The Most Beautiful Gardens in Glasgow

Explore Glasgow’s rich history via its carefully cultivated gardens
Explore Glasgow’s rich history via its carefully cultivated gardens | © Steve Vidler / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Georgie Young
20 July 2020

It may be a myth that ‘Glasgow’ translates into English as ‘dear green place’, but you’ll still find a wealth of leafy spaces within Scotland’s most populous city. These streets may be known for their intriguing architecture, thriving music scene and straight-talking locals, but one of the best ways to absorb Glasgow’s rich history is by exploring its carefully cultivated gardens. Read on for some local tips on where to find Glasgow’s best gardens.

Pollok House Gardens

Natural Feature, Park, Architectural Landmark
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The Victorians certainly knew a thing or two about topiary, and one of the best examples of their work can be found on the grounds of Pollok House. The Austen-esque Georgian mansion is surrounded by a 361-acre (146ha) country park, yet visitors are equally drawn to the symmetry of its perfectly manicured hedges. What’s more, if the heavens open, it’s only a short hop into the bread-scented reclines of the Edwardian Kitchen for a tea and a scone. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill

The Hidden Gardens

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A secret garden, you ask? In Glasgow? Where? Clamber through the gates of the huge stone walls surrounding the Tramway arts complex (just south of the city centre) to find out for yourself. The tranquil and welcoming space used to be a tram works but underwent a serious makeover in the early 2000s to become the wildlife – and community – hub that it is today. The only reminder that you’re still in the city is the view of spires of cathedrals and skyscrapers poking out above the walls. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill

Botanic Gardens

Botanical Garden
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Of all Glasgow’s gardens, it’s the Botanic that are king – and they’ve even got a palace to prove it. Housing the UK’s national collection of tree ferns, Kibble Palace – the largest of the glasshouses – is where you should head first. After counting the marble statues littered among tropical plants, head outside. If you time your visit right, you’ll be able to choose from an impressive calendar of cultural events hosted in the grounds, including the likes of outdoor concerts, a Shakespeare festival and a rotating art gallery. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill

St Nicholas Peace Garden

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Opened in 1995, this garden may not be steeped in history, but it’s certainly shadowed in it. The tiny herb garden is connected to Glasgow’s oldest town house, which was originally built in 1471 as a hospital for the poor. Taking note of its medical heritage, the chamomile-scented lawn is populated with the plants and herbs traditionally used to cure various ailments. Feel like you’re being watched? Look for (or be looked at by) the 13 ‘Tontine’ heads – so named for the 17th-century merchants who had them crafted. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill

Scottish Poetry Rose Garden

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One of the most famous lines in Scottish poetry is Hugh MacDiarmid’s “only the little white rose of Scotland.” As well as seeing this phrase plastered across T-shirts and postcards throughout the country, you’ll also find it carved around the centrepiece in this literary-themed garden. The rose-scented park corner is inscribed with lines from an eclectic mix of Scottish and Gaelic poets from the 14th century right through to the present day, including the likes of Robert Burns, William Dunbar and, of course, MacDiarmid himself. Recommended by local insider Austin Yuill

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