Glasgow-Bound – The 11 Places You Need to Visit in Scotland’s Second City
Glasgow embodies Scotland’s rich history in every step. It’s a hot tourist spot not just for history buffs, but also for architecture enthusiasts and even plant lovers.
Glasgow may be Scotland’s second city, but it might be the most important tourist attraction in the country. It’s rich in history, art exhibits, and gorgeous buildings and views.
Everything is on display in such a way that the famously terrible Scottish weather shouldn’t ruin your trip. Check out some of the most popular tourist attractions in Glasgow.
1. Visit the Glasgow Cathedral
There’s a good reason why any Glasgow sightseeing list starts with the 12th century Glasgow Cathedral. It’s the city’s most important landmark and historic site.
What makes it eye-catching is its clear lines and having no unnecessary ornamentation. Yet, it’s gorgeous and complex, truly an architectural gem.
You can go on a guided tour or visit it on your own. Either way is great. as it’s also free of charge. What makes your visit even better is that it’s right next to another top Glasgow attraction.
2. Tour the Necropolis
If you’re a fan of Victorian gothic scenery, the Glasgow Necropolis is a must-see. This garden cemetery spans some 37 acres featuring gorgeous memorial stones and buildings. Not only that, but it also features various sculptures by famous local artists.
Walking tours are available here, too. And the view goes beyond Celtic motifs, as there are paths with open views of the city and the cathedral.
3. Visit the Museum of Religious Life and Art
The St. Mungo Museum is another top Glasgow destination. It’s near Glasgow Cathedral so it’s easy to add to your itinerary. Along with exhibits of world religions and various related practices, there are other exciting things for you to see here.
The museum displays Hindu statues and Egyptian mummies, among others, and also has an outdoor Buddhist garden. Commissioned in 1989, it’s a rather new building. Yet, it’s also close to the oldest house in Glasgow, the Provand’s Lordship. As such, it also offers a nice comparison of architectural styles.
4. Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, open since 1901, is another one of the top tourist attractions in the city. It’s even as popular, if not more so than the cathedral.
This museum looks amazing from the outside and hosts many impressive galleries on the inside. The majority of the paintings are French impressionism, but there are plenty of other unique art displays as well.
It’s no wonder art lovers flock to Glasgow each year.
5. Tour the Science Centre
Once you’re done with taking in the history in the old part of town, a trip to the Glasgow Science Centre provides a great contrast. It’s located on the waterfront area and boasts a hull-style construction.
The museum offers many exhibits of technology, human health, and even laboratory stations. It’s a hands-on experience that not many other museums offer, making it great for educational purposes and recreation.
Furthermore, you can also take a trip to the nearby planetarium. The Glasgow Tower, a freely-rotating tower, is also found nearby. However, it’s not open as often as other attractions.
6. Visit the Glasgow Botanic Gardens
If you get tired of architecture and museums, the botanic garden should offer a nice change of pace. The garden is home to the Kibble Palace, which is a massive glasshouse. It’s also among the biggest in the UK and it houses many rare orchids, as well as other exotic African, South American, and Eastern plants.
The garden has outdoor trails and also many greenhouses with unique environments. You can also see Victorian sculptures surrounded by plants here, which make for amazing sights. And if you’re tired of walking, you could always relax and take it all in while on the tearoom’s patio.
7. Check Out the Winter Garden Conservatory
The conservatory is part of the Glasgow Green. This park is a historic spot, as it’s one of the oldest parks in the city. It’s also very close to the city center and makes for a nice stroll.
You can see many subtropical and tropical plants in the conservatory. Not only that, but the park also features some historical exhibits from the 18th to the 20th century.
8. Take a Loud Ride
If there ever was a time when you could learn more about the bagpipe, this is it. Glasgow is home to the National Piping Centre and houses the Museum of Piping. It also hosts lessons and courses, as well as the venue for the World Pipe Ban Championship in August.
You can learn the history of the instrument, listen to different samples, and look at very old memorabilia. And if you’re a performer, it’s a great place to buy modern supplies.
9. Take a Tiny Tour of the Lighthouse
This is not your traditional lighthouse attraction. While it offers two great panoramic views of the city, it also houses art and design exhibitions all year round. And there is even a historic exhibit at the Mack Centre.
The tower is easy to access for everyone, as you can take either the helical staircase or the lift to reach the top.
10. Get Your Dose of Soccer
Soccer, the king of sports in Scotland, is well represented. The National Stadium down at Hampden features tours of the stands and, on some days, you can step onto the pitch.
This stadium also has a museum where you can check out a massive memorabilia exhibit. Part of their collection includes the old Scottish Cup. It’s known as the oldest surviving trophy of the sport in the world.
11. Watch a Movie at the Glasgow Film Theatre
The Glasgow Film Theatre is Scotland’s first true arthouse cinema. The city’s last movie theater of its kind, it’s worth a trip and a movie ticket if you like foreign-language flicks and documentaries.
But it’s also worth paying a visit just for the experience. That’s because the old retro interior and exterior architecture are well-preserved and truly one-of-a-kind.
12. Sample Some Whiskey
You can’t end a trip to Glasgow without sampling some fine whiskey.
While the Clydeside Distillery is one of the newest in the city, it’s also a facility that you can tour. Here, you’ll see how whiskey and artisan chocolate go from factory to shelves.
Best of all, you can sample a bit of both to end the tour on a high note.
Don’t Forget Your Umbrella
Scotland sees plenty of rain, so definitely start your tour with an umbrella. That said, many of the tourist hotspots are indoors so bad weather shouldn’t ruin your trip.
The city has many historic sites and architectural gems for you to see, as well as premium accommodations at the best Glasgow hotels.