Glasgow for Kids: Let the Games Begin

Taking the family to Glasgow to see the Commonwealth Games in July? Here's the inside track on three fun things to do with the kids while you're there.

Taking the family to Glasgow to see the Commonwealth Games in July? Here's the inside track on three fun things to do with the kids while you're there.

Glasgow Science Centre

There's more to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games than sport. In addition to 11 days of athletics, the city will be buzzing with live entertainment, street theatre, fanzones and big-screen action. The banks of the River Clyde will be the focus of many activities - and this is also where you'll find the excellent Glasgow Science Centre.

If you've got a mini Mo or budding Bolt, make a dash for the third floor where a new exhibition called BodyWorks gets you hands-on and interactive with human biology. Using a unique barcode card you'll be able to record your personal best on the sprint track, balance board, grip test and other exercise simulators.

There are also live shows on 'Get Active' and 'Disgusting Digestion.' Other highlights at the GSG include an IMAX theatre and the UK's best planetarium. Just across the Clyde, the 19th-century tallship SS Glenlee is also well worth a visit.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Exercise the mind at Glasgow's best museum for kids. Free to enter, the Kelvingrove has a wonderfully varied collection that includes everything from an Egyptian mummy to a webcam link to the Loch Ness Monster. You can peer inside a real-life beehive, peruse one of Europe's finest collections of arms and armour, and admire Dali's iconic painting, Christ of St John of the Cross.

A new exhibition, How Glasgow Flourished, runs until 17 August and explores the city's boom years from 1714 to 1837. There's a special Mini Museum for under-fives, as well as children's activities at weekends and during the school holidays. Don't miss Sir Roger the Asian elephant, standing proud in the main hallway, surrounded by natural and man-made wonders ranging from a giant spider crab to a World War II Spitfire. Download an audio tour app before you visit.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

If you want to escape the city crowds, make a bolt for this magnificent medley of forest, loch and mountain. The national park is only 20 miles north of Glasgow, making it one of the most accessible chunks of the Scottish Highlands. Call in at the visitor centre in Balloch where rangers can help you plan hikes, bike rides and boat trips.

A relaxing way to take in the scenery is aboard the steamship SS Sir Walter Scott, which plies the waters of Loch Katrine. You can hire bikes at the pier, take them on board for the cruise to Stronachlachar and then cycle back along the shores of the loch. Upping the activity levels, there's a Go Ape canopy adventure course in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park near Aberfoyle. While you're there, be sure to check out the osprey nest cam - these beautiful birds of prey have been nesting in the Trossachs since the 1970s.

Find more holiday ideas in July at 101 Holidays.

Photo of Kelvingrove Museum by William Gray