Sightseeing Budget/Free things to do free activities UK > Scotland > Glasgow

5 Free Things To Do In Glasgow, Scotland - Updated 2020

free things to do in glasgow
Sumit Passary
Endorsed by Local Expert
Sumit Passary

Glasgow is a city of rich history, amazing architecture, great shopping, and unique food. It’s also a great city if you are traveling on a budget! Get a deeper glimpse into Glasgow’s culture and the history of Scotland, and have an all around good time, exploring these five free attractions, in Glasgow.

1. Visit the Glasgow Cathedral

The Glasgow Cathedral is also known as St. Mungo’s or St. Kentigern’s Cathedral and sometimes as the High Kirk of Glasgow. St. Mungo, also known as St. Kentigern, was a bishop in the 6th century and is attributed with being the founder of Glasgow. He is the patron saint of the city and the cathedral is built where St. Mungo is thought to have been buried and marks the place where Glasgow was born.

The cathedral itself was built during the 13th-15th centuries, replacing earlier wooden structures, consecrated in 1197. It has never been unroofed since that point and regular worship services are still carried out, inside. The cathedral survived the Protestant Reformation, in 1560, almost intact and thus remains one of the most complete medieval churches, on the Scottish mainland.

When you are here, visit the crypt of St. Mungo. The crypt was built in the mid-1200s, to house his tomb. At the east end of the crypt, there is an effigy of Bishop Wishart, a strong supporter of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, in the fight for Scottish independence. His body was entombed in 1316, though the tomb is unlabeled and has been damaged, likely during the Reformation. The pulpitum, which is a stone screen dividing the nave and the choir, was added to the cathedral, in the early 1400s. There is a small chapel that can be accessed from the cathedral’s nave. Look up at the ceiling to see brightly painted carved stone knobs (called bosses). Robert Blacader (or “Blackadder”), Archbishop of Glasgow in 1491, is responsible for the construction of this chapel, now known as Blackadder Aisle.

Glasgow Cathedral

Address: Castle St, Glasgow G4 0QZ, UK

Opening Hours: Differs from season to season, visit the website to find hours.

Contact: +44 141 552 8198

Website: Glasgow Cathedral

Travel tip by Glasgow Local Expert - Sumit
Posted on: Jan 08, 2020

Legend has it that the Glasgow Cathedral is where the city was founded. The Cathedral has some amazing stained glass works of which the Millennium Window by John Clark and the 1958 Creation Window by Francis Spear are well known. It will take you a 15-minute walk to get to the Cathedral  from St. George's Square.

Stained Glass Painting inside the Glasgow Cathedral
Stained Glass Painting inside the Glasgow Cathedral

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2. Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of the most visited museums in the United Kingdom, outside of London. It houses one of Europe’s greatest art collections, with works from Rembrandt to Monet and Van Gogh. You can find works by the Old Masters, French Impressionists, Dutch Renaissance and Scottish Colorists. The most famous painting on display is Salvador Dali’s “Christ of St. John of the Cross”. The museum also houses one of the finest collections of arms and armor in the world, along with a vast natural history collection. Sir Roger, the Asian elephant is one of the most popular items within the museum. Sir Roger used to tour the country with a traveling menagerie before becoming part of the Glasgow zoo. After his death in 1900, he was given to the Kelvingrove museum, for display.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Address: Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG, UK

Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm (Monday - Thursday & Saturday), 11am - 5pm (Friday & Sunday)

Website: Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Travel tip by Glasgow Local Expert - Sumit
Posted on: Jan 08, 2020

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum has some incredible installations and visitors will enjoy a stroll around the Egyptian section, which even has a mummy! You can easily walk down here from the Kelvinhall subway station in under 10 minutes!

Installation at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
Installation at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

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3. Riverside Museum

Riverside Museum
Source: Wikimedia

Set on the banks of the Clyde River, Glasgow’s Riverside Museum focuses primarily on transportation. You will find everything here, from bicycles to trains and vintage cars. You’ll even see things like prams and skateboards! There is an old cobbled Glasgow street that you can walk down, displaying shops from the late 1800s to the late 1900s. Outside the museum, you are free to enter the UK’s only floating Clyde-built sailing ship. The museum houses over 3,000 objects on display and is fairly interactive. It’s a great experience!

Riverside Museum

Address: 100 Pointhouse Place, Glasgow, G3 8RS

Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm (Monday - Thursday & Saturday), 11am - 5pm (Friday & Sunday)

Contact: +44 141 287 2720

Website: Riverside Museum

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4. St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art

St. Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art
Source: Wikimedia

St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art is not about St. Mungo or only Scottish religious life, but it is a museum about religious life across the world and across time. Opened in 1993, this award-winning museum is one of the very few public museums of its kind. The main floor of the museum holds a gallery of religious art where you will see things like stained glass windows from Christian churches, Turkish prayer rugs, and statues of Hindu deities. The gallery of religious life explores various religious callings and duties. The museum presents similarities and differences of how different religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and more, approach common themes like birth, death, and marriage. The museum is set in a reconstruction of the bishop’s palace, which used to stand in the forecourt of the cathedral. There is a good view of the cathedral, from the third floor. The museum also has an excellent cafe, which leads out to the Zen garden.

St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art

Address: 2 Castle Street, Glasgow G4 0RH

Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm (Tuesday - Thursday & Saturday), 11am - 5pm (Friday & Sunday). Closed on Mondays.

Contact: +44 141 276 1625

Website: St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art

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5. Walk around the campus of Glasgow University

Glasgow University
Source: Wikimedia

Glasgow University was founded in 1451, making it the second oldest university, in Scotland. The University grounds are beautiful and the architecture is impressive. Simply walking and exploring is a great free activity here in Glasgow, especially on a day when the weather is nice. Specifically worth a look are the cloisters, which connect the East and West quadrangles, leading inside the University’s main building, the Gilbert Scott Building. They are quite impressive and have been seen in many TV shows and films. The University flagpole is a great spot to get some terrific views of the city. From there you can see Kelvingrove Park and the Kelvingrove Art Galley and Museum. There are even benches for you to relax and admire the view. To get to the flagpole, head to the cloisters, then to where the main tower is located. The Gilbert Scott Building is named after Sir George Gilbert Scott, who designed this building and many others in the late 1900s. You will see a plaque with the University’s motto (Via, Veritas, Vita) above the central doorway. The Memorial Chapel is another highlight of the campus. It was built as a memorial to the university members who died in the two world wars, completed in 1929.

The Memorial Chapel

Address: Main Building Gilmorehill Campus, University of Glasgow, Chapel Corridor (South), West Quadrangle, Glasgow G12 8QQ

Opening Hours: every weekday, 9:00am - 5:00pm

Contact: +44 (0) 141 330 1888

Website: The Memorial Chapel

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The best things in life come free

Glasgow has so much to offer each and very visitor. These five attractions are great places to start getting your feet wet or to take a break to save some money, with some cool free sights. Either way, you’re sure to love the city and all it has to offer!

This article has been endorsed by Glasgow local expert Sumit Passary

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Megan is an avid explorer and food aficionado. She loves to see the world, experiencing different cultures & traditions. When she’s not off traveling, you’ll most likely find her tucked away with a...Read more

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