Glasgow is a compact city and very easy to get around, making it ideal for families. The warmth and friendliness of the city and the people that live there is unmistakeable, and We’ve rounded up 15 unique and exciting things to do in Glasgow with kids to get you on your way!
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Amazing attractions, fun-filled activities and a great mix of family-friendly restaurants and entertainment are all on offer in this bustling city. There is a wealth of child-friendly things to do in Glasgow – and what’s more, all the major museums and galleries in the city are free, which is perfect if you’re on a budget too. If you’re planning a visit to this fabulous city, here are some of our top picks.
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Family-Friendly Things to Do in Glasgow
Glasgow Science Centre
An action-packed, fun and educational day out for the whole family is never far away at the Glasgow Science Centre, thanks to over 400 interactive exhibits. At the planetarium you can even listen to the space legend himself, Buzz Lightyear. He will fill you in on all there is to know about the Moon, and he should know!
In the science areas, kids can get to grips with some of the real issues of our time by learning about renewable energy, as well as making wind-powered cars. You can even take in a 3D show at Scotland’s biggest IMAX screen, from The Space Station to Under the Sea.
Definitely don’t miss the mind-bending Science Show Theatre. Here, the resident team of crazy scientists will have your jaws dropping with an array of explosive experiments. If that wasn’t enough, then why not finish it all off with a trek up the Glasgow Tower – 127 metres high in the sky!
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The Riverside Museum is a museum of transport (with free entry but donations are welcomed), with a huge selection of trains, cars, fire engines, trams, motorbikes and so much more for any transport enthusiasts!
This multi-award-winning museum is home to over 3,000 objects that tell the story of Glasgow’s history from its days as a maritime powerhouse to the daily lives of those that lived there in the early-mid twentieth century. There is anything you could think of – paintings to prams, skateboards to stormtroopers and everything in-between!
Children will find lots of interactive areas, including an old cobbled street with traditional style shops – and don’t forget to cover your ears for the occasional thunder sound effect!
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The Glenlee (more commonly known as The Tall Ship for very obvious reasons) is one of only 5 Clyde-built sailing ships in the world that remain afloat! Found just outside the Riverside Museum, on the River Clyde it is also free to enter.
Whilst the kids may shy away from any helpful cleaning activity at home, scrubbing the deck is a surprisingly popular activity with little children! You can also ring the ship’s bell, test the fog horn, or practice climbing on the small soft play below deck. Explore almost every nook and cranny of The Glenlee (including the refurbished Captain’s Cabin) with an audio guide. Plus you’ve got the on-board shop and cafe for nautical gifts and tasty lunchtime treats for your little sailors!
It’s worth checking the website before you visit as The Tall Ship also offers nautically themed events and activities, including fun and informative talks and tours and costumed volunteer days.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a simply beautiful building set in gorgeous parkland. The museum has everything from animals, art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibits and armour, and all the rooms are arranged so that they’re easy to follow and not miss anything out.
You can start your day with some prehistoric remains, a spooky Nakht coffin or a suspended 1940’s Spitfire. Then explore the art world via the Dutch Masters or through the lens of surrealist and moustache renowned, Salvador Dali. If animals are your family favourites, visit the Life Gallery which celebrates nature by looking at the amazing journey of the leatherback turtles, tales of flightless birds from Australasia and lots more. They’ve even kept bees dating back to 1959!
The mini museum caters for under 5s, and there’s an activity trail for families, as well as Toddler Time every Friday. A great free place to explore – just remember to say hello and goodbye to the famous Sir Roger (the stuffed elephant) before you leave.
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Climb your way to a family attraction with a difference! The Lighthouse was originally the Glasgow Herald’s building and it was the first public commission by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. There are various exhibitions as you climb through the floors, but the best part is the view from the top!
Head on up to the 6th floor to the indoor viewing platform for some brilliant views across the city centre roof tops. For older kids, challenge them to climb the 134-steps spiral staircase to the building’s highest exterior point – a sure way to tire them out! Don’t forget to check out the seasonal timetable of children’s events and craft sessions.
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People’s Palace Museum
The People’s Palace is located in Glasgow Green and houses a collection showing how Glaswegians lived from the past to the present day. Explore the city’s local history through a wealth of historic artefacts, paintings, prints and photographs, film and interactive computer displays.
Immerse yourself in the exhibits and get a wonderful insight into how Glaswegians lived, worked and played in years gone by. Challenge your children to think about how it differs from their world today. In the adjacent Winter Gardens, younger members can let off some steam before you wander among the exotic palms and plants or enjoy a coffee or lunch at the cafe. Outside, you can also admire the restored Doulton Fountain and relax in the attractive surroundings of Glasgow Green, the oldest public space in Glasgow.
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Scotland Street School
Go old school with your family for this day out and visit the Scotland Street School Museum. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the school was opened in 1906. It is now a museum telling the story of the past 100 years of education in Scotland. Find out how the classrooms of Scotland have changed from the Victorian era to the modern day.
When you visit the different classrooms, your little students can try on costumes and school uniforms that would have been worn a hundred years ago. This is a fun and educational museum that both parents and children will enjoy. So pack away your textbooks, lunchbox, notes, an apple for the teacher, and go back to school for the day!
Soar at Braehead
Climbing, skiing, laser tag, mini golf and so much more – about 10 minutes away from the centre of the city, children will love visiting Soar at Braehead. When we say ‘there’s something for everyone’, we definitely mean it! You can:
- scale the epic climbing wall at Climbzone
- take a plunge off the fan drop or negotiate obstacles in the Skypark
- hit the slopes at the UK’s longest indoor snow resort where you can ski or snowboard all year round
- get immersed in incredible 3D at the Odeon IMAX
- report to the Laser Station mission control for a laser tag game across the multi-level arena
- putt your way around two tropical mini golf courses
- bounce off the walls at Gravity trampoline Park
- get your skates on in the massive indoor ice skating rink
- or enjoy bowling and arcade games at Tenpin.
When exhaustion kicks in, or if you’re looking for a little less action, you can always hit the cocoa bean factory and enter chocolate heaven with interactive workshops, chocolate café and gift shop.
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Scottish Mask and Puppet Theatre
The extensive collection at the Scottish Mask and Puppet Theatre showcases the history of masks and puppets, with exhibits from all over the world. You can even have a go and make your own.
Have your strings pull you in the right direction as you tour the theatre, library, film effects centre and workshops for something a little different.
There is also a regular children and families programme of puppet and magic shows at the Centre; which includes Halloween, Easter, Christmas events and family workshops.
City Bus Sightseeing Trip
If you’d rather see the sights by road, a bus tour is a great way to spend the day, so it’s all aboard an iconic red bus on a City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Tour!
With 21 stops around the major sights and attractions, you’ll take in the best Glasgow has to offer. Adults can listen to the beguiling voice of historian Neil Oliver, while school-aged kids can scare themselves silly with a Ghoulish Glasgow audio guide or play Pokémon Go with a downloadable map of Pokestops. It also a lifesaver if your family suffer from ‘tired legs’ syndrome – so even if your family don’t want to walk, there is no excuse not to take in all the Glasgow sights.
Glasgow Climbing Centre
Scale new heights at the Glasgow Climbing Centre with impressive climbing routes for all ages and stages and a chance to ascend courses up to 16 metres high. You can hire equipment and even enjoy a family session so you can learn together.
Tennent’s Training Academy
For rainy days (and Glasgow does see its fair share), why not go along to a ‘Bring the wee one’ family cookery masterclass at Tennent’s Training Academy? Sessions include Pizza Party, Cupcake Masterclass and Burger Bonanza.
Watch as the chef demonstrates each dish before heading off with your budding sous chef to recreate them on your own. Once you’re done you can relax at the chef’s table and tuck in to your delicious masterpieces.
Parks & Gardens
If you want to slow the pace down slightly and take the younger kids along to one of the city’s 90 parks and gardens to enjoy a run around in the fresh air. Glasgow Green is Glasgow’s oldest parkland and has numerous paths winding through the park. There are children’s play areas and frequent events to enjoy.
Tollcross Park is another favourite and its 37 hectares/91 acres is internationally famous for its unique Rose Garden and impressive Winter Gardens. The park has many hidden gems, including the Glen Nature Walk and Children’s Farm.
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Glasgow is a city internationally known for its passion for the beautiful game, and if your family are avid fans then a tour of one of the city’s iconic football stadiums – Celtic Park, Ibrox Stadium or Hampden Park and adjoining Scottish Football Museum – is a must.
Crazy for Cycling?
If you are a family who likes their fun on two wheels, then cycling enthusiasts of every level are well catered for in Glasgow with facilities like Free Wheel North cycle centre where kids can go and have fun on trikes, tandems and go-carts. For those with their own wheels, head to Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trail, Cuningar Loop or the skatepark at Kelvingrove Park.
For serious thrill-seekers, why not book in a family session at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome for a chance to ride the same track that’s hosted some of the world’s top cyclists – or watch some of the best in the world fly past at unimaginable speeds for a day full of thrills and spills!
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