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Best Things To Do With Kids In Glasgow

best things to do with kids in glasglow

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The largest city in Scotland (but not the official capital), and the fourth most highly populated city in the United Kingdom, Glasgow’s destiny has been shaped by the sea, the River Clyde, and shipbuilding. The location is stunning, and it’s thought there has been a settlement here since prehistoric times.

The city has also been shaped by the Industrial Revolution, and world-class art of all kinds. There are two football teams with an ongoing rivalry, gorgeous architecture, and all kinds of gorgeous buildings and parks to explore. There are quirky street names, gorgeous and unexpected art murals, and excellent interactive methods of exploring the city’s past. 

Table of Contents


What it is: Regularly voted one of the top visitor attractions in Glasgow, this family-friendly and very accessible gallery and museum has over 8,000 items on display in its 22 galleries, all of which are themed and state-of-the-art. It was first opened in 1901

Why we liked it: It doesn’t matter what you’re into, you’ll probably find a gallery to appeal here: arms and armour; art; historical artefacts; natural history….not to mention Sir Roger (the Asian elephant) and the Spitfire aeroplane randomly hanging from the ceiling. The building itself is also gorgeous – it’s like stepping into something out of Harry Potter. (You get that a lot in Glasgow!)

There are podcasts and downloadable games and activities on offer to help you enjoy the museum to its fullest. Check at the reception desk for details of the organ recitals in the museum 

More information about the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Address: Argyle Street, Glasgow, City Of Glasgow, G3 8AG

Opening hours: 10am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and Saturday; 11am to 5pm Friday and Sunday. 


What it is: GoMA, as it is often called, is right in the heart of the city, with a library and four galleries to enjoy. Exhibitions change regularly, and there are also downloadable games and activities designed for families to get the best out of the venue – these aren’t available at the venue, so remember to download them in advance.

Exhibitions change regularly and workshops are also held to help visitors explore the items in the collection, and there’s a Learning Library in the basement. 

Why we liked it: The building is stunning and has been used for various purposes since the Royal Bank of Scotland bought it in 1817. Every time we’ve visited it’s been absolutely bustling, and we love counting the mirrors including the mirrors on the outside and the vestibule.

And of course, we have to mention the statue of the Duke of Wellington that stands outside the gallery – it regularly sports a traffic cone on its head. The authorities regularly remove it; the cone regularly reappears.

Although it’s usually a standard orange and white traffic cone, it has also been decorated for other events through the years, including painted gold in the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

More information about the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art

Address: Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AH

Opening hours: 10am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and Saturday; 11am to 5pm Friday and Sunday 

Hunterian Museum and Hunterian Zoology Museum


What it is: Glasgow is absolutely packed with great museums and galleries, and this is one of the most quintessentially “Glasgow” that we know. The Mackintosh House nearby is the only surviving interior of a domestic nature from the life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of the most distinctive Art Nouveau artists and architects.

The gallery is free (apart from some special exhibitions), but to see the house itself for free, look out for free open days which take place every so often. 

Why we liked it: The museum is part of the University of Glasgow, which is worth a visit in its own right – despite the fact no scenes from Harry Potter were ever filmed here, the atmosphere on campus lulls you into thinking they were… We loved the sheer diversity and slight randomness of the items on display in the museum – mummies, meteorites, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. 

More information about the Hunterian Museum and Hunterian Zoology Museum

Address: University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead St, Glasgow G12 8QQ

Opening hours: 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday (main Hunterian); 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (Zoology Museum). 

Riverside Museum of Transport

Riverside Museum of Transport

What it is: Another of Glasgow’s great museums, this was created by Glasgow Life earlier this century. Visitors get a real insight into how transport has shaped the city. Glasgow has also been known for many years for its creative and enduring engineering. .There are over three thousand items in the collection that help bring those skills to life with the aid of more than 90 large touch screens displaying films and memories. 

Why we liked it: The items in the collection are fascinating, but so is the design of the building itself. We also found it really interesting to learn about the various green features of the location – it’s won a Gold Award from the Green Tourism scheme run by Visit Scotland. The other aspect we loved was that there is plenty of space to see the vehicles to their best advantage.

Walking down the old cobbled street as it would have looked in Glasgow’s history from 1895 right up to the 1980s was also great fun – and how can you not fall in love with a museum that has prams, cars, skateboards, and stormtroopers on display?

More information about the Riverside Museum of Transport

Address:  100 Pointhouse Rd, Partick, Glasgow G3 8RS

Opening hours: 10am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and Saturday; 11am to 5pm Friday and Sunday. 

Fossil Grove, Victoria Park

Fossil Grove, Victoria Park

What it is: Glasgow is packed with great parks, and this has to be one of the quirkiest – it’s almost certainly the oldest thing in Glasgow. There are only eleven tree stumps in the grove, but they’re around 330 million years of age. They were rediscovered in 1887 when a new path was being cut through an old quarry that had fallen into disuse. Both the fossils and the building are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Why we liked it: It’s not every day you can step back into the past 330 million years, and we got even more out of the visit because we’d watched the recording of a talk from September 2020 that had taken place on Zoom. We’d also planned to be there for one of the open days when children’s activities were taking place, and it made a world of difference. The park itself is attractive too, but if you’re into rocks, trees, geo-conservation, or history, this is a very unusual exhibit. 

More information about the Fossil Grove, Victoria Park

Address: 51 Victoria Park Dr S, Glasgow G14 9QR

Opening hours: Check the website for opening times; open afternoons are usually on the third Sunday of the month between 12 noon and 4pm; between April to September opening hours may also be extended, usually from 12 noon to 5pm. 

Tall Ship Glenlee/The Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour

Tall Ship Glenlee/The Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour

What it is: Just outside the Transport Museum is the Tall Ship Glenlee, a former merchant sailing vessel and the only floating sailing ship to have been built on the Clyde. It’s a three-masted, square-rigged cargo barque made of steel, built in 1896, which has sailed the world several times. She’s been a vessel for cargo, a naval classroom in Spain, and now a tourist attraction on the Clyde. 

Why we liked it: We loved the thought that had gone into making this a fun and entertaining visit for kids – there was a play area for under 5s in the cargo hold and even a mouse hunt on board the vessel. We booked in advance as suggested for groups of our size as there were eight of us, and managed to visit on one of the themed days held throughout the year. The living quarters and galley give a real idea of what life must have been like on board. Ringing the bell and the galley were our two favourite pastimes. 

More information about the Tall Ship Glenlee/The Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour

Address: 150 Pointhouse Rd, Stobcross Rd, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS

Opening hours: 10am to 5pm Wednesday to Sunday British Summer Time; there may be additional hours during school holidays. 10am to 3.30pm Wednesday to Sunday Greenwich Mean Time (winter). The last admission is half an hour (30 minutes) before the attraction closes. 

Glasgow Police Museum

glasgow police museum

What it is: The museum’s name describes exactly what it’s all about; it’s packed with text boards and items that give a great insight into the first Police force in Britain, the City of Glasgow Police. Two of the main exhibitions are the Glasgow Police Historical Exhibition and the International Police Exhibition, which has over two thousand items of uniforms from all around the world. 

Why we liked it: We knew we were in for a treat when we found out the attraction had won several awards for excellence and the Travellers’ Choice award in 2022, and we weren’t disappointed. We also enjoyed the fact there were competitions aimed at children and certificates to be won for junior detectives sharp-eyed enough to track down the Lego figures in the Lego Manhunt. Technically this is aimed at kids under 8, but we have to confess we all enjoyed it. There’s a slightly different quiz for those over 9 (they can also win a certificate from the Glasgow Police Museum – Junior Detective Award). 

More information about the Glasgow Police Museum

Address: First Floor, 30 Bell Street, Merchant City, Glasgow, G1 1LG

Opening hours: 10am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday, 12 noon to 4.30pm Sunday (summer hours); 10am to 4.30pm Tuesdays and Sundays from 1 November to 31 March. 

City Centre Mural Trail

City Centre Mural Trail

What it is: Glasgow is a city that constantly reinvents itself, especially when it comes to art, and since 2008 this has included street murals around the city created by local artists. The Mural Trail takes you on a tour of artwork that can be reached easily on foot from Glasgow city centre. The images include Strathclyde University, St Enoch and Child, a modern interpretation of the founding story of the city; Saint Mungo, Fellow Glasgow Residents, the Clutha, and Space Man. Every image has a story. 

Why we liked it: We loved following the trail to take in the colour, the size, and the randomness of the images, from saints and astronauts to cityscapes and comedians. (A larger-than-life Billy Connolly is not to be ignored!) Our most admired, though, was probably Glasgow Panda, closely followed by Glasgow Crocodile and Bubbles, with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids a very close runner-up. You don’t have to do the whole trail at once – if you’re visiting other attractions nearby you can just throw in a mural, as it were…

More information about the City Centre Mural Trail

Address: Glasgow G1 1NQ, example postcode

Opening hours: 24/7, all year round (weather permitting!)

Seven Lochs Wetland Park

Seven Lochs Wetland Park

What it is: This is a relatively new nature and heritage park, crossing over the boundary between North Lanarkshire and Glasgow councils. It’s a great place to enjoy some fresh air and a pleasant walk or space to spread out and play, or to enjoy some of the heritage activities on offer. There are five nature reserves, seven lochs, miles of paths, and a country park to explore covering 20 square kilometres in total. If you’re feeling super energetic you can follow the marked trail from Drumpellier Country Park to Hogganfield Park – ten km in total. 

Why we liked it: We loved looking out for the wildlife, and trekking through the meadows and the woods, but there were also some great stonework features to spot as well as play spaces making the most of nature which local school children had helped to create.

The lochs, ponds, and reed beds are great habitats for all kinds of creatures, whatever the season. Our favourite time of year to visit is probably autumn, when we’ve been lucky enough to see roe deer. 

More information about the Seven Lochs Wetland Park

Address: 1240 Cumbernauld Rd, Glasgow G33 1AH

Opening hours: 10am to 6pm every day; check the website for bank holiday opening times

Tollcross Children’s Farm and Tollcross Park

Tollcross Children’s Farm and Tollcross Park 

What it is: This is a great chance for kids (and grown-ups!) to find out more about farm animals, including chickens, ferrets, lovebirds, peacocks, ponies, pigs, rabbits, and even alpacas. There’s also, apparently, a somewhat shy golden pheasant in there. The park is in quite a busy part of Glasgow and offers a tranquil location to catch your breath. 

Why we liked it: The farm isn’t huge, but we enjoyed the friendly atmosphere very much, especially for the younger children in the group. There’s a pleasant little river, and if you go into the park itself at the right time of year the rose garden is gorgeous. 

In the park itself, you can also explore the Glen Nature Walk and the Winter Gardens. Look out for the full-size Highland Cow as you go into the farm. 

More information about the Tollcross Children’s Farm and Tollcross Park 

Address: 254B Wellshot Rd, Glasgow G32 7AX

Opening hours: 10am to 3.30pm, Saturday to Thursday; 10am to 3pm, Fridays.

Honourable Mentions

Spiral Staircase in the Lighthouse

There is so much to do and see in Glasgow that it can be difficult to narrow it down sometimes, but some of our other favourite haunts include the River Clyde and the Finnieston Crane, a giant reminder of the city’s engineering past; the Spiral Staircase in the Lighthouse – another Mackintosh design – do check in advance to see if it is having one of its free days; Glasgow Cathedral, the oldest building in the city, dating from 1197; Pollok Park (there is a parking charge and a cost to visit the house itself); and simply collecting place names as you travel around the city, from Sauchiehall Street to Clayslaps Road.

Written by
David Prior

David Prior is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and the editor of Big Family Breaks. He is also a father of five and an experienced traveller, especially with kids.

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