Kelvingrove Park is located in the West End of Glasgow. The public park features Kelvingrove Museum, the River Kelvin, and the Stewart Fountain.
Visitors can enjoy 85 acres of parkland that feature an array of flowerbeds, wide expanses of lawn, historic monuments, children’s play parks, ponds and sports venues.
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Review of Kelvingrove Park
I’m going to start this guide with a confession. The first time I visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum I left without visiting the park. Not because I didn’t have time but because I didn’t even know it was there.
Yep, I was completely oblivious to the enormous 85-acre public park behind the museum so I didn’t give the grounds circling the building a second glance. Until that is, I had a look on Google maps when I got back home.
Doh! How did I miss that?
A quick bit of online research revealed the park was created in 1852 as a west-end green space for the city’s middle class and is full of monuments from that time, as well as modern sports facilities installed by Glasgow City Council. I knew I had to go back at the next opportunity.
When I returned I discovered that Kelvingrove Park is a beautiful green oasis right in the heart of the city that has a lot to offer locals and tourists alike – which is probably why it was so busy mid-afternoon on a sunny Wednesday.
Crowds of office workers and students were enjoying the space (understandable given that it’s so close to the university – which you can read about in my Guide to the University of Glasgow), but there were lots of mums and toddlers making use of the facilities as well.
Glasgow City Council have done a great job of making this park accessible for anyone and you’ll find a spiders-web of wide pavements running through the lawns and copses of trees so it’s easy to go for a stroll without feeling like you’re intruding on the wildlife.
The River Kelvin runs through Kelvingrove Park on its way to join the River Clyde and the banks of the river are home to geese, kingfishers, herons, red foxes, brown rats and even otters.
Perhaps the best way to enjoy the riverside is to follow the meandering Kelvin Walkway that forms a green link from the bustling city centre to the peaceful Milngavie countryside along a 10-mile route, but you can always walk along the short section inside Kelvingrove Park if you don’t have that much time.
The riverside path starts near the grand museum that borders the south-west edge of the park and heads northwards, but I recommend you divert mid-way to explore the monuments and sports facilities – of which there are many.
Kelvingrove Park has much more to offer than a convenient way to get from the west end to the city centre (around half an hour on foot) and it’s a great place to get some fresh air after visiting the university and nearby museums.
Read on to find out what else you can do there.
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Things to do at Kelvingrove Park
Aside from the museum you’ll find lots of activities at Kelvingrove Park if you take the time to explore it fully.
Walking north along Kelvin Way you’ll see the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls and Tennis Centre that has six tennis courts and bowling greens that were a venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, while the Kelvingrove skate park is situated between the River Kelvin and the Stewart Memorial Fountain.
The fountain is the largest monument in the park and it’s a fine example of Victorian design having been built in 1872 to commemorate the achievement of supplying Glasgow with fresh water from Loch Katrine over 40 miles away.
Other monuments include the Lord Frederick Roberts Memorial that offers a lovely elevated view of the cityscape and the £2 million 2014 renovated bandstand that has played host to thousands of events since being built in 1924.
If an event is scheduled to be held in Kelvingrove Park you can more or less guarantee it’ll be staged at the bandstand and throughout the year you’ll find a mixture of music, festivals and charity shows performed there.
If you’re a family visiting the park with an energetic toddler you can let them burn off some energy at one of the 3 children’s play areas (the one next to the skate park is excellent) before heading for a relaxing drink in one of the cafés in the grounds.
I recommend you check out An Clachan which is a family-friendly venue near the park’s eastern entrance at the junction of Clifton Street and La Belle Place. There’s a play park close to it and the café has outdoor seating so it’s perfect for letting the kids go wild while keeping an eye on them from behind a frothy cappuccino.
I have to say I was impressed with this park not only for its facilities but also its location as it’s so easy to visit some of the city’s best attractions within a short walk of each other, with the Kelvingrove and Hunterian museum’s being particular highlights.
Will I be visiting it again? Absolutely, and if you ever find yourself in the area I recommend you do too.
If you want a few more ideas for sightseeing in Glasgow read my Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Glasgow.
- The park is in a great location in the middle of the city so it’s easy to combine a visit with other attractions – especially if you’ve been to Kelvingrove Musuem.
- The park is very picturesque along the river and there is a lot on offer from kids play areas to tranquil ponds and picnic spots.
- The lawn areas are massive so if you’re looking for a spot for a midday picnic Kelvingrove Park is the place to go.
- If you’re in need of food there are lots of restaurants along Argyle Street in front of Kelvingrove Museum.
- Glasgow University is nearby. Read my Guide to the University of Glasgow to find out more.
- Stop at the Kelvinhall SPT Subway Station to get to the park. It’s a 10-minute walk to the museum.
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Things to do near Kelvingrove Park
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG. 10-minute walk. One of Scotland’s most-visited museums, Kelvingrove offers a diverse range of exhibits from across the globe. The museum is situated near the west end of the 84-acre Kelvingrove Park. Entry is free.
- The Hunterian Museum. University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead St, Glasgow G12 8QQ. 12-minute walk. A free-to-enter museum located inside The University of Glasgow. The museum displays artefacts from many areas of study including zoology, medicine and history.
- The Riverside Museum of Transport. 100 Pointhouse Rd, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS. 25-minute walk. A modern museum that explores the history of transport with interactive displays and one of the largest collections of rare cars, trains and motorbikes in Scotland. Entry is free.
- The Tall Ship. 150 Pointhouse Rd, Stobcross Rd, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS. 26-minute walk. Located next to the Transport Museum on the bank of the River Clyde. The Tall Ship is a fully restored Victorian sailing ship that allows visitors to explore the historic vessel from bow to stern. There is a café and gift shop inside. Entry is free.
- Glasgow Botanic Gardens. 730 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 0UE. 20-minute walk. 27-acre botanic garden in the heart of Glasgow. The gardens are acclaimed for the Victorian cast-iron glasshouse, Kibble Palace. Entry is free.
More places to visit in Glasgow
- Glasgow Travel Information – Complete GuideGlasgow is Scotland’s largest city and is renowned for its culture, style and its huge variety of tourist attractions. The city provides one of the best shopping experiences in Scotland and is home to famous destinations like the SECC and Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
- The Glasgow Scottish Event Campus Centre: Complete Visitor GuideThe Glasgow Scottish Event Campus Centre is Scotland’s largest exhibition arena and is home to some of the biggest artistic events in the entire Scottish calendar.
- The Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail: Complete Visitor GuideThese often thought-provoking pieces of public street art have been designed to transform the hidden corners of Glasgow into striking artworks, and a walk between each one allows visitors to see parts of the city that they probably wouldn’t otherwise find.
- The Complete Guide to Free Attractions in GlasgowFind a great selection of free attractions with my list of the best free attractions in Glasgow