Glasgow's most visited attraction is an entertaining museum of transport set in a vibrant modern building on the banks of the Clyde. Its substantial interior holds every conceivable variety of vehicle from locomotives to bicycles; kids are in heaven here as they explore the variety. Outside, the beautiful three-masted Tall Ship provides another thrill.
Set on the site of one of Glasgow's most prominent former shipyards, A & J Inglis, the striking museum was designed by Zaha Hadid. The front and back facades have enormous visual impact, with the building's zinc cladding zigzagging across the top of vast dark glass windows.
This recreated cobbled street is an atmospheric display of shops as they would have appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Pop in to admire the saddler, pawnbrokers, portrait photographer and more. There's a pub, too, of course.
Wall of Cars
Three levels of motor vehicles are dramatically displayed on one wall of the museum. This 'Wall of Cars' highlights Scottish-made vehicles, such as the iconic Hillman Imp. While it's certainly a spectacular way to display them, you don't get a very good look at the topmost ones. There's a similar wall of motorcycles at the other end of the museum.
The small, meandering upstairs floor can be a welcome retreat from the echoing downstairs hubbub. The key sight up here is the Ship Conveyor, where beautiful models of famous ships built along the Clyde sail gracefully past your eyes.
The Tall Ship
Docked outside the museum, the elegant sailing ship, Glenlee, was built on the Clyde and launched in 1896. It had an interesting history, operating as a cargo ship until 1922 and ending its seagoing days as a training ship in the Spanish navy. There are three decks to explore, as well as a cafe.
- The north and south facades
- Main Street
- Wall of Cars
- The Tall Ship
- The museum fills with families at weekends; visit on a weekday if you can, though school groups can also be noisy.
- The Tall Ship opens daily at 10am, so you can visit it before the museum opens on Fridays and Sundays.
- There's a pleasant riverside path linking the Riverside Museum and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.
Take a Break
The museum and Tall Ship both have a cafe but there are no other eateries in easy reach.
Ice-cream and other kiosks are open outside the museum at weekends.
Bus Bus 100 from the north side of George Sq runs to the museum and back.
Family-friendly extravaganza of transport.
Glasgow Science Centre
This undervisited science museum on the banks of the Clyde is a real delight. It's packed full of brilliantly interactive displays and exhibits about all areas of science and is huge fun for all ages; you could easily spend most of a day here discovering everything there is to see and do.
On the 1st floor and accessed with an additional ticket, this excellent facility has three different shows suitable for various ages. Even if you don't see a show, hit the space exhibition in the foyer for good up-to-date astronomical information.
Question of Perception
On the 1st floor, this could be called Question of Deception as all your senses are deceived by the interactive exhibits. There are some great illusions here; all ages will find something to delight or flummox them here.
The Big Explorer
This separated zone is set up for under-seven-year-olds and will delight them with puppets, trains and more. There's also a soft play area here for the youngest ones.
Powering the Future
On the 2nd floor, this display looks at energy consumption (with some sobering statistics) and how the world might be powered in the future, with in-depth information on a range of technologies. Highlights include making some tough policy decisions in the energy minister simulation, racing cars or hitting the energy dance floor.
On the museum's top floor, this all-ages display has good, detailed information about the human body and modern medicine. You are bound to discover something that you didn't know, but there's plenty of fun to be had here too, with numerous interactive displays. Test your grip strength and compare yourself to other visitors, or try out your surgical skills.
An additional or separate ticket lets you up this high-tech rotating tower, which offers the best views in town from its 127m height; it offers a terrific perspective of the Clyde and across the city. Tablets in the viewing cabin let you zoom in on what you are looking at, while an exhibition on the city is at ground level. It closes when winds are high.
- Powering the Future
- Question of Perception
- Glasgow Tower
- There's an IMAX cinema here too; check the session times for this and the planetarium ahead of your visit.
- The museum can get very busy midweek with school groups, but it's big enough for you to find free exhibits somewhere in the complex.
Take a Break
There's a cafe in the museum, plus an additional one at weekends, as well as a Starbucks in the IMAX cinema.
Outside on the quay, a little food truck, the Cabin, does high-quality coffee, home baking and lunches.
Bus Bus X19 stops close by. You can catch it at Queen Street or Central stations.
A world of interactive discovery.