It’s been a bumpy ride, with many of us at a loss on how to spend our time. We found solace in our one walk a day. We lost the excuse of not having the time to go sightseeing around Glasgow’s treasures, which we’d be so proud to show off to friends who visit our beautiful city. Cyclist Sarah Bentley once said ‘You are only one ride away from a good mood’. I think this is true of a good walk too – there’s nothing to lift the spirits like a wander in nature.
The world is opening up again, slowly but surely. So what better time to get out there and explore our cities? Here are a few top spots to be found in Glasgow, all no more than an hour by bike from George Square. Take an afternoon (or two) for yourself and discover some of Glasgow’s treasures.
I spent a lot of my lockdown cycling to parks I hadn’t visited in my twelve years in the city: Tollcross, Elder Park and even a venture to a quarry in Baillieston (the less said about that last one the better). My exploration of Glasgow’s countless parks is something I’m keen to keep up once we get back to ‘normality’ – hopefully I can inspire you to investigate a bit more of Glasgow too.
Glasgow Green is always a great place to start. The Doulton Fountain and the soon to be renovated Winter Gardens are definitely worth a look. I followed the Clyde Walkway east, heading for Cuningar Loop, a forty minute walk or a tiny twelve minute cycle away. The path itself is relatively flat, well-managed and very easy to follow. Cuningar Loop is a woodland activity park, boasting Scotland’s first outdoor bouldering rocks, woodland workout equipment and bike skills tracks.
On your way back to the city centre, The Clyde Smartbridge is also a great spot to catch the sunset, around 9pm this time of year. If you fancy exploring a little further there are some great graffiti spots and paths down to the riverbank a little past the Loop, perfect for catching up on some reading or just hiding away from the hectic city.
Next stop is the Southside. In Queen’s Park a sound came to me, almost like a distant echo…live music. Can it be? Why, yes it can. It was Dennis Smalley and his band The Glasgow Blues Family, who have come together to ‘relieve lockdown blues’ as the first band to play Glasgow Parks since the restrictions were relaxed. So far they’ve played in both Queen’s Park and Glasgow Green, and you can keep up to date with their schedule on Dennis’ Facebook page. Or you could wing it and experience the joy of coming across a full band playing in the park just by chance. Gigs are generally around 3pm on Saturdays, and are of course weather dependent.
The West End is home to the classic Glasgow afternoon walk: the Kelvin Walkway, part of the Clyde Walkway. A stroll along here is guaranteed to clear the mind. A mix of nature, architecture, and a healthy dose of graffiti in parts. Colour Ways’ Glasgow graffiti guide (see Instagram and YouTube) is largely focused around the west of the city and is a great resource for walking tours of graffiti. If you’re looking for a more modern and creative look at the West End’s beautiful riverbank, check it out on YouTube and Instagram.
Of all the new places I discovered, Linn Park was the standout for me. Having lived in Glasgow for twelve years and never previously visited, I now can’t recommend it strongly enough. From Glasgow Green it took around half an hour by bike, so around an hour and a half on foot, to bring me to one of Glasgow’s most interesting places.
Linn Park has a waterfall, horses, and we even managed to pick some fresh raspberries. It has a good mix of woodland and open spaces, with a great wildlife trail linked by QR code to friendsoflinnpark.com which will give you information on the themed fairy doors and wildlife present in the area. There is even an unexplained collection of Volkswagen Beetles lining one side of the park. Sometimes it’s better not to ask.
Glasgow has always been known as the Dear Green Place, and it was great to get on my bike and really discover why. This article has focused on the parks which are a short cycle or walk away from the city centre, but there is so much more green space to discover – and they’re all available without spending a penny.
Everywhere I’ve suggested is merely a starting point, connected very easily by cycle routes and nearby train stations, if you feel comfortable using them. Viewing Glasgow purely as a walker and cyclist, with the focus away from the bars and urban culture we are famed for, has really allowed me to love the city all over again. Hopefully you will too.
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