The Most Unusual Things To Do in Glasgow

Museum Entry Queue To Riverside Museum | © Michel Curi/Flickr
Museum Entry Queue To Riverside Museum | © Michel Curi/Flickr
Photo of Tori Chalmers
16 March 2017

Whether local or traveller, playing tourist for the day is always a fun idea. However, what happens when all the tourist traps have been traversed? You dive in deeper. From an extinct enchanted former forest to ball drag bingo, consider this your go-to guide when craving unusual things to do in Glasgow.

Fossil Grove

It’s not every day you stumble across a perfectly preserved fossil tree stump kingdom. A site of special scientific interest since its discovery in 1887, Glasgow’s fossil grove is situated within Victoria Park. The fossils, which formed during the carboniferous period 325 million years ago, are in fact petrified tree stumps frozen in their growing position. These 11 stumps are extinct lepidodendron trees or ‘giant club mosses’. Puns aside, this enchanting fossilised forest will truly stump you!

Fossil Grove, Victoria Park Dr S, Glasgow, Scotland, +44 141 287 5918

The World Through Wooden Eyes

Some view them as terrifying, others deem them mesmerising. The art of puppetry has long been a vehicle for creatives to express emotions, important socio-political narratives and quite simply, make audiences laugh (or cry). Unbeknown to many, The World Through Wooden Eyes is an impressive collection of all things puppets nestled within Glasgow’s Victorian Mitchell Library. The holy grail of prolific puppet master, designer and director John M. Blundall, this collection explores the numerous puppet styles from across the world. From antique and contemporary puppets to rare Japanese Noh masks, books, illustrations and more, this treasure trove is a true cabinet of curiosity.

Mitchell Library, North St, Glasgow, Scotland, +44 141 287 2999

St Valentine’s Bones

Glasgow may be a UNESCO City of Music, but it also happens to be an unofficial ‘City of Love’. And no, we’re not just talking about the insanely delicious Indian food or exquisite art scene! Tucked away in the unassuming walls of Blessed St John Duns Scotus Church in Gorbals, sits a box sporting the words ‘Corpus Valentini Martyris’ or ‘the body of Saint Valentine, Martyr’. This box contains what is thought to be the remains of this famous Saint. In the name of love, the relics are forever on display and are even decorated come Valentine’s Day. Other parts of Saint Valentine are spread across the world, such as the Basilica of Santa Maria in Rome.

Blessed John Duns Scotus R C Church, 270 Ballater St, Glasgow, Scotland, +44 141 429 0740

Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre

Art Gallery, Theater
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Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre
Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre | © WikiCommons
Obscene yet wonderful, Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre is the kind of stuff both dreams and nightmares are made of. A fantastical fusion of theatre and breathtaking mechanics, Sharmanka (which translates as ‘barrel-organ’ in Russian) is the brainchild of sculptor and mechanic Eduard Bersudsky and theatre director Tatyana Jakovskaya. Following its conception in Russia in 1989, this mesmerising work of moving art came to Glasgow in 1996. Packs of ghoulish creatures move and groove in wondrous ways as their narratives depict the highs and lows of the human spirit. A truly enchanting performance that will haunt you for a long time.

Hillhead Bookclub

The ideal place to decompress, Hillhead Bookclub is perhaps one of the most happening spots in town. Like ping-pong? They have epic Balls Of Fury style sessions. Blast from the past retro computer games? And that too. Whether it be an extravagant vintage fair perfectly tailored to lazy Sunday wanderings or a hoot worthy evening of Ball Drag Bingo, there is literally always something going on in this desirable drinking den.

Hillhead Bookclub, 17 Vinicombe St, Glasgow, Scotland, +44 141 576 1700

Hillhead Bookclub | © Thomas Nugent/Geograph // Beer At Hillhead Bookclub | © Andy Rennie/Flickr

Hillhead Bookclub | © Thomas Nugent/Geograph // Beer At Hillhead Bookclub | © Andy Rennie/Flickr-Cropped from original | © Thomas Nugent/Geograph // Beer At Hillhead Bookclub | © Andy Rennie/Flickr

The Necropolis

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The Necropolis
The Necropolis | © Robert Brown/Flickr
Meandering your way through a historic cemetery is surprisingly both therapeutic and enlightening. A magnificent maze embedded with history and tales from a bygone past, the Glasgow Necropolis somehow manages to host over 50,000 bodies, some of which lived during World War I and World War II. Whether tomb, monument, mausoleum, statue or stone, this Victorian cemetery is worth visiting, if only to find out more about former Glasgow citizens.

The Saracen Head

Wonderfully random, a visit to The Saracen Head, also known as the ‘Sarry Heid’, will quite literally send your mind spinning. A tried and true watering hole for Celtic FC fans, this age-old pub has quite the secret. Imagine sipping on a pint and nibbling at peanuts while locking eyes with the skull of the last witch to be executed in Scotland. True story — she resides in a glass case! This alcohol-infused unofficial miniature museum is one of the oldest pubs in the city and also boasts a poem said to be written in Rabbie Burns’ handwriting.

The Saracen Head, 209 Gallowgate, Glasgow, Scotland, +44 141 552 1660