Glasgow while finding out more about the inspiration behind the artworks.

Best for: Street art fans.

While you’re there: Don’t miss the art mural of Glaswegian comedian Billy Connelly on Old Wynd, just off Osborne Street.

3. The Lighthouse

Spiral Permanent collection of Rennie Mackintosh (famed Scottish architect) works. The Lighthouse is a lesser-known spot amongst tourists, yet it has to be one of the top free things to do in Glasgow. Aside from the spiral staircase which leads onto panoramic views across the city, their collection features many works by Rennie Mackintosh, who was a famed Glaswegian architect between the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century.

Best for: Architecture fans.

While you’re there: Take time to admire the building itself, which was the first commission completed by Rennie Mackintosh himself.

4. Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)

This free Glasgow attraction is ideal for art lovers of modern and contemporary styles. Among the permanent collection at the Gallery of Modern Art is a display that tells the history of the building, which was originally built in the late 18th century and is styled in a grandiose Palladian affair. Aside from works by the likes of David Hockney and Andy Warhol, there’s also an interesting range of temporary exhibitions and changing collections.

Best for: Great art housed in a great building.

While you’re there: Go for a bite to eat at one of the nearby restaurants that surround this lively area.

5. Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Another great art gallery that’s worth a visit (and is free) is Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum , which is set in a beautiful red-brick building. Inside, there are 22 galleries which display a whopping 8000 objects, from natural history (meet Sir Roger the stuffed elephant) to a Spitfire plane.

Best for: Fun for all the family.

While you’re there: Stroll around Kelvingrove Park afterwards, where the river sweeps through.

6. Riverside Museum of Transport & Travel

Set in a funky jagged-looking building, the Riverside Museum of Transport & Travel is an award-winning museum that tells the story of Glasgow’s history. Expect the unexpected on display, with objects ranging from prams and skateboards to 18th and 19th century shopfronts. Plus, with interactive displays, it will help you feel as if you’ve travelled back in time.

Best for: Glasgow’s history.

While you're there: Moored on the river directly outside the museum is the Tall Ship, a sailing ship which is also free to enter.

7. Botanic Gardens

Away from the concrete jungle that many find Glasgow’s city centre to be, the Botanic Gardens make for a pleasantly green escape. With a huge glasshouse and well-clipped lawns surrounding it, this is a perfect spot for a picnic or to take in the range of plants on display here.

Best for: Green Glasgow.

While you’re there: Enjoy a light refreshment at their tearooms.

8. Mugdock Country Park

If you’re browsing Glasgow holiday packages, consider factoring in a trip to Mugdock Country Park , which lies around 10 miles from Glasgow. Here there’s the chance to try your hand at a number of fun activities, from archery to horse-riding. And don’t miss the Bronze Age farm!

Best for: Day trips.

While you’re there: Consider hiring a bike and cycling around the 2.5 miles of paths.

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