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.
So whether you’re going on a family cycle, looking for a relaxing spot on which to enjoy a book or a spacious green space to meet friends or family for a catch up outdoors - 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.
*In line with Scottish Government guidance, be mindful of physical 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 is the People’s Palace, a museum that is dedicated to the social history of Glasgow and its people (currently closed for maintenance). Opposite the People's Palace is one of the city's most unusual buildings, Templeton on the Green, which is home to West Brewery - check out their website for information on booking and their menu of artisan beer and traditional German cuisine. Find out more about visiting Glasgow Green and what you can enjoy there.
Kelvingrove Park is 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 (book tickets to visit) and the University of Glasgow. The park also boasts a cafe, An Clachan (check their website for opening times), the open-air arts venue Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre, two play parks and a skatepark. Find out more about Kelvingrove Park here.
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. Opening times for the Kibble Palace and more things-to-do at the Botanic Gardens can be found here. There are self-guided trails to enjoy and after all that walking be sure to check out the menu for the Botanic Gardens Tearoom.
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. The park is also home to a large boating pond and a children's play park. Find out more about Victoria Park and other parks located in the west of the city by visiting Glasgow City Council's (GCC) parks website.
Queen's Park boasts one of the city's finest views - on a clear day, you can see to the Campsie Fells and Ben Lomond. Encircled by the trendy south neighbourhoods of the city, the park also features the Scottish Poetry Rose Garden, an amphitheatre, which hosts various events, a play park and a large boating pond. Get sporty and book a time slot to take part in either lawn bowls or tennis at Queen's Park (Kelvingrove Park lawn bowls and tennis courts are also open). If heritage trails are more your thing, then visit GCC's Queen's Park page for further details.
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 Highland Cows. You can now book a time slot to visit the grand 18th Century country manner, Pollok House, which is surrounded by beautiful grounds and overlooks an idyllic river scene. The world-famous Burrell Collection is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound refurbishment. Find out plans for transforming Pollok Country Park into a world-class civic destination here.
*Please note that public cars are currently not permitted into the park
The second-largest park in Glasgow, Linn Park offers bountiful space for tranquil woodland and riverside walks - more details on what this expansive park offers can be found here. 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. Open each Saturday (12noon-4pm) until October 31, you can pre-book for a tour of Holmwood House now. There are also two children's play parks and ample routes for cyclists. Right beside the park is the brand new indoor electric bike arena, iMotoX, which has three tracks; one for small kids, one for learners and one for those experienced - iMotox is open and taking bookings.
As 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. Find out how to get to Cathkin Braes Country Park here.
15 hectares of woodland park 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 - find out more about the multi-activity Cunnigar Loop here.
The Necropolis is a Victorian garden cemetery which is brimming with history - you can find out more on the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis website. and varying architectural styles, including headstones designed by the likes of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Take a short walk to the top of the hill and savour the picture perfect views, particularly of the impressive Glasgow Cathedral (book tickets to visit here).
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 park is ideal for families with the glen nature walk and the Tollcross children's farm, with Shetland ponies, pigs, colourful lovebirds and more, within the courtyard complex. Find out more about Tollcross Park and other city parks in the east on GCC's parks website.
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. Visit Scottish Canals wesbite for details on trails, wildlife, boating and more at the Forth and Clyde Canal.
If you’re looking for a countryside feel in the north of the city, then check out Hogganfield Park, which is home to Hogganfield Loch and a designated local nature reserve. It’s a great option for a gentle stroll with the whole family around the loch and is one of the best spots in the city for bird watching. Neighbouring Seven Lochs is Scotland's largest urban nature park with 20 sq km of lochs, wetlands and woodlands to explore. Situated between the two is Lethamhill Golf Course, which is now open (bookings can be made here).
For an overview of all city parks, visit Glasgow City Council's parks and gardens website and download their 'Glasgow Walking' app to find your way around.
For urban walks, check out the city centre mural trail and admire the amazing pieces of street art adorning city buildings.
Article last updated: September 2020