Glasgow is one of the most vibrant and interesting cities the UK has to offer. With its gorgeous architecture, thriving art scene and its extraordinary history, there is something for everyone in this oft-hidden gem. Like its sister city, Edinburgh, Glasgow is large but also surprisingly intimate, and it’s easy to get around in on foot. For this reason, one of the best ways to see the city is to go on one of Invisible Cities’ Glasgow Walking Tours. And if you’re curious about what sort of attraction you might see as you stroll through this fine city, then here is a list of some of Glasgow’s top tourist attractions!
Three separate establishments but all within a stone’s throw of each other, Glasgow Cathedral, the Necropolis and Provand’s Lordship are all must-see stops.
The Cathedral is a stunning example of gothic architecture and it marks the spot where Saint Mungo – the patron saint of Glasgow – built his first church. Saint Mungo’s tomb lies in the lower crypt of the cathedral, and it’s worth a look should you care to visit!
Just beyond the cathedral lies the Necropolis, Glasgow’s city of the dead, but far from being spooky this is one of the most serene spots in the city. As you wander around this Victorian cemetery you’ll spot a variety of monuments, sculptures, tombs and mausoleums, each unique and many surprisingly beautiful.
Another sumptuous gothic build, the University of Glasgow cuts a glorious figure in the West End of Glasgow. It’s worth visiting just for the stunning cloisters, but if you walk through you’ll find another treasure: the Hunterian Museum.
The Scottish anatomist and physician, William Hunter was an avid collector of all kinds of curiosities whether they were archaeological, anthropological, anatomical, geological, zoological, or just plain interesting, and in his will he left his entire collection to the University of Glasgow. Thus the Hunterian museum was born and it is fascinating.
A stone’s throw away from the University, is the wonderful Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Established in 1901, this impressive edifice was built in the Spanish Baroque style and in the evenings its windows glow with a distinctive red hue, giving the building a mysterious allure. Inside, the 22 galleries have a wide range of exhibits, from Ancient Egyptian artefacts, to Renaissance art, to a stunning array of taxidermy. There is something intriguing in every corner of the building, making it a must-see attraction for all curious visitors in Glasgow.
Another beautiful spot to visit in Glasgow’s West End is the Botanic Gardens and Kibble Palace, which can lift the spirits on even the most dreich (dreary) of days. The gardens provide a veritable wonderland of plants to explore and the warmth of the greenhouses are very attractive on a cold Glasgow day! Kibble Palace is a stunning domed glasshouse in which you can wander around trees and or sit on benches to just absorb the humidity and greenery of the place.
One of Glasgow’s most iconic residents was Charles Rennie Mackintosh – architect, designer and artist. His work, and that of his wife, Margaret MacDonald, inspired what is known as the Glasgow Style as well as influencing movements such as Art Nouveau, Symbolism and Secessionism. Some of his work, and that of the other members of the Glasgow Four (Margaret MacDonald, her sister Frances MacDonald, and Herbert MacNair) can be seen at Kelvingrove Museum, but it is worth following the Mackintosh Trail to truly enjoy his genius. Visit the Lighthouse (Glasgow’s Centre for Design and Architecture, and Mackintosh’s first commission), Mackintosh House, House for an Art Lover, and Hill House to enjoy some of his work, and if his aesthetic appeals to you, then you can’t go wrong with a lovely spot of tea at the Willow Tearooms.
So there you have it! Some of the top tourist attractions in Glasgow. This is a city that is both welcoming and surprisingly small, so the best way to explore it is by walking around it; you’ll find there are far more interesting spots to unearth than we had time to write about in this blog. If our Glasgow tour appeals to you and you’re interested in seeing more of Scotland, we also offer a range of wonderful Edinburgh Walking Tours. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!