Glasgow with Kids: A Complete City Break Travel Guide

Glasgow tourism is often overlooked when considering a European city break, but this is a big mistake. The city of Glasgow, Scotland, is packed with activities to make memories for the whole family! You won’t have to look far to find a Glasgow travel guide online, but it can be harder to find a real exploration of Glasgow with kids!

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Is Glasgow Good for Families?

Did you know that Glasgow has been voted the Friendliest City in Europe? It’s true! It’s perfect for all ages, too – there are as many things to do in Glasgow with toddlers as things to do with teenagers in Glasgow. There are even things to do with babies in Glasgow, making Glasgow with kids the ultimate choice for an alternate holiday treat!

When is the Best Time to visit Glasgow?

Your Glasgow trip will be great all year round, and Glasgow for kids is always thriving. However, when planning your weekend breaks in Glasgow or a Glasgow day trip, there are two months that make Glasgow with kids ideal! No matter when you go, though, there are always things to do in Glasgow city, with several arts and cultural events all year round.

Glasgow in March

The weather might still be a bit brisk, but it’s starting to warm up – and since it’s before the tourist season and just after the worst of the rain, you’re in for a treat! As well as your regular Glasgow days out to famous places like Buchanan Street and George Square, there are several festivals this month for the family, including the Film Festival and the International Comedy Festival. There’s also the Puppet Animation Festival specifically for families!

Glasgow in December

glasgow snow, university of Glasgow, December in Glasgow, glasgow with kids

If you’re doing Glasgow with kids, you can’t miss the things to do in Glasgow at Christmas. Bundle up for the beautiful light show in Glasgow square! Exploring the St. Enoch Christmas Market is one of the best things to do in Glasgow for free. Between the Christmassy atmosphere in shops in Glasgow and the myriad of things to do in Glasgow Central, you and the kids will be thrilled!

How to Get to Glasgow

If you’re travelling from within the UK, a Megabus or National Express coach will take you right to Buchanan Bus Station in the heart of the city of Glasgow.

You can also take the train from almost anywhere! Direct trains from London to Glasgow Central take about six hours and cost £30 at the cheapest, while the coach takes around eight hours and costs as little as £10.

You can walk in less than fifteen minutes from Glasgow Central to Glasgow Queen Street or get a bus when getting the train.

Glasgow is very drivable, accessible just off the M8 motorway which connects it with Edinburgh. View hire car prices for your dates here.

Two international airports serve the City of Glasgow; Glasgow Airport and Glasgow Prestwick Airport. Both airports are accessible by car, train, or bus.

The bus from Glasgow to Glasgow Airport takes less than half an hour and costs £8.50 for a single ticket or £4.50 for kids.

” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener sponsored” class=”ek-link”>View flights and availability for your dates here.

Where to Stay in Glasgow with Kids

The great thing about Glasgow is that it’s all pretty connected! You can stay in the city or outside of it and easily travel to the best places to visit in Glasgow. However, when planning your visit to Glasgow with kids, it’s best to try to stay around the City Center or at least on the clockwork orange subway line!

The best hotels in Glasgow for families include:

Budget: Holiday Inn Express

This hotel is a two-minute walk away from the Merchant City, a Glasgow must-see, and also close to the St. Enoch Centre, the main central Glasgow shopping centre. Starting at around £65/night for a family of four, the Holiday Inn Glasgow offers a restaurant on-site, supplies cots on request, and family rooms. There is laundry service available for a small charge, special diet menus, and complimentary breakfast included!

Mid-Range: Hotel Ibis Glasgow City Centre

The Ibis is near all the best things to do in Glasgow, situated on West Regent Street right in the midst of the Glasgow tourism circuit. The price is about £140 for a family of four per night, and it’s particularly popular with families. There’s a golf course nearby, room service, and other classic amenities. Pets are allowed. However, there are no cots available, so make sure to bring a travel cot!

Splashing Out: Olympic House (Premier Suites Plus)

For just over £200, you and the kids can secure a private suite right on Queen Street beside the famous George Square. The apartments are rated 9.6/10 for staying in Glasgow with kids and include a private kitchen, bathroom, and living room. All children from a year and older are welcome, though cots aren’t provided. The staff speak five languages. They also offer generous late check-out at 11 am.

Top 10 Things to do in Glasgow with Kids 

things to do in Glasgow, glasgow street

From Glasgow day trips to frequent festivities, your Glasgow itinerary will be full to bursting! The list of things to do with kids in Glasgow is almost endless. You’ll never have to ask, “What is there to do in Glasgow?” – you’ll be too busy working out what has to wait for the next trip.

Why not start off with this Glasgow walking tour?

1. Glasgow Science Centre

glasgow science museum, arcitecture

This fantastic interactive museum is divided into several floors of interactive science exhibits for families and kids, including kinetic energy experiments, optical illusions, geography and space, and more. There’s a planetarium for a show, temporary exhibits, a science store, and tours specifically for kids under 7. Let’s not forget that there’s also access to an IMAX theatre! It’s one of the best days out Glasgow has to offer.

Website: Glasgow Science Centre

2. Riverside Museum

The riverside museum glasgow

The modern Riverside museum replaced the old transport museum to bring the history of Glasgow all under one roof. A mix of interactive exhibitions and permanent structures, the museum by Clyde explores the history of Glasgow and the industry that made it great. It’s one of the best free things to do in Glasgow.

Website: Glasgow Riverside Museum

3. Glasgow Botanic Gardens

glasgow botanic gardens

Complete with their palace, these beautiful botanic gardens are one of the most interesting Glasgow tourist attractions. If you’re looking for stuff to do in Glasgow that’s a bit different, a wander through the exciting fauna followed by tea in the tearoom will be a great time!

4. Kelvingrove Park

This pretty public park is right on the banks of the River Kelvin and is often host to various festivals, fairs, and other activities. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Kelvingrove Museum are famous features inside of it. There are also orientation courses, three play parks, a skateboard park, tennis courts, and more. For more of the best parks in Glasgow for kids, why not visit Pollok country park?

5. Glasgow Green

Glasgow green, scotland landmarks, glasgow with children

Glasgow Green is the oldest park in the city and still one of the best! Many things in Glasgow occur in the green, including the TRNSMT indie festival. As well as a local play area, there’s also a play village, Clyde viewing platforms, access to the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, a football centre, and more.

6. The Tall Ship

the tall ship, glasgow
By Glen Bowman

The merchant ship Glenlee was built in 1896 and is now a permanent floating exhibition in the River Clyde. It’s one of the places to visit in Glasgow that makes Glasgow with kids both fun and educational. You and the kids can explore the museum, pretend to steer the boat, and learn its history. They even offer nautical-themed children’s parties.

7. Duke of Wellington Statue

The Duke of Wellington statue, scotland, glasgow for families, scotland city break

This statue might not be amongst the most exciting places to go in Glasgow, but it’s one that can’t be missed! The kids will love the years-old tradition that locals have of placing a traffic cone on the Duke’s head – an image so iconic that a new one is back by morning every time it is taken down! It’s also right in the city centre, making it a great pitstop on your day of shopping or other activities in Glasgow.

8. Glasgow Theatres

There are so many theatres in Glasgow that it’s hard to know where to start! There’s something for everyone, from traditional shows to musicals to comedies and stand-up. In addition to that, you’ll find a particular excitement in winter when the kid-favourite Christmas pantomimes come to town!

9. The Red Bus Experience

A city bus tour with a twist! You can experience the sights of the things to do in Glasgow from the window seat of a traditional old red bus. They have tours tailored to everyone from senior citizens to kids – and best of all, each tour comes with a meal!

10. Purrple Cat Café

Looking for some different things to do around Glasgow? Glasgow’s first cat café is an excellent experience in Glasgow with kids, though not recommended for very young children. You can have cake and tea while interacting with some lovely, friendly cats and having a pleasant afternoon!

Things to do in Glasgow with a Baby

It can be hard to find experiences with babies on trips, but there are always things to do in Glasgow, Scotland! Five I’d recommend are:

  • Garscube Playrooms
  • Kelvingrove Park and Gallery
  • Jurassic Jungle
  • Bookbug events at Glasgow libraries
  • Baby events at Glasgow swimming pools

Things to do in Glasgow with a Toddler

Toddlers need to stay active! Don’t worry, though: there are plenty of things to do in Glasgow for kids under 5! Some of the best toddler activities in Glasgow include:

  • Glasgow cinemas toddler mornings
  • Kidzworld indoor play
  • Inflata Nation Glasgow
  • Reidvale Adventure Play
  • Tollcross Park and Leisure Centre

Things to do in Glasgow with Teenagers

For kids, things to do in Glasgow are one thing, but teenagers are always harder. Luckily, some of the best things to do in Glasgow are teen-friendly to keep your family entertained. Some include:

  • Scotland Street School Museum
  • O2 Academy Glasgow events
  • St. Enoch Centre and Buchanan Street shopping
  • Paradise Island Adventure Golf
  • Immotion VR Glasgow

Where to Eat in Glasgow with Children

Glasgow is famous for its fusion of cultural foods. If you’re in the mood for Chinese, Indian, Korean, Greek, Italian, or anything else, it’s all there and ready to go – usually with a Scottish twist! Don’t forget the ever-popular pub food and the classic Scottish chippies, too.

  • Merchant Chippie – a fish and chip shop right on the high street that’s consistently voted in the top five in the country.
  • The Atholl Arms, Glasgow – A friendly, traditional pub that serves home-cooked food with a smile.
  • Stack & Still – A fun pancake restaurant on West George St that’s fun for all ages

2 Days in Glasgow Itinerary

So you’re looking for things to do in Glasgow this weekend. Luckily, I’m an expert on things to do in Glasgow with children – I’ve been wrangling my kids there for years! Our last two-day trip was one of my favourite times yet.

Day 1: One  Day in Glasgow

Morning: We spent the morning on a brisk river tour of the Clyde. The kids got to ask the captain lots of questions, and the tour guide was excited to show us the whole city from the river! Who knew that the best things to do in Glasgow with a child were on the water?

The clyde, glasgow, riverside museum
The Clyde, Glasgow

Afternoon: Before dinner, we checked out the Riverside Museum, and the kids had a lot of fun comparing what they’d seen on our morning trip to the industry and blasts from the past in the museum exhibits.

Day 2: 48 Hours in Glasgow with Kids

Morning: I never expected that one of the most popular things to do in Glasgow with a child would be a walk in the park, but my kids insisted that we visit Glasgow Green. They played like little monkeys on those impossibly tall chutes that look like art sculptures!

Afternoon: In the afternoon, we had dinner on a Red Bus City Tour. We’ve been to Glasgow many times, but there’s always something special about watching the city around us while a tour guide gives a fresh new perspective. The kids love to pretend they’re back in the past on the old bus, too.

Places to Visit Near Glasgow with Kids

Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for family day trips in Scotland from Glasgow. Whether by bus, train, or car, Glasgow is central to many exciting days out! Some of the best things to do near Glasgow are only a stone’s throw away and all the family can enjoy!

Loch Ness

Loch ness

How could you visit Scotland and not go Nessie hunting? It’s a bit of a trek, but the three-hour drive is worth it for the absolute beauty that awaits when you get there. There are a lot of bus tours offered by companies in Glasgow, too, and they’ll stop at other exciting tourist attractions.

Why not try this Loch Ness guided tour from Glasgow?

Stirling Castle

Sritling castle, day trips from Glasgow

This beautiful castle is a great day out for anyone interested in Scotland’s past. The staff are friendly and dressed in costume and will keep character for your kids as you explore the castle! A train direct to Stirling from Glasgow City Centre takes 50 minutes, a bus a little longer, and only half an hour drive.

Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life

When visiting Glasgow with kids, the wealth of exciting museums will amaze you. Summerlee is an old mining museum complete with an entire interactive village, working old-style tram, and several events and open areas for kids to play. Admission is free! It’s based in Coatbridge, a short train or bus ride away from the city centre of Glasgow.

How to Get Around Glasgow City 

Glasgow is drivable, but it’s usually easier on short trips to use public transport. There are frequent and regular buses that go around the city and explore areas and a subway that will take you all around the centre quickly and easily. The trains also go between large areas of the city.

It’s pretty easy to walk around, too! Just be aware that there are many natural inclines, which won’t be too popular for those with little legs. Enjoy Glasgow with kids, however best suits you!

Plan Your Trip to Glasgow with Kids

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