As Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow has many wonderful attractions. Sightseeing in Glasgow is a great experience; because of the city’s rich history, vibrant culture and incredible natural beauty, there are always exciting things to see and do. Whether wanting to see as much art as possible or casually taking in the spectacular scenery; visiting for the first time or hosting friends and family – no matter what your plans, we are confident that your stay in Glasgow will be interesting, enjoyable and, most importantly, memorable.
When it comes to city breaks, you may be forgiven for thinking that, to make the most of your time, your bank balance will have to take quite a hit. Well, think again; Glasgow is one of the most budget-friendly cities in Scotland, which means that finding fun, free places to visit is not at all difficult. Taking this into consideration, we have put together some suggestions for free things to do in Glasgow while staying with Point A; for added convenience, they are all within easy reach of our centrally located Glasgow hotel.
Royal Exchange Square,
111 Queen Street,
Glasgow G1 3AH
Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art – or GoMA, as it is colloquially known – boasts a prestigious reputation; home to works by local as well as international artists, its contemporary exhibitions are continuously evolving to reflect the changing times, meaning that every visit brings a fresh, unique experience. Outside the gallery stands Glasgow’s iconic Duke of Wellington statue, crowned in perpetuity with a traffic cone by local pranksters. A potent symbol of the city’s special brand of humour and spirit, a photo with the statue is an absolute must, as is a trip to the gallery; free to enter seven days a week, you are sure to amaze at the sheer amount of present-day creativity within its neoclassical walls.
Glasgow G4 0RH
One of the oldest buildings in Glasgow, the cathedral is believed to have been constructed sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries; with stunning stained-glass windows and an awe-inspiring interior, there is much to marvel about this historic building. Free guided tours of the cathedral are available, not to be missed if you are interested in delving deeper into its history; you will even learn about the legends surrounding the city’s patron saint, St Mungo, whose tomb can be found in the lower crypt.
Glasgow Necropolis is also well worth a visit; located on the hillside behind the cathedral, this Victorian cemetery contains gravestones and tombs with impeccable detail that can only be admired. With excellent views of the city, be sure to savour the beauty and atmosphere of this historic site. Both the cathedral and necropolis are easily accessible from the high street, which itself is not far from Point A Glasgow.
3 Castle St,
Glasgow G4 0RH
Thought to have served as residence to the clergy and staff of Glasgow Cathedral, Provand’s Lordship is the city’s oldest remaining house. Dating back to 1471, it is situated just across the road from the cathedral. The rooms of the house are now adorned with furniture from the 17th century, but its dark walls and low ceilings still create an authentically medieval ambience.
11 Mitchell Lane,
Glasgow G1 3NU
Despite there being no actual lighthouse in Glasgow, we promise this amazing building will be more than enough to brighten your day. As Scotland’s official Centre for Design and Architecture, the Lighthouse accommodates numerous contemporary artworks, exhibitions featuring current design projects, and even a permanent collection showcasing the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Its spiral staircase can prove quite challenging, but the climb is worth it for the breathtaking views of the city you will find at the top.
Somewhat of a hidden gem, the Lighthouse is tucked away down one of the side streets leading away from Glasgow’s main shopping district; with the city’s Point A Hotel a stone’s throw away, this standout among free Glasgow attractions is thoroughly worth experiencing.
Consisting of various venues across the University of Glasgow’s immense campus, the Hunterian is the oldest public museum in Scotland. Home to an impressive collection of curiosities ranging from mummies to meteorites, fossils to foreign bodies, this is the place to be if you happen to be a fan of all things weird and wonderful.
By the same token, the Hunterian Art Gallery has everything you need to indulge your inner artist; with its renowned Whistler and Mackintosh collections, you can admire the works of masters for as long as you want without paying a penny!
Glasgow G12 8QQ
If you plan on visiting the Hunterian, you may as well take a trip to the University of Glasgow, too; yes, you can visit the campus without being a student, and yes again, it should most definitely be on your to-do list. The Cloisters (sometimes called The Undercroft) are simply extraordinary; with a transverse ribbed vault and fluid columns, it is easy to understand why their magnificent archways have been featured in so many films and TV shows, Outlander and Cloud Atlas to name just two.
730 Great Western Road,
Glasgow G12 OUE
Easily reachable on foot from the city centre, Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens provide visitors with a relaxing, family-friendly oasis that costs nothing to enjoy. When the weather is warm, the gardens are the place to go for a picnic or pleasant stroll, and the children’s play area is sure to keep any little ones entertained during your day out.
Should the weather take a turn for the worse, seek shelter at the glorious Kibble Palace. Inside, you will find plants whose origins span the globe; from arid deserts to the most resplendent rainforests, Kibble Palace gives you a glimpse of the exotic, adding a touch of the pleasantly unexpected to your Glaswegian adventures.
6 Professors' Square,
Glasgow G3 6BQ
A short walk from the city centre, Kelvingrove Park has an eclectic atmosphere; lively and vibrant thanks to its proximity to the University of Glasgow campus, the park also has plenty of peaceful spots for people to relax and reconnect with nature. The park has its own children’s play area and skate park, as well as riverside trails well suited to walkers and cyclists. There is also a pond full of friendly, hungry ducks that are only too happy when humans feed them. As you can see, when it comes to free Glasgow attractions, Kelvingrove Park has more than enough to keep visitors entertained.
Glasgow G3 7DN
For bookworms looking for free things to do in Glasgow, there is nowhere better than the Mitchell Library. One of the most celebrated libraries in Europe, you are free to explore five floors’ worth of books, photographs, exhibitions and displays. There is also plenty of space throughout the building, making it super easy to find a spot where you can curl up with a book and a hot drink. Home to over a million titles, the only difficulty will be deciding where to start.
City of Glasgow,
Situated right in the heart of Glasgow Green, the People’s Palace is the city’s oldest public space. Here you will find an extensive collection of historical artefacts – as well as photographs, prints and film – that provide visitors with insight as to how the communities in Glasgow worked and played from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
Once you have checked out the palace, head over to the Winter Gardens conservatory; housing many exotic palms, this is a great place to relax for free in Glasgow.
For more information on what to do in Glasgow, read our Guide to Glasgow.