Glasgow tourist attractions

Top Glasgow attractions

Like the phoenix rising from the flames, Glasgow has reemerged as a thriving hub of culture and learning after the industrial boom.ç

  1. Gaze at the city’s most beloved painting
  2. Have a tea with Mackintosh
  3. Marvel at the magnificent cathedral
  4. Explore the illustrious university
  5. Tour the City Chambers
  6. Visit the impressive Riverside Museum
  7. Lap up the loch

There’s a wealth of attractions to discover during your stay in Glasgow. From world-class art and fascinating museums, to one of the world’s oldest universities.

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Gaze at the city’s most beloved painting

Built in the 19th-century, this huge, sandstone fantasy castle is home to one of the finest civic collections in the world. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery is best known for its famous Dali painting, Christ of St John of the Cross, but there are also works by the likes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, Pissarro, Cézanne and Renoir. As if that wasn’t enough, the gallery also boasts a World War II Spitfire, and a stuffed elephant which was once a resident of the Glasgow Zoo.

Not to be missed: There are recitals on the giant Lewis pipe organ in the Centre Hall at 1pm (3pm on Sundays).

2. Have a tea with Mackintosh

The work of celebrated architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, has come to be synonymous with Glasgow, and admirers of his work should definitely visit Mackintosh at the Willow on Sauchiehall Street. Originally created for one of his contemporary supporters, these trendy tea rooms are an excellent example of Mackintosh’s superb ability to fuse function with decoration.

Not to be missed: The Glasgow School of Art was destroyed in a 2018 fire, but visitors can appreciate the restoration work from outside.

3. Marvel at the magnificent cathedral

Glasgow’s famous 15th-century cathedral has long been a focus for Christian learning and culture in Scotland. The exquisite interiors are illuminated by vivid stained-glass windows and the sacristy was the birthplace of the city’s university over 500 hundred years ago.

Not to be missed: The necropolis is a grassy mound covered in an assortment of gravestones, urns, catacombs and neoclassical temples.

4. Explore the illustrious university

Dominating the West End skyline, the turreted tower of the University of Glasgow, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the mid-19th century, overlooks the glades edging the River Kelvin; the university itself was founded in 1451, which ranks it as the fourth oldest in the English-speaking world.

Not to be missed: Student-led tours are a great way to learn more about the university and support the students at the same time.<

5. Tour the City Chambers

The florid splendour of the City Chambers, opened by Queen Victoria in 1888, occupies the entire eastern end of George Square. Its intricately-detailed facade includes high-minded friezes typical of the era, and the vaulted ceiling of the entrance hall is covered with an astonishing 1.5 million Venetian mosaic tiles.

Not to be missed:The only way to see the interior is to join a guided tour, which starts at the bottom of an Italian marble stairwell.

6. Visit the impressive Riverside Museum

This striking multi-million-pound museum houses more than 3,000 objects that trace the history of transport, most of them relating to Scotland, from a velodrome of bicycles suspended from the ceiling to a wall of classic cars and motorbikes spanning the decades. Most popular, particularly with children, are the old trams, bus and subway carriage – climb aboard to get a real sense of travel in days gone by.

Not to be missed:On the museum’s riverside flank is a remarkable example of a tall ship – the four decks can be explored to find out what life was like on board. There is also a good café here.

7. Lap up the loch

Often described as the Highlands in miniature, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park boasts a magnificent diversity of scenery, with distinctive peaks, silvery lochs and mysterious, forest covered slopes. The area covers over seven hundred square miles of scenic territory, and outdoors enthusiasts come in droves for hiking, tours, mountain-bike excursions, horse riding, fishing and boat trips on the lochs.

Not to be missed: Some of the best hill-walking within easy reach of Glasgow can be found in Glen Luss. A series of Corbetts afford spectacular views to the Clyde estuary and the western islands.

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