Scotland, Travel

48 Hours in Glasgow: An Itinerary (With Kids)

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A Flying Visit to Glasgow – Two Day Itinerary

Glasgow - Street Art Mural, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Smug
This street art mural is called ‘Honey I shrunk the kids’ and the woman’s necklace gives away the artist’s name ‘Smug’. The mural is huge – it’s been painted over the four storeys of the building and is just next to the famous flying taxi mural.

Last year, we went on a flying 48 hour visit to see close family in Glasgow and I thought I’d share what we covered in those 2 days. Glasgow is often overlooked in favour of Edinburgh, however, I can tell you that it’s most definitely worth a visit. Many years ago, a Glaswegian friend of mine told me that you need to ‘look up’ when visiting Glasgow and indeed she’s right – there is so much stunning architecture. It’s such a family friendly city with so much on offer for children and it’s also very easy to get around the city centre as it’s been designed on a grid system of streets. So here’s our two day Glasgow itinerary.

Day 1 – Art, Architecture & Street Art Mural Trail

Gallery of Modern Art

Glasgow - Gallery of Modern Art, Duke of Wellington Statue
What do you make of the Duke of Wellington’s headgear?

Head to the Gallery of Modern Art in the city centre. The architecture of this neo-classical building is beautiful and if you’re lucky you’ll spot the traffic cone on the Duke of Wellington statue – apparently it’s a sign of a good night!

Glasgow - Gallery of Modern Art, kids' corner

We whizzed round the museum and stopped in the kids’ corner for some artistic fun. It’s a pretty small area to be honest but the kids were happy to spend some time creating master pieces which they proudly displayed alongside other works by budding picassos.

Lunch

Glasgow - Zizzi's restaurant, Royal Exchange Square

We stopped for a spot of lunch at nearby Zizzi’s – my kids thought the name of the restaurant was hysterical (google ‘zizi’ in French, lol). It’s a chain restaurant, however, it’s very child-friendly, has a great menu for the little ones and is set in a beautiful building. There are often special deals on so check their website beforehand. Our waiter was lovely and invited the kids to help make their own pizzas.

The Lighthouse

Glasgow - The Lighthouse Staircase
Miss 6 zoomed her way to the top of this staircase.

In the afternoon, we headed to the Lighthouse which was the first public commission completed by the famous Glasgwegian architect, artist and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The building used to house the Glasgow Herald but is now Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. We enjoyed seeing some of Mackintosh’s trademark chairs and climbing to the top of the impressive staircase to check the panoramic view of Glasgow from the top.

Glasgow, The Lighthouse - Charles Rennie Mackintosh Chairs
Aren’t these chairs funky? Charles Rennie Mackintosh really was ahead of his time!

The Lighthouse is perhaps not the most obvious site for a family outing but I wanted to introduce the children to some of the works by this talented Scottish individual.

Street Art Mural Trail

Glasgow - Street Art Mural, Taxi + Balloons, world's Most economical taxi
One of our favourite murals: World’s Most Economical Taxi

Back in 2008, Glasgow city council embraced the concept of street art and commissioned several artists to produce street art murals to help rejuvenate more tired, rundown areas. In 2014, the city centre mural trail was officially launched and as at today’s date, there is a total of 22 of these giant murals dotted about the city. You can download the trail on the council’s website. This will give you an idea of where they’re located and will help you gauge distances for your little ones’ legs.

Glasgow - Street Art Mural, Panda
A rare moment of sibling love!

We loved going on our street art hunt and found 7  of these giant murals on the sides of buildings, often in unexpected places. They add a fabulous splash of colour to the various streets and lanes. It’s such a great way for Glasgow to showcase what a fantastic city it is, however, we were a little saddened at the state of some of the locations which were dirty and full of litter.

Glasgow - Street Art Mural, Bear + Fish supper

Day 2 – Museums, Museums and more Museums

The Riverside Museum

Glasgow - Old Glasgow Subway at the Riverside Museum
Riding the subway

For all things planes, trains and automobile-related, be sure to check out The Riverside Museum in Glasgow (formerly known as the Transport Museum). This museum won the European Museum of the Year 2013 and is well worth a visit. As its name suggests, it’s located next to the river Clyde and can be reached by car, by bus and it’s also on the open top bus tour route.

Glasgow - Riverside Museum, Old Glasgow Street
Walking down the oldy-worldy street

Not only does the museum feature every conceivable mode of transport, it also provides an insight into Victorian day Glasgow. The kids loved popping into the old-fashioned shops, playing with the interactive displays and dressing up in the Edwardian photography studio. They were also given quizzes by the friendly staff at reception which kept them interested.

Glasgow - the Riverside Museum, Chitty chitty bang bang
We were lucky enough to see the real Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as it was on loan to the museum during 2016

Once you’ve worked your way round the museum,  be sure to visit the Tall Ship that is moored behind the museum. So if you have a Lightning McQueen or Herbie fan, make sure the Riverside museum features on your itinerary. It’s such a great place for a family outing and like almost all of Glasgow’s museums, it’s free of charge!

Glasgow - Subway in the Riverside Museum, No spitting sign
The kids had a good giggle at the ‘No Spitting’ sign in the subway

Clockwork Orange

Glasgow - Subway, Clockwork Orange

After having sat in the static subway in the museum, it seemed fitting that we catch the real thing. We caught a taxi back to city centre and then jumped on the famous Clockwork Orange… nope it has nothing to do with Anthony Burgess’ famous book… it’s the name of Glasgow’s circular underground line. It opened in 1896 and is the third oldest subway in the world after London and Budapest. After a short ride in the metro, we arrived at our stop and followed signs for the Kelvingrove Museum.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Glasgow - Kelvingrove

This world class museum, which originally opened in 1901, is housed in a magnificent red sandstone building and offers something for everyone – from dinosaur eggs, to a full-sized suspended Spitfire and world famous artworks. Your kids will love exploring the 22 galleries that feature an incredible 8000 exhibits. Miss 6 and Mr 9 absolutely loved this museum and could’ve spent many more hours there had we not been stretched for time.

Glasgow, Kelvingrove, Dali's Christ of Saint John of the Cross
The museum bought Salvador Dali’s painting in the 1950s for £8200 and apparently the Spanish governemt tried to buy the artwork with an offer of £80million, but were turned down!

We (well me, really) were thrilled to see Dali’s famous ‘Christ of Saint John of the Cross’ in the flesh. We’re big fans of all things Dali so this was particularly thrilling. This famous painting, created by Dali in 1951, was badly damaged in 1961 when a crazed visitor attacked the painting with a stone and tore the canvas. Luckily highly skilled conservators were able to restore it to its former glory.

Glasgow - Kelvingrove Museum, hanging heads
You’re being watched!

We were lucky enough to arrive whilst the free organ recital was taking place in the centre hall. If you get hungry or fancy a coffee, head to the Kelvingrove Café which is housed in the basement of the museum. Try to get a seat in the conservatory area for a pretty view of Kelvingrove Park.

We’re Going Back For More!

So there you have it! There is SO much to see in Glasgow – with and without kids – this is just a small taster of all the things there is to do.  It’s a city rich in culture, art, history and should definitely feature in your Scottish itinerary. We’re definitely planning on doing a part 2 so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter or follow our facebook page so you don’t miss out on our top tips!

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48 Hrs in glasgow - an itinerary with kids

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