10 free things to do in Glasgow

Spoil yourself with a trip to the largest city in Scotland and experience unlimited art, architecture and natural beauty, all without spending a penny.

Have a look at our top free picks for the perfect Travelodgical breaks in Glasgow.

1. Gallery of Modern Art

You’ll find GoMA, Scotland’s most-visited art gallery, in a grand neoclassical building in the Royal Exchange Square. Its contemporary art exhibitions are always changing, so you can discover something new on every visit. On your way into the gallery, make sure you stop for a photo with the iconic Duke of Wellington Statue, which is permanently crowned with a traffic cone thanks to the determined work of some local pranksters. The statue has become an eccentric symbol of the city’s characteristic humour and spirit.

Royal Exchange Square, 111 Queen Street, Glasgow G1 3AH, Scotland. Open 10am-5pm on Monday-Wednesday and Saturday, 10am-8pm on Thursday and 11am-5pm on Sunday.

2. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

You can easily spend a whole afternoon in this excellent museum and gallery by Kelvingrove Park. There’s an incredible variety of things to see, including natural history exhibits with dinosaurs and other animals, one of the finest armour collections in the world, objects from ancient Egypt and other cultures, plus Scottish historical and archaeological treasures. The art gallery showcases Dutch masters, French impressionists, and Scottish art. It also has a gallery dedicated to local legend Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style he inspired.

Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AG, Scotland. Open 10am-5pm Mon-Thurs and Saturdays, and 11am-5pm on Fridays and Sundays.

© Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP

3. The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel

This hands-on riverside museum is just outside the city centre on the banks of the Clyde. It has a large collection of over 3,000 interesting historic vehicles including steam trains, Glasgow trams and trolley buses, vintage cars, motorbikes and even – possibly – the world’s oldest bicycle. There’s also a recreation of an old-fashioned Glasgow street with shops, subway station and pub, where you can take a step back through time. Out on the river, you can go inside the Tall Ship Glenlee, which has a fun play area for under 5s inside the cargo hold.

100 Pointhouse Place, Glasgow G3 8RS, Scotland. Open 10am-5pm Mon-Thurs and Saturdays, and 11am-5pm on Fridays and Sundays.

4. Botanic Gardens and Kibble Palace

Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens are a relaxing, family-friendly oasis within easy walking distance of the city centre. On a sunny day you can take a picnic and enjoy a stroll through the themed gardens whilst the kids monkey about in the play area. Or if it’s raining, head inside the stunning Kibble Palace, a Victorian glass house filled in with tropical plants from arid deserts and humid rainforests.

730 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0UE, Scotland. Open daily 7am-dusk.

5. Pollok Country Park

Visit the lovely Pollok Park on the south side of the city and combine a wander through the countryside with a dose of nature. Stroll through woodland and riverside walks, visit Highland cattle and horses in the open stables, and as if that wasn’t enough, there’s even a picture-perfect waterfall. For families, there’s a play area with a nearby ice cream van to treat the little ones.

2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G43 1AT, Scotland. Park open daily, all year round.

6. Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis

This dramatic cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries on the spot where Glasgow’s patron saint St Mungo is said to be buried. Handily it’s just off the high street, and well worth a detour for the beautiful stained glass windows and impressive interior. You can book free guided tours through the cathedral if you want to delve deeper into its history. There’s also the beautiful and atmospheric Necropolis cemetery, which is on the hillside behind the cathedral. It offers amazing views of the city.

Castle Street, Glasgow G4 0RH, Scotland. Cathedral open 9.30am-4pm Mon-Sat and 1-4pm on Sundays. The Necropolis is open daily from 7am-7pm.

7. People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

The People’s Palace is on Glasgow Green – the city’s oldest public space. It’s home to a collection of historical artefacts, photographs, prints and film that show how Glaswegians lived, worked and played from the 18th to the 20th century. If you’re interested in Glasgow’s culture and social history or just fancy a nosy at how people once lived, it’s well worth a look. Outside, there are beautiful grounds on the banks of the river Clyde to explore, or if it’s raining you can wander through the exotic palms in the Winter Gardens conservatory. And to top it off, there’s a nice brewery nearby where you can have lunch.

Glasgow Green, Glasgow G40 1AT, Scotland. Open Tues-Thurs and Saturday 10am-5pm, and 11am-5pm on Sundays. Closed on Mondays.

8. Hunterian Museum

Scotland’s oldest public museum, the Hunterian is housed in various venues on the University of Glasgow Campus. There’s an incredible collection of items, from fossils and meteorites to mummies and Roman artefacts. Its Art Gallery is famous for Mackintosh and Whistler collections, and for those with a taste for the weird and wonderful, there’s an Anatomy Museum where you can see body parts collected by the Museum’s namesake, anatomist William Hunter.

Glasgow University, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, Scotland. Open Tues-Sat 10am-5pm and 11am-4pm on Sundays. Closed on Mondays.

9. The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse, AKA Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s tucked away down a side street in Glasgow’s main shopping district, ready to be discovered by curious visitors. Climb the incredible spiral staircase for panoramic views of the city, or browse through the centre’s permanent collection of Rennie Mackintosh’s works. There are also changing exhibits on architecture, design and art.

11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow G1 3NU, Scotland. Open Mon-Sat 10.30am-5pm and Sun 12-5pm.

10. Kelvingrove Park

This huge park is a short walk from the city centre, next to the University of Glasgow and behind the Kelvingrove Museum. It’s often frequented by students and there’s a vibrant, lively atmosphere. You’re spoiled for choice here, with riverside trails along the Kelvin for walking and cycling, a skate park, and grassy areas for games and picnics. It’s well equipped for families too, with a play area kids will flock to on sunny days.

Otago Street, Glasgow, Scotland. Open daily from 6am-6pm.

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