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 cafes 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, it's easy to see why this attraction was recently named one of the 'World's 500 Best Travel Experiences' by Lonely Planet (October 2020). 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. The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is now open with brand new exhibits and lots for all the family to enjoy, including a Where's Wally Spooky Museum Search, which is running until November 1. Head to the Glasgow Museums website to pre-book your free tickets for these 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. 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 tickets in advance from The Hunterian website. 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!
Families will be delighted with the reopening of the Glasgow Science Centre just in time for the October school holidays. Book your tickets in advance from their website and make a day of it as your little explorers enjoy interactive exhibits and live science shows.
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 and there’s a children’s farm at Tollcross Park. Or head to Pollok Country Park to see the Highland cows and search for dino bones and fairies! On dates throughout October, social enterprise Treetop Rocks, is holding climbing sessions in the park. Kids from age six can try out climbing amongst the beautiful Hungarian oak trees overlooking Pollok House. See the Treetop Rocks website for more information and to book a session.
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.
It's always good to get top tips on where to go when eating out with all the family to ensure that the kids are well catered for. Don't forget to check individual websites for details on opening times and booking systems. Be aware that new guidelines from the Scottish Government (coming into force at 6pm on October 9) mean that many restaurants are currently closed and cafes that are open are subject to a 6pm closing time.
For mouth-watering treats, try award-winning Tantrum Doughnuts 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. Singl-end cafe and bakehouse in Garnethill is open, serving up brunch, lunch and freshly baked homemade goodies, including large and scrummy empire biscuits. Try the south neighbourhood cafe and arts venue The Glad Cafe for relaxed family dining, with a menu that includes soup and sandwich deals and pancake stacks.
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, local neighbourhoods and more.
Article last updated: October 2020