It’s been a long rainy summer so far. And who knows what the rest of the holidays are going to be like. And then there’s a few weeks in October where it’ll probably rain, and the Christmas holidays…
We’d love to go out to the park and let the kids run around. And most of the time that’s Plan A. But we live in Glasgow, and we always need a contingency plan. So here are our top places to take the family that are fun, and perhaps most importantly, dry!
The Glasgow Science Centre is one of our favourite places to take the kids. This summer we’ve been so frequently that it’s pretty much our second home.
It’s way more exciting that the name might suggest. There are 3 floors of really cool experiments to suit kids (and adults) of all ages, and everything is interactive. For the younger kids they have an elaborate play zone with puppets, buttons to press and a water play area. They also have a science theatre with daily captivating live shows, a whole host of workshops on throughout the day for kids of various ages, and a stunning planetarium.
They have a restaurant with hot and cold food options. It serves a good mixture of healthy and not quite so healthy meals. The Glasgow Tower and Glasgow’s IMAX cinema are also situated at the Science Centre (additional entry fees apply to both).
It is pricey to get in (unless you get the annual pass which, if you’re going to go a few times this year I would highly recommend) but you can definitely spend a day here. Easily.
Let Them Run Free!
I know that the mere mention of soft play makes many a parent wince, but I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love it. And Glasgow has a fair few soft play areas: some huge, some small, some more suitable for younger kids, some fantastic for older kids, some with lovely cakes, one with a Starbucks inside, all noisy.
One Glasgow mummy blogger (Lynn from Glasgow With Kids) and her toddler have been gradually working her way through them, doing reviews of each as they go along. You can check out all the reviews on her website and see which ones you might want to try. Or avoid!
Be A Tourist
Ok, so this might take a little bit of braving the rain, but bear with me. Whenever we go on holiday to a city as a family, we tend to do their sightseeing bus/trolley/tram, whatever version they have. It’s great fun and it’s a great way to get around. Spending the day travelling around on the Glasgow Sightseeing Bus almost makes you feel like you’re on holiday, and unless it’s really blowing a hoolie, the kids will love it. Give them a camera and let them be a tourist!
You can get to most of Glasgow’s best museums: Kelvingrove, the Riverside Museum, GoMA, the Hunterian, the People’s Palace, St Mungo’s, and Glasgow Cathedral, all of which are free to enter. You could easily spend a weekend just in these! And you can hop off at Cafe Source down at St Andrews in the Square, or Cottiers, or one of the many cafes along Byres Rd or in Finnieston to get a spot of lunch. And at the end of the day, catch a movie in the Grosvenor Cinema or in the IMAX at the Science Centre (which is also a stop on the tour).
Go For A Roll
No, I don’t mean one with egg and scone. RollerStop Roller Rink in Glasgow’s Kinning Park is a great fun way to spend a few hours. Their roller discos are on 7 days a week, with lots of pop music and some classics for the parents!
RollerStop have family sessions on most days (suitable for ages 4+) with coaches available at all the family sessions to help, so don’t worry if you haven’t skated before. They also have a parent and toddler session once a week. They also have a small cafe serving up drinks and sandwiches.
A Day at the Movies
If you fancy a day at the movies, you’re in the right city. Glasgow has more than it’s fair share of cinemas (apparently Glasgow used to have more cinemas than any city outside of the USA!) and today Glasgow is home to some of the UK’s most popular cinemas, as well as the UK’s tallest (Cineworld, Renfrew St).
The likes of the Cineworlds on Renfrew St, at The Forge and Silverburn, and the Odeons at Braehead and The Quay show pretty much every movie currently on release, plus a few extras. The IMAX at the Science Centre shows big blockbusters on their screen the size of a small football pitch. Glasgow’s oldest cinema, The Grosvenor, was opened in 1921 and is still going strong, showing both blockbuster films and a few independent movies. The Grosvenor also has ‘toddler cinema’, and baby cinema (specifically for parents and babies) on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Booking in advanced is advised at most of them, particularly at the Cineworld Cinemas on Renfrew St and at Silverburn. The queues can get a tiny bit ridiculous some nights!
This place is a day out in itself. There’s something for everyone here: mini-golf, Gambado soft play, ski slopes – where you can try out sledging amongst other snow sports (they sometimes have deals on for trying out sledging or for one ski/snowboard lesson – worth checking out), plus an Odeon cinema, a climbing wall and an aerial assault course.
They also have a quite a few restaurants if all those activities make you hungry.
Like I said, something for everyone.