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Riverside Museum (Glasgow)

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1 Review

Address: Riverside Museum‎, 100 Pointhouse Place, Glasgow, Glasgow City G3 8RS, United Kingdom / Type: Museum

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      08.10.2011 12:08
      Very helpful



      a great day out

      Riverside Museum - Glasgow

      Please note our visit was the last week in September but I wrote this on ciao before then and have been waiting for it to be added on dooyoo.


      The Riverside Museum in Glasgow was opened to the public in June 2011. Work began on the museum back in 2007 and is believed to have cost more than £74million. Despite having only been open for a few months, there is more to speak of with regards to the history of the museum. Located at Kelvin Hall, the museum was original known as the Museum of Transport befor being relocated.

      The museum was designed by Zaha Hadid.

      {Location and Getting There}

      The Riverside Museum is located on the Greater Govan and Glasgow Harbour. The full contact address is :

      Riverside Museum
      100 Pointhouse Place
      G3 8RS

      0141 287 2720

      The museum has an on site car park (£1 for 3hours). The website recommend parking at Kelvin Hall car park which is 10mins away (sign posted with green direction signs). The museum can be reached by turning off at junction 19 on the M8 Expressway. There is a bus service known as Riversider service 100 which runs from George Square to the museum and also stops at the SECC, Kelvingrove etc. This service runs at 20min intervals throughout the day and costs £2.50-£3.00. First buses also stop at the nearby Partick Bus Station. You can use your regular First Glasgow ticket on these buses.

      The nearest train station is Partick which is a 10min (signposted) walk to the museum. You can also get to the museum from Govan by using the ferry across the water.

      {Opening Times and Admission}

      The museum is open all year round with the exception of Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years Day and the 2nd of January. The museum is open Monday-Thursday and Saturday 10am-5pm. Fridays and Sundays 11am-5pm. Entry into the museum is free.

      {What Is There To Do?}

      The museum promises over 3000 objects of interest which are set over 2 levels. Many have been moved to this new building following the closure of the Museum of Transport. The main focus of the museum is showing the heritage of transport within Glasgow. The exhibitions on offer include vintage cars, trams,buses and train carriages plus many more modes of transport including various boats. Many allow you to board and get a real feel for the transport system which used to be in place.

      The old museum offered a recreation of Kelvin Street where you could walk along admiring the shops from 1895 onwards. The new museum allows access into these shops and areas which include a subway, cafe, bookmakers, pawn shop and a few other shops. Throughout the museum, interactive stations are present allowing visitors to comment and put forward and recommendations for future exhibitions. Interactive stations are also present in front of many of the exhibitions to discover more about what you are actually looking at.

      Due to the new riverside location, there is the additional option to visit the Tall Ship. The ship was build on the Clyde and has been restored to include a play area, tours and a real to life crew. The ship has a permanent position next to the museum and is ran by the Clyde Maritime Trust. There is an admission fee of £5.00 per adult (one child free per adult) and it is currently open 10am-5pm. There is no obligation to visit the ship as it is separate from the museum.

      {Shop, Cafe and Facilities}

      There are 2 cafes within the museum. On the ground floor in the annexe, there is a restaurant style cafe offering a varied menu. It is a table service and a menu is provided. As well a wide selection of hot drinks (£1.75 upwards), soft drinks (£1.50ish) and wine (£10 upwards), the cafe offers breakfast til 11.30am including fruit, croissants, toast etc. These are priced at £1.75 upwards.

      Lunch is served 12pm-3pm. Provided are salads (£5.00 upwards), pies with potatoes (around £8.50), sandwiches (various fillings around £5.00) and desserts such as sponge puddings (around £4.00). Light bites such as scones and cream cakes are available (from £1.95). Another cafe is located at the far end of the first floor. They offer prepackaged sandwiches (£3.00ish), crisps, packaged cakes and juices (£1.50ish). They also offer kids boxes with a filled roll, juice, crisps and a cake for £2.50. High chairs are available in both cafes for those with babies.

      Near the entrance and reception, there is a shop offering the usual pencils, rulers etc for under a pound. They offer mugs, tshirts, skateboards, pieces of artwork and various guidebooks. They have a wide range of small toy cars varying in price from £2.95 to over £20.00. You could purchase keyrings, flasks, magnets etc from £4.99. Books were £4.50 upwards. There are toilets located around the museum including men, women, disabled and baby changing. There is a large lift as well as stairs to connect the floors.

      {Our Trip}

      Yesterday my fiance was off work and our son off nursery so we decided to go somewhere. We had previously visited the Museum of Transport in its former location so decided the Riverside Museum was the place to go! My sister had previously took the kids there so I had a rough idea what to expect. When I told my son we were going on the train, he was rather excited and moreso when I told him we were going to see more trains!

      Getting to the museum from Motherwell meant we had to go on a train to Partick. Luckily I thought better of getting of at Exhibition Centre (SECC) as it is some walk away! I wasn't expecting quite a walk from Partick though. It took us 15mins and several busy road crossings before we got to the museum. From a distance, the Tall Ship is visible but the building simply looks like a factory of some sort. Getting close up, we discovered it was a grey/silver almost metal shed type building which was simply huge! The car park is a decent size though was full on our arrival (at opening time). We did notice an outdoor seating area and some noodle, steak and ice cream vans though none were open due to the bad weather.

      {In We Go}

      The museum was very busy on our arrival (the schools are off this weekend). We were greeted by a friendly lady handing out free floor plans. Nothing prepared us for how big the museum actually was. High, curvy ceilings with a lime, bright green decor engrossed us giving the museum a spacious, airy feel. Despite how busy it actually was, little effort was needed to move around and there were plenty of people in wheelchairs and with buggies who could move around freely.

      The building is split into connecting sections with the main objects of interest in the middle of the floor. Leaflets are available from the reception though we just wanted to get going. The first part of the museum features various displays. My son and fiance were happy to have their picture taken infront of a Suburu. This area was full of various trams, cars include an old fashioned police car, a huge train engine and some smaller displays. Unfortuantely there were very little you could climb up onto in this area which was disappointing. I quite appreciated the interactive machines which were activated by a push button. The voice over and videos gave decent information on each object. I loved the "Paint Your Wagon" and the caravan there as they were bright and hippy like!

      Whilst the main focus was on the huge transport objects, smaller displays were present within glass cabinets. We got to see guns used to cause a hold up on the roads many years ago. One cabinet features a wide range of boat models which was good to look at. We headed around to the annexe past a mobility scooter (I had to giggle at that) and an old fashioned fire engine. An interactive display with screens was present where children could pretend to put out a fire. This was really cool but not something my toddler was interested in. I thought the ramp (like heading to a carpark) was quite cool as it was suspended with cars on it!

      Our favourite part of the museum was in the joined annexe type area. Along the far end, large windows looked out onto the Tall Ship (we didn't visit but it was huge!). Along one wall, there were raised platforms featuring around 20cars and known as the Arnold Clark wall. This featured various makes of cars such as Citroen, Bentley and Morris. The cars are preserved well but it did seem a little daunting given how shallow the platforms were! Another interesting exhibition was a circular area hanging from the ceiling which featured bicycles! The far end of this area interested my fiance the most as it featured really old fashioned through to modern motorbikes. Again these were featured on light up, raised platforms.

      {Mummy, Can I Go On Please?}

      The centre of this area was a little more interactive as children (and the parents) could hop on the tram and get up and close to one of the engines. It was a struggle to get Ryan on and off as it was very busy but he was pleased to ride the tram. I was quite shocked to see a real, modern train carriage in the museum. It looked a lot more spacious and clean that the ones currently on the tracks and we were able to rest here for a few minutes. It is worth noting there are benches around the museum if you wish to have a seat.

      Disabled visitors also have an opportunity to get up close to various objects. If stairs are present, there is also a small lift to raise wheelchairs up onto a platform. I found this to be a decent addition to the museum. Also on the ground floor, are shop like enclosures on the outer walls. I was really content walking around this area though Ryan was impatient and wanted to go on something else! There was a little baby shop with cute outfits and old fashioned prams followed by a bike shop, music shop and small old fashioned cinema type room. I like this area of the museum as there was more to look at and do.

      {Heading Upstairs}

      We were lazy and took the spacious lift! On arrival, we were met by a section mainly dedicated to boats. I was engrossed by the darkened glass cabinet with various boat ornaments. These boats were on a hidden conveyor which travelled around the cabinet and could be spotted from downstairs. There were some art displays too which were different but a nice touch. Heading over the flyover, you get a birdseye view of the museum and get to experience the high suspended bikes and trams in a different way. Upstairs isn't huge and if you are scared of heights I wouldn't recommend looking down through the floor to ceiling window. There are a few small displays upstairs but nothing of much interest to be honest.

      {Taking A Stroll}

      I remember the Kelvin Street exhibition from the old Museum of Transport. Hidden away in a corner of the museum, it is hard to bypass. We took a wander in here before leaving and found it to have a sort of chilled, realistic feel and look. The real pavements, cobbled streets and old style store fronts added to this. The shops are now open to browse and we took advantage of this. Our son loved the subway which was so real looking with a platform, 2 carriages and a video giving the effect of going through a tunnel! Really cool!

      The shops looked historical and nothing was out of place. It was a decent little street and the inclusion of a pub allowed our toddler to take his Daddy for an invisible pint! More features could have been added to the pub though as it looked a little drained! We spent around 10mins walking around here.

      {What Else?}

      I spent some time looking at the various smaller displays dotted around the museum. Whilst many may assume this museum only covers boats, trams etc, it does show other modes of transport. It is amazing how many I witnessed here and not your typical, tandem 3 wheelers. These were large, beautiful Silver Cross prams. Other exhibitions included something about skateboarding and various bikes used through the times.

      There was a display dedicated to World War 1 soldiers including a video and poppy design. This was to reflect how much work they put in to that specific tram and of course the dedication they showed during the war. Another display featured some really cool shoes and some of which would be very difficult to walk in I can imagine! I am glad there was more to the museum than just transport.

      {Feeling Thirsty?}

      We weren't long after breakfast but did fancy a mid morning snack. At first we went in to the ground floor cafe (prices further up the review) and found it a little bizzare that you had to wait to be seated and paid on leaving. The cafe was clean and had impressive views of the ship outside as well as outdoor seating for decent weather. The staff were friendly and we had a look at the menu though decided it didn't suit us. I personally found it to be overpriced for even a museum and more restaurant like. The cakes did look appealing though! Ryan started acting up so we decided to leave and won't be back in a hurry!

      Before leaving, the waitres advised there was a cafe upstairs and we wouldn't have known otherwise as it was tucked away in a corner and very busy. The prices weren't too bad here and everything appeared fresh. The kids boxes were a good idea and seemed popular though we bought a bottle of Coca Cola and Ryan opted for a cookie, The total was £3.00 and we were served quickly. We decided to locate a bench to eat on. Overall, I recommend taking your own snacks!

      {Spend A Penny and Then Some More}

      The toilets were quite modern and white washed. The ladies were well stocked, clean (as was the whole museum) and comfortable as far as toilets go. On our way out, we decided to visit the gift shop and like any other museum of this sort, it is extremely overpriced. The choice was unusual though with skateboards and the likes but the costs were high. We steered Ryan away from the expensive cars (as you can get good ones in Poundland) and he settled for one of those tube things that makes a noise when turned upside down. We paid £2.50 for it but it wouldh't be hard to spend a fortune.


      Any staff we encountered were pleasant and many appeared to be giving information to visitors if requested. As far as I know, special tours aren't happening at the moment but may be an option in the future. We spent 90mins in the museum and enjoyed ourselves. Ryan did get a little narky after a while as he was tired. Whilst the museum offers lots of interesting exhibitions and is very family friendly, I do feel it would be appreciated more by a school child and would be great for school trips.

      Although we spent money getting there and lunch in the city centre, our trip to the Riverside Museum caused for little spending and ultimately, we had a good enough time to recommend it. I would go back but only if someone was driving us as the walk from the station is a nightmare and my feet were aching by the time I got back on the train! I would also go back when it is a little quieter. It is a fairly new thing so of course it will be busy for a while but with the entry being free, you cannot blame people for wandering out to visit.

      During our next visit, we hope to extend our trip to experience the Tall Ship too. Overall we can thoroughly recommend the Riverside Museum. Whilst my heart lies with Kelvingrove Museum, I do love it here!

      Thanks for reading :)


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