The 5 best Glasgow Parks
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Open green spaces in the cities are as old as cities themselves, but very different to the way we recognize parks now.

The first parks in Scotland were deer parks, land set aside for hunting by the aristocracy in medieval times. These places evolved into landscaped parks set around mansions and country houses from the XVIth century onwards.

But it was mainly as cities became crowded, when the Victorian society started to see parks as places to preserve a sense of nature in the cities, a way of improving health, provide relaxation and a recreation opportunities for the new middle class.

So private hunting grounds became places for the public and the local authorities and rich philanthropists built or donated parks to the public.

Currently, Glasgow, name derived from the Gaelic word ‘Glaschu’, meaning ‘dear green place’, has dozens of parks dotted around our city.

Admire Kelvingrove Park

KELVINGROVE PARK | 2018 & 2017 Park Gold Winner

Situated in Glasgow’s West End area, Kelvingrove Park was created in 1852 by Sir Joseph Paxton as the West End Park, using some empty woodland estate purchased by the Town Council.

The 34 hectares (85 acres) in size park is a classic example of a Victorian park and straddles the River Kelvin being an urban haven for wildlife. It has been the site of three exhibitions: the 1888 International Exhibition, the 1901 International Exhibition and the 1911 Scottish Exhibition.

It contains the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Stewart Memorial Fountain, a bandstand, a skate park, a bowling, croquet greens, and interesting statues and monuments.

Pin  The site of three exhibitions, two of them internationals.

Glasgow Botanic Gardens is a cross between a public park and a botanic garden located in the heart of the west end of Glasgow, Scotland. It was created in 1817 by the Royal Botanic Institution of Glasgow to supply plants for the medical and botanical classes of the University of Glasgow.

The 20 hectares gardens were incorporated into the Parks and Gardens of the City of Glasgow in 1891.

It features a variety of plant collections inside several glasshouses, the most notable of which being the Kibble Palace built in 1873.

Pin  There is also a disused hidden railway station.

Glasgow Green is a 55 hectares park in the east end of Glasgow and north bank of the River Clyde, and it is the oldest public space in the United Kingdom since in 1450 King James II granted the land to Bishop William Turnbull and the people of Glasgow.

Several historic events happened in the park, as it is the place where James Watt conceived the idea of the steam condenser, which launched the Industrial Revolution, while walking. It is also a place where the Trade Union Movement and the Female Emancipation were hotly debated.

The place contains the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens (a museum about the Glasgow history) and the terracotta world record Doulton Fountain.

Pin  The oldest public space in the United Kingdom.

Visit Pollok Country Park

POLLOK COUNTRY PARK | 2018 Park Fourth Winner & 2017 Park Silver Winner

Located in the south of Glasgow City, Pollok Country Park is a 146 hectares country park originally part of the Old Pollok Estate, which was the ancestral home to the Maxwell family for over 700 years.

Gifted to Glasgow in 1966 with the condition that it remained open to the public, it is Glasgow’s largest park and was named Best Park in Europe in 2008.

This place is home to Pollok House, the world-famous Burrell Collection (closed for refurbishment until 2020) and a Highland Cattle fold.

There are extensive woodlands and gardens to explore and a wide range of activities throughout the year suitable for all ages.

Pin  It is Glasgow’s largest park.

Located in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, to the south of Glasgow, originally belonged to the Scottish Crown, then to the Earl of Eglinton, later to different owners and since 1906 to the East Renfrewshire Council.

The name is taken from the old Rock End Meal Mill in the glen, which dates back to the early 16th century.

Voted the UK’s Best Park in 2016, it has a boating pond, a large waterfall, woodland paths, a botanic garden, extensive prairies, one of the most important geological sites in Scotland containing exposures of the fossil-rich orchard beds in the Glasgow basin which are around 325 million years old, and a number of businesses such as a garden centre.

Pin  The remains of the mill can be seen at the foot of the waterfall.

The International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry, opened on 8 May 1888 at the Kelvingrove Park, was the greatest exhibition ever held in Scotland during the 19th century.

In addition to the remarkable Doulton Fountain (later moved to the Glasgow Green), the exposition gave to the city a profit money, which permitted to partly finance the construction of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.


Glasgow Parks

Cool Facts

The Quote

A society – any society – is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.

Robert Bernard Reich. American political commentator and professor (1946-).


Greatest Glasgow Awards

Technical Criteria

Research led by SUZANNAH HENDERSON ׀
Date of the Research: 15-30 MAY 2018 ׀
Publication date: 1 JUNE 2018
Review date: 1 JUNE 2019

Scope of the research & essential inclusion criteria:
Open to publicIt exists today
Premium+ criteria:

1 History.
2 Maintenance.
3 Size.
4 Plant/ tree diversity.
5 Conservation of nature.

6 Facilities.
7 A-listed buildings inside the park.
8 Free entry.
9 Activities.
10 Gardens category.

Premium Validation criteria:

11 Condition of the facilities.
12 Key element within its surroundings.
13 True to its origins.
14 Condition of the statues.
15 Friendly to visitors.

16 Beauty and appeal of the environment.
17 Uniqueness of the environment.
18 Accessibility for disabled persons.
19 Other features.

Additional information about the VPP+ process:     VPP+