GLASGOW -Things to see and do

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CONTENTS

  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

  • Glasgow University

  • St Andrews in the Square

  • Mackintosh at the Willow

  • The Tenement House

  • Glasgow Cathedral

  • The Necropolis

  • The Glasgow City Chambers

  • The Glasgow Police Museum

  • The Glasgow Womens Library

  • The Museum of Piping

  • The Tall Ship and Riverside Museum

  • Glasgow Science Centre

  • Subterranean Tour Under Central Train Station

  • Scotlands BBC Building

  • Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre

  • Britannia Panopticon

  • The Mural Trail

  • The Contemporary Art Trail

  • Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour

  • Glasgow Tours

  • See a Football Match - Glasgow teams

  • Scottish Football Museum

  • The Tennent's Factory

PARKS AND GARDENS

  • Glasgow Green
  • Pollok Country Park & Pollok House
  • Kelvingrove Park
  • Victoria Park
  • The Botanic Gardens
  • Queens Park

PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO

KELVINGROVE ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM     Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AG

The Gallery opened in 1901 and is a favorite of locals and tourists. It is Free to enter and explore and there are some incredible art and displays there. A few of the highlights for me were the original Salvadore Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross. It's absolutely stunning and huge.

Not something you would expect from Dali after seeing all the melting clocks. (although I do love those paintings too.) It was painted by Dali in 1951 and the others were Vincent van Gough’s Le Moulin de la Galette painted in 1886 - his painting of the windmill we had seen in Paris and a self-portrait. They are both tiny but stunning just the same. I also loved the Rembrandt Sketch.  There are group tours of the museum if you prefer but I like to just wander and explore on my own. There are 22 galleries within the museum with exhibits ranging from ancient Egypt to Renaissance art and French Impressionist. There are often temporary exhibitions as well and like most museums and galleries in Scotland, entry is free.

 

GLASGOW UNIVERSITY  University Avenue West End, Glasgow G12 8QQ

Glasgow University in the background behind Kelvingrove Art Gallery

 Founded in 1451, the university is made up of stunning architecture and is the 4th oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s 4 ancient universities. You can take a tour or just wander the grounds yourself but keep in mind it is a working university and there are students attending classes. Some of the attractions to visit include The Hunterian Museum, The Hunterian Art Gallery including The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House, and Kelvin Gallery.

The Cloisters are a favourite of Outlander fans. Also known as the Undercroft or the Arches. They connect the East and West Quadrangles and the doorway leads inside to Bute Hall and the Hunterian Museum.  There is a visitor’s centre shop if you want souvenirs or gifts and a selection of cafes and restaurants. There are self-guided tours and this is a link to a map of the university.

To get there

  • Underground -The closest station is Hillhead. Trains operate on a circular line. It's a 5-minute walk from the station to the uni. Bus -4, 4A, 15 and x77
  • Car - parking is limited but you might find one near Byres Road next to Kelvin Hall
  • My favorite form of transport is Uber.

 

ST ANDREWS IN THE SQUARE  1 St Andrew's Square, Glasgow G1 5PP                   

A category-A listed, 18th-century former church built 1739 to 1756, it's now used as the city’s center for Scottish Culture, promoting Scottish music, song, and dance.  Its historic connection with the Jacobite rebellion, Bonnie Prince Charlie's army camped on the site in the December of 1745. We visited here on a tour in 2019 and the inside of the building is stunning and definitely worth a look.

To Get there There are 2 ways to get from Glasgow Central Station to St Andrew's in the Square by taxi or foot.

  • Taxi it's approximately a 2 min drive and on foot, it's about 14 minutes or 1.1 km.
  • Walking - Walk along Argyle Street, into Trongate, turn right into New Wynd and left into Parnie Street, cross over Saltmarket (A8) into St Andrews St and St Andrews is at the end of the street.

THE TENEMENT HOUSE   145 Buccleuch Street, Garnethill Glasgow G3 6QN               

If you ever wondered what tenements looked like when they were first built in Victorian times, you can find out at this National Trust for Scotland property.  When you step inside it's opening the door to early 20th century Glasgow life, it's like it's been frozen in time.  Miss Agnes who was a shorthand typist, lived here from 1911 until 1965 and preserved her furniture and possessions with love and care. This extensive personal archive has become a valuable time capsule for visitors today. The Tenement House also reveals what it meant to be an ‘independent woman’ at that time. Entry for adults £8.50. concession £6 and free to Trust members 

Opening hours: 

  • 1 Jan–1 Jul, closed
  • 2 Jul–19 Dec, Fri–Sun, 10.00–17.00 (last entry 16.00)
  • 20 Dec–6 Jan, closed
  • 7 Jan 2022–28 Feb, Fri–Sun, 10.00–17.00 (last entry 16.00)

GLASGOW CATHEDRAL -Castle Street, Glasgow Scotland G4 0QZ   

Known as the High Kirk of Glasgow, St Kentigern’s, or St Mungo’s Cathedral, it was built in the 1100s on the site where St Mungo was reportedly buried in AD 612 and is the oldest Cathedral in Scotland. It's a stunning example of Gothic architecture.  Its the only cathedral on the mainland to survive the reformation of 1560. If you do a tour they will show you the bullet holes that remain still, the crypt that was built to house the tomb of St Mungo, and the amazing and stunning architecture and stain-glass windows.

THE NECROPOLIS, - 50 Cathedral Square, Glasgow G4 0UZ

Situated right behind the Cathedral, it's a 3-minute walk to Glasgow’s Victorian City of the Dead, is a vast and grand cemetery modeled on Père-Lachaise in Paris. Described as one of the most significant cemeteries in Europe, it is a major visitor attraction and patrolled by Park Rangers. A Heritage Trail map is available to guide visitors to the memorials and tombs of some of Glasgow's most eminent citizens. From the top of the cemetery, you get amazing views of the Cathedral and surrounding buildings. There are tours you can book if you prefer to have a guide.  Suggested Duration:1-2 hours 


 

THE GLASGOW CITY CHAMBERS George Square, Glasgow.

If you love stunning architecture they are definitely worth a look. They are lavishly decorated and it's like walking into a palace with marble staircases and stunning. It's said it has more marble than the Vatican City, it even stood in for the home of the Catholic Church in the film Heavenly Pursuits. It cost £578,232 to build the Chambers in 1889 which would be the equivalent of over £40 million today.  Public tours are conducted twice a day at 10.30 and 2.30 Monday to Friday. Tickets can be obtained from the City Chambers reception desk 30 mins prior to each tour but they are on a first-come-first-served basis. On Peoples day you can view them for free. Its located on the eastern side of George Square. Its a Category A listed building and has functioned as the Glasgow City Council since 1996. It was designated as a world heritage site in 1970, the architect was William Young. 

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THE GLASGOW POLICE MUSEUM    First Floor, 30 Bell St, Glasgow G1 1LG

Winner of the Best Day Out award at the Glasgow Awards in 2019. The Glasow Police force is the oldest police force in the UK and the Museum houses memorabilia, exhibitions, and archives of those years

THE GLASGOW WOMEN’S LIBRARY  23 Landressy Street, Glasgow G40 1BP  

This library celebrates the lives and achievements of women throughout history, sharing fascinating stories from the past through heritage walks like the re-enactment of a suffrage march, exhibitions, and archives.

THE MUSEUM OF  PIPING  34 McPhater St, Glasgow G4 0HW

If you are like me the sound of bagpipes brings an emotional response, and I'm pretty sure it would be the most recognizable instrument on the planet. The museum holds 300 years of piping heritage with themed displays of Scottish traditions with bagpipes back to the 18th century.

THE TALL SHIP AND RIVERSIDE MUSEUM 150 Pointhouse Rd, Stobcross Rd, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS

On the River Clyde, there is a huge Clyde-built ship berthed beside the Riverside Museum. The museum has displays of all forms of transport from bikes and cars through to trains. There is even a recreated street of Old Glasgow from 1895 to 1930.

GLASGOW SCIENCE CENTRE  50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow G51 1EA  

The center is located opposite the riverside museum and has amazing exhibits on science, life, and the universe. The building itself is worth a look, nick-named the armadillo. It opened in 2001 and has lots of fun and educational exhibits for adults and kids. Their Body Works exhibit lets you perform a virtual autopsy, they have a space exhibit, a planetarium, and an IMAX theatre. Tickets are 11.50. It's extra for the IMAX and Planetarium

 

 

 

SUBTERRANEAN TOUR UNDER CENTRAL TRAIN STATION  Gordon Street Glasgow 

Glasgow Central Station Historian and Senior Tour Guide Paul Lyons bring all this to the tours. He will transport you through time with powerful storytelling. Using his famous ‘Glesga Patter’, he weaves in and around major historical events of not only Glasgow and Scotland but also the World, all of which have a Glasgow Central Station connection. Prepare to be informed, moved, and entertained on Glasgow’s number one tour. The station was first built in 1879 so there is plenty to explore

SCOTLAND’S BBC BUILDING  BBC Scotland Pacific Quay Glasgow G51 1DA

You can take a tour of BBC Scotland's headquarters on the banks of the River Clyde where you'll learn about one of the most modern broadcast centers in the UK, find out how they make programs there and see inside some studios (broadcast requirements permitting). They will also tell you a bit about the architecture of the building and, just for fun, you will get the chance to try out some hands-on activities. I’ve not visited this one but I did a tour of the studio on Cardith Bay Wales and it was really interesting (they film Doctor Who there)

SHARMANKA KINETIC THEATRE  Trongate 103 Glasgow G1 5HD

At Trungate 103 you can watch hundreds of tiny carved figures and sculptured pieces of scrap metal come to life with haunting music and amazing choreography and synchronized lighting tell the funny and tragic stories of the human spirit as it struggles against the restless circles of life and death. The sculptures were created by Russian sculptor Eduard Bersudsky in 1989.

BRITANNIA PANOPTICON  Trongate Glasgow G1 5HD 

The world's oldest surviving Music Hall. Situated down New Wynd Lane Trongate. This Music hall began in 1857 and has an interesting history and has housed an array of entertainment including singers, dancers, and comedians. In 1906 AE Pickard brought in the carnival freak show and zoo. They are a registered charity and they aim to promote and continue the legacy of the hall and ensure the building remains a viable visitor attraction. They are open for general viewing Tuesday to Saturday noon to 5 pm, last admission is 4.30 pm. They don't have disabled access. They have a program of events including silent films, comedy clubs, drag-option, sing-alongs, and more. Inside there is an exhibition of ephemera, a merchandise stall and the staff are happy to chat about the Music Hall and history.

THE MURAL TRAIL  

Wandering the streets and discovering amazing street art is one of my favourite things to do in any city but especially Glasgow.

You can follow the Mural Trail yourself or join a tour. The Saint Mungo mural is my favorite and can be found nearby to the Glasgow Cathedral which was his final resting place. I located the 3 Billy Connolly murals too but it took me 2 trips to do it. There are some huge murals by Aussie artist Smug, a huge one that spans the width of a block in Ingham Street depicting all kinds of Scottish wildlife. It takes 3 or 4 photos to get it all in and under the Kingston Bridge, there is a mural to celebrate the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games. (see photo above) Outside the Clutha Bar, there is a huge mural of Mackintosh. (below).

A Guided walking tour costs about £12pp.  You do spot them a lot on the Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours too.   

 

THE CONTEMPORARY ART TRAIL              

Another of my favourite things to do is to try to find and photography the contemporary art and sculptures around Glasgow. There are lots, these are just a few examples. One of my favourite pieces which I found on a wander is Homeless Jesus. It's life-sized and at first, I actually thought it was a real person. It's very thought-provoking and helps to shine a light on the plight of homeless people in Glasgow and across the world. It was created by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz. 163 Buchanan St, Glasgow G1 2JX,

CHOOKIES BURDIES There are 300 of these birdie sculptures atop lampposts in the Garnethill area of the city. They are by Glaswegian artist Shona Kinloch. To be honest, I'm yet to spot one but they are on my radar now.

MACKINTOSH  STATUE

In the Anderson area of the city there is a bronze statue of Mackintosh sitting on the Argyle Chair by sculptor Andy Scott. It has been known to don a safety cone like the Duke.

THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON STATUE. This statue has become iconic in Glasgow due to the safety cone he dons. Initially, the council removed the cone but since it reappears every night they have decided it's a losing battle. It has now become a tourist attraction and you can purchase souvenirs like magnets, postcards, mugs and clothing depicting the cone wearing statue. The cone is occasionally adorned with other offerings as well. I always check it out each visit to see what's new. It's a testament to the sense of humour of the Glaswegians. There is a new one now in the Ukrainian Flag Colours. 

 

 

 

HOP ON HOP OFF BUS TOURS                    

I always do one of these when I'm in a new city. It's a great way to get your bearings and find out what is interesting to see and do. A complete tour takes about 90 minutes but you can get on and off at any stop. There are usually a few different routes too.

The Red Bus Bistro Vintage Routemaster Bus Tour offers afternoon tea, Italian antipasti, or Pizza and Prosecco as you tour around the sites which sounds like fun and is on my to-do list.

GLASGOW TOURS

There are so many walking and other tours in Glasgow. Music, Art, Brewery, Whisky/Distillery, Stadium, Food, Ghost, History. You can go on foot, by bus, by private care, Chauffeur Tours, bike tours and many more. There are free walking tours and apps you can download. Glasgow Gander runs a tour that covers all the highlights they are 2.5 to 3 hours long and cover about 2.4 km. Always tip your guides at the end and check if they are still running with the current circumstances.

Other things on my to-do list are:

SEE A FOOTBALL MATCH

On my next trip, I want to go and see a soccer game, mainly for the atmosphere and just to be there when the stadium breaks out in song for the National Anthem. The Scott’s are passionate about their football. Celtic and Rangers have the biggest rivalry. If you are partial to seeing a man in a kilt then a football match is the place to go. Rangers are one of the most successful clubs and the Celtics have the biggest stadium. It's about 30 for a ticket. The city has 4 professional clubs - Celtic, Rangers, Partick Thistle, and Queens Park. 

 Check out this clip on the stadium in song https://youtu.be/7eLTAU183bQ

SCOTTISH FOOTBALL MUSEUM Hampden Park, Glasgow G42 9BA  

If you are a football (soccer) fan then this might be a place you want to visit. The museum houses over 2,000 antiques and memorabilia including the world's oldest national trophy - The Scottish Cup, which dates back to 1873. Open Monday to Wednesday 10 am to 5 pm, there is a small cafe next door.

THE TENNENT’S FACTORY 161 Duke St, Glasgow G31 1JD

Take a tour around the Tennents brewery.  Tennent’s Lager was first brewed by Hugh Tennent at Wellpark, Glasgow in 1885. After taking sole control of the business on his 21st birthday, it was during one of the young Hugh’s many traveling expeditions – this time in Bavaria - that he was inspired to brew his own legendary lager.  At the time, newspaper journalists hailed his vision to produce lager on a large scale as ‘a madman’s dream’. But Hugh continued nevertheless. Now, more than 125 years on, Tennent’s Lager is still made with pride in the heart of Glasgow, but famous far beyond its home city- for its crisp taste and refreshingly clean finish. Tennent's Lager continues to be Scotland's best-selling. If you are an Outlander fan you will recognize the actor playing Hugh Tennent and his offsider in the ads and on the large mural on the wall outside. https://youtu.be/9I0MdXtX7Ss

PARKS AND GARDENS                     

     

There are over 90 parks and gardens in and around Glasgow, which is why Glasgow is known as the Dear Green Place. These are just a few of the 90.

GLASGOW GREEN 

Founded in the 15th century, is the oldest park in the city and the park was initially used for livestock grazing. Spanning over 130 acres, today the park has a lot of riverfront walking paths, a football green, and tons of spots to picnic or have some family fun. It's home to the largest Terracotta fountain in the world, the Dolton Fountain is a five-tier fountain in French Renaissance style that was designed to commemorate the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 1887 and the stunning McLennan Arch, towering at the western entrance in front of the High Court, this arch was originally constructed in the 1800s, it has been moved and reconstructed several times before coming to its final home in 1991, it's inscribed with the date MDCCCXCIII (1893). One of the best-known and most unusual buildings is The Peoples Palace, a museum dedicated to the social history of Glasgow, it was opened in 1898, and close by stands Templeton on the Green, which has a design based on the Doge’s Palace in Venice. It's one of the stops on the Hop-On-Hop-Off Buses. 

POLLOK COUNTY PARKPOLLOK HOUSE

2060 Pollokshaws Rd, Bellahouston, Glasgow G43 1AT 

Located on the southside, Pollok Country park, at 146 hectares it's the largest park in Glasgow and is rich in history. In 2007, it was named Britain’s Best Park and in 2008 it was named the Best Park in Europe. Pollok House is a stunning Georgian mansion that is maintained by the National Trust surrounded by beautifully maintained gardens and abundant woodland. The Stirling Maxwell family lived for six centuries on the site, but the main part of the present house was built in the mid-18th century – an example of Georgian grandeur. There is an impressive collection of Spanish art, as well as works by Raeburn and Guthrie and the world-famous Burrell Collection. Enjoy delicious home baking and other delights in the Edwardian Kitchen café, the food is really delicious. The Burrell Collection building is currently under an upgrade and is due to reopen in March 2022. Another bonus is they usually have Hairy Cows there.

KELVINGROVE PARK

6 Professors' Square, Glasgow G3 6BY

This park is an example of a Victorian park set on the banks of the River Kelvin. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the University have positioned on either side of the park. It also has the open-air venues Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre, a Skate park, and 2 play parks. 

VICTORIA PARK

51 Victoria Park Dr S, Glasgow G14 9QR

One of the prettiest parks, with a large pond, children play park and it has an extensive range of floral displays and wishing the park is Fossil Grove which houses the remnants of an ancient forest, it was discovered in 1887 and contains the fossilised tree stumps that are said to be about 330 million years old of eleven extinct Lepidodendron Trees.

THE BOTANIC GARDENS

Great Western Road Glasgow

The gardens are home to 2 large Greenhouses, Kibble Place and Main Range.  Kibble Palace houses plants from around the world and marble statues. There are self-guided trails including a tree trail and river walk. The gardens are located near Byres Road.

QUEEN’S PARK 

Langside Rd, Glasgow G42 9QL

On a clear day, you can see Ben Lomand and to the Campsie Fells from here. Its located on the trendy southside of the city and features the Scottish Poetry Rose Garden, a play park, a large boating pond, and an amphitheater that is host to various events. It's built on the site of Mary Queen of Scots final battle,

Check out my other travel guides.

 

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