Glasgow Green is a 55-acre park set in the heart of Glasgow’s East End. It’s the oldest park in the city and is also home to the People’s Palace social history museum. Popular events including the TRNSMT music festival and the World Pipe Band Championships are staged in the park, while the grounds are used year-round for leisure activities.
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While Edinburgh has green spaces covering a surprising 49% of the city, Glasgow comes in second with a still-impressive 32%, which is pretty good when you compare it to other major cities like Greater London (23%) and Manchester (20%). Even the word ‘Glasgow’ means ‘dear green place’ in Gaelic, and if you spend any time exploring the city, you’ll soon find that it really does live up to its name.
There are over 90 parks and gardens in Scotland’s largest city, many of which are home to big tourist attractions like Kelvingrove Park – home of Scotland’s most-visited free attraction, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. But another park that’s incredibly popular with locals and tourists alike is Glasgow Green, and in my opinion, it’s the most interesting green space in the city.
Since King James II granted its residents access to Glasgow Green in 1450, the park has played a significant role in the development of the city’s culture. Monuments and historic buildings are littered across the 55 acres that the park covers, and there are more than enough things to see and do to occupy a family for an entire sunny afternoon (yes, Glasgow does have the occasional sunny afternoon…).
The highlight of a visit is seeing the People’s Palace, the social history museum and garden conservatory that was opened in 1898 as a cultural centre, while outside you’ll find the stunning Doulton Fountain and the statuesque Nelson’s Monument just a short distance away.
Aside from history, modern times have seen Glasgow Green turn into a hub for some of the biggest events in the city, with the TRNSMT music festival and the World Pipe Band Championships being two particular favourites.
Stressed-out parents will no doubt appreciate the play park situated behind the People’s Palace as it’s only a 20-minute walk from the city centre and has lots of activities to keep children amused, including a network of chutes and climbing frames.
There’s also a separate area for toddlers, and of course, there are lots of footpaths running through the park so children can zoom around till they burn off any remaining energy. There’s even an orienteering course, a football centre, and viewing platforms to enjoy views of the River Clyde which runs along the western edge of the park.
1: The People’s Palace is dedicated to the social history of Glasgow, telling the story of the city and its people from 1750 to the present day. The museum provides a unique insight into how Glaswegians lived, worked, and played in years gone by.
2: Just outside the People’s Palace is the Doulton Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world, which is decorated with statues and reliefs that represent the British Empire. The fountain is a stunning example of Victorian design and craftsmanship, and after a major restoration, it remains a focal point in the park.
3: Glasgow Green is the oldest public space in Glasgow and has been a significant place for events, gatherings, and recreation for centuries. It has been the site of political rallies, music concerts, and the Glasgow Fair, which is an annual event dating back to the 12th century.
1: The People’s Palace café is excellent, so grab your lunch there if you can hear bellies rumbling. The Winter Garden conservatory is a nice place to sit afterwards.
2: Before you go, make sure to check the opening times for the People’s Palace and the Winter Gardens as they may vary depending on the season or due to special events. The palace is generally open all year, but if you’re interested in attending a specific event, check the website before leaving home.
3: You can easily get to the park from Argyll Street train station and the St. Enoch SPT subway station. Visit the Glasgow SPT website to view a handy journey planner.
The People’s Palace
This attraction is the main draw for visitors to Glasgow Green other than seeing the events held in the park, and it has provided entertainment facilities for the city since opening in 1898. Originally designed to give Glasgow’s residents reading and recreation rooms, it was expanded in the 1940s to become the city’s social history museum, and to this day, the museum tells the story of the people and the city from the 1750s to the present day.
The Palace has closed on a couple of occasions due to the deterioration of the building (the most recent being in 2018), but it has now been restored and offers free access to photography exhibitions, museum exhibits, a café, and the attractive Winter Gardens.
The Doulton Fountain
Step outside the People’s Palace, and you’ll see a courtyard containing a beautifully ornate fountain. This is the Doulton Fountain which has been part of the park for well over a hundred years. The fountain was given to the city as part of the International Exhibition in 1888 to celebrate the reign of Queen Victoria, although amazingly, the enormous 70-foot-wide and 46-foot-tall monument has been dismantled and moved twice.
The first move happened when it was brought into the park from the 1888 exhibition, and it was moved again 116 years later when it was restored as part of a £2 million restoration programme that placed it at the front of the People’s Palace.
You can’t miss this Category A listed monument as it’s the tallest structure in the park at 143 feet. The obelisk is dedicated to Admiral Horatio Nelson and was erected just one year after he died in 1805, a full three decades before the famous Nelson’s Column in London.
Like the Doulton Fountain, a lightning strike caused extensive damage early in its history, but it has since been renovated, most recently in 2002, when it was brought back to its former glory after more than 200 years of neglect.
If you visit the park from the city centre, you’ll probably enter it from the northeast where you’ll pass through the masterpiece design of Robert and James Adam’s McLennan Arch. The arch sits in an open courtyard, though it was never originally designed to be there.
At one point in its past, it was the centrepiece of the Glasgow Assembly Rooms on Ingram Street, but after they were demolished in 1894, Bailie James McLennan arranged for it to be moved to Monteith Row and then Glasgow Green. In total, the McLennan Arch has been moved four times in its lifetime.
Other Attractions in Glasgow Green
There are quite a few activities and things to do at Glasgow Green if you take the time to explore it, but most people will either recognise it for the 18 football pitches on Flesher’s Haugh or for the events that are staged in the park throughout the year.
The TRNSMT music festival has only been held in Glasgow Green since 2017, but it’s already shaping up to be one of the biggest music events in Britain. The World Pipe Band Championships, meanwhile, are held over two days in August, and each year more than 8,000 pipers and drummers compete to be crowned the best in the world. The event has been staged since 1947 and regularly attracts more than 220 bands, with more than a quarter coming from overseas.
Things to Do
Explore The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens: At the heart of Glasgow Green, you’ll find The People’s Palace, a social history museum dedicated to the lives of Glasgow’s inhabitants. Adjacent to it is the Winter Gardens, a beautifully preserved Victorian glasshouse that’s alive with exotic plants and flowers.
Stroll Along the River Clyde: Glasgow Green is located on the banks of the River Clyde, and a leisurely stroll along the river offers a much-needed break from the bustling city. It’s an ideal spot for picnicking, photography, or simply enjoying the peace and quiet.
Visit Nelson’s Monument and the Doulton Fountain. Erected in memory of Admiral Lord Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar, this monument is a significant historical landmark. Nearby stands the Doulton Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world and an emblem of Glasgow’s Victorian heritage.
Attend a Live Event: Glasgow Green is renowned as a venue for concerts and festivals. With events ranging from the World Pipe Band Championships to music festivals like TRNSMT, there’s always something exciting happening. Be sure to check the local event listings during your visit.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities: The park boasts a wide range of facilities for sports and recreational activities. Whether you fancy a game of football, prefer a round of lawn bowls, or fancy a cycle around the park’s extensive paths, Glasgow Green has something for everyone.
Things to Do Nearby
George Square. Glasgow G2 1DH. 24-minute walk.
A civic square named after King George III that’s ringed by several statues commemorating famous Scots. The square sits directly opposite the Glasgow City Chambers.
Glasgow Cathedral. Castle St., Glasgow, G4 0QZ. 25-minute walk.
Founded in 1197, this is one of the largest Christian buildings in Scotland. Glasgow Cathedral is notable for its underground crypt and post-war stained-glass windows. Entry is free, but donations are welcome.
The Necropolis. Castle St., Glasgow, G4 0UZ. 28-minute walk.
The Necropolis is a large Victorian cemetery located behind Glasgow Cathedral. Many footpaths wind their way around the 37-acre site, and entry is completely free.
The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow, G1 3NU. 27-minute walk.
A 7-story museum dedicated to art and design. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a Glasgow architect, is the source of inspiration for the exhibition space. In addition to the exhibitions, there are guided tours of the building, a shop, and a café.
Richmond Park, 10 Shawfield Dr., Glasgow, G5 0AN. 15-minute walk.
Urban park sited to the south of Glasgow Green across the River Clyde. The park is used for a variety of recreational purposes, including sports and children’s play areas. A large pond is situated in the centre.
Frequently Asked Questions
What monuments are in Glasgow Green?
In Glasgow Green, you’ll find several notable monuments, including:
The Nelson Monument: This is a commemorative obelisk dedicated to Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died during the Battle of Trafalgar.
The Doulton Fountain: This is the world’s largest terracotta fountain, which was gifted to the city by Sir Henry Doulton and unveiled at the 1888 International Exhibition.
The McLennan Arch: This is a classical-style triumphal arch that was moved to Glasgow Green in 1890 and was originally part of the Assembly Rooms in Ingram Street.
The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens: This museum and glasshouse is dedicated to the social history of Glasgow, providing insights into how Glaswegians lived, worked, and played in years past.
The St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge: This is a historic pedestrian bridge across the River Clyde, providing a link between Glasgow Green and Hutchesontown.
There are also several statues throughout the park, including ones of James Arthur, Thomas Carlyle, and Robert Burns.
What is Glasgow Green used for?
Glasgow Green is a public park in the city of Glasgow that is used for recreation and public events. The largest annual events staged in Glasgow Green are the TRNSMT music festival and the World Pipe Band Championships.
Are there toilets on Glasgow Green?
Toilet facilities are available in the People’s Palace and the Play Village (subject to opening times).
Is Glasgow Green worth visiting?
Visiting Glasgow Green is definitely something you should do. It’s a great place to spend the day since it’s one of the oldest public parks in Scotland and has a number of activities available, such as taking a walk around the gorgeous Winter Gardens and checking out the People’s Palace, a museum dedicated to Glasgow’s social history.
Additionally, you can also see the Doulton Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world. If you enjoy sports, there are several sports facilities available, including football pitches and tennis courts.
Which part of Glasgow is Glasgow Green?
Glasgow Green is located on the east end of Glasgow, Scotland. It is situated immediately north of the River Clyde and east of Merchant City.
Glasgow Green is the oldest public park in the city and is a popular spot for outdoor activities including picnics, sports, and concerts. If you’re interested in similar outdoor parks in the area, you might want to check out Kelvingrove Park and Queens Park, both of which are also located in Glasgow.
What is there to do in Glasgow Green for kids?
There are plenty of activities for children to enjoy in Glasgow Green, including a children’s play area, a hockey centre, and a football pitch, as well as the People’s Palace museum.
If you are looking for more places to visit in Glasgow that are kid-friendly, you may want to check out the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum or the Glasgow Science Centre, both of which are popular attractions for families.