8 Amazing Free Things To Do in Glasgow
One of the truly incredible things about Glasgow is that so many of the city’s cultural attractions are completely free of charge (to everyone!) and, as a result, there are so many amazing ways to spend your time in the city without spending a penny. Whether you’re visiting the city for a few days (if so, welcome!), or live here and are looking for something to do this weekend, we’ve compiled a collection of the best free things to do around Glasgow! Feel free to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to let us know your own favourites.
Explore St Mungo’s Cathedral and Necropolis
Without doubt one of Glasgow’s most impressive tourist attractions, but one which is so often overlooked (even by locals)! St Mungo’s Cathedral is up there with some of the best in Europe with its magnificent gothic exterior and beautifully decorated interior. Visitors can not only explore the main body of the building, but also a number of the large underground chapels and chambers, making for an extremely atmospheric visit. To top of it all of though is an absolute must-see, the Necropolis. A winding road leads you up and up through several levels of graves and tombs, with the top offering scenic views across the city. The cathedral is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm every day except Sunday (1am to 4.30pm) and is located east of the City Centre, about a 15 minute walk from Buchanan Street subway station, or a 5 minute walk from High Street railway station.
Visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
One of the UK’s most visited museums outside of London, Kelvingrove is a large (although not huge) museum and art gallery with a fantastic permanent collection ranging from interactive exhibits about the Egyptians, to fine art from the Dutch Masters. It also contains one of Salvador Dali’s most famous works Christ of St John on The Cross, which really is a sight to behold. The gallery regularly plays host to touring and temporary exhibitions, although you’ll need to pay a few pounds to get into those. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day and is located in the West End, on the edge of Kelvingrove Park, less than a 5 minute walk from Kelvinhall subway station.
Visit the Riverside Museum
One of Glasgow’s newest museums, the Riverside used to simply be known as the Transport Museum and was situated directly across the road from Kelvingrove. In 2012 it moved into modern, custom built premises down by the river (hence the name) and now has a much larger collection of vehicles on display, as well as a reproduction of a Victorian street complete with shops and a pub. The Glenlee Tall Ship is now permanently situated on the river at the back of the museum, so visitors can enjoy going aboard and exploring for a small fee. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day and is located a 5-10 minute walk from Partick subway station.
Explore the West End
The West End is one of the most affluent areas of Glasgow and, as such, there’s plenty to see and do on a relaxed weekend stroll. Why not walk down Byres Road and into Partick, taking in a few charity, gift and second-hand book shops? Or you could hit one of the trendy bars on Ashton Lane, particularly nice on a warm summer’s day, or have a coffee in one of the many independent cafes on Great Western Road. A number of the other amazing free attractions on this list are in or near the West End, but sometimes it’s just as nice to wander! Glasgow’s West End is a loosely defined area, but to put yourself in the heart of it alight at Hillhead subway station (Byres Road) or Kelvinbridge (Great Western Road).
Relax in Kelvingrove Park
A large, landscaped park in Glasgow’s trendy West End, Kelvingrove boasts a several acres of grassland, a huge, ornate stone fountain, the beautiful River Kelvin as well as more modern facilities including a skate park and childrens’ play area. On a summer’s day it feels like the entire population of Glasgow descends to soak up some rays, but you can always find a space and join in with the amazing convivial atmosphere in this beautiful part of the city. You can walk to Kelvingrove park within just a few minutes from Hillhead, Kelvinhall or Kelvinbridge subway stations.
Discover the Botanic Gardens
At the very top of Byres Road, Glasgow boasts an impressive Botanic Gardens and Winter Garden featuring a huge variety of exotic plants within a number of different hot houses, all kept at just the right temperature and humidity to allow the different types of plant to thrive. Everything from cacti and succulents to huge banana palms can be found within, and the parkland surrounding the hot houses also contains a lot of beautiful shady spots and an impressive rose garden in summer. The Botanic Gardens are open from 7.00am to 5.30pm every day and can be walked to in less than 5 minutes from Hillhead subway station.
Visit the Gallery of Modern Art
Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (or GOMA as it’s known) opened in 1996 in an impressive 18th century neoclassical townhouse in Royal Exchange Square, and has had a constant stream of temporary exhibitions from both local and world-renowned artists every since. Besides the art, which certainly won’t always be to everyone’s tastes, the building also contains an Education and Access studio with regular workshops and talks, as well as a Learning Library in the basement. Arguably the most famous statue in Glasgow stands out the front, the Duke of Wellington astride his horse Copenhagen, which is regularly “vandalised” with a traffic cone on the duke’s head – an image which, particularly in recent years, has become quite symbolic of the city and has even been used on offical marketing products.
Walk Along the River Clyde
How could a list of tourist attractions in Glasgow be complete without the thing that started at all? The River Clyde may not be the star of the show any more as the city has sprawled away from it, but huge amounts of redevelopment of the waterfront over the last 10 years have made it better than ever for a quiet stroll. Particularly on a clear, early evening, the city looks truly beautiful from the South bank of the river and it’s possible to walk for a good mile or so uninterrupted from just South of St Enoch Square, all the way along to the Squinty Bridge at Finnieston.
There you have it! We hope you’ll get out and enjoy a few of these amazing free things to do in Glasgow, and don’t hesitate to connect with us on Facebook or Twitter if you have any favourites of your own.