Pollok Country Park Visitor Guide

By Craig Neil
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Table of Contents


Summary

At 146 hectares, Pollok Country Park is one of the largest public parks in Scotland. This award-winning green space is located two miles south of Glasgow city centre and is easily accessible by car, train and bus.

The park was named Britain’s best in 2007 and won the title Best Park in Europe in 2008. Highlights include the grand Pollok House with its beautiful landscaped gardens and The Burrell Collection which is home to over 9,000 antiquities and artworks.

In addition, Pollok Country Park has a number of walking and cycling trails, a children’s play park, a herd of Highland cattle, walled gardens, a restored 19th-century stableyard and sawmill, and extensive playing fields.

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.

The highlights

1: The Burrell Collection is one of the finest art galleries and museums in Glasgow – if not Scotland. Inside the newly-renovated building, visitors can admire over 9,000 objects collected from across the globe by Sir William Burrel.

The Burrell Collection showcases priceless paintings and sculptures, tapestries, medieval weaponry, and even a recreation of the Burrell family home. There are a number of facilities in the main building including a cafe, restaurant, gift shop, and public toilets.

2: Pollok House is one of the National Trust for Scotland’s grandest properties. This beautiful stately home was the founding location of the NTS and remains one of the finest buildings in the organization’s catalogue.

The 18th-century house was owned by the Maxwell family who lived on the site for over 600 years before gifting it to the city of Glasgow in 1966.

At Pollok House, visitors can view one of the largest collections of Spanish art in Britain, enjoy landscaped gardens, and explore the servant’s quarters which include shops and a restaurant.

3: While the park is a haven for wildlife it’s perhaps best known for the 50-strong fold of Highland cows that live in their own corner.

Highland Cows have been a fixture of the park for over 180 years and they’ve gained something of a cult celebrity status over the years, helped no end by the fact that these hairy bovines are regular prizewinners at agricultural shows up and down the country.

Pollok Country Park

Visiting tips

1: Getting to Pollok Country Park by public transport is easy as there are bus services that run directly to the park from Glasgow city centre. Look for bus numbers 57/57A, 3, and 34/34A.

Once at the park, visitors can take a shuttle bus from any of the entrances to The Burrell Collection and Pollok House.

Alternatively, train users can exit at Pollokshaws West (a 5-minute walk to the park) or Shawlands (a 10-minute walk to the park).

2: Visitors needing toilets can use the facilities at no charge in both The Burrell Collection and Pollok House. Both attractions also have cafes that serve hot food and drinks.

3: Cyclists have several options for routes in the park, the most used being the Sustrans routes 7 and 75.

Route 7 connects Lochwinnoch, Johnstone, and Paisley to Glasgow, and route 75 links the city to Gourock, Greenock, Coatbridge and Caldercruix.


Overview

As well as being Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow is also one of its greenest with a startling 13.5% of its total area being set aside as accessible green spaces.

In total there are more than 80 public parks in the city, some of which are located close to the centre (Kelvingrove Park and Glasgow Green are perhaps the best-known) while the majority lie on the outskirts.

Pollok Country Park lies somewhere in the middle at around 3 miles south of George Square. The park is surrounded on all sides by urban areas and borders the busy M77 motorway directly to the north, yet it manages to remain an oasis of peace and quiet due to its size.

Pollok Country Park

Though not the largest public park in the UK by any means it still covers an enormous 361 acres, the majority of which comprises dense mixed woodland set in between wide open areas of grassland.

While the noise of the motorway can be heard on its northern side, once visitors enter the woodland the sounds of traffic quickly dim as they make their way to the main attractions.

The first of these is Pollok House, a grand stately home that was the one-time residence of the Maxwell family whose ties to the area stretch back well over 600 years.

Originally part of the Old Pollok Estate, the house and the surrounding land was gifted to Glasgow by the Maxwell family in the late 60s on the condition that it was kept as a public park.

In the subsequent years, Pollok House became a major tourist attraction managed by the National Trust for Scotland and parts of the park were converted into various recreational uses.

The largest attraction lies a short walk north of Pollok House at The Burrell Collection.

Pollok Country Park

This recently-renovated museum and art gallery contains a staggering 9,000 artworks and antiquities that were collected from all over the world by the wealthy shipping magnate Sir William Burrell and his wife Constance.

Sir William gifted his incredible collection (which took over 40 years to amass) to Glasgow in 1944 and today it’s regarded as one of the finest museums and art galleries in Britain.

Entry is completely free (unlike Pollok House) which makes a trip to The Burrell Collection a great way for families to have a cheap afternoon away from the busy city centre.

After walking around the exhibits there’s a cafe and a gift shop to make use of and children can burn off any remaining energy in the outdoor play park situated behind the adjoining car park.

Pollok Country Park

Other attractions that draw visitors to Pollok Country Park are the mountain bike trails that offer enjoyable woodland runs and the tarmac paths that are part of Sustrans routes 7 and 75.

These paths are jointly used by pedestrians so care needs to be taken while cycling, but thankfully most of the paths in the park are wide, level, and well maintained.

The last attraction worth noting is the fold of 50 Highland cows that have been a fixture for over 160 years. These prizewinning animals are frequently showcased at country shows so they’re well accustomed to being fussed over by noisy tourists.

If you’d like to know more about Scotland’s famous hairy ‘heilan coos’ take a look at this article: Where to See Highland Cows in Scotland.

Pollok Country Park

Tourist information

Even though it’s located a few miles outside of the city centre, getting to Pollok Country park is straightforward whether taking a car, a bus, or a train.

Driving is probably the easiest option as there are car parks right in front of The Burrell Collection building and behind Pollok House, but taking the train comes a close second thanks to a free shuttle bus that collects visitors from Pollokshaws West Station between 9.30 am and 6.30 pm.

Buses, meanwhile, stop near the Pollokshaws Road entrance which is a 15-minute walk to The Burrell Collection, or the Haggs Road bus stop which is a 10-minute walk.

If you intend to take your car I suggest heading to The Burrell Collection as the car park is much larger than the one at Pollok House, plus it has an overflow area for those days when tour buses visit.

Pollok Country Park

Both car parks require payment (around £5 for all-day parking) but if you have a National Trust for Scotland membership you can park at Pollok House for free.

Regarding food, the two options are the cafe and restaurant at the Burrel Collection and the smaller cafe at Pollok House.

Having visited both I personally rate them highly, but I have to give the former a slightly bigger thumbs up for quality and variety of dishes, while the latter is a wee bit cheaper and less busy.

One reason that might tempt you to head to the house is that the cafe is located in the former servant’s area so you can have a quick look around at no charge, and of course, there’s always the lovely formal gardens to the rear of the house that lead onto the scenic White Cart Water.

Pollok Country Park

From there, visitors can walk down to more formal gardens, a walled garden, and a renovated stableyard and sawmill before taking a look at The Pollok Beech – one of the oldest trees in the park (250 years old) which was supposedly used in Witchcraft spells.

Discover more places to visit in Glasgow with: The Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in Glasgow.


Tourist map of Scotland

Glasgow,
G43 1AT

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Explore this area with a detailed paper map from Ordnance Survey:

Glasgow – 342 Explorer.

Glasgow – 64 Landranger.

OS Explorer Maps: Best for walking, mountain biking, and finding footpaths. 1:25,000 scale (4cm = 1km in real world). Buy OS Explorer maps direct from Ordnance Survey.

OS Landranger Maps: Best for road cycling, touring by car, and finding attractions. 1:50 000 scale (2 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.


Things to do nearby

Pollok House. Address: 2060 Pollokshaws Rd, Bellahouston, Glasgow, G43 1AT. Distance: 1 mile.
Pollok House is a grand stately home managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

The house contains one of the finest collections of Spanish artworks in the UK as well as attractive landscaped gardens.

Visitors can view the elegant rooms of Pollok House on a self-guided tour from the regal drawing room to the austere downstairs passageways.

The Burrell Collection. Address: 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Bellahouston, Glasgow, G43 1AT. Distance: 1 mile.
Sir William Burrell was a wealthy shipping magnate during the early 1900s who devoted his life to collecting antiquities. Over the course of 40 years, he and his wife Constance built one of the world’s largest private art collections, comprising a staggering 9,000 pieces.

Sir William donated his vast collection to the city of Glasgow in 1944 and it has remained one of the city’s most-visited art galleries and museums since that time.

The Burrell Collection

The Burrell Collection building underwent a large expansion in 2022 and now features cafes, a restaurant, a gift shop, and 1/3 more space to display exhibits.

House for an Art Lover. Address: 10 Dumbreck Rd, Bellahouston, Glasgow, G41 5BW. Distance: 2.1 miles.
This museum is dedicated to celebrated Glaswegian architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The house has a number of uses including artist’s studios, exhibition spaces and an art gallery, as well as housing a collection of works by Mackintosh himself.

Note that House for an Art Lover is occasionally hired out as a wedding venue and at those times it’s closed to the public. See the official website for the latest opening times.

Crookston Castle. Address: 170 Brockburn Rd, Glasgow G53 5RY. Distance: 5 miles.
This small castle on the outskirts of Glasgow dates from the 1600s. It has an unusual layout that is unique in Scotland which comprises a tall central tower and four surrounding towers on each corner.

The castle is managed by Historic Environment Scotland and is free to enter.

Bellahouston Park. Address: Bellahouston, Glasgow, G52 1JL. Distance: 1.6 miles.
At 169 acres in size, Bellahouston Park is a great place to escape from the noise of Glasgow.

The park features bowling greens, a walled garden and formal gardens, a glasshouse, a maze, and sports facilities that include a ski centre and an outdoor cycle track.

Dams to Darnley Country Park. Address: 190 Carnwadric Road, Glasgow, G46 8HT. Distance: 3.4 miles.
This park is one of the largest in Glasgow and features 5 reservoirs, woodlands, multiple walking trails, and large areas of grassland and wetland that are teeming with wildlife.


Frequently asked questions

Is Pollok Country Park free?

Pollok Country Park is free to enter. Car parking charges apply at The Burrell Collection and Pollok House.
The Burrell Collection is free to enter. Pollok House requires paid entry by visitors who do not have an NTS membership.

Is Pollok Country Park the biggest park in Europe?

The largest city park in Europe is Phoenix Park in Dublin. Phoenix Park covers 1,752 acres which is five times larger than London’s Hyde Park.

Pollok Country Park in Glasgow covers 361 acres or 146 hectares.

Is there car parking at Pollok Country Park?

There is car parking outside The Burrell Collection and Pollok House in Pollok Country Park. Both car parks are paid, though Pollok House car park allows free use by National Trust for Scotland members.

Are there Highland cows in Pollok Country Park?

Pollok Country Park has a permanent fold of around 50 Highland cows. These prizewinning animals were first introduced by the Maxwell family (the original owners of Pollok House) over 180 years ago.