Experience a true taste of Scotland with our 5 free ways to explore Glasgow.
1See spectacular natural beauty at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens
Located in the heart of Glasgow, next to the River Kelvin, you will find Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens. Founded in 1817 by Scottish botanist Thomas Hopkirk, the Botanic Gardens has flourished for over the past 200 years. Open throughout the year and free to the public, why not take a walk in the Kibble Palace? It’s a spectacular glasshouse designed by John Kibble himself and is now home to a national forest of tree ferns and plant life, all carefully extracted from the Scottish Highlands, to create a unique collection of national treasures.
2Meet your sturdy steed at The Helix
There is only one possible way to navigate through the Scottish Highlands and that has got to be with the help of The Kelpies. Mythological beasts with the strength and endurance of 100 horses, these creatures could tame the harshest of landscapes and waterways in Scotland. Ok, enough with the myths and fairy tales. Glasgow is home to The Kelpies, two incredible 30-metre high horse head sculptures which mark Scotland’s appreciation for the strength and power of working horses, throughout Scottish history. An inspirational piece of engineering, if you’re visiting Glasgow, you should definitely make sure to visit The Kelpies, which can be found in The Helix, an exciting new park, open to the public and free to enjoy.
3Get into the mind-set of Captain Kidd
Born in Greenock in 1645, infamous Scottish pirate, Captain Kidd, was abandoned on an island by his mutinous crew. Washing up in New York, Kidd was later recruited to capture pirates in the Indian Ocean, but he couldn’t resist the temptation to join in the piracy himself. Take a step back in time and imagine how Captain Kidd once lived, as you board The Glenlee, an ancient Scottish Vessel currently anchored at the Riverside museum. Completely free to the public, spend time on this incredible Tall Ship and discover how life might have been for Scottish pirates such as the infamous Captain Kidd. The Glenlee can even be hired for celebrations and private events.
4Conquer the largest marble staircase in the world
Glasgow is home to what may well be the largest marble staircase in the world. At Glasgow’s City Council, you will find the stunning marble steps which date back to the 19th century. Larger than the marble staircase in the Vatican, all the marble was, in fact, originally imported from Italy and was finally completed in 1888; with Queen Victoria herself making a grand appearance at the official opening. Designed to reflect the beauty and wealth of this Scottish city, the staircase is open to the public and will take your breath away in more ways than one. With free guided tours available, it is well worth a visit, so grab your camera and get ready to break a sweat as you begin to climb the stairs.
5Experience Panoramic Views of the City at The Lighthouse
If you’re a keen photographer, you might have heard about The Lighthouse in Glasgow. Hidden amongst Glasgow’s main shopping district, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture offers some of the best panoramic views of the city. As a multi-functional space, The Lighthouse is often used as a city-centre exhibition space and event venue, so keep an eye out for any upcoming exhibitions and events. The building itself was designed in 1895 and was formerly used as a warehouse at the back of a printing office for the Glasgow Herald. Now visitors and budding photographers climb The Lighthouse’s spiral staircase to experience and capture the breath-taking panoramic views of the city below.
As the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow is home to Highland Mythology, has a refined taste for Whiskey and has evolved over the last couple of decades to become a bustling metropolitan city. With a number of incredible places to explore for next to nothing, Glasgow is rich in history, heritage and culture and is a brilliant city to visit.