Great Times in Glasgow
Glasgow for families on a budget
We are on a budget and the Aussie dollar is sinking fast but on our list of places we have to see is Scotland.
We started in Glasgow in a small but spacious two storey house. With our lease car we are able to stay far enough outside of cities to save money and then make our way to every destination on our city tour list.
Glasgow has the type of history we have only read about and a wonderful surprise for us was the amount of FREE activities.
There are over 20 museums and art galleries in Glasgow and heaps of them are free to enter. We looked over a list at this site – Glasgow Museums
We decided to select the best rated and those close by each other to save time. In reality children cannot do multiple days of museum tours and so we decided to cram them into one day.
This is a transport museum sitting right on the river Clyde only ten minutes from the city. We parked in the gravel car park and as it was the weekend we didn’t have to pay. There are two entrances, one on the street side and one on the river side. We chose the river side because of the immaculately restored tall ship docked along side. Unbelievably so, it was free to board and explore this ship.
The sleeping quarters, captains cabin, galley and other sections of the ship can be accessed and feature replica items to best display the living conditions and life in general on the ship. Everything was brightly painted and set out perfectly.
With plenty of interactive displays, including rustic mops for swabing the deck and rudimentary cargo moving devices that entertained the adults as well, we spent about 45 minutes on this floating attraction.
Next we entered the Riverside Museum. It was voted European Museum of the Year 2013 and for good reason. As soon as you enter you are floored by the many cars and other modes of transport on the floors, the walls and suspended from the roof.
There is even a small street designed to represent the street conditions of, what I would describe, a ‘high end neighbourhood’. It had a pub, saddler and wooden furniture shop as well as other shops that you are able to wander through and past.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
After another hour and a half we then headed over to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum near the centre of town. We again found parking easy but did purchase a ticket and displayed it on the window. We took a short stroll through the gardens before entering a large red brick historical building.
It was such a dramatic entrance and to add depth to the drama a live performance was underway above our heads. A live organ recital was in full swing with an audience in row seating in the main foyer of the museum. These recitals are free and are scheduled daily.
Kelvingrove is a traditional museum, the kind that made a taxidermist rich about 30 years ago. There were many examples of living and extinct native animal species and even some foreign species. The whole way around our little Spring kept asking if they were real. After a lengthy chat about how they are real but are only stuffed after dying from natural causes we stood face to trunk with an elephant.
Unfortunately we all decided to read the story and found out that the elephant, an ex circus elephant, had injured its zoo keeper and so was shot dead, stuffed and given to the museum. To add insult to injury, Spring had just finished reading ‘Queenie’ the story of an elephant in Melbourne zoo who killed her keeper and was destroyed.
Well she just started to cry her eyes out and asked why they shot her and why did we tell her they all died of natural causes. The tears soon dried up when she found a dress up area and some really cool 1930’s shoes that fit perfectly.
Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery
The final Museum we wanted to visit was located on the University of Glasgow grounds. Only a short walk from Kelvingrove, when we entered the grounds it took us a while to find signs for the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery.
It is the oldest Museum in Scotland and we thought it would be a great way to finish our day.
The buildings and grounds were spectacular and as the sun was shining we spent some time just exploring. OK the truth was, we couldn’t find the entrance and spent about 30 minutes walking around each quadrangle while the girls did cartwheels on the bright green lawns.
We eventually found the entrance in an undercover passageway and it was closed. We missed it by an hour. Oh well, our free exploration hit a wall. Undeterred, we then ventured to the Glasgow cathedral. Also called the High Kirk of Glasgow.
It is another spectacular building, not as big as the Liverpool cathedral but set amongst still standing architectural delights and opposite the sprawling necropolis.
PHOTO TIP: head over the walkway to the necropolis in the mid morning and you will get uninterrupted views of spires and stained glass windows. We visited late in the day and our shots are dark with the sun behind the building.
After spending most of our time in self catering accommodation we ended up further out of town in an historic former private residence, now turned high end hotel with budget accommodation attachment. Winter mentioned the celebrities that are recorded as staying their in his last chilling tale but we also read that they host a lot of psychics because of the many ghosts reportedly present. We didn’t tell the girls as they played on the grand staircase.
While it was great to self cater we did eat out for dinner a few times. We were introduced to a pub chain called Wetherspoons. The pub chain has taken over disused cinemas, churches and banks all over Scotland and England. We comfortably payed no more than 25 pound for dinner with drinks.
The first one we tried in Scotland was near our little house and built in a disused cinema. The second we tried was in an old church near our Preswick hotel.
And the third one was in an old bank called ‘The Counting House’ in the centre of Glasgow after we had been to the Celtic match. it was packed to the brim and the toilets were located downstairs behind the vault doors, so it made for a lively and entertaining atmosphere.
When we finally left Glasgow we felt satisfied that we had enjoyed a quiet time, exploring the sites and enjoying the history and hadn’t spent too much money thanks to the free activities and cheap pub food.
Glasgow is a place we would visit again but are realists, it would have to be the same time of year for us as everyone constantly says, ‘gee it gets cold in Glasgow’ and luckily for us we had some lovely weather.
A spotlight on Edinburgh is next and then our time in the Scottish highlands.