The clip clop of impressive Clydesdale horses trotting along the riverside, Highland cattle roaming the fields, a grand country house with perfectly groomed lawns and gardens. Pollok Country Park makes you feel not only as if you have been transported out of the city but in some parts back in time.
With ducks floating down the river and the fragrant aromas from the herb garden wafting in the air, it is hard to believe you are only 3 miles from Glasgow city centre and even closer to it's busiest motorway.
Glasgow translates from Gaelic as 'Dear Green Place' and with over 90 parks and gardens you never have to look far if you need a retreat from the hustle and bustle. If you head to the southside you will find two of the best historic and cultural attractions in Glasgow set in the city's only country park which also happens to be it's biggest.
One of those historic attractions is Pollok House, managed by the National Trust of Scotland and named as Scotland's answer to Downton Abbey. Built in 1752 and updated architecturally over the years the now preserved interior is open to the public and is regarded as one of the grandest Edwardian homes in the country.
With marble hallway, sweeping staircase, period furnishings and fine art collection, this historic mansion offers a fascinating insight into aristocratic life at the time.
The servants' quarters in the basement give an idea of what went on behind the scenes and now house the shop and restaurant if you fancy some tea in an original Edwardian kitchen.
The restaurant, shop and servant corridor are free to visit all year as are the beautiful gardens. For the current admission prices to the main house please check the NTS website.
A short walk away and in complete contrast to the grand exterior of Pollok House you will find the modern glass structure of the Burrell Collection. Treasures from ancient civilizations, intricate medieval tapestries, stained glass panels, sculptures and paintings from renowned masters, suits of armour and Chinese and Islamic art make up just some of the eclectic items on display.
The vast number of pieces on view are one of the greatest collections amassed by one person, the Glasgow shipping magnate Sir William Burrell. Gifted to the city, they are now on display for everyone to enjoy and I must admit that this is my favourite Glasgow museum. It also has a great museum shop, ideal for picking up an unusual present or memento.
Admission is free but don't leave visiting here for too long because In 2016 the museum will close for refurbishment, possibly for up to 4 years
If you have had your fill of cultural exhibits and museums, a stroll around the park will help recharge you batteries. An old water powered sawmill, stable courtyard, walled gardens, woodland and river walks and picnic areas are among the many other offerings.
The country park was once part of the old Pollok estate, owned by the Maxwell family for seven centuries and gifted to the city of Glasgow in 1966. It has been the site of three castles, the earliest dating back to 1160 and it may come as no surprise with this historical pedigree that scenes from the much anticipated Outlander series were recently filmed here.
Interesting events to look out for include the Highland Cattle Show in September and watching the heavy horses being fitted with their new shoes! Countryside ranger walks and talks also take place throughout the year. TheGlasgow City Council website lists upcoming events which is worth checking out if you are planning a visit.
Although popular, unlike many other parks in Glasgow it is still easy to find a peaceful spot here or enjoy a quiet walk. Glaswegians love visiting their parks and if you want to experience life as a local rather than a tourist then this is the way to do it.
Car - The Burrell Collection is in the south side of Glasgow. There is an entrance to Pollok Park on Haggs Road (B768) approximately 2 minutes from Junction 1 on the M77. You can also access the Burrell from Pollokshaws Rd by exiting the M77 at Junction 2 and continuing along Barrhead Rd to Pollokshaws Rd. There is free parking at Pollok House and pay and display parking at the Burrell collection.
Train - Take the Barrhead or East Kilbride train from Glasgow Central station and alight at Pollokshaws West station. There are up to 4 trains every hour. Check the Scotrail website for times.
Bus - First bus services 34, 45 and 57 run from Glasgow city centre, and stop on Pollokshaws Road, opposite the main entrance to Pollok Country Park. Check the FirstBus website for times.
It is approx a 10 - 20 minute walk from the park entrance to the Burrell collection or Pollok House which are in different directions. There is another approx 10 min walk between the 2 attractions.
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