Image by Glasgow-based illustrator Chelsea Frew

The Insider Guide

With its proud working-class roots, stately Victorian architecture and artistic heritage, Glasgow is one of Scotland’s most vibrant cultural hubs. Home to museums, art galleries and institutions such as the Scottish Opera, the Scottish Ballet and the National Theatre of Scotland, Scotland’s largest city is sure to captivate your attention and keep you busy.

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The Main Attractions

Known in the 19th century as the Second City of the Empire, Glasgow has a long history as a wealthy industrial metropolis. Dive back into the city’s shipbuilding past with a stroll along the 10mi (16km) Clyde Walkway along the River Clyde. Though most of the shipyards have now been replaced by modern buildings, a stop at the Riverside Museum will take you back in time with an exhibition of historic vehicles. Then, trade in your shipwright’s badge for an art historian’s and immerse yourself in Glasgow’s art scene. The famed Glasgow School of Art, designed by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1845, will inspire you to visit the gift shop for souvenirs. Don’t put away your critical art lens just yet – the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has an impressive collection of pieces by the Glasgow Boys, the old Renaissance masters of Italy, the French impressionists and even Salvador Dali – as well as natural-history exhibits and other curiosities. On one of those rare, sunny Scottish days, take a walk along the city’s cobbled streets to admire the grand public buildings, Victorian mansions and Glasgow cathedral – the oldest building in Glasgow and the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland. The Glasgow Necropolis is next door – it’s worth getting a guide to show you round this Victorian cemetery for its dramatic architecture, imposing sculptures and the remarkable life stories of the 50,000 buried here. If it’s peace and quiet you’re after, then head to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, where you can check out the marble sculptures of Kibble Palace, the largest of the glasshouses, and recharge your batteries. Nearby, the bohemian streets of the West End of Glasgow are where you’ll find record stores, vintage clothing markets and second-hand booksellers. Now you’ve seen the main attractions, grab a pint at a local pub and boogie the night away at a live gig. Want to get the most out of your trip? Read on for our insider tips.

Neighborhoods in Glasgow