Botanic Gardens

Holiday Travel Guide
Botanic Gardens showing a garden

Tour the park and arboretum with century-old trees, have a picnic on the lawn, watch a concert, or admire the design of the impressive 19th-century glasshouses.

Discover tropical plants, stroll along the banks of the River Kelvin and picnic on the bright green lawns at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. Glaswegian Thomas Hopkirk, a botanist, founded the gardens in 1817 with a core of 3,000 plants. The gardens moved to its current location in 1839 and opened in 1842 as a members-only garden. Today, this public park attracts almost half a million visitors per year.

Check the website of the park to see if you can join a free guided tour, or explore the park at your own pace. Start at the Kibble Palace, the glasshouse dominating the 42-acre (20-hectare) gardens. Inventor and engineer John Kibble designed the impressive structure in the 1860s for his private residence.

Enter the glasshouse to see the collection of Southern Hemisphere fern trees as well as sculptures and statues, including King Robert of Sicily by the famous Scottish sculptor George Henry Paulin. Find orchids, begonias and tropical plants in the Main Range houses, which are old Victorian buildings from the 1880s.

Pick up a map of the Heritage Trail inside the Kibble Palace and set aside two hours to complete it. Admire the 30 historical sites, including bridges and train stations. Check out the tall black oak and 200-year-old weeping ash tree in the arboretum. Enjoy a picnic on the lawns in front of the glasshouses or buy lunch in the garden’s café.

Come during the weekend to enjoy public events, such as crafts markets, theater, book fairs or concerts. Check the official Glasgow Botanic Gardens website for the calendar of events and live performances.

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens in West End is open daily, but closes at dusk. Entrance is free and there are public toilets. The glasshouses, the Visitor Centre and the Tearoom open mid morning and usually close earlier than the park grounds.

The site is a 40-minute walk from the city center. The Hillhead Underground Station is a five-minute walk away and you can also get there by bus or car from the city center. Free and metered street parking is available nearby.

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Kelvin Hotel West End
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