Visitors At Kelvingrove | Courtesy of Glasgow Life
With Scotland’s largest city comes an appealing array of attractions. Glasgow, with its quintessential Scottish charm and magnificent architecture, is a cultural playground. Medieval buildings, raved about art collections, marble staircases and cracking music venues — the city ticks every box. Here, we round up 21 of the most desirable spots worth exploring.
Building, Art Gallery
Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art | Courtesy Of Glasgow Life
Scotland’s most visited modern art gallery, GoMA is a resplendent display of contemporary artworks from across the world. Housed in the same spot as the city library, this vibrant artistic hub is a great place to gather your thoughts and explore some stunning masterpieces. Expect a smashing array of ever-evolving multifaceted displays.
A little pocket of nerdy fun situated on the south bank of the River Clyde, the Glasgow Science Centre boasts three buildings and is Scotland’s own Millennium Dome of sorts. Over 250 exhibits, most of which have a hefty interactive element, await exploration in the science hall alone.
A telling portrayal of Glasgow’s glistening art scene, the Mural Tour is your chance to meander around the city streets appreciating local artists such as Rogue One and Smug. From balloon-led taxis to massive tigers, Banksy has some serious Scottish competition.
An oasis of calm within an urban jungle, the Glasgow Necropolis is both historic and intriguing. The perfect way to learn about a bygone past, this Victorian cemetery sports numerous monuments, sculptures, tombs and mausoleums. After all, it is the resting place of over 50,000 people.
Strategically located in the hip Merchant City area, The Corinthian boasts all the bells and whistles! From the pukka interior accents and lavish cocktails at the Tellers Bar to the Harlem Jazz-era feels of the casino, more-ish food, and hypnotic live music nights, there’s no bad hand with this one. Swanky beyond belief.
There’s tourist attractions and then there’s local institutions that quite frankly blow your mind — Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum falls into the latter category! This striking Spanish Baroque Locharbriggs edifice plays hosts to a covetable arms and armour collection and incredible European artworks, including Dali’s iconic Christ of Saint John of the Cross.
When it opened in 1898, People’s Palace and Winter Gardens was declared ‘open to the people for ever and ever’. Built as a means to add a dose of charm to a supposed undesirable area, this museum and glasshouse is an enchanting vehicle to preserve imperative social narratives belonging to Glaswegians from the 1700s onwards. A true time capsule set in Glasgow Green, the oldest park in the city.
A true treat for historians, The Provand’s Lordship is the oldest house in the city and one of four surviving medieval buildings. This proud house museum sports historic royal portraits, immaculate 17th-century furniture courtesy of Sir William Burrell, and interior accents from the 1500s and 1700s. Don’t leave without appreciating the accompanying St Nicholas Garden, a medicinal herb garden.
An architectural wonder, the Zaha Hadid designed Riverside Museum can keep even the most inquisitive of souls entertained for hours. Bestowed with many awards and laden with over 3,000 objects, this icon of a building takes visitors on an epic journey through Glasgow and Scotland’s rich transport history.
As the world’s oldest surviving music hall, the Britannia Panopticon deserves a standing ovation, with many a bouquet being flung! Built in 1857, it garnered quite the reputation as an unmitigated pleasure palace filled with music (including some of the most celebrated music hall circuit names), performance art, and more. Visit today, have a gander at any upcoming shows and hear the walls divulge tales from the past.
Glasgow’s own Statue of Liberty, surpassing a free tour of the City Chambers should the chance arise would be sacrilege. Queen Victoria had the honour of opening this building, which is graced with ethereal looks and elaborate accents, in 1888. The fairytale staircase, made from Italian Carrara marble, is the largest marble staircase in Western Europe.
Lurking within Victoria Park basks a mystical ancient forest kingdom in the form of petrified tree stumps. Unearthed in 1887, after being excavated from swathes of sandstone and shale, all 11 stumps are extinct Lepidodendron trees that formed in the Carboniferous era 325 million years ago.
Not just any old church, historic Glasgow Cathedral marks the spot where Saint Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint, built his first church back in the day, and his tomb now resides in the lower crypt. A stunning example of Scottish Gothic architecture, this Kirk was mentioned in Rob Roy, a novel by Sir Walter Scott.
Although its heyday is arguably now a figment of the imagination, The Barras is an integral part of Glaswegian culture. A muckle street and indoor market that at the weekend still relives its glory days with stalls upon stalls and bargains galore, it’s perfect for people-watching and landing that one-off statement home piece.
Esteemed Scottish anatomist and physician William Hunter was quite the collector. Thanks to his heart of gold, he left all of his collections, which range from archaeological to anthropological, zoological, anatomical and geological, to the University of Glasgow in his will. Since 1783, these intriguing artefacts have captivated hoards of curious people.
Famous and timeless, PS Waverley is the world’s last passenger-carrying paddle steamer to take to the sea. This impeccably restored beauty, which was named after Sir Walter Scott’s first novel, was built in 1946. Work on those sea legs (she regularly departs from Glasgow) and embark on a sea adventure of the enchanting Scottish isles and lochs.
If time permits, a tour of the works of Glaswegian architect, designer and all around creative Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is advised. The Lighthouse (his first public commission), Mackintosh House, House For An Art Lover, Glasgow School Of Art, Scotland Street School Museum and The Hill House all possess his iconic stamp.
A dream fusion of theatre and mechanics, Sharmanka (Russian for barrel-organ) Kinetic Theatre is the brainchild of theatre director Tatyana Jakovskaya and sculptor-mechanic Eduard Bersudsky. As trippy as it is enlightening, expect an unrivalled artistic performance featuring enigmatic creatures moving to create narratives about the pros and cons of what it means to be human.
Botanic Gardens And Kibble Palace | Courtesy of Glasgow Life
The Glasgow Botanic Gardens, created in 1817, are a welcomed splash of green in a concrete jungle. Tour the world via their myriad of plant species and admire the breathtaking glass-domed Kibble Palace wonderland of a glasshouse.
Described as having a ‘Glaswegian heart and a German head’, WEST Brewery is a land of endless boozing opportunities. The mighty building is a work of art, the too-delicious-for-words traditional German food is authentic and the artisan lagers and wheat beers add that extra pep in your step.
Glasgow, as a UNESCO City Of Music, holds its fair share of music traps. Arguably the most iconic, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut is a local institution. Praised by all who visit, this cracking bar and live venue is renowned for hosting some big-name bands for their first Scottish appearance and as a platform for new talent too. Oasis, The Verve, Radio Head, The White Stripes and Beck are just a few.