As we move into Phase 1 of Scotland's Route Map out of lockdown, you can now enjoy and spend more time in local parks and green spaces that are close to home. And in Glasgow, we are spoilt for choice as Scotland's stunning scenery seeps into the city in rolling hills, expansive country parks and woodland walks. With over 90 parks and gardens, it is no wonder that Glasgow is known as the Dear Green Place in Gaelic.
So whether you’re going on a family cycle, looking for a relaxing bench on which to enjoy a book or a spacious green space to meet friends or family from one other household for a catch up - Glasgow has got you covered! Here are our picks of just some of the top parks and greens spaces to visit in each of Glasgow's neighbourhoods. Stay local, stay safe, and enjoy!
*In line with Scottish Government guidance, be mindful of staying local, social distancing at all times and if parks are busy, then reassess plans
A stone's throw away from the city centre is the historic Glasgow Green. In the city’s oldest park, you'll find the spectacular Doulton Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world, and the beautiful McLennan Arch. Also set within this expansive park, which is 55 hectares in size, is the People’s Palace*, a museum that is dedicated to the social history of Glasgow and its people.
Not far from Byres Road, the Botanic Gardens offer a tranquil blend of green space and woodland walks. The Gardens are also home to two glasshouses, one of these being the beautiful Kibble Palace, which houses plants from all around the world and marble statues, a tree trail and the annual Bard in the Botanics* - Scotland's biggest Shakespeare festival.
Victoria Park is one of Glasgow's prettiest parks. It boasts an extensive range of formal floral displays, carpet bedding and hollies. Within Victoria Park is Fossil Grove, housing the remnants of an ancient forest, the fossilized tree stumps are thought to be around 330 million years old and are some of the most famous in-situ carboniferous forest examples in the world.
*Glasgow Museums, Universities, venues and events remain closed under Phase 1 of Scotland's Route Map - check directly with providers for info
Queen's Park boasts one of the city's finest views - on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Campsie Fells and Ben Lomond. Encircled by the trendy south of the city, the park also features the Scottish Poetry Rose Garden, tennis courts and an amphitheatre, which hosts various events. And it's the perfect time of year for wildlife spotting - head to the pond and see if you can spot the small and fluffy cygnets, which have recently hatched.
Pollok Country Park
The largest park in Glasgow is south of the River Clyde, with over 146 hectares of woodland and gardens and 11km of tarmacked woodland paths, gardens and trails. Standing in the middle of the award-winning Pollok Country Park, you would never believe you were only three miles from the city centre! Take in a woodland walk, cycle tracks or get your wellies on and take in a Heritage Trail. You will also find lots of activities for little explorers, including a fairy trail and the chance to see Clydesdale Horses and Highland Cows. And that's all before you discover the stunning country manner, Pollok House; this grand 18th century home is surrounded by beautiful grounds and overlooks an idyllic river scene. The world famous Burrell Collection is currently undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment.
The second largest park in Glasgow, Linn Park offers bountiful space for tranquil woodland and riverside walks. Inside the park are the remains of Cathcart Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots is rumoured to have stayed the night before the battle of Langside in 1568. Nearby, discover the grand architectural style of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson at Holmwood House, a magnificent villa built in 1857-8. If you’re a keen golfer, then Linn Park has an 18-hole golf course, which could be opening soon under Phase 1 guidelines.
Cathkin Braes Country Park
The highest point in Glasgow at 200m above sea level, it's no surprise that Cathkin Braes Country Park offers one of the best panoramic views over the city. The park is also home to extensive mountain bike trails and was host to events during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. As well as cycling, visitors can meander through ancient woodland and grassland areas, admiring not only the views but the park's very own wind turbine too.
15 hectares of woodland park in Rutherglen, near the east of Glasgow, has been transformed into a fantastic park as part of the Legacy 2014 project. Called Cuningar Loop, the city's newest park has three miles of pathed walkways, public art and sculptures, which represent the transformation of this area from derelict land to thriving community woodland.
The Necropolis is a Victorian garden cemetery which is brimming with history and varying architectural styles, including headstones designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander 'Greek' Thomson. Take a short walk to the top of the hill and savour the picture perfect views, particularly of the impressive Glasgow Cathedral, the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland.
Tollcross Park is home to a stunning rose garden, with a staggering 240 varieties of rose all arranged in the perfect shape of a rosebud. The glen nature walk is ideal for a springtime saunter and the child-friendly park is defintiely one for returning to later in the year, as we enter the next phases in the Route Map, as there is an excellent children's farm within the courtyard complex.
Forth and Clyde Canal
Although not necessarily a park or garden, the Forth and Clyde Canal in the north of the city offers green space for a waterside stroll. Along the way, stop to admire the exterior of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed Queen’s Cross Church, as well as the Georgian style buildings that were previously the industrial heart of the area. The canal is the perfect place for a walk or cycle and for wildlife spotting - look out for grey herons, kingfishers, beavers and otters, as well as a rich abundance of flora and fauna. Amazingly, this urban oasis is only five minutes from the bustling city centre.
If you’re looking for a countryside feel in the north of the city, head for Hogganfield Park. Home to Hogganfield Loch and a designated local nature reserve, it’s no surprise that the park is one of best spots in the city for bird watching. And with a tarmac path the whole way around the loch, it’s great option for a gentle stroll with the whole family.