What’s the first city you want to visit when you think of Scotland? Probably Edinburgh, Inverness or Isle of Skye. It likely isn’t Glasgow is it? After spending almost 4 days in Glasgow, I’m here to tell you to add it to your list. I wanted to visit when we decided to spend two weeks in Scotland, but I wasn’t as excited about it as I was the other cities beforehand. I was pleasantly surprised and loved this city! There is much to do and see, and to make it even better, it’s family friendly. Here is my family travel guide to Glasgow.
In case you missed it, don’t forget to take a look at my Traveling Around Scotland Trip Recap!
Family Friendly Things to See and Do in Glasgow
I personally think that Glasgow is a family friendly city. It’s very walkable and there is quite a bit to see and do! You’ll find several parks and green spaces that let the kids get some energy out, plus many places have child friendly areas. I’m all for anything kid friendly! As far as travel goes, we walked the majority of the city with ease. There is also a subway that loops around the city to help you get around a bit easier. It’s literally a loop, so it’s easy to manage and hard to get lost.
Walking Tour – Glasgow Gander
First things first, go on a walking tour! This is a great way to see a lot of Glasgow and learn more about the city. I had a greater appreciation for the city, its buildings and the history after we went on our walking tour with the Glasgow Gander. Johnny was an amazing tour guide, and you can see his love and passion for the city. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and left us with multiple recommendations for things to do on the rest of our trip! I cannot recommend starting your trip off with this tour enough!
The walking tour is family friendly and Johnny even specifically engaged with the kids! The only part that made strollers difficult was when we visited the Britannia Panopticon. There are some stairs to get up to the theatre, so we just took the kids out, and Johnny helped JP carry the stroller up and down the stairs. I’m telling you, he was an amazing tour guide! The tour itself was probably about 3 hours and we walked roughly 1.5 miles. Be sure to book in advance to make sure you have a reserved spot!
This is Glasgow’s pedestrian shopping street! You can pop in for some shopping, but make sure you check out the architecture as well. These shops sit underneath some gorgeous buildings. Along Buchanan Street, you can shop for high end designers down to fun, souvenir shops! There is something for everyone with restaurants and pubs along the way.
This is the main square in Glasgow’s city center and home to many statues and monuments. At the far end of the square you can see the Glasgow City Chambers which does offer a few tours if you’re interested! We didn’t think the kids would be up for that though.
George Square is a great place to let the kids get out and run around for a bit! We were even lucky enough to be able to watch the Pride Parade go by from the square. The kids loved the music and excitement!
Glasgow Cathedral & Necropolis
Go ahead and add this to the top of your list of things to see! The cathedral is beautiful and free to walk around. I do love free touristy things to do! Make sure you go into the lower crypt to see St. Mungo’s tomb – he’s the patron saint of Glasgow!.
After you visit the cathedral, be sure to walk up to the top of the Necropolis. My tip is to resist turning around to look at the cathedral until you get to the very top! The view is stunning. I also should note that there is cobblestone and a VERY large hill to climb. It is rough with a stroller, but possible since we did it!
University of Glasgow
It’s worth your time to walk around the University. The grounds are beautiful and the buildings simply stunning. The university is a real live Hogwarts for my Harry Potter fans out there! I mean, just look at the lion and unicorn statues on this stairway. The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland afterall. Unfortunately it was a rainy day when we visited, so we walked around and popped into the bookshop. Outside the book shop, there was a display with some historical information about the university that I enjoyed reading.
If you’re interested, there were university grounds tours around 11am and 2pm. Had the weather been better, we would have definitely explored more!
If you’re staying near the city center like we did, you can easily hop on the subway for a couple of stops to get to the West End which is where you can get to the University and Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
After visiting the university, we walked right over to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to spend a few hours out of the rain. These two activities pair perfectly together since they’re so close by.
The Museum was fun for kids and adults. There are several exhibits geared specifically towards kids! Chloe loved the animals and dinosaurs, and I’ll admit that we did too! Some of the must see items at the museum are:
- Christ of St John of the Cross by Dali
- The floating head exhibit
- Mackintosh exhibit
- The Kelvingrove Organ
- Sir Roger the Elephant and this other animal friends
- Scottish Armory
- Portrait by Van Gogh
The Glasgow Green is the perfect spot to hit up when the weather is nice to let your kids runaround. Just like the name says, there is a lot of green space! There are running and walking trails along the river, monuments throughout the park and playgrounds for the little ones to play. We let our kids run around here one morning before exploring the city to burn some energy. They had a blast! I also took advantage of the trails for one of my runs!
Break from the Weather
The weather in Glasgow isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. In fact, it’s more rainbows after the rain! Since it does rain quite a bit, it’s nice to have a couple of places that you can go to escape the rain! Since this is a family guide to Glasgow, here are a couple of places to visit for a couple of hours indoors.
St. Enoch Shopping Mall
Just as you might expect, you can definitely go shopping here! There are tons of stores to shop around and a food court in case you need a bite to eat. I highly recommend stopping in Hamley’s Toy Store! Hamley’s is London royalty as far as toy stores go. They set out toys to test and play with throughout the store to keep kids of all ages busy!
On the top floor of the mall is also a little kids play area. A small for for free and another with blow ups and small rides for a few pounds.
Platform Street Market
Platform is an amazing street food market that is open on Friday evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday lunch to dinner. It’s fully covered and the perfect place to escape from the rain and grab a bite to eat or a drink. Not only is the food amazing, to make things even better, there is a play area for the kids! We ended up going here twice to try different food trucks. After we stumbled upon it on Friday night, we knew we had to go back just to be able to enjoy a meal while the kids played. 10 out of 10 would recommend.
Kid Friendly Restaurants
Traveling with kids isn’t always easy, especially at dinner time when they’re tired from a long day. I wanted to throw out a couple of kid friendly restaurants for you to check out! It wouldn’t be a family travel guide to Glasgow without some dining recommendations!
Do you want to go to Glasgow yet?
Our time is Glasgow was so much fun and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to travel around Scotland. Don’t skip out of the country’s largest city! Start here and then make your way up north and back south again. You won’t regret it!