15 Free Things to Do in Glasgow

By Rachael Funk

You’ve made it to Scotland’s largest city! Famous for its art, architecture, and culture, your options to build the perfect day are endless. If you have some free time in the city and are looking for some money-savvy ways to enjoy yourself, here are a few of the best free ways to enjoy the city.

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1. Enjoy The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel

A gigantic transport museum, this is a place that will delight anyone who loves trains, planes, ships, cars, and more. The museum is free and across from the entrance, an out-of-use cargo ship called Glenlee is also available for exploration. Swab the deck while you learn about the history of the vessel!

2. Check out The Lighthouse

Scotland’s center for design and architecture, this exhibition space opened in the late 1990s and has no entry fee. Enjoy the original art and learn about how some of it was made!

3. Walk The Necropolis

This Victorian cemetery is a gorgeous stroll for those in want of a peaceful afternoon. Boasting breathtaking views from the top, the 3500 monuments left standing in the cemetery give a calm afternoon a gothic feel.

4. Stroll through the Glasgow Botanic Gardens

A relic from the 1800s, the grounds are filled with greenhouses to explore and even features a tea house if you would like to stop for tea. Divided by different regions of the earth, you can see vegetation that grows in several different climates.

5. Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

This exciting venue is divided into two sections. One is the museum, which focuses on natural history, world cultures, and archeology. On the other side, you will find the art gallery, which features paintings, furniture, and Scottish art. There’s so much to see, you can even make separate trips to enjoy things one section at a time.

6. Stop by Kelvingrove Park

A short walk from the city center, the atmosphere at this park is lively and welcoming, thanks to the students who also frequent the area. There are riverside trails for walking and cycling, a grassy area for games and picnics, and even a skate park.

7. Learn about the architecture of Glasgow University

One of Scotland’s four ancient universities, this one was founded in 1451. The stunning architecture is sure to please. You can take a self-guided tour of the campus or opt for a guided tour to learn about the history and architecture of the campus more thoroughly.

8. See the Hunterian Museum

Scotland’s oldest public museum, this one is actually on the University of Glasgow’s campus. The museum’s collections include meteorites, mummies, fossils, and Roman artifacts. For fanatics of the macabre, the Anatomy Museum has a collection of body parts also available for perusal.

9. Climb the largest marble staircase in the world

The marble staircase in Glasgow City Chambers is known as the largest in the world. The stairs are white Carrera marble, with the first and second floors of the building also made of marble. Upon entering the building, you will be asked if you have business in the City Chambers. Since it’s unlikely you will, you can just join one of the building’s public tours and enjoy a rich education as you explore.

10. Immerse yourself in the Gallery of Modern Art

GoMA, Scotland’s most visited art gallery, can be found in the Royal Exchange Square. The ever-changing contemporary art exhibitions make this a place you can return to time after time and still discover something new. Outside the museum stands the famous Duke of Wellington Statue, which now permanently wears a traffic cone, thanks to some local pranksters. The statue’s modification has since become a symbol of the city’s good humor.

11. Explore the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

An excellent place to learn about Glasgow’s social history and culture, the People’s Palace on the Glasgow Green is the city’s oldest public space. It holds a collection of photos, artifacts, and films that show how people lived from the 18th to the 20th century. The winter conservatory offers exotic plant life that makes for a cozy escape from rainy weather.

12. Rummage through the Polmadie Car Boot Sale

Regarded as the best Car Boot Sale in Scotland, this “undercover” market sells everything you can dream of. Dig through the stalls of fresh produce, DVDs, baked goods, or untold surprise treasures. Looking is free, but you may want to keep a few extra dollars in your pocket, just in case you find something you can’t live without.

13. Pass an afternoon in Pollok Country Park

This beautiful park is open daily, all year round, so you’ll never have to worry about scheduling. Here, you can wander through the lush park and riverside walks at your leisure. Pop by the open stables to visit Highland cattle and horses, or snap a few pictures of your relaxing afternoon by the waterfall. There’s also a play area with a nearby ice cream van if you can’t resist indulging your inner child.

14. Meander through the Glasgow Cathedral

Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, this cathedral was built on the spot where St. Mungo is believed to have been buried in 612 AD. This architectural marvel survived the 1560 Reformation and stands proudly in Glasgow today, welcoming visitors with a keen eye for architecture and an interest in its history.

15. Snap some photos at the Finnieston Crane and The Clyde

A symbol of Glasgow’s past, the Finnieston Crane is left from the age when the shipyards made this city one of the most important industrial cities in the world. The cantilever crane can be found among other landmarks on the Clyde, the river upon which Glasgow was built. Take a journey back in time as you walk along the banks of the river and learn about the city’s industrial past.

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