Scotland’s second city is packed with both exciting and unusual attractions that are just waiting to be discovered. If you’re visiting Glasgow on a budget, you’ll be glad to know that the sheer majority won’t cost a thing, either. Whether you fancy an afternoon soaking up intricate art or you want some fresh air in one of the city’s many parks, take your pick of these free things to do in Glasgow.
If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with some sunshine during your trip, you can’t beat taking a stroll around a city park. They’re one of Glasgow’s best free attractions, whether you choose to explore the beautiful blooms and glasshouses of Glasgow Botanical Gardens or to head to huge and highly historic Glasgow Green just east of the city centre.
There’s no shortage of amazing museums and galleries in Glasgow, from those that explore the city’s history to those that celebrate Scottish artists and pioneers. The impressive Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the West End is filled with an eclectic assortment of classic masterpieces, ancient fossils and contemporary installations, while The Lighthouse in Glasgow’s heart is an ode to architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It gets its name from the amazing viewing tower on the top floor that’s reached by a stunning spiral staircase.
Potterheads and those interested in Early Modern architecture should definitely put the University of Glasgow on their agenda. The main Hillhead campus is found within the trendy West End area and parts of its majestic buildings date back to the 1600s. Explore the campus’s pretty courtyards which strongly resemble the ones seen in the broomstick flying scenes in the first Harry Potter film.
Bonus: Don’t miss the university’s Hunterian Museum – the oldest museum in Scotland – that’s home to a mix of local archaeology, zoology and scientific exhibits.
Medieval Glasgow Cathedral, with its brightly painted carved ceiling and 12th century crypt, is the oldest building in the city and well-worth a visit as its volunteers offer free one-hour tours (donations are welcome, though).
Next door is also where you’ll find the Necropolis, a vast and beautiful Victorian cemetery set high on a hill, that’s the final resting place of many of the city’s most respected figures from the era.
If you thought Glasgow was all imposing Georgian townhouses and huge tenements, you should take a trip to Byres Road in the West End. Off it you’ll find plenty of enchanting cobbled streets and alleyways, including fairy light lit Ashton Lane that’s lined with great bars and restaurants.
Fans of street art may be surprised by the sheer number of incredible murals found along the City Centre Mural Trail. The self-guided tour is one of the best things to do in Glasgow for free as it not only shows off fascinating and thought-provoking artistic works, but also takes you on a comprehensive exploration of the city.
Need somewhere to stay that’s within walking distance of all the best free things to do in Glasgow? Check into our Leonardo Glasgow Hotel located in the city’s popular West End neighbourhood.
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