It may be Scotland’s most populous city but you may be surprised to learn that it is one of the leafiest cities in Europe with over 90 public parks and gardens. Glasgow in its Gaelic form means ‘dear green place’ and as the saying goes, the clue is in the name.
Walking in Greater Glasgow and the Clyde Valley
As well as sculpted gardens and green open spaces, the city is surrounded by hills and woodlands. Make the most of this easy access to the great outdoors and discover the remains of the great Antonine Wall, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or start your epic journey along the West Highland Way, a national trail that stretches all the way to Forth William in the Highlands.
Below is just a small selection of the many trails you could choose to walk in the region arranged according to difficulty.
Chatelherault Country Park Green Bridge Trail Distance: 8km; duration: 3 hours Meandering through a vast country park, along riverside and woodland trails, this walk takes in castle ruins and an 18th century lodge as well as giving walkers chances to spy elusive otters and badgers.
Falls of Clyde This riverside walk gives you good insight into what inspired some of the works of poet Wordsworth and artist Turner, both of whom once visited the three waterfalls here. The walk to the highest waterfall, the Bonnington Linn, takes about 45 minutes. To see them at their most spectacular, visit a day after heavy rainfall.
Kelvingrove Park Heritage Trail Duration: 1.5 hours Starting from the red sandstone of the Kelvingrove Museum and finishing at the Kelvingrove Bridge, you’ll see no fewer than 35 sites of interest in Glasgow’s West End which help piece together fragments of the social and historic fabric of this thriving city.
Clyde Muirshiel Distance: 300m - 15.5km; duration: 0.15 - 6 hours There are a number of routes around Scotland’s largest regional park to choose from, some as short as just 300m others as long as 6 hours. The park’s lochs and hills are favoured for watersports, mountaineering and more.
Pollok Park Distance: 5.25km; duration: 1.5 hours Nestled in Glasgow’s south side, the leafy estate adjoining stately Pollok House has been consistently voted one of Britain and Europe’s best parks and is the city’s largest. The mansion house is also home to a treasure trove of priceless artwork gifted to the city of Glasgow, known as the Burrell Collection, which is free to visit.
Tinto Hill Distance: 8km; duration: 2-3 hours As the highest point in central Scotland, Tinto Hill was made for walking. On the clearest of days, expect to see as far as Ailsa Craig, the haunting island off the Ayrshire coast, the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland and as far as the Lake District and Lochnagar in the Cairngorms.
Kelvin Walkway Distance: 17km; duration: 4.5-5.5 hours Linking the end of the West Highland Way in Milngavie to the heart of Glasgow, this walking route, following the paths of the rivers Clyde, Kelvin and Allander, brings the tranquil countryside to the fringes of Glasgow’s bustling city centre.
The Whangie, Kilpatrick Hills Distance: 4.5km; duration: 1.5-2 hours As you can probably imagine from its bizarre name, the Whangie is strange rock form in the Kilpatrick Hills north of Glasgow. A walk to its summit is well rewarded with views of Loch Lomond, the Campsie Fells and further afield to the Highlands.
Cutler Fell, near Biggar Distance: 18.5km; duration: 5-6.5 hours The most popular of Lanarkshire’s rolling hills, the walking climb of Cutler Fell makes an easy hill walk but as part of this route, it takes you deep into the hills and around Coulter Reservoir.
Carleatheran and Stronend, near Kippen Distance: 23.25km; duration: 5-6.5 hours Explore the steep slopes of the volcanic escarpment near Fintry and the Gargunnock Hills before reaching the summits of Carleatheran and Stronend to enjoy views over Glasgow, the Flanders Moss and the Highlands.