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Kids go free: a family day out in Glasgow
From the Kelvingrove and Riverside museums to the People's Palace, there's plenty of free fun in Glasgow to keep the kids entertained all day
Swapping out Edinburgh or your local surroundings for a day out in Glasgow couldn't be easier than just hopping on a train. And with ScotRail's Kids Go Free ticket up to two 5–15-year olds can travel free with each adult. The whole family is sure to be entertained in Scotland's biggest city and its array of free activities, many of which are within strolling distance from many of Glasgow's main train stations.
Just 20 minutes' walk from Glasgow Central, the People's Palace on Glasgow Green is a compact museum telling the story of the city of Glasgow and its people. Kids can see what life was like in a pokey single end, sit in a replica prison cell and learn some dance steps ready for a night at the Barrowland Ballroom. In the adjacent Winter Gardens, you can wander among the exotic palms and plants or visit the café. Outside the museum, Glasgow Green offers plenty of space to tear about and enjoy a game of frisbee, as well as the iconic colourful 'G' sculpture from the Commonwealth Games – perfect for a family Instagram portrait.
From either of Glasgow's main train stations, you can catch a train to Partick, in the west of the city, in under ten minutes. It's worth taking the extra hop as Partick is home to Glasgow's Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel. This custom-designed building houses a whopping 3000 objects, including cars, bikes, trams and locomotives, a must for any fans of a certain Thomas the Tank Engine. Take a stroll through its historic Glasgow 'streets', where you can climb aboard the subway and visit shops including a pawnbrokers and photographers, and sit in a traditional Italian café.
If the weather isn't on your side, film fans should take a look at Glasgow Film Theatre's season Take 2: Family Friendly Films. Glasgow Young Scot or Kidz Card holders and an accompanying parent / carer get in free to these shows when tickets are bought at the box office. The programme features kid-friendly classics such as Disney films and the latest blockbuster releases.
Fun for little kids and big kids alike
Glasgow is famed for its shopping, with hundreds of outlets concentrated in the city's famous Style Mile. Shops for little kids – and big ones too – include the LEGO shop, Waterstones and Hamleys. Of course, entering these shops is free but, let's be honest, you're not leaving there without taking your wallet out at least once. If retail therapy works up a hunger, head for the second floor of Buchanan Galleries. Here, StreetDots have opened Taste Buchanan, a street-food hub with an ever-changing lineup of traders serving savoury dishes and sweet treats in a laidback setting.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is just a short subway ride – a mini adventure in itself – from the city centre. Open since 1901, the impressive sandstone building boasts 22 themed galleries so you can pick a few to explore each visit. Families will particularly enjoy the dinosaurs and other prehistoric mammals, a Spitfire plane and Sir Roger the Elephant. You can also follow family activity trails, and for under-fives who don't fancy tackling the stairs, there's a Mini Museum on the ground floor. Once you've learned some new facts, head outside to Kelvingrove Park, which is a great spot for a picnic with a children's playground, skatepark and friendly squirrels.