There are so many things to do in Glasgow with kids that we had trouble deciding. Kid activities in Glasgow include beautiful parks, lively buskers performing on vibrant pedestrian-only streets, many fun kid-friendly museums and great outdoor activities.
Did you know that Glasgow has been named the Friendliest City in the World? Why not plan a trip and enjoy their hospitality yourself!
Glasgow with Kids
This post contains compensated links.
Several of our Glasgow experiences were provided to us for promotional consideration. All opinions are our own.
How to Get to Glasgow with Kids
Our overnight flight from Canada arrived early morning at the Glasgow Airport (GLA). Knowing we’d be nicely jet-lagged we decided to get from the airport to our Glasgow vacation home rental the easiest way possible. We don’t like to travel with our own car seats, so we pre-booked a private Glasgow airport transfer with Taxi2Airport.
Booking through Taxi2Airport provided us safety (free child seats for both kids) and convenience (our driver met us at the gate). This Glasgow airport transfer service comes at a small premium to just taking a normal taxi or Uber, but when it comes to child safety we don’t mind paying a little extra.
Where to Stay in Glasgow
When we travel with our kids, we stay at vacation home rentals (like Airbnb or VRBO) most of the time. We love that everyone can have their own bedroom, cooking our own meals in the kitchen and the ability to do our laundry.
We rented an apartment just minutes south-east of Glasgow city center in the Gorbals district. Our apartment was located just across the River Clyde from the popular Glasgow Green Park.
We chose Gorbals as it was very close to the historic city center, but far enough away that it provided much better value for our money. It’s a pleasant 15 minute walk along the River Clyde to the city center, has a large grocery store (for meals cooked at our rental apartment) and plenty of good restaurants to choose from.
Unfortunately, the Glasgow apartment we rented is no longer on the market, but there are plenty of kid-friendly vacation home rentals in Glasgow.
If you prefer the convivence and location of a hotel, check out the selection of family-friendly hotels in Glasgow on Booking.com.
Getting Around Glasgow with Kids
Getting around Glasgow with kids was super easy. We ended exploring Glasgow with our children a variety of ways:
Walking Around Glasgow
Renting a vacation home in the Gorbals neighborhood saved us money being outside central Glasgow, but it was close enough that we walked almost everywhere we went with our kids in Glasgow. Our kids loved finding the amazing, colorful murals along the Glasgow Mural Trail.
Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
Many of the top things to do in Glasgow with kids are located well outside central Glasgow. Without child seats, taking a Glasgow Uber or taxi was not safe, so we came up with a fun solution to get around Glasgow – a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.
We have seen City Sightseeing tour buses in major cities around the world, we had never actually tried one until Glasgow. We loved the vantage point from the open-air upper deck and felt it was a fun way to get introduced to a city on the first day.
The Hop-On Hop-Off bus was probably our kids favorite thing to do in Glasgow. They especially enjoyed the special audio commentary channel for kids; in fact our daughter kept asking to go back on the bus to listen to more of it. I actually changed my audio track to listen to hers as well, as it was fun to listen and laugh together.
If you are looking for places to take kids in Glasgow, the Hop-on Hop-Off bus is a fun and convenient way to get around. We used the Glasgow Ho-Ho bus to visit Riverside Museum, Kelvingrove Park and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.
There is a small, but useful Glasgow subway system. We used the Glasgow subway to easily get to a kid-friendly bike rental shop north of Kelvingrove Park on our second day of the visit.
2 Day Itinerary for Glasgow with Kids
We like visiting cities, but as outdoor enthusiasts, we don’t love visiting cities. With fun outdoor activities and plenty of things to do in Glasgow with kids, we knew we’d have two very fun days here.
We visited Glasgow with our kids (aged 3 & 5) in early summer. Based on our family trip to Glasgow, here are two days of things to do in Glasgow with kids:
Glasgow with Kids – Day 1
Glasgow Museum of Transport
The Glasgow Museum of Transport is one of the best things to do in Glasgow with kids. This fun Glasgow museum is located within the Riverside Museum complex, which was named Europe’s Museum of the Year in 2013.
The Riverside Museum is a great kids activity in Glasgow. It’s jam-packed with fun and interactive transportation themed displays which kids will love. We included the Riverfront Museum in our Best Things to do in Scotland with Kids.
Immediately upon entering the Museum of Transport, our kids bolted and ran straight inside an old Glasgow street car. Their excitement didn’t end s they spent the rest of their visit running excitedly from one exhibit to another.
The Glasgow Museum of Transport has it all for transportation buffs; massive locomotive engines, boats, planes, fire engines and much more.
Kids will enjoy playing imagination games as they explore many of the interactive exhibits. This fun Glasgow museum has so many great things to do with kids, including an interactive fire truck, a working fire truck ladder, a steam train engine, etc.
The Tall Ship
The Tall Ship is another fun activity in Glasgow for children. Docked just outside the Riverfront Museum, the 245-foot long Glenlee is a three-masted tall ship built in Glasgow in the late 1800’s.
Exploring the multiple levels of the Glenlee is super-fun activity for the kids, but funny enough, the activity the kids liked the best was scrubbing the deck!
Yup – you heard me right.. the Glenlee’s main deck has many pails of water with scrub brushes in them. The deck was filled with the hilarious sight of many little kids scrubbing the floor, yelling “Aye Aye, Captain!” They’re never this excited about helping clean up at home! Ha-ha!
As if the Glasgow Transportation Museum and tall ship weren’t enough fun activities for kids, there is a huge sand box in front of the museum. What kid doesn’t love playing in the sand? This seasonal sand box was filled with kids playing with the provided sand toys, having a ball.
The Riverside Museum and Glenlee Tall Ship are both free to enter, but donations are gladly accepted.
The Riverside Museum is a 50-minute walk from central Glasgow, but our Hop-On Hop-Off bus stopped right outside.
We rode the Hop-On Hop-Off bus for a few stops and got off at Kelvingrove Park for a quick lunch. We didn’t spend much time in this beautiful, riverfront Glasgow park, but in our short time we saw lots of things for kids to do including a skateboard park and a large playground.
You can make the Kelvingrove Park a family day out in Glasgow with a picnic lunch at one of the many picnic tables.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Another fun indoor activity for kids in Glasgow is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, only a short walk from Kelvingrove Park. Housed in a grand building in a beautiful setting along the River Clyde, this is another of the wonderful free kid-friendly museums in Glasgow.
Although much of the floor space in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery dedicated to traditional art, a decent amount of is dedicated to interesting displays for children.
The West Court of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery is especially fun for kids. It’s filled with stuffed animals from every corner of the planet, with specimens ranging from kangaroos, elephants, orangutans, water buffalo, tigers, and even a duck-billed platypus!
And for some strange reason, there’s a WWII Spitfire airplane hanging from the ceiling of the West Court, right over the African animals. Very random, but kinda cool too!
In addition, there are sections dedicated to Scotland’s Wildlife, Creatures of the Past (including the skeleton of a massive Irish deer) and Ancient Egypt (where kids can wrap their own mummy!).
As we were leaving the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, we were lucky enough to catch a pipe organ concert in the Centre Hall. The sound was so amazing, we just had to stop and listen for a while.
The kids loved watching the man playing the organ and listening to its haunting sound filling the great hall. This was a surprisingly unique and fun thing to do in Glasgow with kids.
The Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Museum proved that museums can be really fun indoor kids activities in Glasgow.
Exploring Glasgow’s Pedestrian-Only Streets
We took the Hop On Hop-Off Bus back to central Glasgow and had a very enjoyable family walk down the pedestrian-only Buchanan Street, one of the fun places to walk in Glasgow.
Glasgow’s pedestrianized streets are alive with people shopping and meeting at restaurants. A wide variety of buskers entertained the kids, including a man playing the bagpipes (which actually sound kinda good while in Scotland!), singers, soccer-ball acrobats, and a very funny band of cats!
Pedestrian only streets are a wonderful kid-friendly activities for kids in Glasgow as you can let them explore a little bit without needing to worry about traffic, etc.
We love climbing stairs to viewpoints of European cities, so we were excited to visit The Lighthouse. We were a bit disappointed to find out the viewing platform was only reachable by lift. The views from the indoor viewing platform at the top were nice, but it’s not earth-shattering by any stretch.
While at the Lighthouse viewing platform, we were surprised to see there was actually a second tower with an outdoor viewing platform. Yeesh – this is the one we should have gone to!
To access the outdoor viewing platform at the Lighthouse, go to the third floor of the building and look for the helical staircase to the top…
Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre
If you are looking for a unique, cultural kids activity in Glasgow, try the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre. We decided to take our kids after our Scotland Lonely Planet and Glasgow Life both highly recommended this quirky art show.
The Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre is a small gallery filled with art by Russian sculptor/mechanic Eduard Bersudsky. Amazingly, Eduard has no formal art training, but has a great talent and even greater imagination.
The Sharmanka gallery is filled with sculptures created with nothing but old junk; built with parts from old bikes, Singer sewing machines, pipes, etc. Spectators are allowed to explore the gallery before the show, but the magic starts once the show begins.
We attended the 40 minute Promenade show. Once the lights go out, the sculptures come alive one-by-one, with lights and music drawing the small group of spectators to come closer.
Each sculpture is mechanical in nature and tells a story set to music. I found the shadows creating by the amazing lighting to be every bit as interesting as the sculptures themselves.
The recommended minimum age for the Sharmanka Promenade show is 4 years old (our son was 3y11m). Kids must be able to sit still for a few minutes at a time and keep quiet. Some of the sculptures might be a bit scary for kids, and some have exposed body parts, but never in a sexual context though.
Our kids were a little bit scared by some of the music, but never by the sculptures themselves.
Our kids loved the Sharmanka Promenade show. It held their attention for nearly the entire 40 minutes, although they started to fade towards the end. I was very impressed at the creativity and showmanship which went into this kinetic art performance.
If you are looking for fun, indoor things to do with kids in Glasgow, I’d highly recommend this unique Glasgow activity.
Glasgow with Children – Day 2
Family Bike Ride near Glasgow
We love to cycle when we travel, but we struggle to find kid-friendly bike rental shops. We were very happy to find that Gear Bikes offered a wide selection of bike rentals for kids, including child seats and chariot rentals.
Located near the River Clyde just north of Kelvingrove Park, Joe and his team were very helpful and eager to accommodate our needs. We were able to rent two high quality road bikes, with a chariot trailer for our 5 year old and a bike seat for our 3 year old.
In addition to having all the equipment we needed, Joe also had great suggestions for a family-friendly bike ride in Glasgow.
After properly sizing our bikes and getting the kids equipment all hooked up, we were on our way. Joe walked us to the nearby riverfront walkway and gave us directions to the Forth and Clyde Canal Towpath.
The Forth and Clyde Canal is an amazing engineering feat, connecting salt water from both sides of the island (basically from Glasgow to Edinburgh) via two canals.
The two canals are connected by the Falkirk Wheel, a modern engineering wonder, which lifts boats (still floating in water) from one canal to the other, much higher one.
The Forth and Clyde Canal Towpath allows walkers and cyclists to enjoy amazing countryside scenery along the banks of the canal, while passing through some quaint towns along the way.
On our family bike ride, we enjoyed being a part of the quiet, simple country life for a little while. We passed many locals out walking their dogs, fishing, etc., while many long, narrow boats floated calmly down the waterway, adding to the country charm.
Much of the path is well-treed and given it follows a waterway, the bird-watching was incredible. We saw a wide variety of birds and the sound of them singing was virtually non-stop the whole way.
We saw several swans, including a family with three adolescent swans swimming in a slow, straight line down the canal. In addition, we saw a Grey Heron and hordes of ducks.
Perhaps the nature highlight of our kid-friendly bike ride near Glasgow was our first sighting of a Highland Cow. With their long horns and woolly hair, these “hairy coos” are instantly lovable. Your kids will love Highland Cows!
We didn’t make it all the way to the Falkirk Wheel as we’d hoped. It was a reasonably easy bike trail, but our jet-lagged legs were not feeling very strong and the wind was a bit of a challenge.
We cycled with our kids all the way to Banknock, a mere 6 miles / 9.5km from the Falkirk Wheel. The total distance of our family bike ride in Glasgow was 62km. The trip took just over 5 hours.
We loved our two days in Glasgow with our kids. We enjoyed a little culture, a little outdoor activity and especially the friendliness of the people. We were sad to say goodbye to Glasgow, but excited to begin our road trip with a stop in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park!
More Scotland With Kids
- Edinburgh with Kids
- Packing List for Scotland with Kids
- Scotland Road Trip Itinerary with Kids
- Best Things to do on the Isle of Skye with Kids
- Best Things to do in Fort William with Kids
- 5 Easy Walks in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
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