Situated in Glasgow’s trendy West End area full of quirky and idiosyncratic pubs, cafés and restaurants, visitors can while away a whole day with a jaunt to Kelvingrove Park. Located on the river Kelvin and bordering the famous Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, this gorgeous green space was established in 1852, and had previously been an empty woodland estate before being transformed by eminent gardener Sir Joseph Paxton, a member of parliament at the time. Today a busy public space containing a skate park, a bowling and croquet green and a number of interesting monuments, visitors can expect a lot to do and see during a stroll here. With the park having been the venue for a number of important exhibitions including the 1911 Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art and Industry, the area has played an important role in Glasgow’s cultural history.
Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, Scotland. +44 141 334 6363
Walk down the winding entrance path to Pollok Country Park and you are almost immediately greeted by a fold of Highland Cattle. Having been bred on the grounds since 1830, the cows have come to be the park’s signature feature, appearing at various galas and show days to reach an iconic local status. Venturing further into the park guests will find a number of other attractions including the National Trust for Scotland venue Pollok House. This grand Edwardian manor was once the home of the Maxwell family, a 13th century clan who were members of the Scottish nobility. Today the house and gardens are open to the public, containing original furnishings used by the Maxwell family as well as a world-class selection of art documenting the life of the Spanish royal family, a collection which includes pieces by eminent artists such as El Greco and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. The building includes an Edwardian kitchen restaurant situated in the old servant’s quarters, perfect for a spot of afternoon tea.
Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, Scotland. +44 141 287 5064
This sprawling 58 acre park is a family-friendly gem in the very heart of the city’s South Side. Gifted to the people of Glasgow in 1906 by the city council, the park has been a much-loved recreational space for over a century. Having been awarded Green Flag status, the space is a hub of wildlife, plants and greenery, and is a setting which provides wonderful moments of peace and tranquility in Scotland’s most densely populated city. Take a stroll around the pond and feed the ducks, have a go at rollerblading in the skate park or explore the park’s winding pathways which lead to a beautiful waterfall. With outdoor gym equipment including elliptical trainers and weights, fitness lovers can take advantage of the excellent facilities or join one of the park’s various running clubs. The recently renovated Boathouse Café is an absolute must-visit whilst visiting Rouken Glen Park, serving breakfasts, light meals and coffees, and offering idyllic seating overlooking the tranquil waters of the pond.
Rouken Glen Park, Rouken Glen Road, Giffnock, Glasgow, Scotland. +44 141 638 7411
In the North side of the city lies Mugdock Country Park, a mixture of formal and informal landscapes which was once home to the noble Clan Graham. The ruins of Mugdock Castle in the center of the park make for an exciting day of exploration, where generations of the Grahams once lived whilst fighting in the Wars of Scottish Independence. The perfect site for walking, cycling, orienteering and hiking, visitors don’t have to search long for something to do in this ancient woodland. For children, the countryside ranger service provided by the park runs activity days to teach kids about the park’s wildlife, with the aim of simultaneously raising awareness of environmental issues. The visitors centre contains a café and shop where visitors can buy local artwork, sewing and pottery goods.
Mugdock Country Park, Milngavie, Glasgow, Scotland. +44 141 956 6100
The second largest park space in the city, Linn Park stretches over 82 acres of lush greenery. Open all year round, visitors can walk, jog and picnic in the summer, and can return during the winter for stunning snowy walks and excellent sledging areas. The park is home to an 18-hole golf course, two children’s playgrounds and a number of historic bridges stretching over the stream. With plentiful well-tended paths leading through the forest, guests can choose their walking route in terms of length and difficulty, marvelling at the flora, fauna and waterfalls dotted around the grounds. For horse riders and animal lovers there is a charitable equestrian centre nestled within the park. The venue provides affordable lessons for the general public, as well as hacking experiences where professional instructors lead trails around the park.
Linn Park, Glasgow, Scotland. +44 141 287 2000
An emblematic city landmark, The Glasgow Botanic Gardens were founded in 1817 by the celebrated botanist Thomas Hopkirk. With over 3000 plants coming together to form the nucleus of the collection, the gardens were initially set up on Sauchiehall Street in the city center before being moved to the banks of the River Kelvin. The gardens have been gradually flourishing over time with the help of a number of famous botanists, including William Jackson Hooker. Today the space is a glorious 27 acre exhibition of plants, vegetables and Victorian cast-iron glasshouses, the most notable of which is the Kibble Palace. This 19th century glasshouse contains a number of ornate statues and exotic plants, and in 2004 was given a £7 million restoration to repair corrosion damage and increase the exhibition space. With the botanic gardens also being a concert venue where visitors can view a number of musical events, including parts of the acclaimed West End Festival, the park is a hub of life and activity.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Road, Glasgow, Scotland. +44 141 276 1614