After months of having to find inventive ways to amuse the kids, it's great to see some of the city’s favourite attractions, fun-filled activities and family-friendly restaurants back up and running. Here's our list of experiences to keep the whole family entertained.
Open and ready to welcome visitors again is the city’s number one must-visit attraction, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. With fascinating displays from Sir Roger the Asian Elephant to a 1940s Spitfire, there is so much to see and do. Also recently reopened, the award-winning Riverside Museum showcases the city’s vast transport collection. Discover Glasgow's rich shipbuilding history, explore the car and motorbike walls and walk through a historic Glasgow street. Head to the Glasgow Museums website to pre-book your free tickets for both attractions.
Berthed on the River Clyde, alongside the Riverside Museum, is The Tall Ship, which offers a fascinating step back in time to life on-board the Clydebuild sailing vessel. Open daily from 10am - 5pm there is no need to book. And if the kids love vehicles, head to the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust’s website to book tickets for their annual open weekend at Bridgeton Bus Garage (October 10-11), a heritage centre for buses and commercial vehicles, including old Glasgow Corporation buses and fire engines too!
Other attractions that have opened their doors once again include The Hunterian Museum, Scotland’s oldest public museum, which has a fantastic collection of scientific and Roman artefacts to view. Book your free tickets online in advance. The Museum is located in the grounds of the gothic University of Glasgow, officially Scotland's most Instagrammed University and also said to be the inspiration behind Hogwarts!
You can also take a tour of the quirky Britannia Panopticon (open Sundays), the oldest surviving music hall in the world, or the hidden gem that is the Glasgow Police Museum which are both ready to welcome you back. Be sure to check individual websites for information ahead of your visit as opening times and ticket requirements may differ.
If adventure is what you seek then it's got to be Pinkston Watersports – Scotland’s only artificial whitewater course and flatwater basin for canoeing and kayaking. See their website for information and to book their October week programme. Or why not take to the slopes at Glasgow Ski and Snowboard Centre or jump around at kids’ favourite, Flip Out trampoline park.
For some wheelie-good fun, The Loading Bay is Glasgow’s only indoor skate park with three areas suitable for BMX, skateboarding and scooters or book in for a session at Roller Stop roller-skating rink, it's great fun for all the family from ages 4+.
Cycling enthusiasts of every level are well catered for 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 for some track cycling with beautiful city views or other trails at Pollok Country Park and Alexandra Park.
For electric power over pedal power, head to Linn Park and experience the brand new indoor electric bike arena, iMotoX. The 48,000 sq ft dirt park has three tracks; one to suit small kids, one for learners and a challenging track with jumps for the more experienced, with helpful instructors onsite.
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 has an adventure play area, there’s a children’s farm at Tollcross Park or head to Pollok Country Park to see the Highland cows!
Although Glasgow is a very walkable city, the City Sightseeing Bus Tour is a great way to make your way around while learning loads of fun and fascinating facts. Alongside the live guide, the tour has a ‘Ghoulish Glasgow’ commentary, specially created for the kids, featuring ghastly, ghostly facts about the city’s history – sure to delight your little devils! The service operates every 30 minutes, seven days a week and as a certified 'Good to Go' business you are sure to have a safe and pleasant experience.
As you work your way across the city, make sure you look out for the colourful and quirky street art by following the City Centre Mural Trail. See how many of the murals you can spot and who can spot them first! There’s also the brand new City Centre Contemporary Art Trail, where kids can enjoy spotting some of the quirky art installations around the city, from the Clyde Clock to the Cherub Skull and Chookie Burdies.
There are loads of top family-friendly shops in Glasgow city centre so the kids are in for a treat. The St Enoch Centre is home to The Disney Store along with Scotland’s only Hamleys stocked with all the must-have toys and games. Buchanan Galleries, also located in the heart of the city’s Style Mile, has over 90 shops including The Lego Store, The Entertainer toy shop, Flying Tiger Copenhagen and the always popular Smiggle stationery store.
Places to eat and drink in Glasgow can be found in abundance but it’s always good to get top tips on where to go that will ensure the kids are well catered for. Don't forget to check individual websites for details on opening times and booking systems.
Pizza and pasta is sure to please at family favourites such as Paesano, Di Maggio's and Celino’s while indoor street food markets such as The Dockyard Social, Big Feed and Platform at Argyle Street Arches, offer delicious small plates from a range of independent traders that will keep everyone happy.
Try the UK's largest urban pancake house, Stack & Still, for pancakes with a huge range of toppings, and for doughnuts, it's got to be award-winning Tantrum Doughnuts for mouth-watering treats but be quick, once they're gone, they're gone! For an afternoon that your little one will just love, head to Cup Tea Rooms in Virginia Court for their Children’s Afternoon Tea. Three delicious tiers of cakes, sandwiches and fruit including a children’s tea or mini milkshake. Darcy's in Princes Square and Hard Rock Café on Buchanan Street has also got it covered when it comes to the little ones with classic kids dishes.
For more ideas and inspiration on how to enjoy and experience the city at the moment, check out our Glasgow Now section for articles on shopping, dining out, local neighbourhoods and more.
Article updated September 2020