Glasgow Central station
Built in 1879, Glasgow Central is Scotland’s busiest train station, dealing with more than 38 million passengers a year and around 1,500 trains a day. Services to the Ayrshire and Clyde coasts, towns to the south of the city and England via the West Coast Main Line all leave from here.
The station is a listed building, famous for its glass-walled bridge over Argyle Street, and since 2014, has offered behind-the-scenes tours which give visitors a chance to delve into its history. You can climb onto the top of the glass roof and enjoy panoramic views of the city or visit the old steam engine boiler rooms and derelict tunnels in the basement, which are rumoured to be haunted. See also what remains of the Victorian streets of Grahamston village, over which the station was built.
All the attractions below are within walking distance – so why not book one of our hotels near Glasgow Central station and explore all the area has to offer?
The station runs right over one of Glasgow’s main shopping streets, Argyle Street, with the other two – Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street – an easy walk away. Argyle Street, the longest street in the city, is home to the St Enoch Centre, the Arches music, theatre and arts complex, and the Victoria Argyll Arcade, which has more than 30 jewellers and diamond sellers. Buchanan Street, the UK’s second busiest shopping street, has the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre, with more than 90 stores, as well as the Princes Square mall and a flagship branch of House of Fraser. Sauchiehall Street, which is also one of the city’s main streets for restaurants, bars and clubs, is the home of the Willow Tearooms, designed by architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall opened in 1990 – the year in which the city was the European Capital of Culture – and is the base of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, with an auditorium able to seat 2,475 people. It has hosted performances by many international orchestras and musicians, including the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestras of Great Britain and Scotland, as well as opera, ballet and musical theatre productions and rock, pop and folk concerts. The hall is also used for other events, including graduation ceremonies for students at Glasgow Caledonian University. And it was here, in 1993, that Nelson Mandela formally received the freedoms of nine British cities.
Art and Design
Works by Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse and David Hockney are among the exhibits at the Gallery of Modern Art, Scotland’s main contemporary art gallery, which hosts a variety of temporary and permanent exhibitions as well as talks by artists, workshops and children’s activities. The gallery is housed in a neoclassical former library in Royal Exchange Square, whose other main attraction, apart from its open-air cafés and restaurants, is a statue of the Duke of Wellington with a traffic cone on its head. The cone was originally put there as a prank, but caused so much amusement that it has remained.
The Lighthouse, Scotland’s centre for design and architecture, is another Charles Rennie Mackintosh building which contains an exhibition on the famous architect and offers fantastic views of Glasgow from the Mackintosh Tower.
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