One thing I love about Glasgow is how green it is – Glasgow does not mean “Dear Green Place” out of nowhere! I often spend my lunchtimes wandering about the city’s green spaces, but I particularly love doing this during the winter. This is a guide to some of my favourite parks in Glasgow that are perfect for fairytale-like winter walks in Glasgow.
Winter might not necessarily be the best time to visit Scotland, because the days are short and often rather grey and wet, but as a local who has the pleasure of living here, I actually think winter is a brilliant season to spend time in Scotland! Sounds crazy right?
The thing is that when you live here, you get the full amount of winter – the good, the bad and the ugly, but in this post I will focus on the good: crisp and frosty days that turn the Glasgow parks into gorgeous winter wonderlands!
On days like these I love going for quick lunchtime walks to immerse myself in the sun, snow and ice – an activity that is good for your mind, body and bank account! All parks in Glasgow are free to enter, and often there are additional free things to do within these parks, like visiting museums, special gardens or heritage homes.
Here are 6 beautiful parks that boast great and easy Glasgow walks for the wintery days!
Kelvingrove Park & Kelvin Walkway
I cycle through Kelvingrove Park every day on my way to the office, and yet it has not lost its appeal. The park offers a network of wide paths, that are easy to follow and walk on (no mud boots required). From the bridges criss crossing the River Kelvin you get great views of the University of Glasgow, the Kelvingrove Museum and the sunny side of Park Circus perched up on the hill.
In fact, Kelvingrove Park is part of a wider network of green spaces along the River Kelvin. The Kelvin Walkway leads all the way through Kelvingrove, connects it to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens and continues north towards the Kelvin Aqueduct, the Links, Dawsholm Park and eventually Garscube Campus. Once out of Kelvingrove Park, the paths become narrower and wilder, and at times there are alternative trails leading off into the woods.
My favourite photo spot is the bridge to the left of Kelvingrove Museum for a few of the University’s Bell Tower.
How to get to Kelvingrove Park?
There are several busses that go from the city centre to various park entrances (e.g. First Bus 2, 3 and 4). Three Subway stations are close by the park as well: the closest one is Kelvinbridge, which drops you off at the northern park entrance; from Hillhead it’s a brief walk by the University of Glasgow; and from Kelvinhall it is only a few minutes walk to reach Kelvingrove Museum at the southern-eastern park entrance. You can also catch the train from Glasgow Central to Exhibition Centre and walk about 10 minutes to the southern park entrance.
Queen’s Park Glasgow
Queen’s Park is the closest park to my house, so whenever I work from home and have only time for a very quick adventure, I head there.
What I love most about Queen’s Park is that it’s a mix of Victorian landscaping, with a boating pond, wide paths and even a rose garden, but also unspoiled wildlife zones where local animals get the environment they need to live and breed in the inner city.
From the top of the hill on which Queen’s Park is perched you can see the hills to the north of the city and I love coming up here to find out whether there has been snow in the mountains. On my way back down I always criss-cross through the forest to get away from the city noice. In the winter when the ground is frozen, I can hear nothing but the leaves cracking underneath by steps.
My favourite photo spot is at the top of the hill, beneath the flag pole. On a good day you can see all the way to Ben Lomond!
How to get to Queen’s Park?
The easiest way to reach Queen’s Park is by train from Glasgow Central. The closest station is Queen’s Park station nearby the northern park entrance, but you can also get off at Mount Florida to enter the park from another direction. There are also a number of busses stopping at various sides of the park (e.g. First Bus 3, 4, 5, 6 or 38).
King’s Park Glasgow
I recently went to King’s Park for the first time, because I needed a break from Queen’s Park and somewhere close by for a quick Glasgow walk. I entered the park from the north and made my way south towards Aikenhead House and the walled garden.
Unfortunately the garden was closed to the public, but the park itself still offered lots of trails zigzagging from corner to corner.
My favourite photo spot is the end of the Sensory Garden, where a wooden gate perfectly frames Aikenhead House.
How to get to King’s Park Glasgow?
Catch a train from Glasgow Central to King’s Park station, the closest park entrance is just across the road from the station. There are also a number of busses going by King’s Park (e.g. First Bus 5 or 75).
Rouken Glen Park
Rouken Glen Park lies further south in the suburbs of Glsagow, between Whitecraigs, Giffnock and Thornliebank. There are three main sections in the park: the area around the boating lake, the large and open flat area towards Rouken Glen Road and the relatively wild glen cut through the park by the Auldhouse Burn river.
There is a network of Glen Walks following the natural glen, making for a nice getaway from the city noise.
My favourite photo spot is the double waterfall at the head of Rouken Glen and the riverbed underneath it. It’s great to find such a wild spot in the city!
How to get to Rouken Glen Park?
The quickest way to get to Rouken Glen Park from central Glasgow is by train. Get off at Whitecraigs – a park entrance is just around the corner from the station. First Bus 38B, 38C and 38E stop outside another park entrance.
Pollok Country Park Glasgow
Pollok Country Park is a huge oasis in the Southside of Glasgow and the closest country park to the city centre of Glasgow.
Inside you can find Pollok House, a beautiful historic mansion which the National Trust for Scotland keeps open to the public and even offers an Escape Room game! It is really worth a visit! Close by lies the Burrell Collection, an art museum and gallery that is currently closed for renovation, but expected to reopen in 2020.
Apart from these cultural attractions, the country park offers a wide network of paths and trails leading past little ponds, herds of Highland coos and through the tall forest.
My favourite photo spot is the river shore below Pollok House, from where you get a great view over to the old stone bridge.
How to get to Pollok Country Park?
From Glasgow Central take a train to Pollokshaws West and you’ll find a park entrance right behind the train station. First Bus 57 stops at this entrance too.
I haven’t been to Pollok Country Park this winter yet, but have been in love with the photos shared by Siananne on Instagram:
Linn Park is another big park in the Southside, just a bit further south of King’s Park. Points of interest are the historic mansion Holmwood House as well as the trails leading along White Cart Water. Similar to Rouken Glen, there are waterfalls and little pools with local wildlife, that are particularly interesting to watch during the winter.
How to get to Linn Park?
You could take the train to Cathcart and enter the park from the north or go one stop further to Muirend and walk across Cathcart cemetery before reaching the park. There are a few busses stopping near the north entrance too (e.g. First Bus 4, 5 or 6).
I’ve not been to Linn Park myself yet, but I’m currently planning a day out there as soon as possible.
Winter in Glasgow has been incredible so far – I can’t remember when I’ve seen this much snow in the city and even though it quickly turns into slush on the roads, going for walks in the parks of Glasgow, makes me really appreciate the snowfall!
What’s your favourite park in Glasgow for a wee winter walk? Would love to add more to my bucket list!
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner (except Instagrams).