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Glasgow for free: 5 top attractions that won’t cost you a penny

Although Glasgow is often unfavourably compared to Edinburgh, Scotland’s ‘second city’ should win first place for several reasons. For one thing, it’s a whole lot less crowded in summer, which means less time spent queuing up to see the big-name sights. For another, it’s home to loads of free attractions, the best of which we’ve picked out below. So, pack your bags, book a low-cost megabus ticket and prepare to go easy on your wallet. Because you really can have a day out in Glasgow without spending a penny – and here’s how.

Visit the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

Head over to Glasgow Green – the oldest public space in Glasgow – to get stuck in to the city’s social history. The People’s Palace museum tells the story of Glaswegians living in the city from 1750 onwards through a combination of paintings, photos, artefacts and archive footage. And it’s adjacent to the Winter Gardens, a Victorian greenhouse that’s home to many tropical and unusual plants, plus a lovely airy café.
Closed Mondays. Call: 0141 276 0788.

Pop in to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Granted, it’s another museum. But you can’t come to Glasgow and not visit one of the most popular museums in the world, right? The Kelvingrove houses an eclectic mix of 8,000 objects, ranging all the way from a Spitfire to a stuffed elephant. As well as those you can see armour from around the world, natural history exhibits, and famous works of art including one of the largest displays of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s work.
Open every day until 5pm. Call: 0141 276 9599.

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Tiptoe around Glasgow Necropolis

If you’re not easily spooked, visit the Necropolis, a 37-acre Victorian garden cemetery and ‘city of the dead’. You can take a free walking tour, although donations are appreciated, or stroll among the thousands of sculptures, monuments, tombs and graves by yourself. It’s next to Glasgow Cathedral, and makes for a peaceful contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city. Perhaps not one for after dark, though…
To book a tour, email tours@glasgownecropolis.org

Stroll through the Botanic Gardens

If the weather’s feeling a little chilly, head over to the Botanic Gardens and you’re instantly transported to a tropical rainforest. The iconic glasshouse, Kibble Palace, is filled with a forest of tree ferns, while the palm house is bursting with exotic plants. The surrounding grounds and woodland copses are great for picnics in warmer weather, or you can settle down with a decent cuppa at the Tearooms in the old Curator’s House.
The grounds are open from 07:00 until dusk all year round, and the glasshouses from 10:00 until 18:00 in summer, and until 16:15 in winter. Call: 0141 276 1614.

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Get lost in The Hunterian Museum

Glasgow is packed with unusual attractions, but The Hunterian Museum surely has the biggest collection of them under one roof. Pop in to peruse scientific instruments, Roman artefacts, Doctor William Hunter’s own anatomical teaching collection, objects from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages, and The Mackintosh House – featuring reassembled interiors from the designer’s Glasgow home. Yep, totally random. And that’s precisely what makes it stand out from the crowd.
Closed Mondays. Call: 0141 330 4221.

Tempted by a cheap trip to Glasgow? Of course you are! Book now with megabus. And if you want to find out more before you go, check out our handy city guide.

Heading to London soon? Then check out the top 5 attractions you can visit without spending a penny too with our London for free guide.