Meaning “Dear Green Place” in Gaelic, Glasgow really does live up to its name. The city has over 90 parks and gardens to explore, with many housing some of the city's top attractions. So whether you’re looking for a place for the kids to let loose, woodland walks, beautiful viewpoints of the city, leafy zen-like spots to relax, or somewhere to spot a Highland cow, you'll be spoilt for choice.
Here are our picks of just some of the top greens spaces to visit, in every area of Glasgow. Enjoy!
A stone's throw away from the city centre is the historic Glasgow Green. Glasgow Green is the city’s oldest park, where you'll find the spectacular Doulton Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world, and the beautiful McLennan Arch. Set within Glasgow Green you will find the People’s Palace, a museum that is dedicated to the social history of Glasgow and its people.
In the west of the city is Kelvingrove Park - a classic example of a Victorian park, set on the banks of the River Kelvin. Two of the city's most magnificent buildings stand proudly at either side of the park, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the University of Glasgow. The park also boasts the refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre, an amazing open-air arts venue in the city.
Not far from Byres Road, the Botanic Gardens offer a tranquil blend of green space and woodland walks, as well as a children's play area. The Gardens are also home to two glasshouses, one of these being the beautiful Kibble Palace. Inside the glasshouses, admire plants from all around the world - from cacti to orchids - and ornate marble statues. During the summer, you can visit the Botanic Gardens Tearoom or enjoy a show at 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.
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 playground, fairy trail and the chance to see Clydesdale Horses and Highland Cows up close. And that's all before you discover the stunning country manner, Pollok House, where you can experience what life was like inside this grand 18th century home and the world famous Burrell Collection*.
*Currently undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment and due to reopen in spring 2021.
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, play parks, tennis courts and an amphitheatre, which hosts various events.
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.
The second largest park in Glasgow, Linn Park offers bountiful space for tranquil woodland and riverside walks. Or, if you’re a keen golfer, you can enjoy a round of golf on the park's 18-hole course. 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.
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, it's equipped with adventure play facilities, a bike skills area and Scotland’s first outdoor bouldering park, there's plenty to keep locals and visitors of all ages entertained!
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 which is the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland.
If you're looking for something to entertain the kids, a visit to Tollcross Park in the East of the city is perfect. Complete with a children's farm within the courtyard complex, with regular inhabitants being Shire Horses, Shetland Ponies, aviary, rabbits, sheep and Highland Cattle! Also located within Tollcross Park is the internationally renowned rose garden, with a staggering 240 varieties of rose all arranged in the perfect shape of a rosebud.
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 off at the newly refurbished Lock 27 for some lunch, pop in to the Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed Queen’s Cross Church nearby or for a coffee at Ocho in Speir’s Wharf.
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.
Article last updated: August, 2019