Looking to travel to Scotland on a budget? There are LOTS of interesting, inspiring, and FREE things to do in Glasgow, Scotland's largest city.
7 Free Things to Do in Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow is often overshadowed by tourist friendly Edinburgh, but it is such a great place to visit. I extended my time in Glasgow because I liked it so much! It has a quirky, gritty, laid-back feel with beautiful architecture, a rich history, and incredible cultural attractions.
Here are some of my favorite, FREE things to do in Glasgow.
1. Stroll through The Necropolis
The Necropolis is Glasgow’s Victorian cemetery. I LOVE old cemeteries, so it was definitely my favorite place in Glasgow.
Ornate, extravagant monuments. Meandering pathways. Views of the city. It is a must-see.
The Necropolis was one of the first cemeteries of its kind to be multi-faith. The 50,000 people buried here are Catholics, Protestants, Quakers, Jews, Lutherans, and more.
2. Visit the Glasgow Cathedral
The Glasgow Cathedral is one of Glasgow’s oldest buildings. Dark, imposing, and BEAUTIFUL. The Gothic architecture, alone, makes it a must-see.
It is also rich in history. The site of the church has been a place of worship for centuries. The original building was built in the 1100s. The Cathedral is the ONLY medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to survive the 1560 Reformation.
The Cathedral includes the tomb of St. Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow. After you admire the soaring ceilings, impressive archways, and stunning stained glass, make sure you descend into the cellar to check out the 13th century crypt. You won’t regret it!
3. Explore the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
I spent a little too much time in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It is easy to do. The museum has a LARGE variety of exhibits. Fossils, dinosaur bones, furniture, Egyptian artifacts, art, and more. It’s all here.
The museum even has an original Salvador Dali painting - “Christ of Saint John of the Cross”. It also includes pieces from Rembrant, Van Gogh, and Monet.
The most notable display, and my favorite, is the “Flying Heads” installation by Sophie Cave. Lots and lots of floating, white heads with various expressions of the different emotions.
The museum has an organ. If you’re lucky like me, you’ll be treated to a wonderful performance. I also experienced about a hundred people dancing together. It was heartwarming.
4. Take a tour of the City Chambers
The City Chambers is where the Glasgow City Council holds its formal meetings. The building, itself, is BEAUTIFUL. Enormous marble staircases. Mosaic ceilings. Grand halls.
Free guided tours are conducted at 10:30am and 2:30pm on weekdays, except public holidays and special events. You even get to sit in the Lord Provost’s Chair for a photo!
5. Wander around George Square
Outside of the City Chambers is George Square. Bustling and beautiful, the square is surrounded by interesting architecture. It includes twelve sculptures of great Scots.
6. Visit St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art
The St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art is located across from the Glasgow Cathedral. It was the first museum in the world dedicated to ALL the major world religions.
The museum is filled with artifacts and works of art from the different religions. (It even has a zen garden!) The exhibits explore the importance of religion in people’s lives, throughout the world and time. They also demonstrate the similarities and differences of how various religions deal with common themes (birth, death).
The aim of St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art is to promote understanding and respect between people of different faiths (including none). The world could use more of that!
7. Lounge around Glasgow Green
Glasgow Green is the oldest public park in Britain, dating back to the 15th Century. Read a book on one of the many open stretches of well-tended lawns or visit one of the many landmarks located in the park.
The impressive Doulton Fountain is the largest terracotta fountain in the world. The hand-made, intricate five-tier fountain was designed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.
The Doulton Fountain stands in front of the majestic People’s Palace. Unfortunately, the People’s Palace was closed when I visited. It houses the city’s social history collection.
Glasgow Green also includes St. Andrew’s Suspension Bridge, Nelson’s Monument, McLennan Arch, and the Tidal Weir.
I would go back to Glasgow in a heartbeat. I hope you enjoy your time there as much as I did!
What are your favorite, FREE things to do in Glasgow? I would love to hear about your own travel experiences! <3
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Peter Ogrady says
When things get back to normal we are so much looking to returning to Glasgow. After reading this there's certainly a new place on our list, and that's to visit the Necropolis (Glasgow’s Victorian cemetery) it looks uniquely northern and sombre and the views look to be wonderful. Thanks for this slightly offbeat idea!