Bellahouston Park is a beautiful park in the south side of Glasgow, tucked in between Mosspark, Ibrox and Pollokshields. It’s one of our locals now, but it has been a favourite for years. Bellahouston is a huge, and hugely underrated park with good paths and loads of space for picnics, cycling, scooting, buggies and meeting up with friends. (Obviosuly when that’s allowed…) And there’s a lot to do in Bellahouston.
We always end up parking at House for an Art Lover, next to the Glasgow Ski & Snowboard Centre. There is a lovely sculpture garden at House for an Art Lover which the kids just love playing in. The big foot sculpture is one of their favourites, along with the jelly babies and this metal/concrete thing they call their pirate ship. (It looks nothing like a pirate ship.) At the bottom of the sculpture garden you’ll also find Bellahouston walled garden. It’s not big, but in summer it’s a beautiful spot to have a wee wander in.
Around the other side of House for an Art Lover you’ll find a great playpark – one of my kids’ favourites. It’s quite different to any other playpark we’ve been to because it’s full of structures and bits to play on that you won’t find anywhere else. They’re more like sculptures that kids can climb and play on.
There are also swings and spinny things and a zipline and slides in here. The rainbow bridge is a favourite, as are the jelly babies and the coloured spaghetti things (you’ll know what I mean when you see them). Miraculously, most parts of this playpark are in working order. Even the bits that aren’t (the big wooden structure) my kids still like to climb.
Just next to the playpark you’ll find the big clay elephant. I’m not sure it’s life sized, but it is a very big, red elephant in the middle of Glasgow. We can’t walk past without going to see it.
There’s also a maze just next to the House for an Art Lover playpark with some metal/mirror sculptures inside. The maze is in need of a bit of TLC (you can walk through a good few bits of the bushes) but the kids still enjoy playing hide & seek in there.
If you head up the hill you’ll find some woods to play in and bits to explore. At the top of the hill nearest the ski centre there’s a nice wee fairy trail in amongst the trees.
The sunken gardens up here are home to a collection of concrete blocks with information carved in them about Glasgow’s heritage and history. Apparently this is a piece of speculative architecture from 2007, but the kids love just playing in amongst these and climbing on them. It’s also usually where we end up have snacks. (Just a wee warning that there can be glass lying about in here. It is a bit hidden away so I think it must be a Saturday night bottle a bucky kinda place.)
The top of the hill in amongst the trees is the location of a (now gone) tower which was built back in the 1930’s as part of an exhibition and then dismantled. Only the foundations remain but there’s a wee hedgerow thing up here and a plaque showing where and what the tower was.
If you walk around the other side of the hill you’ll find views for miles on a good day. Beautiful sunset views from up here too.
There is also a running track, an enclosed dog park and another small playpark (at the moment it’s in pretty bad condition) at the end of the park nearer Bellahouston Leisure Centre. Plus there is so much open green space in Bellahouston for picnics and games of frisbee or for kicking a ball around. And loads of hills for running down. (Or rolling down if you’re my kid.)
The Studio Pavilion just beside the walled garden is also worth a look. There are a group of art studios here and they often have classes (for adults and for kids), events and exhibitions running.
There are a couple of places to grab a bite to eat in Bellahouston Park. The ski centre has a cafe inside serving up hot and cold drinks, cakes and snacks.
The Art Lovers Cafe within the House for an Art Lover is a really nice cafe and a great place to meet up with other parents and kids; they’re very accommodating with kids and have plenty of high chairs. The Art Lovers Cafe serves up soups, sandwiches, toasties, lovely hot mains, cakes and pastries. Plus scones and a lovely afternoon tea. Highly recommend this cafe.
The park is completely free. (You need to pay to use the ski centre.)
The Extra Bits
Bellahouston is great for all wheels. Bikes, scooters, buggies, everything. There are some good hills for heading down too. A few hills are pretty steep so beware with the gung ho toddlers on scooters.
Bellahouston is easy to get to by car or by public transport. If you’re travelling by car there’s parking at House for an Art Lover, at the Palace of Art, on Bellahouston Drive and some along Mosspark Boulevard. There are quite a few buses that head along Paisley Rd West and you can get off anywhere along the north side of the park and head in one of the nearby gates. Dumbreck train station is just under half a mile away, and it’s an easy walk straight along Nithsdale Rd to the main entrance of the park. If you are near an underground station, Ibrox station is the closest one to Bellahouston and is roughly a 0.6 mile walk along past the stadium and across the motorway to the park.
Bellahouston Park is jammed full of art exhibits and sculptures. It’s a brilliant park and well worth a few hours exploration. The playpark at House for an Art Lover is great too. Absolutely one of our favourites in Glasgow.
P.S. Most of the above pics taken within a single trip in a single hour. Notably not the two where the kids are in t-shirts – I do draw a firm line of clothing removal during -4º winter days. But the Glasgow weather is just mind blowing sometimes!