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Invisible Cities Organises Virtual Event: Doing Tourism Differently

Written on June 14, 2021

The summer is upon us and holiday plans are booked in the calendar, tourism is tentatively making a return. At Invisible Cities, we know that tourism can be a force for good in the world. We felt that now, more than ever, was an appropriate time to talk about ‘Doing Tourism Differently’. How can we travel with a greater social impact?

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Fun and Interesting Things to do in Glasgow?

Written on June 04, 2021

Fun and Interesting Things to do in Glasgow?

Glasgow is a big, vibrant city with no shortage of interesting things to do. However, with such an abundance of choice, visitors and locals looking to explore the city sometimes struggle to narrow their to-do list down. It’s a kind of choice paralysis and we want to help yo avoid by offering up some of Invisible Cities’ favourite things to do in Glasgow. This is not THE DEFINITIVE list, but it’s a brilliant wee collection of some of Glasgow’s best and most interesting activities! If you’d like more suggestions, check out our guide to the top attractions in Glasgow.

Take an Invisible Cities Tour in Glasgow

First off, we’d like to recommend… ourselves! Invisible Cities is a non-profit focusing on training people who have experienced homelessness, giving them the skills and confidence to be tour guides. Our tour guides are fascinating, intelligent people with a unique perspective. This makes our tours more interesting than your average tour and you have the added bonus of supporting a company dedicated to helping and offering opportunities and gainful employment to those who need it. While this is clearly a good cause, this isn’t charity as our tours are carefully designed to be fun and fascinating, offering maximum value. To find out more, take a look at ourGlasgow Walking Tours.

The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome

Completely changing gear (sorry), you can visit the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Scotland’s first indoor velodrome, named after the famous Scottish olympian Sir Chris Hoy. This velodrome is used for international cycling competitions but it is also available for the public to experience what it’s like to cycle in a velodrome. Cycle where some of the greatest cyclists in the world have cycled!

Try One of Glasgow’s Many Escape Rooms

While we can’t officially recommend one of Glasgow’s Escape Rooms over others, we can say that Glasgow has several escape rooms spread throughout the city centre and that it’s a great way to spend an hour or two in the city. Flex your problem-solving and communication skills with a small group by solving a series of practical puzzles that let you escape the various devious escape rooms on offer in Glasgow. If in any doubt, consult customer reviews to see which escape room to try first.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

This huge museum is the perfect day out for families and couples. It’s the second most visited museum in the UK and it’s packed with incredible art and artefacts from all over the world. There is a particularly impressive range of art and furniture from Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as well as artworks by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Lowry, and Salvador Dali. There is also an Egyptian section as well as an exhibition of animals, including several dinosaurs that are guaranteed to thrill children and adults alike.

The Purple Cat Café

The Purple Cat Café on High Street, in Merchant City, is Glasgow’s first cat café. While it may sound like a strange concept, cat cafés have become very popular in big cities all around the world. Originating in Taipei, Taiwan, cat cafés work because people love cats and they love coffee. Join these two activities together and you have a winner. The Purple Cat Café has a large number of cats and they take special care to ensure the welfare of their feline friends, also taking care to only ever rescue cats from sanctuaries.

Glasgow Cathedral

This huge and imposing building near Merchant City is the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland. It is also likely to be the oldest building in Glasgow. It is believed that Glasgow Cathedral is situated where the city’s patron saint, Saint Mungo, built his church and was buried in AD 612 And this means that the history of Glasgow can be brought all the way back to the history of the cathedral, although of course much of the cathedral we see today was built later, between the 13th and 15th centuries. Because of its connection to Saint Mungo, Glasgow Cathedral is sometimes called St Mungo’s Cathedral and it is, undoubtedly, one of the best places in the city for people interested in history.

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Invisible Cities’ First-time Visitor’s Guide to Manchester

Written on May 28, 2021

Invisible Cities’ First-time Visitor’s Guide to Manchester

Here at Invisible Cities, there are two stars of the show: the UK cities featured on ourlist of UK tours and our incredible tour guides — all of which have experienced homelessness. Invisible Cities is a social enterprise that trains people to be tour guides. Anyone who has been homeless at some point in their life has a unique perspective on their city and our tours are unlike anything else you’re likely to find. Previously, we wrote abeginner’s guide to visiting York and we’d like to follow it up with this first-time visitor’s guide to Manchester. If anything in this guide inspires you, check out ourManchester Walking Tours.

Travelling Around Manchester

Given the scale of the city and how difficult it is to drive in a city you don’t know very well, we can’t recommend driving around Manchester on your first visit — or any visit, to be honest. But the good news is that Manchester’s trains and buses are incredibly well managed, making it one of the most accessible cities in the UK for visitors to get around. Check outVisit Manchester’s maps if you’d like to learn more.

Manchester’s Free Museums

There are plenty of things to do in Manchester, but if your budget is tight, then make sure you put some of the city’s free museums to the top of your list. We won’t go through all 35 free museums here, but here are the three most popular options for your consideration.

See Invisible Manchester

If you’re looking for a less conventional Manchester experience, then one of our tours is almost certainly for you. We train our guides but we also encourage them to bring their own personality and creativity to the tours they create. This means that our tours are very different from the more manufactured, manicured Manchester tours. You can read even more detail about ourManchester Tours, but here are brief overviews of why you might want to see Invisible Manchester.

Discover Manchester’s History Through Ales and Alleyways

Our guide, Andy, designed this excellent tour to explore Manchester’s rock music scene in the 80s. Visit the venues that epitomised the city’s legendary music scene. It’s not all history, however: you will learn about modern Manchester while, admiring the city’s skyline, as you learn about the people, places, and stories that shaped it.

Explore Manchester “Off the Cobbles”

This thoughtful tour was created by Danny, our adopted Mancunian tour guide who spent a portion of his life living on Manchester’s street. This tour offers a unique perspective on the city, showing you where Danny’s spent his time and teaching you about the grittier aspects of the city you won’t find on the more mainstream tours.

Powerful Women of Manchester Tour

On this tour created by Laura — a transgender woman inspired by the city’s great women — you will learn about the inspirational women who have helped build and develop Manchester. The highlight for many on the tour is the discussion of Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette movement, of which Manchester played a prominent role.

The Pankhurst Centre

If Laura’s tour whets your appetite for Manchester’s suffragette past, you will almost certainly want to visit the Pankhurst Centre. While only a small museum, it is well worth visiting. Exhibiting the story and legacy of Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette movement as a whole, this is the perfect place to pay your respects to one of the country’s biggest political activists and folk heroes. Entrance to the Pankhurst Centre is free, making it even more difficult to find a good reason not to visit!

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Which city is better: Glasgow or Edinburgh?

Written on May 21, 2021

Which city is better: Glasgow or Edinburgh?

The age-old debate continues! Which city is better: Glasgow or Edinburgh? Well, we certainly won’t give it all away, but we have plenty of thoughts on this debate and we’re keen to share them with you.

Why is Glasgow better than Edinburgh?

For those who say that Glasgow is better than Edinburgh, there are a few common points raised to support the theory. Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city by scale and population. It’s also the heart of live music, performing arts, and creative industries.

Why is Edinburgh better than Glasgow?

Those who say Edinburgh is better than Glasgow point to other facets of Scottish history and culture. Whilst Glasgow hosts the nation’s largest performing arts venues and is home to nearly one-third of the entire national population, Edinburgh is the nation’s capital. There are also two areas of Edinburgh that are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites: both Old Town and New Town.

Tourism in Glasgow vs Edinburgh

Despite the fact that Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and boasts so many wonderful cultural attractions and institutions, Edinburgh is the more popular destination among international tourists.

Edinburgh attracts international tourists due to its historical prominence and its UNESCO status for two different parts of the city. The architecture and traditions in Edinburgh are obvious and attract many international visitors. The city also boasts massive festivals throughout the year, including the largest arts festival in the world in August.

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are home to several prominent universities and attract students from around the world. Both cities feature major industries providing jobs in everything from technology startups to financial services to aerospace, biotech, tourism, and more. With a higher population and wider array of services and amenities, the Greater Glasgow area is a popular destination for newcomers moving to Scotland.

So, which city is better?

Surely you can’t expect us to say one city is better than the other! As Glasgow and Edinburgh are so very different, they will also appeal to different people for different reasons. At Invisible Cities, we firmly believe that everyone has a unique story to tell. We don’t believe in labels or stereotypes, which is really what this debate between Glasgow and Edinburgh is about.

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What are the best touristy things to do in Manchester?

Written on May 14, 2021

What are the best touristy things to do in Manchester?

There are so many fun touristy things to do in Manchester! Of course, there are also tonnes of non-touristy spots in the city that we think you should check out, too. Whatever you’re looking for, we’re confident you’ll find it here in Manchester.

Things Tourists Should Know About Manchester

First things first, Manchester is a thriving city with a varied, fascinating history. You might know that Manchester has a long industrial past, but did you know that the women’s suffrage movement in the UK began here? And you might know that the city has two high-profile football teams, but did you know that the arts and music scene is just as internationally-recognized?

Fun Family Things to Do in Manchester

Head to MediaCityUK for a BBC Tour featuring your favourite shows and characters! Tours last around 1.5 hours and are never the same, since this is a working site. Shows like Match of the Day and Blue Peter are filmed here, alongside plenty of other BBC programming. Interesting for kids and adults alike, these tours offer a fun glimpse behind the scenes.

Manchester is a Football City!

Manchester is a city obsessed with football! Whilst you’re here, be sure to pop by the National Football Museum, which is free to enter.

And Manchester Also Loves Music

If you’re into music and music history, you have to visit Manchester! Bands like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Joy Division, Elbow, The Smiths, and Oasis all come from Manchester.

Museums to Visit in Manchester

Visit the free People's History Museum to celebrate democracy and the power of the people to make progressive change. Their current exhibit focuses on migration and the importance of a multicultural society. We love this museum and everything it stands for, so please consider making a donation even though entry is free!

Visit the free Salford Museum and Art Gallery, which was the UK’s first free public library, opened in January 1850. In November 1850, the museum and art gallery opened. With several permanent and regular rotating exhibitions, there’s always something new to enjoy...including a recreated Victorian-era street!

Get to Know the Real Manchester as a Tourist

Manchester is so much more than a touristy city. This is a living, breathing, evolving urban area filled with the stories of residents past and present. Of course, we would love it if you’d join one of our walking tours of Manchester to really get to know the city from a different perspective. But you should also check out these parts of Manchester to get better acquainted with its character.

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500 Miles. 5 Cities. Celebrating 5 Years of Invisible Cities.

Written on March 18, 2021

Join us for a virtual challenge to celebrate 5 years of Invisible Cities!

We are calling all our supporters, friends, customers and partners to take part in a virtual miles-covering challenge, to help us celebrate 5 years of Invisible Cities while raising vital funds for our social enterprise.

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Join Invisible (Edinburgh) on a Virtual LIVE Tour!

Written on January 31, 2021

Last year, with the various restrictions our cities were facing, we started developing and offering our unique virtual experiences. Always designed by our guides, you are now able to discover Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester through pre recorded content - audio, photo and video.

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