As host of the world’s biggest climate change conference later this year (COP26), whilst also being recognised as one of the world’s top five cities for its commitment to sustainable business tourism, there is no better time to plan a visit to Glasgow for a green getaway this year, when restrictions are lifted.
From its expansive parks and gardens, environmental exhibitions, a dining scene with a conscience, environmentally friendly ways to explore the city’s vibrant culture, sustainable shopping and green awarded hotels, those keen to enjoy a responsible short break should look no further than Glasgow.
Dear Green Place
In Glasgow you are spoilt for choice, as Scotland's stunning scenery seeps into the city in rolling hills, expansive country parks and woodland walks. With over 90 parks and gardens, it is no wonder that Glasgow is affectionately known as the Dear Green Place.
The city’s oldest park, Glasgow Green is just east of the city centre, where you'll find the spectacular Doulton Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world and the beautiful McLennan Arch.
Also east of the city is a green space with a difference – the Glasgow Necropolis. This Victorian garden cemetery is brimming with history, varying architectural styles and from the top of the Necropolis, you can savour the picture-perfect views of Glasgow and beyond.
The west of the city is home to the beautiful Glasgow Botanic Gardens, known internationally for its impressive glasshouses and extensive tropical plant collections, whilst the scenic Kelvingrove Park sits close by.
Head a few miles south of the city and visit Pollok Country Park. With cycle tracks, heritage trails, a stunning country manor house and its own fold of beautiful Highland Cows – the park has something for everyone to see and do.
Explore Green Glasgow
One of the most environmentally friendly ways to explore Glasgow is by foot. Whether you are a local looking to be a tourist in your own city, or a new visitor wanting to find your bearings - a walking tour is a great way to find your feet and learn more about the city at the same time. Luckily, Glasgow has a great choice of walking tours to choose from.
Why not take in some fresh air while hearing fascinating tales from around the city, admire its architecture, notable sights and hidden gems. Choose from tours around the city centre or west end or one that takes in many of the city’s colourful murals, all ran by Walking Tours in Glasgow. There are also tours focusing on Glasgow’s fascinating music scene from Glasgow City Music Tours and a soon to be launched Mackintosh tour exploring the life, work and influence of Glasgow's most renowned artist, architect and designer. This tour is a collaboration between Walking Tours in Glasgow and Mackintosh at the Willow.
Prefer touring on two wheels? Why not join a Glasgow Bike Tour to take in some the city’s historic sights? Or explore Glasgow yourself with one of the city’s Next Bikes, part of Glasgow’s public bike hire scheme. With 800 bikes for hire in 79 locations, including 63 e-bikes and 21 electric stations available 24/7 - it couldn’t be easier to get around the city and beyond. Also why not take a ride on the world’s third oldest metro system, Glasgow Subway. The owners of the Subway are committed in reducing its carbon footprint and adopting sustainable policies and practices.
Glasgow Science Centre is definitely worth a visit and a great addition to any ‘green’ itinerary with their current Powering the Future exhibition, looking at our energy consumption and exploring green energy options. Although covering a serious topic, this exhibition provides a fun hands on experience with an energy dance floor and Biowall, a living wall containing a range of different plant species. If you are unable to visit Glasgow right now, then check out their online interactive sessions exploring climate themes in their ‘Our World Our Impact’ programme, your virtual ticket to COP26.
Another exhibition worth checking out is Going Green – The Drive for Energy Efficiency located inside the Zaha Hadid designed Riverside Museum. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a Tesla Model S P85+, believed to be the first Tesla acquired by a public museum in Scotland.
Head just 20 minutes south from Glasgow to explore over 130km of trails and admire over 200 wind turbines at the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, Whitelee. The windfarm also has an onsite visitor centre and lots of activities are available too, including mountain biking, cycle hire and bus tours.
It is also worth remembering that many of Glasgow’s must see tourist destinations, such as Glasgow Cathedral, Gallery of Modern Art and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum have received prestigious green tourism awards.
Glasgow’s eating and drinking scene is vibrant and exciting with food and drink to suit all tastes, including many options for ‘eco-friendly’ eats in the city.
You can choose from the great selection of vegan and veggie restaurants offering plant-based menus, such as Mono, a vegan cafe bar in the heart of the Merchant City. Renowned for its relaxed atmosphere and quality food, Mono also has an in-house record store and regular live entertainment and gigs, helping Glasgow maintain its place as one of the UK’s most vegan-friendly cities.
Why not head to the renowned Ubiquitous Chip who mainly source local produce creating stunning Scottish dishes, with minimal waste. For award winning seafood head to Gamba who only serve sustainably caught fish and have been given three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association - the highest possible rating.
Eat with a conscious at Locavore Café, located in their Govanhill shop just south of the city. A social enterprise where all profits are reinvested into building a better local food system, Locavore is unique for being the only fully organic place to eat within Glasgow, even having their own organic market garden.
Glasgow has a considerable second hand and preloved shopping scene, with numerous shops to choose from across the city. Glad Rags Thrift based south of the city saves pre-loved clothes going to landfill, while also providing volunteering and employment opportunities within the community. Starry Starry Night is a magical treasure trove of vintage clothing well worth a visit, or go to Emily Rose Vintage for beautifully, upcycled furniture, homeware, books and gifts.
For eco beauty and bath products visit Lovesome Emporium in De Courcy’s Arcade in the West of the city. Plus, if you are staying in self- catering accommodation, be sure to check our Roots, Shoots and Flowers or the Zerowaste Market for environmentally conscious food.
Where to stay
Glasgow has numerous accommodation options, including big brands such as Radisson Blu, Glasgow Marriott and Jurys Inn, to more unique properties such as the Fraser Suites, offering deluxe apartments. For a more historic stay you can’t go wrong with voco Glasgow Central Hotel built in 1883, and all having earned the prestigious Green Tourism Award from Visit Scotland.
For more information and inspiration for things to see and do in Glasgow, when it’s safe to visit, check out: peoplemakeglasgow.com
From Fiona Potter, UK PR Executive, Glasgow Life
Phone 07973301873, Email [email protected]
Notes to Editors
Glasgow Life is a charity working for the benefit of the people of Glasgow. We believe everyone deserves a great Glasgow life and we find innovative ways to make this happen across the city’s diverse communities.
Our programmes, experiences and events range from grassroots community activities to large-scale cultural, artistic and sporting events which present Glasgow on an international stage.
Our work is designed to promote inclusion, happiness and health, as well as support the city’s visitor economy, in order to enhance Glasgow’s mental, physical and economic wellbeing.
For more information on our work, see www.glasgowlife.org.uk