Things to Do in Glasgow with Kids

Things to Do in Glasgow with Kids – I love Glasgow. I studied there and had a total ball, but I’ve never set foot in the city with children. As we approached with the kids in the back of the car I sensed this trip would be very different to my student days. So where do you take kids in this buzzing city?                     *Contains affiliate links

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum / Glasgow Science Centre / Winter Gardens / Scotland Street School Museum / University of Glasgow and the West End / National Museum of Rural Life / Food & Drink / Accommodation

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – Things to Do in Glasgow with Kids

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – As well as beautiful pieces by the Glasgow Boys and Scotland’s favourite painting (Dali’s Christ of Saint John on the Cross) the free Kelvingrove Museum is also home to floating heads, an aeroplane, gigantic stuffed animals and DINOSAURS.  Tot heaven!

The museum is in Kelvingrove Park which is an attraction for any age or demographic.  With a great play park for little ones, it’s scenic and central – great to push a buggy around or chase a toddler.

Glasgow Science Centre -Things to Do in Glasgow with Kids

The Science Centre – A great rainy day option the Science Centre covers four floors of exploration and allows every competitive parent to nurture their own child genius. We messed with DNA, experimented with the numerous hands-on interactive displays, steered our own ship and hit the soft play zone in the Big Explorer Zone.

For an additional £3 we attended the planetarium’s Space Explorers, a show designed for ages seven and under. The movement of the  360°  film, screened across a 15-metre hemispherical dome, was mesmerising and confusing for our tots who tilted and leaned in accordance with the spaceship. The shows are led by astronomer-presenters, who I’m sure appreciated Mr Toddler shrieking ‘MOON’ at every planet we approached, regardless of which one it actually was.

Glasgow Green & the Winter Gardens – Things to Do in Glasgow with Kids

In Glasgow Green there are epic play parks – I completed one with Mr Toddler that I’m pretty certain was designed for marines (it’s so full on).  There’s also picturesque water fountains and it’s all in close proximity to the old street market known as the Barras.  We picked up a tube of bubbles and enjoyed the Green in the sun.

Then we ducked into the free Winter Gardens, a beautiful glass house, and surrounded our kids with exotic plants and palms. The People’s Palace, also set in the Glasgow Green, tells the story of Glasgow’s people from 1750 to the end of the 20th century.

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Scotland Street School Museum

For any Charles Rennie Mackintosh fans, this is a child friendly and free attraction to visit, designed by the man himself. A mix of different classrooms, from Victorian times into the 60s, create a really different and approachable way for children to learn about education and Mackintosh. For a list of Charles Rennie Mackintosh attractions across Glasgow to consider with wee ones click here.

Visit the University and the Hunterian Museum

I’m a bit biased as I attended the University of Glasgow. But strutting around the West End, running beneath those cloisters and dipping into the free Hunterian Museum isn’t a bad wee outing for a kid. It’s a striking building in a great part of city. And it gives you an excuse to grab a drink or coffee in Ashton Lane.

Things to Do in Glasgow with Kids

Colourful Ashton Lane

Escape the City – National Museum of Rural Life

Scotland has four national museums* and its National Museum of Rural Life is situated roughly thirty minutes outside Glasgow in East Kilbride.  The museum tells the story of the people, the machines, the land and the crops that are the backbone of Scottish food production.  Then it’s time to jump on the ‘Farm Explorer’, a tractor and trailer, to visit the actual farm where tots can get up close with gorgeous piglets, horses, cows and hens.  The farm’s guides takes you from stable to sty to yard and talks you through the lives of the animals before letting guests tour the original old farmhouse.  You can either walk back to the museum from the farm, through signposted fields and lanes, or jump back on the tractor and trailer.  Amazing day out for kids.

Food & Drink

If you want informal dining with an area for tots to explore then the Merchant Square in the Merchant City offers a range of quite casual restaurants  with a central area for kids to ‘discover’. Mr Toddler met another toddler and remarkably they both liked running in circles – who knew?!  We chose a casual Italian called Fratelli’s and the staff were great with our kids. A similar lay out is on the ground floor of the Buchanan Galleries.

We also enjoyed the children’s menu at Bill’s. We dined early, about 6pm, and were eating alongside girls’ nights out sampling the colourful cocktail list, romantic couples and pals having a catch up but it’s the kind of place where everyone fits in.

For a very central and very family friendly dining experience try D’Arcy’s in Princes Square. With toy boxes, children’s menus, swift service and complimentary balloons for kids, what’s not to love?

For a grown up children’s menu I was impressed with the Hanoi Bike Shop in Glasgow’s West End. I’ve visited this informal, on trend Vietnamese restaurant with pals, and never perceived it as a kid’s venue. But the children’s menu is cleverly Vietnamese, but adapted for wee ones. Not a chicken nugget in sight. It also offers a Gluten Free and Vegan menu.

Glasgow also runs a load of kids events so check out what’s happening when you’re visiting. We were tempted by a 5km Bubble Run, yip that’s jogging through bubbles with your buggy, bringing back my Ibiza days, so there’s lots of quirky festivals and activities to choose from. Glasgow’s still smiles better.

Accommodation & Logistics

Things to Do in Glasgow with Kids

Travelodge- Things to Do in Glasgow with Kids

We kept it simply and stayed at the new Travelodge on Queen Street in the very centre of the city. We drove from Aberdeen to Glasgow. The city has a good public transport system, from the buses to ample taxis to the famous Clockwork Orange (metro) which is loved by locals and visitors alike.   There’s very easy parking at all the attractions I highlighted. We were guests at the Science Centre and the National Museum of Rural Life courtesy of Visit Scotland and ASVA.

*The four national museums are the National Museum of Scotland, The National Museum of Flight, The National War Museum and the National Museum of Rural Life.

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24 Comments

  1. Reply

    Catherine's Cultural Wednesday

    July 24, 2016

    Love those floating heads!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 24, 2016

      Hugely distinctive and eye catching.

  2. Reply

    Rashminotes

    July 25, 2016

    The National museum of rural life seems so interesting!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 25, 2016

      Great destination, with everything you need for an easy and educational day out.

  3. Reply

    Anabel Marsh

    July 25, 2016

    And all of these are great for adults too! I love Glasgow (as you might have guessed).

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 27, 2016

      Shock! Fantastic city. Lovely to introduce it to my little ones.

  4. Reply

    California Globetrotter

    July 26, 2016

    Ok, I find the floating heads a little strange and creepy. What is the meaning behind it? #CityTripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 26, 2016

      It’s art dahling, art 🙂 They are truly iconic. But apparently, ‘The concept for the heads was to create an installation that encapsulates the word expression, the theme chosen by Glasgow Museum’s for one half of the museum.

      Like a release of balloons, the heads bring lightness and humour to a grand building, lifting visitors heads and acting as a draw to the upstairs galleries’.

  5. Reply

    katy@untoldmorsels

    July 26, 2016

    Love Glasgow! The park looks amazing. I’m always one for perusing a market. Looks like a great city break.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 27, 2016

      The parks in Glasgow are fantastic, and we just swung past the market for the bubbles. The Barras is an institution but it does sell some random stuff!

  6. Reply

    Traveling Rockhopper

    July 26, 2016

    I met my husband in Glasgow, so I like the city a lot 😀

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 27, 2016

      Aw.

  7. Reply

    Tanja

    July 26, 2016

    interesting suggestions! I visited Glasgow but didn’t have time for Kelvingrove #city tripping

  8. Reply

    Clare Thomson

    July 26, 2016

    Lots of great ideas for kids in Glasgow. I love the idea of the Science Centre and my kids would love the Kelvingrove. #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 27, 2016

      I truly love the Glasgow Boys work in the Kelvingrove. It’s great that there’s a mix of ‘art’ alongside lots of exhibits that, whilst they aren’t ‘for kids’, engage children and attract their attention.

  9. Reply

    WanderMum

    July 26, 2016

    Reblogged this on Wander Mum.

  10. Reply

    WanderMum

    July 26, 2016

    It’s great rediscovering a place close to your heart with your children and there’s certainly lots of options in Glasgow. The winter gardens and Science Centre sounds particularly good. Oh, and the bubble run…definitely a more interesting way to run 5km. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 27, 2016

      We seriously considered the bubble run, but we would have checked out by then and didn’t know where we’d dry off etc.! Poor bubbly babies to consider too.

  11. Reply

    MummyTravels

    July 26, 2016

    I love Glasgow – I went with my daughter when she was a toddler a few years ago and there’s so much to do with kids. We spent an entire day at the Science Centre and had a good wander around Kelvingrove and the Botanic Gardens too (and I snuck off for some grown-up food afterwards). Shame the heads weren’t there when we were – good reason to go back! #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 27, 2016

      I always think Glasgow isn’t what people expect. If you return give me a shout and I can send more ‘grown-up food’ recommendations your way.

  12. Reply

    Bumble Bee Mum

    July 27, 2016

    I think my favourite would be the musuem of rural life, since I have lived in an urban city all my life. Interesting to read about how kids friendly Glasgow is! #CityTripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 27, 2016

      I saw a whole new side to the city. I can genuinely recommend the National Museum of Rural Life – so much going on.

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