- Discover over 3,000 objects and artefacts related to Glasgow and its famous transport history.
- Climb aboard a train, and take on the role of train driver in the driver's cab.
- Check out the award winning architecture of the building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.
- Explore the floating Tall Ship, complete with a play area for younger kids.
- Enjoy a sandwich or cup of tea at the Museum Cafe.
One of the most unusual and contemporary buildings in Glasgow's Harbour, Riverside Museum is an incredibly popular transport museum located close to Glasgow city centre. Designed by Zaha Hadid architects, and complete with a zinc-clad roof, this award winning building was opened in June 2011. The museum was created in order to keep Glasgow's transport collections safe and display them to the public, in place of their previous home at Kelvin Hall.
Suitable for children of all ages, as well as adults, Riverside Museum is one of the best free things to do in Glasgow, and is home to many exhibits and collections that give a glimpse into what life was like for Glasgow residents of the past. Situated right on the River Clyde, if you've been looking for places to visit in Glasgow that are a little bit more peaceful than the bustling city centre, Riverside Museum is a great spot to enjoy the serenity of the water. With over 3,000 objects and artefacts to pore over, a trip to Riverside is an ideal way to spend a morning or afternoon with the kids.
Inside the museum itself, you'll find all kinds of fascinating vehicles, exhibitions, and history. Even if you're not particularly interested in history or travel usually, the highly contemporary design of Riverside makes it an engaging and educational destination. As you walk around, you can see and hear all about the history of transport in the area, on the large screens that are dotted around this brilliant museum of transport. One of the most unusual features of this museum experience is the fact that you can walk down a reconstructed Glasgow street from the 19th and 20th centuries, complete with cobbles and shops. Once you've visited the shops (and the bar!) and seen the subway, you can also get involved with some of the other hands-on exhibits. You can even get on board some of the vehicles that are on display as part of the collection, which is always popular with kids who love to play pretend. Hop on to an old bus, tram or train, and if you're lucky you might even get to sit in the train's driver's cab!
This museum of transport is also well known due to the multiple 1900s locomotives on display, which are popular with history buffs and train lovers alike. There are also some truly unique and treasured items on display at Riverside. One of the most sentimental items includes a child's shoe, donated by Rosemary Cass Beggs, the last British survivor of the SS Athenia, which left from Glasgow and was sunk on the first day of World War II. As a three-year-old sitting on the lifeboat, Rosemary was barefoot, and so some tiny shoes were made for her by the other passengers. While Rosemary was reunited with her parents, she kept one shoe and gave one to the woman who cared for her. Now, you can see this little shoe on display at Riverside, alongside a collection that is designed to show the experience of the passengers on board, as well as the technicalities of the boat disaster itself.
Once you've finished exploring the inside of the museum, simply step outside to check out the Tall Ship, a floating ship called Glenlee that is moored just outside the Riverside Museum. Visitors are able to climb aboard and explore the boat, and there is something to entertain all ages. With lots to see and with view over the river to enjoy, there's also a great under-fives' play area on the ship, which is the perfect way to keep younger kids entertained. For a little more information on the ships of Glasgow, you can find a quarter of Glasgow's model boat collection inside Riverside Transport Museum. Known as a city of ship builders, Glasgow has been home to many famous ships throughout history. To check out some of the ships that have graced the River Clyde, this model collection is the best way to experience what these majestic vessels would have looked like to scale.
With so much history to take in, head to the Riverside Museum Cafe if you fancy a quick break. With freshly prepared sandwiches as well as cakes, tea and coffee, this is the spot to go for a bite to eat or to recharge your batteries. For something a little more substantial, Glasgow city centre isn't far away, where you can find a great selection of local and chain cafes and restaurants. There's also lots more to see as you head into Glasgow, with shops, museums and lots of historical attractions. Artistic types should head to Kelvingrove Art Gallery, a historical gallery and museum located in Kelvingrove Park. Or, to enjoy some natural local beauty, in Glasgow's West End you can visit Glasgow Botanic Gardens, complete with beautiful glasshouses and colourful flowerbeds.
What to know before you go
- Riverside Museum opening times are from 11am - 4pm every day.
- There is level access available the the building, and all the floors can be reached via lift. The Museum itself is fully accessible and there are accessible toilets on each floor, with changing facilities on the lower floor.
- There are baby changing facilities available on site.
- To get to Riverside Museum by car, travel down the A814. There is a 300-space car park by the Museum. Riverside Museum parking starts at £1.60 for an hour. The postcode is G3 8RS, but this may not be accurate with all sat navs, so type in 'The Riverside Museum' instead if you are using a sat nav.
- The nearest train and bus station is Partick Interchange, which is just over half a mile from Riverside. There is a walking route that will take you to the museum, with signposts along the way.
- If travelling by bike, you can park on the west side of the museum.