This an article regarding 13 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Glasgow. Glasgow which is located on the River Clyde, has changed from an industrial city to Scotland’s cultural center, thanks to its superb museums, art galleries, performance venues, and festivals.
Given its 70 parks and open spaces, the Gaelic word means “lovely green place.” Glasgow, recognized as Scotland’s music capital, offers a diverse range of musical experiences, including the Theatre Royal which calls as the home of the Scottish Opera and the Concert Hall (home of the Royal Scottish Orchestra).
The Celtic Connections Music Festival and the Gourock Highland Games are important cultural events, and the town is also a popular sports town, with two major professional football (soccer) clubs and a rugby club.
One of Glasgow’s most popular tourist attractions is its connection to Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the founder of the Glasgow School of Art and a key figure in the Arts & Crafts Movement.
His and his partners’ work can be found in buildings, museums, and even a cemetery. Keep our list of the top-rated attractions in Glasgow Scotland handy if you want to learn more about these and other great things to do.
Also see: Where Should I Stay in Glasgow?
1. The Cathedral of Glasgow
The 12th-century Glasgow Cathedral, also known as St. Mungo Cathedral or the High Kirk of Glasgow, is the city’s most important historic structure. It appears to have come straight out of a giant mold, both inside and out: the lines are clean, and there is no unnecessary decoration.
The Blacader Aisle, named after Glasgow’s first bishop, extends from the south transept. The crypt, however, is the most impressive area in the cathedral, as it includes the burial of St. Mungo, the bishopric’s founder, who was buried here in AD 603. Despite the fact that a visit to the cathedral is one of the best free things to do in Glasgow, donations are always appreciated. free guided tours are always offered there.
The St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art is right next door, and it examines the various faiths, their rites, and how their teachings deal with life and death. Egyptian mummies, Hindu statues, and a Zen Buddhist garden in the courtyard are among the exhibits.
Castle Street in Glasgow is the location.
Official site: http://www.glasgowcathedral.org.uk
2. Glasgow School of Art
For enthusiasts of excellent architecture, Mackintosh’s Art Academy is a must-see. This Art Nouveau structure, completed in 1909, cemented Charles Mackintosh’s reputation as a master of the exterior–the grand west facade is dominated by three 65-foot-high oriel windows, and the smaller windows on the east front are reminiscent of Scottish castles–but also as a superb interior designer.
In Glasgow School of Arts, the Principal’s Room, one of Mackintosh’s original “White Rooms,” the Mackintosh Room, where the Academy of Art meets, and the distinctive Library and Gallery are among the most notable rooms. Mackintosh’s work and influence are explored in student-led tours, which feature exhibitions of his furniture and other works.
Address: 167 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, Scotland
Official site : http://www.gsa.ac.uk
3. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Sauchiehall Street, a lively entertainment and shopping hotspot that is now nearly totally pedestrianized, is more than 1.5 miles long and has the city’s largest selection of shops. In the city’s West End, Sauchiehall Street ends with Argyle Street, a trendy district with cafés, restaurants, high-end stores, fancy hotels, and, perhaps most importantly, the beautiful Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
The museum, which first opened its doors in 1901, houses a great collection of British and continental paintings, including Van Gogh’s picture of Glaswegian art patron Alexander Reid and Salvador Dali’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross.
The Glasgow School of Art and its most well-known figure, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, are celebrated in a set of galleries that include fully furnished rooms, pottery, metalwork, furniture, and other works of art. Bronze Age tools and jewelry have been discovered in Scotland, including at Arran, Kintyre, and Glenluce.
Weapons and armor from the 15th and 16th centuries, such as helmets, crossbows, and swords, as well as Flemish tapestries, Glasgow-made jewelry, silverware, glassware, and pottery from various periods, are among the other exhibits of importance.
Address: Argyle Street, Glasgow
Official Website: http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/kelvingrove/Pages/default.aspx
4.George Square and the Merchant District
Another attractive location in Glasgow is George Square and the Merchant District. The flower-bedecked George Square, in the heart of Glasgow’s historic Victorian city center, is home to 12 sculptures of renowned personalities associated with the city, including Robbie Burns, Walter Scott, and Queen Victoria. The Town Hall, with its 230-foot tower constructed in 1890, dominates the east end of the plaza, while the Merchants’ House is the home of Britain’s oldest Chamber of Commerce, established in 1605.
A complex of mid-nineteenth-century warehouses, along with The Italian Centre, are part of the city’s popular Merchant City quarter, which offers unique cafés, restaurants, and designer boutiques south of George Square. The area is especially appealing in the winter, when an outstanding display of Christmas lights dazzles families and visitors who are in town for some Glasgow sightseeing.
5. A Visit to the Necropolis
The Necropolis, a Victorian Gothic garden cemetery that occupies 37 acres and has been termed a “city of the dead,” is located next to Glasgow Cathedral. Not only are there 3,500 stunning memorial stones, but there are also sculptures and buildings constructed by Glasgow artists, including Charles Rennie Macintosh.
In this beautiful setting of tree-shaded pathways with views of the cathedral and city, intricately carved Celtic crosses blend with weeping angels. There are a number of educational walking tours available, all of which are highly recommended.
Address: Castle Street, Glasgow
Official website: http://www.glasgownecropolis.org/
6. Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery (The university of Glasgow)
The University of Glasgow, founded in 1451, is Scotland’s second-oldest institution of higher learning. Over the ages, the university has employed many notable professors, including James Watt, Adam Smith, and Joseph Lister, the “father of antiseptic surgery.” The key discoveries made by these and other scientists who taught here are detailed in a permanent exhibition at the Visitor Centre on University Avenue.
William Hunter, an 18th-century Glaswegian doctor who gave his collection of anatomical parts, coins, and objects d’art to the Hunterian Museum, was another prominent scientist with ties to the university.
The museum now houses collections from ethnography, zoology, geology, and archaeology, as well as a number of Roman relics. Rubens, Rembrandt, and Reynolds are among the artists whose work is on display.
The reassembled primary rooms from architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his artist-wife, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh’s Glasgow residence are also on display at the gallery.
Address: University Avenue, Glasgow
Official website: http://www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian/
7. Riverside Museum and Tall Ship
Many of the exhibits from the city’s former Transport Museum are included in Glasgow’s ultra-modern, award-winning Riverside Museum, including model ships, locomotives, trams, vintage cars, and horse-drawn carriages. The vast majority were constructed in Glasgow.
The exhibits now include a fantastic reconstruction of a Glasgow street from 1938, as well as exhibits on immigration and disasters, like the sinking of the Lusitania. The Glenlee, a Glasgow-built three-masted barque that has been lovingly restored by the Clyde Maritime Trust, is docked immediately outside the Clyde Maritime Trust’s Tall Ship at Riverside. Interesting guided tours, occasionally with costumed guides, are available.
The Glasgow Museums Resource Centre is well worth a visit for those interested in museums and antiquities. When many of the city’s museums’ collections are not on exhibit, they are stored in this unique facility. It’s a little like going to Costco, but there’s nothing for sale. It’s a big location, with a lot of storage chambers stacked high with anything from artworks and sculptures to armor and weaponry; in fact, there are over 1.5 million objects here, so there’s a good chance you’ll find something interesting.
There are guided tours available, as well as informative lectures and workshops, including programs for younger guests.
8. Science Centre – Glasgow
The Glasgow Science Centre is a must-see attraction for families looking for a fun way to spend time together. This popular attraction is housed in a sufficiently spectacular titanium-clad building built like a ship’s hull and offers no end of hands-on fun and discovery and is located near the Riverside Museum.
Human health, technology, and general scientific principles are among the exhibits, which also contain a range of laboratory-style stations where children can try a few practical experiments based on their newly gained knowledge.
The planetarium, an Imax cinema, and a scientific theater, where regular lectures and presentations are given, are also worth visiting. Inquire for admittance to the Glasgow Tower, which is rarely open. It is claimed to be the world’s tallest freely rotating tower, and it provides excellent views of the surrounding area.
Address: 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow
Official website: https://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/
9. Pollok House and Pollok Country Park
The 355-acre grounds of Pollok House are located about four miles southwest of Glasgow’s city center. This Edwardian mansion was erected in 1752 by William Adam and his sons for the Maxwell family.
From the great entrance hall to the spacious servants’ quarters, the majority of the expansive edifice is now open for visitors to explore. Sir William Stirling Maxwell’s collection of Spanish paintings by El Greco, Goya, Murillo, and Velázquez, as well as numerous important pieces by William Blake, are on exhibit. There are both guided and self-directed tours available.
The unusual “Escape the Past” game, a fully interactive exhibit that challenges players to solve puzzles and return to the present day, is a must-try for the daring. The estate’s grounds include the Pollok Country Park, where you may view the perfectly maintained gardens or walk some of the estate’s trails that run through woodlands and to the river’s edge, following in the footsteps of characters from the hit TV program Outlander. The opportunity to eat a meal or snack in the Edwardian Kitchen café is a highlight of any visit.
Address: 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow
Official website: http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Pollok-House/
10. Kibble Palace and Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Kibble Palace, one of Britain’s largest glasshouses, was built in 1873 and houses a collection of rare orchids, Australian and New Zealand tree ferns, and plants from Africa, the Americas, and the Far East. It’s in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, where you can see additional greenhouses and amaze at the Victorian statues that mark the grounds. Visit the gardens’ tearoom, which has a wonderful patio, for a special treat.
Bellahouston Park, which hosted the 1938 Empire Exhibition, which drew over 13 million visitors and is still known for its vibrant flowerbeds, is another lovely park to explore. The House for an Art Lover, designed by Charles Mackintosh and erected in 1996, is the main attraction here. This charming edifice organizes art exhibits and other events on a regular basis, while the park conducts music concerts on a regular basis.
Address: 730 Great Western Road, Glasgow
11. The people’s place and Glasgow’s Green
Glasgow Green is the city’s oldest park, having been established in 1662. It is a short walk from the city center. The People’s Palace, a museum established in 1898 that depicts the past of Glasgow from 1750 to the twentieth century, is one of the park’s primary attractions. A recreation of a 1930s “Single End” dwelling, a look at “the steamie” bathhouses, and a display dedicated to recalling the Glasgow Barrowlands Ballroom’s dance hall are among the exhibits.
A remarkable variety of tropical and subtropical plants may be seen in the Winter Garden, a vast conservatory towards the back of the palace. Visit the beautiful Doulton Fountain, which is the world’s largest terracotta fountain. It was created to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and is 46 feet tall and 70 feet wide, with figures from all around the Commonwealth. Nelson’s Monument, an amazing column built in 1806 to commemorate Horatio Nelson’s achievements, is another attraction.
Address: Glasgow Green, Glasgow
12. The National Piping Centre and the Bagpipe Museum
The National Piping Centre is a fantastic resource for everyone interested in bagpipes and drumming, whether they are performers or fans. There are lessons and courses available, as well as intensive bagpipe schools hosted in a variety of venues across the world. The National Piping Centre also houses the excellent Museum of Piping, which houses Robbie Burns’ piping artifacts as well as the world’s oldest surviving piper chanter, the 17th-century Iain Dall MacKay chanter.
The public also can visit a well-stocked shop filled with piping-related materials, music, and mementoes (the center also has its own hotel and restaurant). Every August, Glasgow hosts the World Pipe Band Championship, the world’s largest such event, which takes place on Glasgow Green.
Address: 30-34 McPhater Street, Glasgow
Official website: http://www.thepipingcentre.co.uk/
13. Gallery of Modern Art ( & other Galleries to visit)
Glasgow is a visual feast for art enthusiasts. This regenerated city, in addition to facilities like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, offers more galleries and related activities than can be explored in a day or two, so plan on staying longer to get a full Glaswegian art fix.
The outstanding Gallery of Modern Art is at the top of our list of other must-see art venues. The “GOMA,” as it is known locally, is a Romanesque structure that hosts a rotating roster of exhibits by both local and international artists, as well as seminars and talks. Keep an eye out for the horse statue outside the facility–it’ll almost certainly have a cone on its rider’s head, a traditional Glaswegian gesture expressing an often irreverent attitude toward local government, which has long since given up trying to remove it.
Another gallery that should visit on your Glasgow art itinerary is the Burrell Collection. This magnificent collection, located in Pollok Country Park (see #9 (Pollok House and Pollok Country Park) above), includes notable medieval artworks, stained glass, sculptures, and tapestries dating back over 500 years. (Editor’s note: This institution is now closed for refurbishment and will reopen in 2021.)
The Lighthouse, which houses Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, and Holmwood House, which is known for its extraordinary design aesthetics, are well worth seeing. The Centre for Contemporary Arts is also worth a visit for anyone interested in other art genres such as music, film, literature, and theater.
Address: Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow
Official website: https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/venues/gallery-of-modern-art-goma
Where to Stay for Sightseeing in Glasgow
It’s impossible to stay close to all of Glasgow’s main attractions because they’re so spread. However, it’s a beautiful city to roam around in, and many sights are within walking distance of the cluster of shops and restaurants along Sauchiehall Street’s pedestrianized blocks. Fortunately, there are a lot of these highly rated hotels in that region of Glasgow. Here are some of our personal favorites:
- Luxury Hotels: The Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel, with its award-winning spa and restaurant, is five minutes from Sauchiehall and McIntosh’s legendary Willow Tea Rooms, and is smartly done in an updated Art Deco mode with an homage to its place in car racing history. Hotel Indigo Glasgow is close to the River Clyde and the major rail station, as well as restaurants and shops. The Carlton George Hotel includes a rooftop restaurant and is located near Queen Street Station and George Square.
- Mid-Range Hotels: The Premier Inn Glasgow City Centre Buchanan Galleries Hotel, located in the Buchanan Galleries shopping complex and just a few steps from Sauchiehall Street, with wonderful city views from higher floor rooms. CitizenM Glasgow, in the same neighborhood, features compact yet attractively appointed modern rooms with mood lighting. The Apex City of Glasgow Hotel is a block from Sauchiehall Street and a short walk from George Square and offers city views and luxurious amenities.
- Budget Hotels: The Z Hotel Glasgow, located just off George Square and a few steps from Queen Street Station, provides guests with a free cheese buffet in the evening. The Argyll Hotel is located at the west end of Sauchiehall Street, about a 15-minute walk from the commercial centre, in a classy neighborhood across from Kelvingrove Museum and close to the university and Glasgow Botanic Gardens. The Premier Inn Glasgow Pacific Quay Hotel offers free parking and is located against the River Clyde, directly across from the exhibition center and a one-minute walk from the Glasgow Science Centre.
Near Glasgow, Few More Must-See Attractions
On day trips from Glasgow, you can visit some of Scotland’s most popular destinations. Loch Lomond, one of Scotland’s most famous sights, is only a short train ride from the city. You can travel from Balloch to Oban, the gateway to the Isle of Skye and the Hebrides, on one of Europe’s most stunning train rides. Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire are picturesque counties southwest of Glasgow, where you may follow a trail of attractions linked to poet Robbie Burns. The exquisite city of Edinburgh, topped by the majestic Edinburgh Castle, is a train ride away to the east.