Many fluctuation-driven phenomena in fluids can be analysed effectively using the generalised Lagrangian-mean (GLM) theory of Andrews & McIntyre (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 89, 1978, pp. 609–646) This finite-amplitude theory relies on particle-following averaging to incorporate the constraints imposed by the material conservation of certain quantities in inviscid regimes. Its original formulation, in terms of Cartesian coordinates, relies implicitly on an assumed Euclidean structure; as a result, it does not have a geometrically intrinsic, coordinate-free interpretation on curved manifolds, and suffers from undesirable features. Motivated by this, we develop a geometric generalisation of GLM that we formulate intrinsically using coordinate-free notation. One benefit is that the theory applies to arbitrary Riemannian manifolds; another is that it establishes a clear distinction between results that stem directly from geometric consistency and those that depend on particular choices. Starting from a decomposition of an ensemble of flow maps into mean and perturbation, we define the Lagrangian-mean momentum as the average of the pull-back of the momentum one-form by the perturbation flow maps. We show that it obeys a simple equation which guarantees the conservation of Kelvin’s circulation, irrespective of the specific definition of the mean flow map. The Lagrangian-mean momentum is the integrand in Kelvin’s circulation and distinct from the mean velocity (the time derivative of the mean flow map) which advects the contour of integration. A pseudomomentum consistent with that in GLM can then be defined by subtracting the Lagrangian-mean momentum from the one-form obtained from the mean velocity using the manifold’s metric. The definition of the mean flow map is based on choices made for reasons of convenience or aesthetics. We discuss four possible definitions: a direct extension of standard GLM, a definition based on optimal transportation, a definition based on a geodesic distance in the group of volume-preserving diffeomorphisms, and the ‘glm’ definition proposed by Soward & Roberts (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 661, 2010, pp. 45–72). Assuming small-amplitude perturbations, we carry out order-by-order calculations to obtain explicit expressions for the mean velocity and Lagrangian-mean momentum at leading order. We also show how the wave-action conservation of GLM extends to the geometric setting. To make the paper self-contained, we introduce in some detail the tools of differential geometry and main ideas of geometric fluid dynamics on which we rely. These include variational formulations which we use for alternative derivations of some key results. We mostly focus on the Euler equations for incompressible inviscid fluids but sketch out extensions to the rotating–stratified Boussinesq, compressible Euler, and magnetohydrodynamic equations. We illustrate our results with an application to the interaction of inertia-gravity waves with balanced mean flows in rotating–stratified fluids.