Glasgow Botanic Gardens - Glasgow Travel Guide

Contact Telephone number: +44 (0)141 276 1614
Address: 730 Great Western Road, Glasgow, Scotland, G12 OUE

One of the largest and most beautiful green areas in Glasgow is the Botanical Gardens. It is located within easy reach of the city centre. It was the habit of the Victorians to display new discoveries and Glasgow did so here. Its main glasshouse is the Kibble Palace which has a fabulous array of flora within. As the world became a smaller place, plants and fruits were brought from all over the world to be grown here.


The Botanic Gardens in Glasgow lie along the Kelvin River, which runs through a number of parks in the city. It is located less than within a kilometre Northwest of Kelvingrove Park and 500 metres north of the University of Glasgow.

The Victorians and their gardens

The Victorians often attached Botanic gardens to universities, as they were used for research. The term botanic conjures of images of plants not native to the area. They tended to add an exotic flavour to any city. So it is with Glasgow and these gardens.

Thomas Hopkirk's dream

The gardens inception was thanks to Thomas Hopkirk, who founded the Royal Botanic Institution of Glasgow. He donated his private collection. He restricted access to members of the society only permitting the public to pay a relatively high entry fee. By the time of his death in 1841, the gardens were so successful that new space was purchased.

Glasgow Glasshouses - Kibble Palace

11 glasshouses are dotted around the gardens, these were latter additions to the original layout. The largest one, Kibble Palace, is made of wrought iron, cast iron and of course glass. It was a private construction belonging to John Kibble, a wealthy merchant. He built it in the 1860s, but gave it to the institution, which brought it here in 1873. They increased its size to over 2000 square metres. Interestingly, the initial purpose of Kibble Palace was as a concert hall and meeting place. Plants were put in during the 1880s.
The Kibble Palace had to be closed in 2003 for complete restoration as the building was deteriorating. It reopened in the autumn of 2006.

What to see and do in Glasgow Botanic Gardens

  • Sculpture and Botanic gardens are synonymous. They lend themselves well to each other. There are quite a few lovely examples, such as Eve in the Kibble Palace.
  • The most famous collections are the Australian tree ferns, tropical orchids, and begonias. There is also a 200-year old Weeping Ash tree.
  • Specialised gardens here have herb, vegetable, rose and flower themes.
  • Take a moment in the Arboretum to inspect its tree themes. Night walks and history trails are held regularly. There are concerts and exhibitions held here.
  • The Hopkirk Building has workshops but you should inquire ahead of time
  • .During the summer, the place is packed with people lying on the grass enjoying a picnic or reading a book.

5 specialised gardens for all the family

One can distinguish five garden areas: herb, flower, uncommon vegetable, chronological and world rose, which opened in 2002. There is a Children's Garden where children can see how plants grow and interact with each other. The gardens are quite large being spread over 28 acres, so you can walk around. Benches are everywhere giving you the opportunity to admire flowers, plants or trees.


Around 1891, the Royal Botanic Institution of Glasgow was losing money and thus gave the gardens to the city.