14 Best Free Things to Do in Glasgow

Last Updated: by Craig Neil.

Glasgow is a city that’s chock-a-block full of great tourist attractions, from the Riverside Museum of Transport to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. In fact, there are so many things to see and do in Glasgow that it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed when planning a day out, especially if you’re including the city’s award-winning theatres, restaurants, museums, and art galleries in your visit.

Unfortunately, visiting many of those attractions comes at a cost, meaning a fun-filled day out can end up being a huge pain in the wallet.

So is there any way to save money on a day trip to Scotland’s largest city? Well, the most obvious thing to do is cut out the cost of attraction tickets – which is exactly where this article comes in.

In the following list, you’ll find suggestions for some of the top places to visit in Glasgow, featuring everything from museums to public parks – with the added bonus that most attractions can be walked from the city centre, meaning you can save a few quid on transport as well.

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral
Address:Castle Street,
Glasgow,
G4 0QZ
Opening Hours:1 Apr to 30 Sept:
Mon to Sat, 10 am to 5 pm
Sun, 1 pm to 5 pm
Last entry 4.30 pm

1 Oct to 31 Mar:
Mon to Sat, 10 am to 4 pm
Sun, 1 pm to 5 pm
Last entry 4:30 pm

Closed for lunch 12 noon to 1 pm
Admission Price:Free
Parking:Paid car park on Castle Street
Contact:0141 276 1614
Facilities:Shop, disabled access. Toilets at the St. Mungo museum.
Photos:Virtual Tour
YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: Glasgow Cathedral

This medieval building, built in the 1100s, is dedicated to St. Kentigern (also known as St. Mungo) and is one of the most complete medieval structures in Scotland.

The cathedral is managed by Historic Environment Scotland which has installed informative displays that explain its history and how it was instrumental in turning Glasgow into a major British city.

Glasgow Cathedral’s stunning Gothic architecture is certainly impressive, but it’s the interior that’s the main draw for visitors thanks to its gigantic nave. Children will love exploring the cathedral’s nooks and crannies which include the crypt containing the remains of St. Kentigern, while all ages will marvel at the multi-coloured lights cast by the ornate stained glass windows.

There are no facilities in the cathedral other than a gift shop at the entrance, but there are toilets in the St. Mungo Museum next door.

St. Mungo Museum of Religion

St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art
Address:2 Castle Street,
Glasgow,
G4 0RH
Opening Hours:Monday Closed
Tuesday 10:00 – 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 – 17:00
Thursday 10:00 – 17:00
Friday 11:00 – 17:00
Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
Admission Price:Free
Parking:No on-site car park. Paid car park on Castle Street.
Contact:0141 276 1625
museums@glasgowlife.org.uk
Facilities:Cafe, shop, toilets, wheelchair access, cloakroom, hearing loop
Photos:YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: St. Mungo Museum

Located next to Glasgow Cathedral, the St. Mungo Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to religion. Inside, the Museum of Religious Life houses a diverse collection of artefacts collected from around the globe that are presented in an educational and engaging way.

The museum does an excellent job of exploring the world’s cultures and how they’re affected by religion while providing an unbiased viewpoint on religions from both the past and present. Some of the fine art that’s on display is on par with that found in Kelvingrove Art Gallery, but the museum also includes modern creative touches such as a display about the TV show ‘Charlie’s Angels’.

In addition to the museum, highlights of a visit include an elevated view of the nearby cathedral (don’t forget your camera), a very good cafe, and a gift shop.

Glasgow Necropolis

The Necropolis
Address:Wishart Street,
Glasgow,
G4 0UZ
Opening Hours:24/7
Admission Price:Free
Parking:Paid car park on Castle Street
Contact:To book a tour - tours@glasgownecropolis.org
Facilities:None
Photos:Virtual Tour
YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: Glasgow Necropolis

The Glasgow Necropolis is a Victorian burial site with a park-like layout, featuring winding paths and an enormous collection of over 3,500 gravestones. The burial plots include many religious backgrounds including Catholics, Quakers, Protestants, and Jews, alongside ornate memorials that offer a fascinating glimpse into Glasgow’s past.

The most famous tomb is that of John Knox which is located on the highest point of the cemetery and has superb views of the city. Other notable graves include William Miller who wrote the nursery rhyme ‘Wee Willie Winkie’, and the grave of the very first person to be buried in the Necropolis, an 18th-century Jewish jeweller.

For a deeper understanding of the Necropolis’s history, you can join an informal two-hour walking tour led by a volunteer guide. The tour is free, but donations are welcome.

Kelvingrove Park

Kelvingrove Park
Address:Kelvingrove Park,
Kelvin Way,
Glasgow,
G3 6BY
Opening Hours:24/7
Admission Price:Free
Parking:No on-site car park. Kelvingrove SPT car park nearby.
Contact:0141 334 6363
Facilities:Toilets, play areas, sports pitches, cafes, skateboard park, disabled access
Photos:YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: Kelvingrove Park

Kelvingrove Park is most famous for being the home of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – one of Scotland’s most-visited free attractions – but it’s worth visiting in its own right as it offers a variety of activities for all ages.

The Lawn Bowls and Tennis Centre (a venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games) has six tennis courts and bowling greens, while the Kelvingrove skate park can be found near the Stewart Memorial Fountain, a stunning monument built in 1872.

The location of the Lord Frederick Roberts Memorial offers a wonderful elevated view of the city, and the renovated 1924 bandstand hosts music festivals and charity events throughout the year. The park also has three children’s play areas, ponds that are teeming with wildlife, and a family-friendly café (An Clachan) that has outdoor seating.

Visitors looking for an extended walk can follow the Kelvin Walkway to enjoy a 10-mile walk through the city and out to the countryside of Milngavie, where it’s possible to continue even further on the West Highland Way.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Musuem
Address:Argyle Street,
Glasgow,
G3 8AG
Opening Hours:Monday - Thursday and Saturday: 10 am-5 pm
Friday and Sunday: 11 am-5 pm
Admission Price:Free
Temporary paid exhibitions
Parking:Paid car park on-site
Free parking for blue badge holders
Contact:0141 276 9599
museums@glasgowlife.org.uk
Facilities:Toilets, disabled access, hearing loop, baby changing, cafe, restaurant, shop, cloakroom,
Photos:Virtual Tour
YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

This museum, situated in the beautiful 84-acre Kelvingrove Park near Argyle Street, boasts a multitude of permanent and temporary exhibitions that cover a wide range of themes from modern art to ancient Egypt and Scottish history.

The French and Dutch galleries are famous for their internationally significant works while the Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow Boys, and Scottish Colourist galleries showcase masterpieces from local artists. The museum is also home to the Mackintosh Gallery which features reconstructed rooms with original furniture and fittings from the early 1900s as well as other galleries that are home to famous exhibits such as the Floating Heads art installation and a restored RAF Spitfire.

With so much to see and do it’s no wonder Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland’s most popular attractions. And the best part? Admission is completely free.

Pollok Country Park

Pollok Country Park
Address:Pollok Country Park,
2060 Pollokshaws Road,
Bellahouston,
Glasgow,
G43 1AT
Opening Hours:The park is open 24/7, 365 days a year.
Pollok House and Burrell Collection opening times vary.
Admission Price:Free
Parking:There is a paid car park outside The Burrell Collection building in Pollok Country Park. Charges apply from 10 am to 6 pm, either £2.50 for 4 hours or £4.50 for all-day parking. Payment can be made by cash and RingGo.

There is an additional paid car park for Pollok House visitors. NTS members can park for free.
Contact:N/A
Facilities:Pollok Country Park: Car parking, play park, walking and mountain bike trails.
Burrell Collection and Pollok House: Cafe and restaurant, gift shop, toilets, disabled and pushchair access, changing place toilets, water fountains.
Photos:Virtual Tour

Out About Scotland visitor guide: Pollok Country Park

Glasgow is home to over 80 public parks, including Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow Green, and Pollok Country Park which is located 3 miles south of the city centre. Pollok Country Park is one of the largest public parks in the UK covering 361 acres of mixed woodland and grassland, so it’s somewhat surprising to find it located close to the busy M77 motorway. Thankfully though, its size means you’ll always be able to find a quiet spot to relax during a visit.

There are a number of attractions within the park but the highlights are Pollok House and The Burrell Collection. Pollok House, a stately home that was once the residence of the powerful Maxwell family, was gifted to Glasgow by the Maxwells in the 1960s and is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

The Burrell Collection, located a short walk north of Pollok House, houses one of the finest private museum collections in Britain. The house has free entry for NTS members while the museum has free entry for all visitors.

Other highlights of Pollok Country Park are a 50-stong herd of Highland cows and extensive bike trails that join Sustrans routes 7 and 75

The Burrell Collection

The Burrell Collection
Address:Pollok Country Park,
2060 Pollokshaws Road,
Bellahouston,
Glasgow,
G43 1AT
Opening Hours:Monday to Thursday and Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm
Friday and Sunday: 11 am to 5 pm
Admission Price:Free
Parking:There is a paid car park outside The Burrell Collection building in Pollok Country Park. Charges apply from 10 am to 6 pm, either £2.50 for 4 hours or £4.50 for all-day parking. Payment can be made by cash and RingGo.
Contact:Tel: 0141 287 2550
Email: museums@glasgowlife.org.uk
Facilities:Cafe and restaurant, gift shop, outside seating, toilets, disabled and pushchair access, wheelchair loan, hearing loop, BSL displays, changing place toilets, cloakroom, Wi-Fi, water fountains.
Photos:YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: The Burrell Collection

The Burrell Collection is named after Sir William Burrell, a Glasgow-born shipping magnate and art lover who, with his wife Constance, amassed an incredible 9,000 artworks over 40 years. After Sir William’s death, the collection was gifted to the city of Glasgow and it is now widely regarded as one of the finest privately-donated art collections in the world.

The main entrance of The Burrell Collection leads to the ground floor exhibition space where visitors will find priceless artworks like Degas’ ‘The Red Ballet Skirts’ and Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’, while the north and east galleries display the bulk of the viewable collection which includes everything from Ming vases to medieval weaponry.

The central galleries house more exhibits along with a recreation of the Burrell family home at Hutton Castle, and the basement level has temporary exhibitions as well as storerooms that hold the remainder of the collection.

Facilities at the museum are excellent, with a cafe and restaurant (both of which are highly recommended), a gift shop, disabled access, toilets, and indoor and outdoor picnic areas.

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Glasgow Botanic Garden
Address:Great Western Road,
Glasgow,
G12 0UE
Opening Hours:Grounds 7 am - dusk (all year)
Glasshouses: Summer 10 am - 6 pm, Winter 10 am - 4 pm
Admission Price:Free
Parking:None
Contact:0141 276 1614
Facilities:Cafe, shop, toilets, disabled access
Photos:Virtual Tour
YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: The Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Glasgow Botanic Gardens is a paradise for plant lovers. With a diverse collection of herbs, tropical ferns, ornamental plants, and ponds surrounded by hundreds of trees, there are plenty of things to see and do for all ages.

The highlight of the gardens is Kibble Palace, a Victorian-era glasshouse that underwent a £7 million restoration in the mid-2000s. Inside, visitors can marvel at the national collection of ferns, ornate statues and water features, and a giant pool of tropical fish.

The gardens also feature a second, newer glasshouse with rare tropical flowers, a tropical pond, and exotic trees. The site spans a large area between Great Western Road and the River Kelvin and is easily accessible from the city centre.

Glasgow Gallery Modern Art
Address:111 Queen Street,
Royal Exchange Square,
Glasgow,
G1 3AH
Opening Hours:Monday-Thursday, Saturday: 10 am-5 pm
Friday and Sunday: 11 am-5 pm
Admission Price:Free
Parking:None
Contact:0141 287 3050
museums@glasgowlife.org.uk
Facilities:Cafe, shop, toilets, disabled access, baby changing, cloakroom
Photos:YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art

Although it isn’t the biggest gallery in the city, the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (AKA The GoMA) is a must-see attraction for visitors both young and old. Located just a short walk from George Square, the gallery is home to some of the most prized modern artworks in Scotland and features pieces by artists such as Andy Warhol, Margaret Tait, and David Hockney.

In addition to being well known for its collection of modern artworks loaned from galleries around the world, the GoMA also displays works from up-and-coming Scottish artists. Both international and Scottish sculptures and paintings are displayed in the free public galleries and there are paid-entry temporary exhibitions that have a changing roster of themes.

In addition to being an exhibition space, the GoMA offers classes and workshops for those looking to improve their artistic skills and there’s also a café, souvenir shop, and a library on site.

Glasgow Green & The People’s Palace

Glasgow Green and The People's Palace
Address:Templeton Street,
Glasgow,
G40 1AT
Opening Hours:24/7
Admission Price:Free
Parking:No on-site parking
Contact:0141 287 5064
Facilities:Facilities in The People's Palace - Cafe, toilets, wheelchair access, hearing loop, baby change area
Photos:Virtual Tour
YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: Glasgow Green & The People’s Palace

Glasgow Green is the oldest public park in Glasgow, having been granted to the city by King James II in 1450. Covering 55 acres, the park is home to a variety of historical buildings and monuments which include the People’s Palace (a social history museum and garden conservatory that opened in 1898), the Doulton Fountain, and Nelson’s Monument.

In recent years, Glasgow Green has become a popular venue for events such as the TRNSMT music festival and the World Pipe Band Championships. The park also features children’s play areas, an orienteering course, a football centre, and viewing platforms along the River Clyde.

The People’s Palace, in particular, is a must-see attraction as it houses exhibits that explore the history of Glasgow and its residents as well as photography exhibitions, a café, and the Winter Garden which is an enormous greenhouse similar to Kibble Palace at the Glasgow Botanic Garden.

Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel

The Riverside Museum of Transport
Address:100 Pointhouse Road,
Partick,
Glasgow,
G3 8RS
Opening Hours:Monday-Thursday, Saturday: 10 am-5 pm
Friday and Sunday: 11 am-5 pm
Admission Price:Free
Parking:On-site car park
Contact:0141 287 2720
museums@glasgowlife.org.uk
Facilities:Shop, restaurant, toilets, wheelchair access, hearing loop, baby changing, cloakroom
Photos:YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: The Riverside Museum

The Riverside Museum in Glasgow is a major attraction that showcases a variety of modes of transport from across history (but mainly from the last 100 years), from roller skates to cars, trains, and ships. The museum is located on the River Clyde – once home to dozens of shipyards – and is positioned close to other attractions including The Tall Ship and the Glasgow Science Centre.

Car enthusiasts will especially enjoy the collection of classic vehicles like the iconic Ford Cortina and Porsche 911, while both children and adults will delight in clambering aboard steam trains and trams. In addition to its huge collection of restored vehicles, the Riverside Museum also celebrates Glasgow’s cultural heritage with a faithful recreation of an inner city street which even includes an authentic subway station.

The Tall Ship

The Tall Ship
Address:150 Pointhouse Place,
Glasgow,
G3 8RS
Opening Hours:Monday 10am - 5pm
Tuesday 11am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 3pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm
Admission Price:Free
Parking:Paid car park at the Riverside Museum
Contact:0141 357 3699
Facilities:Cafe, shop, toilets, disabled access, baby changing
Photos:YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: The Tall Ship

Experience the history of Glasgow’s shipbuilding heritage at The Tall Ship, a restored 19th-century sailing ship moored on the River Clyde. The Tall Ship – actually named The Glenlee – is one of only five remaining tall ships built on the Clyde that’s still afloat today.

During a visit, you can enjoy a self-guided tour of the upper and main decks as well as the wheelhouse, the captain’s quarters, and the cargo hold which is so big it contains a mini cinema and a children’s play area. The upper deck also houses a galley, carpentry and sailmaking workshops, a gift shop and a decent (and reasonably priced) café.

Perhaps best of all, because the ship is situated immediately opposite the Riverside Museum it’s easy to enjoy both attractions in the space of a single afternoon.

Glasgow Mural Trail

Glasgow Mural Trail

Out About Scotland visitor guide: Glasgow Mural Trail

On the mural trail, Glasgow’s street art transforms hidden corners of the city into striking public artworks on a walking route that allows visitors to discover areas they might not otherwise find.

Most of the murals are the work of local artists and depict scenes that use the city as their central theme, but there are a few others that are rather more surreal and thought-provoking. These murals have revitalized many of Glasgow’s vacant buildings and have brought colour to forgotten areas which in turn has made the mural trail a popular attraction.

While it’s possible to stumble across the murals randomly, it’s more enjoyable to follow a curated route such as the one shown on the official Glasgow Mural Trail website. Keep in mind that as buildings are upgraded or demolished, some of the murals may be lost permanently so it’s a good idea to re-walk the route during subsequent visits to see what’s changed.

The Hunterian Museum

The Hunterian Museum
Address:Gilbert Scott Building,
The University of Glasgow,
Glasgow,
G12 8QQ
Opening Hours:Tuesday - Sunday 10 am to 5 pm
Closed Monday
Admission Price:Free
Parking:No on-site parking
Contact:0141 330 4221
Facilities:Toilets
Photos:YouTube Video

Out About Scotland visitor guide: The Hunterian Museum

The Hunterian Museum, located in the Gilbert Scott Building at Glasgow University, is a hidden gem. It can be reached by taking the number 4 bus from the city centre or walking 10 minutes from the Hillhead SPT subway station.

The museum is the oldest in Scotland and houses a range of exhibits from branches of academia that include Roman history, dinosaurs, evolution, minerals, and medicine. The display cabinets and cases at the Hunterian Museum are beautifully presented so they’re both informative and engaging and the main hall with its church-like roof, carved wooden balconies, decorated stone columns, and lead-lined windows is an attraction in itself.

The artefacts on display will be of interest to all ages, and even though only around 2% of the complete collection is on display at any one time, there are enough things to see to keep visitors occupied for a good 1-2 hours.

Essential Glasgow Information
The Best Places to Visit in Glasgow
Interesting Facts About Glasgow
Top Attractions in Glasgow for Couples
Things To Do in Glasgow on a Weekend

Frequently Asked Questions

What is free in Glasgow?

There are many free things to do in Glasgow, Scotland. Here are a few ideas:

1: Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which has a wide variety of artworks and historical exhibits.
2: Explore Glasgow Cathedral, a beautiful medieval church that’s still in use today.
3: Take a stroll through the Glasgow Necropolis, a historic cemetery that’s home to thousands of interesting graves and monuments.
4: Visit the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) which features contemporary artworks from around the world.
5: Walk through Glasgow Green, a large park in the city centre that’s perfect for picnics, relaxing, and outdoor sports.

Are all museums in Glasgow free?

Most museums in Glasgow are free to enter, though some special exhibitions or events may have an admission fee.

Some of the museums in Glasgow that are free to visit include Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Cathedral, the Riverside Museum, and the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA).

Before visiting, it’s a good idea to check each website to confirm the admission policies and any temporary changes that may be in place.

What to do when you are bored in Glasgow?

There are many things you can do when you’re bored in Glasgow. Here are a few suggestions:

1: Take a walk or bike ride: Glasgow has many parks and green spaces as well as a network of bike paths so you can enjoy the outdoors while exploring the city.
2: Go shopping: Glasgow is a great city for shopping as it has a wide range of high street brands and independent stores.
3: Visit a café or restaurant: Glasgow has a thriving food and drinks scene with a huge number of cafes, restaurants, and bars to choose from.
4: See a show or event: Glasgow has a lively arts and entertainment scene with a range of music, theatre, and comedy performances taking place throughout the year.
5: Go on a tour: There are many tour companies in Glasgow that offer a range of guided tours including walking tours, food and drink tours, and history tours.

What things are free in Scotland?

There are many things that are free in Scotland, including:

1: Visiting the country’s beautiful natural landscapes such as its mountains, lochs, and forests.
2: Walking or hiking on public footpaths and trails like the West Highland Way and the John Muir Way.
3: Visiting Scotland’s historic sites and landmarks such as castles, churches, and ruins.
4: Participating in outdoor activities such as birdwatching, or sports like golf and fishing.
5: Visiting museums and galleries, many of which have free admission or offer free entry on certain days of the week.

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Craig Neil

Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.