Just south of the River Clyde and the Pacific Quay area where BBC Scotland is based, Festival Park is a modest green space that is perfect for unwinding away from the frenetic city centre just a short walk away.
There are a couple of play areas for children that are popular among local families. There is provision for both younger and older children, as well as well marked paths providing a great place to run and exercise for everyone. Due to its location, Festival Park is great for dog walkers and people who want to experience nature on their lunch break, as it is just a stone’s throw away from council buildings, science centre, off blocks and of course the BBC.
Festival Park is the only remaining grounds of the 1988 Glasgow Garden festival, the third of five national garden festivals, and the only one to take place in Scotland. The whole festival site covered 120 acres and attracted over 4 million visitors across the 6 months it was open. The event helped Glasgow’s attempts to be recognised as the European City of Culture, a feat that the city finally achieved in 1990.
Despite iconic features on the city’s skyline such as the Clydesdale Bank 150th Anniversary Tower, Festival Park is all that now remains of the site’s green space, with the land being redeveloped for housing, commerce and leisure. It was this redevelopment project that has made up the vast part of Pacific Quay, with the tower being dismantled and moved to the town of Rhyl in North Wales.
Glasgow Garden Festival, and as a result the site of Festival Park, were featured quite prominently in the Taggart episode “Root of Evil”, where the title character in the detective show ended up being a judge in several competitions. The show included aerial footage of the site and used a number of filming locations throughout.
Festival Park is the area of the festival site where the Highland River, lochan and waterfall features were on display, although these water features are now largely forgotten as drainage continues to be a priority for local developers.
Standing as an oasis of green among a growing skyline of tower blocks, offices and visitor attractions, Festival Park remains some of its charm from the late 1980s highpoint, and with the inclusion of the two play areas, is expected to stay part of the local offering for many years to come.