A guide to some of our locale’s loveliest outdoor parks and walks.
If Covid-19 has shown me anything this year, it’s my newfound adoration and deep appreciation of outdoor spaces - specifically those with an abundance of trees and the ambience of flowing water. Between stressful uncertainties of online classes, deadlines, jobs, and various other commitments, moments of peace and clarity are very welcome and much needed. Glasgow’s full of great spots for a refreshing stroll, and these are a few of the best outdoor spaces to breathe in the crisp, fresh air and soak up the deep oranges, reds and yellows of falling leaves this autumn.
Victoria Park, located between Broomhill and Scotstoun, is about a half-hour walk from Partick and is home to families of ducks and swans milling about the large boating pond. Generally more quiet than Kelvingrove Park, Victoria Park features a playpark, small tennis courts, a large expanse of grass sporting various exercise sessions, and football training throughout the week, making for a lively amble. The remains of an ancient forest at the world-renowned Fossil Grove is situated at the very back of the park. This almost feels like you’ve been transported to a completely different place, with tall rocks towering over a thin path leading to a small pond in the centre with a wooden bridge across it. It is a calm among the chaos of university life. The dog content is also top-notch!
If you’re on the hunt for a more gothic vibe, Glasgow’s Necropolis is in the east end of the city. It’s the place to be for a view across the city, especially at sunset. The Victorian graveyard is situated upon a hill overlooking the greenery and architecture of Glasgow Cathedral, and the gravestone silhouettes create a dramatic setting. The Necropolis is like a maze of paths spread across the hill, following a mix of newer and older memorials of all styles right up to the summit. It’s the perfect spot for a change of atmosphere, with some history mixed into a leisurely meander through the Victorian gravestones.
The Botanic Gardens on Great Western Road is a classic relaxation spot with a lovely combination of grass areas and woodland strolls. The indoor walk through the glass greenhouses and the smell of the soil are a source of instant zen. The little outdoor gardens have adjoining paths with benches dotted here and there. Whether it’s plants, trees, dogs or people-watching: the choice of view is yours.
The Botanic Gardens leads onto Kelvin Walkway, with a 10-mile route that follows the River Kelvin from Milngavie to Partick. For ease on the legs, the path can be joined from the top of the Gardens, leading out at Kelvingrove Park. Despite being in the middle of the city, Kelvin Walkway has an element of escapism and the flowing river alongside has a level of tranquillity I struggle to find anywhere other than from running water. For the anxious individual, the peace of mind found from the benches parked along the riverbank, facing out onto the water and deep green trees, cannot be beaten. The route also happens to pass by riverside pub Inn Deep, if you are looking for a pitstop pint to refresh yourself!
If the tranquillity of water floats your boat, the Glasgow canal route is for you. Beginning from the city centre and finishing at Clydebank, the winding path is a chance for your mind to shut off from various life pressures and enjoy the different colours and styles of the canal boats. Enjoy the serenity of a Sunday afternoon on your wander with the water always by your side. The canal route passes Murano Street accommodation, for any freshers looking for a moment of zen away from the rush of halls life or looming deadlines - an escape is literally on your doorstep.
This autumn, treat your mind and body to a reset. In current times of uncertainty and lack of control, one thing we can control is how we look after ourselves. I fully encourage everyone to take a few hours away from screens and stresses and immerse yourself in the peace of refreshing autumnal walks.
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