The Old Fogies go to Glasgow

Like many grandparents, we have our grandchildren for a period over the summer holidays. Generally we try to take them on a traditional British seaside holiday, however the eldest granddaughter who is ten has decided that beach holidays are ‘boring’.

Looking for places to visit with plenty of variety led us to decide on Glasgow. Although for many, this may not be an obvious choice, we have previous experiences in the city that led us to believe that Glasgow is a family friendly city with plenty of attractive options. Flying from London to Glasgow takes around an hour which provided an easy travel option for the children and reduces our stress levels. A short coach ride from Glasgow delivered us to our hotel with the room that had a pleasant view overlooking the Clyde.

The weather forecast for the week was not too encouraging; however we had plans that included both indoor and outside attractions. One of the great attractions of visiting Glasgow is the large number of options in Glasgow and in the surrounding area. The long sandy beaches of Ayrshire, Edinburgh and Loch Lomond are relatively short train rides away.

Our first day was centred on one of the most popular green spaces in the city, Glasgow Green was given to the people of the 15th century and its wide open expanses have been much-loved by the population of the city since. With a number of parks with Glasgow Green it is well attended by families with children. One of the main buildings on Glasgow Green is the People’s Place which was built as a cultural centre for workers in 1898 and now is a museum which tells the history of the city. Attached to the back of the palace is the Winter Gardens which is a huge conservatory where you can enjoy a food and drink break in very pleasant surroundings.

The next day we decided to take the train to Balloch which is situated near to Loch Lomond, the inexpensive train fare called Kids Go Free illustrated the family friendly ethos of the city where children are often allowed in a number of attractions free if you produce your ticket.

The local boat runs a one hour cruise around the south part of Loch Lomond which allows visitors to enjoy the stunning scenery in relative comfort. The loch is not the only attraction, there is a small area with children rides, a shopping area, cafés and a large Sea Life Aquarium.

The threatened rain finally appeared on our third day but we were prepared to use the day to visit some of the Glasgow’s museums and attractions. Before the rain started in earnest, we walked along the riverside and explained to the children the importance of shipbuilding and trade to the city. Across the river from the BBC Scotland building is the iconic Clyde Auditorium which is locally known as the Armadillo.

Our first stop was at the Glasgow Science Centre which is not a museum but features a large number of exhibits that explain the science of the body and other scientific principles. The centre caters for all age groups with plenty of interactive displays that keep entertained for hours. Near to the centre is a planetarium, an IMAX cinema and Glasgow Tower.

Around a half hour walk away from the Science Centre is the new Riverside Museum in a stunning building designed by Zaha Hadid. Although the museum building is ultra-modern, the exhibits are transport relics of the past.

To finish our museum day, we made our way to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and its eclectic collection.

Our final major visit was to Pollock Country Park which situated around ten minutes by train from the City Centre. The Park is built around the 18th century Pollock House and its attractive gardens, however the park offers a wide range of outside delights with woodland walks, cycle paths, heavy horses and Highland cattle.

Glasgow has a number of interesting locations dotted around the city including Merchant City, West End and the area around the Cathedral.

One of the major pleasures of visiting Glasgow is the people themselves, they create a friendly and genuine atmosphere which permeates all aspects of the city. If you are looking for a family holiday with a difference, Glasgow can offer plenty of options which should appeal to kids of all ages.

Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.

Our articles are published on our blog but also listed on the website of our friends at Visiting London Guide.com here.

 

A Cruise on Loch Lomond

One of the benefits of staying in Glasgow is that you have easy access to a number of Scotland’s most famous attractions including Loch Lomond. Visitors can take a 50 minute train ride from the middle of Glasgow to Balloch.

Balloch is on the southern shores of Loch Lomond and considered an important gateway for boats entering Loch Lomond. When you arrive at Balloch station, there is a VisitScotland iCentre (opposite the railway station) and boats for loch cruises leave from the nearby bridge to take the short trip on the River Leven before you enter the loch. If you are waiting for a cruise, you can take the short walk to Loch Lomond Stores which is a large visitor and shopping complex.

When you board the small cruise ship, the loch stretches ahead and you quickly become aware of the stunning scenery in the distance. Dotted around the loch is around thirty islands, one of the largest is Inchmurrin, which is the largest island in a body of freshwater in the British Isles. It is suggested that many of the smaller islands are crannogs, artificial islands built in prehistoric periods.

Just before you enter the loch, visitors see The Maid of the Loch which was the last paddle steamer built in Britain. Built on the Clyde in 1953, she operated on Loch Lomond for 29 years and is now being restored.

Loch Lomond has always been an important place in Scottish history and the old castles were gradually replaced by large well built houses for wealthy industrialists and landowners in the 19th century. More recent additions are two world famous golf courses namely the Loch Lomond Golf Club and The Carrick Golf Club.

Loch Lomond is one of Scotland’s premier boating and watersports venues and the loch includes many kinds of watercraft including kayaks, canoes, windsurfers, jet skis, speedboats, cruisers and there is also a sea plane service that operates from the loch.

When you get back to land, a walk to the nearby Loch Lomond Shores offers wonderful views, shopping and lots of children’s entertainment including a large Sea Life Aquarium.

If your time is limited a trip to Loch Lomond gives you a taste of Scotland’s breathtaking scenery within easy reach of Glasgow. If you want to spend more time around the loch, there are plenty of walking and cycling tours or water based activities.

Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.

Our articles are published on our blog but also listed on the website of our friends at Visiting London Guide.com here.