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Family Fun Self-Guided Tour of Glasgow (Self Guided), Glasgow

Glasgow is a fantastic city to visit with your family, because there's a whole range of great attractions for everybody - young and old - to enjoy. Take our Family Fun Tour to catch the must-see family attractions in the city.
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Family Fun Self-Guided Tour of Glasgow Map

Guide Name: Family Fun Self-Guided Tour of Glasgow
Guide Location: Scotland » Glasgow (See other walking tours in Glasgow)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.7 Km or 4.2 Miles
Author: irenes
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Police Museum
  • George Square
  • Gallery of Modern Art
  • Cooper Hay Rare Books
  • Mitchell Library
  • Stewart Memorial Fountain
  • Kelvingrove Park
  • Wellington Church
  • Kibble Palace
  • Glasgow Botanic Gardens
  • Scottish Mask and Puppet Center
Police Museum

1) Police Museum

You will find everything you have ever wanted to know about law enforcement and some surprising facts that you never even thought about at the Police Museum, which you will find on the first floor over a Mexican restaurant in Bell Street, a part of the popular Merchant City district.

The City of Glasgow Police was established in 1779 and was the first recognised law enforcement agency in the United Kingdom. This fascinating museum tells you the history of the police from that date, through the Glasgow Police Act in 1800 to the creation of the Strathclyde Police in 1975.

The police history is spread in two rooms with wall panels, photos and illustrations that are well researched and presented in a captivating, easy to understand manner. The museum personnel is made up of ex-policemen who are very friendly and are always willing to answer questions and give you funny anecdotes about life in the police force.

There is a section on police officers who have received special honours and those who died in the course of duty. In the International Police section there is a staggering collection of uniforms and insignias from all over the world.

The last section deals with infamous crimes and criminals, and the methods used by the police for solving the felonies and arresting the offenders. There are also details about crimes that have never been solved and that are still open awaiting further advances in forensic technology.

Hours: (1 April- 31 October) Monday- Saturday: 10 am- 4:30 pm; Sunday: 12 pm- 4:30 pm; (1 November - 31 March) Tuesday: 10 am- 4:30 pm; Sunday: 12 pm- 4:30 pm.
George Square

2) George Square (must see)

When you see George Square today, it is hard to believe that at its origins it was a hollow filled with filthy, stagnant water and its marshy edges were used as a slaughterhouse. Between 1787-1829 the area was drained, opened out and lined with houses on the east and west sides.

Named after King George III, the square became the center of merchant activity with the Merchants House customs and exchange building constructed in 1850. No statue of King George is placed there, although one was intended to be. Unfortunately, because of Britain’s defeat in the American War of Independence, which caused so much anguish for Glasgow’s Tobacco Lords and the king’s later mental illness, the 24-meter column in the square’s center is topped by Sir Walter Scott instead.

Other statues and monuments abound on the square, including the Cenotaph by Burnett raised to the memory of Glaswegian soldiers killed in the First World War. There are rare equestrian statues representing Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, figures of Robert Burns, James Watt, Thomas Graham, William Gladstone, Robert Peel and James Oswald.

If you are lucky to be in Glasgow during the winter, you can enjoy the ice-skating rink that is set up there and buy your presents in the enormous Christmas Market.

Why You Should Visit:
Big square with statues in it – what's not to like? A good place to catch some sun, 'people watch' or protest against the government if that's what you are into.

Enjoy a pint at the gargantuan Wetherspoon restaurant & bar, housed in the former home of the Bank of Scotland. One of the best Wetherspoons out there!
Sight description based on wikipedia
Gallery of Modern Art

3) Gallery of Modern Art

The Gallery of Modern Art is to be found on the Royal Exchange Square and is housed in a building as impressive as the collection inside.

The Neo-classical building was once the townhouse of the 18th century tobacco lord, William Cunninghame of Lainshaw. It was bought by the city and after extensive reconstruction during 1827 and 1832, it became the Royal Exchange.

The reconstruction work was carried out by David Hamilton and included adding on the Corinthian pillars on the Queen Street entrance, a cupola and building a large hall at the back of the house.

Today it houses a magnificent collection of contemporary art by local and international artists. You will be able to admire works by David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Sebastio Salgado and by Scots artists Ken Currie and John Bellamy, among many others. Twice a year, temporary exhibitions on the ground floor deal with modern social issues, such as the unemployed and the homeless.

Education plays an important role in the museum and there is a floor dedicated to Education and Access with hands-on workshops and interesting lectures given by artists. There is also a cafe with free access to Internet. The library in the basement has a vast collection of books about art and artists.

Operation hours: Monday - Wednesday, Saturday: 10 am- 5 pm; Thursday until 8 pm; Friday, Sunday: 11 am -5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cooper Hay Rare Books

4) Cooper Hay Rare Books

Established in 1985, this store is one of Glasgow's best when it comes to old books, and makes for a pleasant place to walk around even if you don't buy any of their stock. You can see amazing antiquarian books and prints on diverse topics, like Scottish art, literature, design and more. At this old and inspiring place, which is internationally accredited, you will find titles by Brydall Robert, Cameron Charles, Fergusson J.D. and lots of other famous names.

Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Friday: 10 am- 3 pm.
Mitchell Library

5) Mitchell Library (must see)

The Mitchell Library stands on North Street, drawing thousands of tourists each year – booklovers and sightseers alike – and when you see this impressive building, you will surely understand why.

Tobacco manufacturer Stephen Mitchell left funds in his will and a request that a library should be built and offered to the people. The building was designed in 1906 by William Whitie, who won the architectural competition set by the City Council. It was built in the Neo-Classical style, with a copper dome topped by a bronze statue called quite simply “Literature”.

The library contains five floors of reading rooms and over 2 million books. It is the largest reference library open to the public in Europe. A lending library section opened in 2005. It houses the Glasgow Archives and is also considered one of the best places to go for those who wish to research their family history.

In 1972 the Council bought the former St Andrews Halls, which had been badly damaged in a fire ten years earlier, and incorporated them into an extension for the expanding library now housing the main collection of books. An internal street on the ground floor connects the extension with the main library. There is also a very good café with free wifi.

Why You Should Visit:
Staff is friendly and helpful, happy to order in books or track them down at other local libraries if you're in a rush.
The library also hosts numerous book events throughout the year with some well-known authors giving talks etc.
You can research your family tree (for free) or look up old maps and property information in the reference library.
Add to take how beautiful the classically-inspired building is, particularly when lit up at night, and you have a real gem.

The place can get very busy during exam times (December and April/May) – therefore go early.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 9am-8pm; Fri, Sat: 9am-5pm
Stewart Memorial Fountain

6) Stewart Memorial Fountain

One of the most beautiful memorials in Glasgow is the Stewart Memorial Fountain, which you will find in Kelvingrove Park.

The fountain was erected in 1872 in memory of the Lord Provost Stewart of Murdostoun who was responsible for the sluice gates and underground piping system that brought fresh water from Loch Katrine to the city.

The fountain is over 12 metres high and 19 metres across the base. Built of granite, sandstone, marble and bronze, it was designed by James Sellars in the Gothic style, with the stonework carried out by James Young. The sculptures were done by John Mossman.

On top of the fountain is a statue of Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake and two of the bronze plaques around the base feature scenes from the poem in bas relief. Another plaque shows a bust portrait of Lord Stewart.

Below the Lady of the Lake two unicorns and two lions holding shields, stand above 12 ceramic roundels each bearing a sign of the Zodiac. Three plaques show the coats of arms of Scotland, Glasgow and of Lord Stewart.

Around the base of the central column is a fresco of bulrushes, with a hunting dog chasing after a duck, a heron, a moorhen and a frog.
Kelvingrove Park

7) Kelvingrove Park (must see)

If you would like to get away from the hustle and bustle of Glasgow for a while, go and wander through Kelvingrove Park, which is a harbor of peace in the very heart of the city. The park is spread out over 34 acres of lawns and woodland, alongside River Kelvin.

Created in 1852, the park was designed and laid out by Sir Joseph Paxton, an English landscape gardener responsible for the beautiful Crystal Palace parklands in London. It is a popular place for the people of the city and for wildlife and you can see herons and ducks on the river. At certain times of the year, you might be lucky to catch a glimpse of goosanders, kingfishers, and cormorants. Apart from the birds, the park is the home of squirrels, hedgehogs, foxes and sometimes, otters.

There are lovely paths along the river banks, which are spanned by a stone bridge, built in 1880. In 1924 a bandstand was erected by James Millar and is noted for its unusual amphitheater seating for up to 3000 people. Having been recently renovated, it is very popular in the summer when it hosts outdoor concerts. The park also houses a skate park, bowling greens, tennis courts and croquet lawns which give a nice feeling of being back in the 1920s. There are also several monuments and statues of interest in the park.

Why You Should Visit:
Stunning green space, easily accessible and perfect for a relaxing stroll with a great panorama of the Glasgow skyline at the top of the hill.
Even on a sunny Saturday afternoon when the park is busier than normal, you can find a spot for yourself. Even in winter, it is a delight to walk through.

Make sure to stop by the Stewart Memorial Fountain – it's beautiful! Bring a picnic or blanket to sit a while.
You can also climb up to the top for benches with lovely views of the University building and the park.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Wellington Church

8) Wellington Church

Wellington Church is the most impressive looking building the Hillhead area. You will find it on University Avenue, opposite the University of Glasgow. It is often frequented by students even though the University has its own chapel.

The church was built in 1883 by Thomas Lennox Watson. It has a wonderful Neo-classical portico with eight Corinthian columns and resembles a Greek temple. Students often hold peaceful protests and “sit-ins” on the wide flight of steps leading up to the entrance door.

A previous church with the same congregation was on Wellington Street, but by 1878 it was too small for the population, so the new church was built, changing the location, but keeping the name.

As well as being an active church with a large congregation, Wellington Church also hosts music concerts and recitals on the lovely pipe-organ, built by Forster and Andrews.

When you have finished your visit, don’t leave without stopping by the church’s Crypt Café. The entrance is on University Avenue. Here you can enjoy a light snack which includes pizzas, toasted sandwiches, soup and baked potatoes as well as buns and cakes. The coffee is reputed to be the best on the campus and the tea is excellent.
Kibble Palace

9) Kibble Palace (must see)

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens are a fascinating place to visit, and the greatest attraction there is the Kibble Palace. A vast greenhouse covering 2137 sqm, it was originally built by John Kibble in 1863 as a conservatory on his grounds near Loch Long. In 1870 it was dismantled and taken up the River Clyde by barge and set in its current home in 1871.

The structure is made of glass set in curved wrought iron, cast by Walter MacFarlane, which stands on cast iron supports with elaborate columns. The foundations are of stone. The palace underwent extensive and expensive restoration in 2003. Since its restoration, the palace is open to the public and small concerts are regularly held during the summer in a central area surrounded by a large collection of orchids, carnivorous plants and tree ferns.

Why You Should Visit:
It's free, it's in a charming and historic Victorian building, and it is so incredibly peaceful inside, with many glorious plants to discover.

Keep a watch on the Glasgow Botanic Gardens website for upcoming events as this place hosts all sorts.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm; 10am-4:15pm (Nov-Mar)
Glasgow Botanic Gardens

10) Glasgow Botanic Gardens (must see)

No nature and plant lover should miss a trip to the Botanic Gardens just off the Great Western Road. Created in 1817 by William Hooker, who went on to be the director of Kew Gardens in London, this beautiful arboretum and public park is run and maintained by the Royal Botanic Institute of Glasgow.

There are several greenhouses, the most famous of which is Kibble Palace. The Main Range greenhouse is a Victorian glass and teak affair and in it you can admire rare orchids, different varieties of begonia, tree ferns and tropical plants.

The Hopkirk Building hosts exhibitions, concerts and lectures given by noted horticulturists. There are workshops and the children’s arts and crafts center. On the grounds you can see a derelict railway station which closed down several years ago and is kept as an example of a disused station.

The gardens are laid out in themes and you can walk through a Chronological Garden, a Flower Garden with its mixed varieties of plants, the Herb Garden, the Rose Garden and a garden featuring rare vegetables. The arboretum has plenty of venerable trees, including a 200 year-old weeping Ash.

Why You Should Visit:
While there isn't that much to see on the outside, the two big glasshouses make up for it.
The rare plants are incredible and the varieties of ones you thought you knew will blow your mind.

Be sure to find the path downhill to the River Kelvin because there is a lovely river walk that goes on a long way in both directions.

Opening Hours:
[Grounds] 7am-dusk (all year)
[Glasshouses] 10am-6pm; 10am-4:15pm (Nov-Mar)
[Tearooms] 10am-6pm; 10am-4pm (Nov-Mar)
Sight description based on wikipedia
Scottish Mask and Puppet Center

11) Scottish Mask and Puppet Center

For something completely different that the kids are sure to enjoy, why not pay a visit to this museum where you can see puppets and masks from all over the globe. There's also a fascinating workshop in puppet and mask making and puppeteering. This creative art center is a delight for both the young and the young at heart.

Walking Tours in Glasgow, Scotland

Create Your Own Walk in Glasgow

Create Your Own Walk in Glasgow

Creating your own self-guided walk in Glasgow is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Places of Worship Walking Tour of Glasgow

Places of Worship Walking Tour of Glasgow

The feeling of serenity, of being free from stress and worries is very precious nowadays. And where better to find this than inside a church. Glasgow is home to a number of great churches that are notable for their architectural design, mostly in a Gothic style. Take our Places of Worship tour to visit the best churches in the city.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.8 Km or 4.8 Miles
Museums & Galleries Tour

Museums & Galleries Tour

One thing you have to do on your trip to Glasgow is see some of its many museums and galleries. These fabulous places offer a great insight into different aspects of Scottish art, culture, transport, science, history and more. This tour will guide you to the most interesting Museums & Galleries located in the city center.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Landmarks Of Glasgow Self-Guided Tour Part 2

Landmarks Of Glasgow Self-Guided Tour Part 2

Glasgow is home to a number of great historic, architectural and cultural landmarks. To make sure you see the best attractions of the city, we've created this two-part Landmarks of Glasgow self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles
Top Nightspots in Glasgow: Self-Guided Tour

Top Nightspots in Glasgow: Self-Guided Tour

Glasgow is famous for its vibrant nightlife, with lots of top nightspots located close to one another. This gives any visitor a wide choice of places to go, from simple pubs to trendy and chic clubs. Don't miss the chance to visit some of the most popular clubs in Glasgow with our Top Nightspots tour.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles
Garnethill Art Walk

Garnethill Art Walk

Art and culture hold a special place in the hearts of Glaswegians, and Scots in general. The emphasis here is laid on maintaining and promoting the appreciation of arts among both locals and visitors. Take our Walking Tour to see some of the best galleries and art centers around Glasgow's Garnethill district .

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
Landmarks Of Glasgow Tour Part 1

Landmarks Of Glasgow Tour Part 1

Glasgow is home to a number of great historic, architectural and cultural landmarks. To make sure you see the best attractions of the city, we've created this two-part Landmarks of Glasgow self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles