Best family-friendly museums
Glasgow is a cultural hub and there are plenty of museums that the whole family can enjoy. Whether they’re into art or science, take your pick from these great options.
Glasgow Science Centre
For a morning or afternoon of hands-on science fun, you can’t beat this Glasgow science museum. Located on the south bank of the River Clyde, it’s roughly a half hour stroll from Central Station, or you can hop on a bus to take you a short walk away. There are lots of interactive exhibitions, including a planetarium and the Glasgow Tower, which holds the Guinness World Record for the tallest fully rotating freestanding structure in the world. The Glasgow Science Centre website even has a handy list of exhibits suitable for under 7s, so you can keep even your littlest ones happy.
The Riverside Museum is an award-winning transport museum housed in an iconic building designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. Kids and adults alike will be fascinated by the life-sized Glasgow street which you can walk up and down to get a flavour of what the city was like in years gone by, and if your little ones love trains and buses, they’ll have great fun sitting inside the old carriages. Docked beside the museum is the Tall Ship Glenlee, which you can hop aboard and find out more about her voyages all around the world. The Tall Ship and Riverside Museum are both free to visit.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Located in Glasgow’s leafy West End, this beautiful building houses a huge array of different displays. Look up and you’ll see a Spitfire plane, or get up close and personal with Sir Roger the Asian elephant. The museum’s displays have been designed with kids in mind, so they’re easy to read and understand and are sure to provoke some interesting family discussions. Kelvingrove is one of the city’s most popular art galleries, and for good reason. It’s a must-visit on any trip.
Best parks in Glasgow
Glasgow is also known as the ‘Dear Green Place’, a literal translation of the city’s name from Gaelic. With over 90 parks and green spaces in the city, there’s sure to be one near you, no matter where in the city you’re staying. They offer a great way to spend a couple of hours - especially if you’re looking for free attractions - and most have family-friendly things to do if a walk in the park doesn’t quite cut it.
In the East End of the city, Glasgow Green is an easy walk from Central Station. In less than half an hour, you’ll be in the centre of the oldest park in the city. Established in the 15th century, it covers 136 acres right in the heart of Glasgow City Centre, and has lots to see and do. Spend some time in the playpark and explore the People’s Palace, a museum documenting how Glaswegians lived and worked throughout the ages.
If you’re spending time at Kelvingrove Art Gallery, be sure to combine it with a visit to this beautiful park. Spend some time watching the skateboarders, enjoy the three play parks within its grounds, and grab a refreshment from one of the many cafes surrounding the park before exploring the city some more.
Pollok Country Park
If you want to see highland cows, this is the place to go. This huge park covers 361 acres and you can easily reach it by taking a train from Glasgow Central to Pollokshaws West. There, you’ll find woodland walks to suit every age, a walled garden, playpark, wildlife garden and, of course, highland cows roaming free in their field. There’s also Pollok House and the Burrell Collection located within the grounds of Pollok Country Park, if the kids are up for more art galleries - and if not, both have great restaurants for a quick bite to eat.
On the outskirts of Glasgow, this woodland park on the banks of the Clyde is a great place to let the kids run off steam. There are plenty of walking paths for all abilities, as well as three different cycling routes if you’ve brought your bikes on the train with you. You’ll also find Scotland’s first outdoor bouldering park in Cuningar, perfect for Spiderman wannabes.
If you’re staying in Glasgow’s south side, Bellahouston is well worth a visit. A quiet, open green space with lots of walking trails, play areas, and a pitch and putt, there’s lots to keep the little ones busy for an hour or so. The main attraction, though, is House For An Art Lover, designed by Glasgow’s most famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Children under 10 go free if you want to have a look around the house, and the cafe serves great meals and snacks if you just need somewhere to relax in-between activities.
Fun things to do for the whole family
If you want to have a little fun on your visit to Glasgow, be sure to add these attractions to your itinerary for an action-packed family day out. Big and little kids alike are sure to have a whale of a time!
Hop-on, hop-off bus tour
A bus tour is one of the best ways to orient yourself and become acquainted with the different areas of the city. Leaving from George Square in Glasgow City Centre, you’ll get a running commentary with fascinating facts about the city as you drive around 21 different sights. Jump off the bus at any point, whether you want to stretch your legs with a walk along the Clyde or want to explore one of the museums mentioned above.
Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre is an experience like no other, and just a few minutes walk from Glasgow City Centre. A truly unique exhibition, it features kinemats made from found objects and scrap metal, each of which dance to beautifully synchronised music. There are three shows to choose from, with a 30-minute and 60-minute option both billed as being suitable for children.
Xsite at Braehead
Wear the kids out before bedtime with a visit to this activity centre. From trampolining to skiing at Snow Factor, Scotland’s only year-round snow sport resort, there’s something for children of every age. There’s also an Odeon cinema, climbing centre, tenpin bowling, and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop so you can make a full day of it.
For kids’ climbing closer to the city centre, visit The Climbing Academy at The Newsroom. Just hop on the subway to Kinning Park and you’ll find this fantastic climbing centre with an area specifically designed for under 8s. Also close to the city is Glasgow Climbing Centre, near both Cessnock and Ibrox subway stations, with family climbing sessions on offer to help your little one learn the ropes - literally.
Treat video game fans to an hour-pass for an all-ages session in this retro arcade, allowing them to play as many different games and consoles as they like. They’ve got all the classics like Donkey Kong and Pacman - in fact, with so many options, an hour might not be long enough!
The Craft Pottery
Let them show off their art skills with a visit to The Craft Pottery, one of the city’s most creative attractions. Pick a piece of pottery and paint it however you like. It’s a seriously fun activity for little kids to hone their artistic side, and for big kids to relax and unwind. The only downside is that the pieces can take up to a week until they’re ready for collection as they need to be fired and glazed, so it’s best if you can get a friend or family member to pick them up and post them on - otherwise, you’ll just have to come back to Glasgow for another visit!
Book your tickets to Glasgow
Are you ready to experience all the fun things Scotland’s biggest city has to offer? Whether you’re travelling from London or Liverpool, it couldn’t be easier to reach Glasgow City Centre by train. Book your tickets, choose which family-friendly activity you want to do first, and discover everything this modern, bustling city has to offer. From free attractions to exciting experiences, you’re spoiled for choice in Glasgow.
Getting there by train
So, have you decided where to go for a day out in England, Scotland or Wales? Whatever city’s independent shops you’ve got your heart set on, Avanti West Coast can take you there. You can book any train journey through our Journey Planner
, even if the stations and services aren’t run by Avanti West Coast.