A land of mountains, heather and rugged men – that’s all Scotland. Today we’ll take a virtual walk through one of the largest cities in the country, its industrial capital – Glasgow. The city is a center of art, there are about 30 museums and art galleries, as well as parks, architectural monuments and ancient buildings.
Where is Glasgow?
If you look at a map of Scotland, you can see that the city of Glasgow lies in the west of the country, in the northern part of Britain, on the River Clyde. It is the center of the county of the same name and covers an area of 175.5 square kilometers. The altitude varies from 70 m to 200 m above sea level.
What is remarkable about the town?
Before coming here on a tour, tourists often wonder what kind of visa is needed in Glasgow. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, so you need a UK entry permit to get here. The city is considered the engine of the economy, the GDP here is $28,000 per capita.
In Glasgow there are 3 universities, about 200 schools and a stadium where the strongest soccer clubs of Scotland train – “Rangers” and “Celtic”. The schools here teach in several languages, including Gaelic. In 1900 the settlement was recognized as a “City of European Culture.
There are 621020 citizens living here, and in the agglomeration their number is 1817800 people. According to these figures, the city ranks third in the United Kingdom. Glasgow’s mix of English and Scottish is mostly Christian, but atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, and atheists are also represented.
The city was founded in the 6th century, although archaeological evidence suggests that people lived here as early as the Neolithic period. In the Middle Ages, Glasgow was an important educational and religious center in Scotland. In the 8th century the Industrial Revolution took place here, and a century later it was the 2nd largest economy in the Empire.
In 1866 the Scottish Lord Lyon granted the city of Glasgow its coat of arms: the symbols depicted on it are related to the life of St. Mungo, and his photo can be seen on various souvenirs. From 1920 to 1970, the crisis lasted, during which the standard of living of the population decreased. By the way, the local authorities successfully coped with the difficulties and implemented a number of programs aimed at economic recovery.
Climate in Glasgow
The city has a moderately warm oceanic climate, which is characterized by a large amount of precipitation, their average rate is 1171 mm per year. Rainfall is most common in October, at 128 mm, while April is considered the driest month, at 65 mm. Summers are cold and damp here, and winters are mild and overcast.
The average annual temperature in Glasgow is +9°C. July is the warmest month of the year, when the mercury might be over +16°C, while in February it reaches its lowest point at 0°C.
What to see in Glasgow?
Unlike other Scottish cities, the attractions of Glasgow are not limited to the center, but are also distributed in the suburbs, you can see them in 1 day during the tour. Although the distance greatly increases the time to see them, but these places are so interesting that the game is worth the candle. In Glasgow you can visit many museums, art school, botanical garden, planetarium, Lighthouse House, Gallery of Modern Art, and churches, which are known not only in Scotland, but also outside of it. You can also visit the following places:
- Kelvingrove Museum – Housed in a palace in the city of Glasgow, the Kelvingrove Museum has such a rich collection of historical and artistic exhibits that it would take more than a week to see them. The building was built in the early twentieth century from the traditional red sandstone. In the halls of the gallery you can see the works of the greatest masters: Picasso and Dali, Titian and Botticelli, Rubens and Rembrandt. Interactive exhibitions, collections of armor and weapons, and skeletons of ancient animals await guests.
- Pollock House – is the ancestral home of the Scottish Maxwell clan.
- Barell Museum – its opening took place 3 decades ago, and today it pleases art lovers with a rich collection of works of art by French masters. Under the roof of the museum canvases by Degas and Cézanne, Delacroix and Sisley, Géricault and Manet.
- Glasgow Green is the most remarkable of the parks, whose history dates back to the 15th century. Its territory becomes an arena for historic battles, or a competition ground for the best Scottish pipers.
- St. Andrew’s Cathedral is a unique cathedral in Glasgow built in Gothic style in 1814. It is decorated with stained glass windows, arches, columns, mosaics, and vaults. Today the cloister is the residence of the Catholic archbishop.
- St. Mary’s Cathedral is in Glasgow’s West End. The church belongs to the Scottish Episcopal Church and was built in 1893. In the height of the construction it reaches 63 m and it attracts tourists with its unique organ.
- Crookston Castle – it is located on the outskirts of Glasgow and was founded in 1180 by the Norman knight named Robert de Kroc. The structure got its appearance in 1400.
- The City Tower – preserved in Glasgow since the Middle Ages and has a rich history. In former times it housed the office of the mayor’s office and the prison, and public executions were held nearby.
- The Science Museum is the most interesting institution in Glasgow. It was erected in the form of a spaceship as part of several educational programs. It consists of 3 parts and an IMAX cinema.
- Riverside Transport Museum – it was opened in Glasgow to introduce visitors to the history of the industry. The institution features more than 3,000 exhibits, including retro cars, yachts and ships.
Where to stay?
The city has a huge number of hotels, hostels, and hostels that offer guests a variety of services. Visitors can get dry cleaning, laundry services, parking, and bicycle rentals. In Glasgow, you can stay at Heritage Hotel, Lorne Hotel, and McLays Guest House.
In the city there are expensive restaurants and cheap cafes which offer not only national dishes, but also European, Asian and American cuisine. The best pubs, cafes and bars in Glasgow are considered:
- Ranjit’s Kitchen, an institution with Asian cuisine;
- BrewDog Glasgow – British pub,
- Rawlings – Love to Eat – Scottish restaurant.
What to bring from Glasgow?
The city offers its visitors a large number of shopping centers, boutiques and stores, so shopping in Glasgow is considered one of the best in Scotland. From here one takes perfume, clothes, cheeses, sweets and sheep souvenirs.
The best way to get around the city is by subway and bus, but Glasgow also has a port and international airport, and you can get here from Edinburgh by train or car on the M8, M9, and M80.
10 things to do in Glasgow
A brief history. The small port on the River Clyde grew from the tobacco, cotton and sugar trade with the outlying colonies of the British Empire, but its rise was due to coal mining and engineering. But like many industrial cities, Glasgow experienced a decline after its heyday. The Great Depression and the collapse of the empire left the city shrunk not only in population but also in importance on the British scene.
The city’s rise began only in the 1980s. The city authorities were active not only in developing the economy and improving the standard of living, but also in increasing the cultural level. The programs were successful and by the beginning of XXI century Glasgow was again a prosperous city and one of the economic, cultural and scientific centers not only of Scotland, but also of Great Britain.
Glasgow should be noted on your itinerary for sure – it is a very diverse city that will surprise everyone. Unlike pretentious Edinburgh Glasgow is simpler, but quieter and more soulful.
Many guides write that you can see Glasgow in one day, but trust me – you won’t see the most interesting things. And besides, you still need to get used to the local accent. I’ve been living here for a month now and I’m still finding new places and experiences. So, 10 things to do in Glasgow.
1. appreciate the architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The Scottish Art Nouveau ancestor built more than a dozen buildings for Glasgow, which you can appreciate from the outside as well as the inside. The most famous of these are the Lighthouse House and the Glasgow School of Art, which can be accessed either by climbing the observation deck in the former case, or by joining a tour led by students themselves in the latter. Fans of a more intimate enjoyment of architectural forms should stop by the Willow Tea Rooms, which successfully combines an artful reconstruction of a late 19th-century tea parlor with a taste of favorite treats like gingerbread and meringues.
For special connoisseurs of Mackintosh architecture, you can buy a special ticket with the right to visit all “Scottish Gaudi” buildings and free transport fare.
2. dive into Glasgow’s shopping scene.
Merchant city, or Merchant City, lying to the east of the center has been a place of trade and warehouses since the 18th century. Now it’s a wide shopping street, starting at Glasgow Central Station and stretching to Mercat-Cross, an octagonal platform topped by a unicorn. Here in olden days people not only haggled but also executed the guilty. On the way to Mercat-Cross, not only is the variety of stores worth exploring, but also the Merchant Square restaurant center, where everyone can find a place to their liking – from haute cuisine restaurants to pubs, however, also upscale.
At weekends, the largest flea market in the city, Barras, opens just over the border. You can buy everything from retro postcards to kilts to Scottish meat pie to fresh fish at it.
3. Visit the cathedral where the remains of St. Mungo’s are preserved.
St. Mungo’s Cathedral is located just north of the market town and is the center of an area I have called “Ancient Glasgow” to myself. The 13th-century Cathedral, one of the few survivors of the Reformation, has stunning towers and stained-glass windows. Providence Manor, the oldest house in the city, formerly part of the bishop’s hospital. A brilliant imitation of the medieval home of the St. Mungo’s Museum of Religion, housing many artifacts from their Livingstone expeditions, whose monument is right there – in the square in front of the cathedral. Crowning all this is the Necropolis, which has become the burial place of the city’s distinguished citizens. The tombstones were made by Mackintosh and Alexander Thompson, and in the center of the cemetery is a statue of the famous reformer John Knox, while the hill offers a beautiful view of the city. For some, it will be interesting to find one with John Watson’s name on it among the slabs.
4. Be transported to the rainforest.
To the east of the city, at the very beginning of the working-class district, you can visit the People’s Palace, a museum of the history of the proletariat, which arouses great interest with its rich and detailed exposition that tells about the life and work of ordinary citizens. This is where the protests and demonstrations of workers often began in the 19th century. Now people come here for a cup of coffee in the winter garden of the museum. Small but interesting collection of exotic plants for a moment takes you from windy Glasgow to one of the corners of the former empire.
5. Compare art collections.
There are three art museums in Glasgow-the Kelvingrove Gallery in the West End, the Contemporary Art Gallery near George Square, and the Burrell Collection in the south of the city. Diverse but together they make Glasgow one of Britain’s centers of cultural life.
Kelvingrove is worth a trip to see familiar names – there’s Botticelli, Rembrandt, Dali, Mackintosh, and a stuffed elephant named Sir Roger and a Spitfire fighter.
In the contemporary art gallery, appreciate the latest Scottish and international artists – the halls are mostly temporary exhibitions, so if you want to see something specific, it’s worth finding out about the exhibitions in advance. It’s also worth appreciating the Glaswegians’ eternal joke – the orange road cone worn on the Duke of Wellington’s head.
To appreciate the city’s most illustrious collection, it’s worth heading south – the Burrell Collection has art from ancient Egypt to the French Impressionists.
6. Take a stroll along the River Clyde waterfront.
It’s best to start from the People’s Palace and head west. Appreciate how the city changes with the changing neighborhoods, compare bridges – old and modern, walk under bridges with surprisingly low arches, visit the huge exhibition center, and finally reach the Riverside Museum. One of Europe’s finest museums moved into a new building in 2011. A collection of the most diverse machinery and vehicles, as well as the opportunity to get on the most real ship. You should go there with at least half a day to spare. The museum will be enjoyed equally by adults and children – that’s why it is so nice that admission is free.
7. Experience Hogwarts.
Glasgow University is located in a complex of ancient buildings, and so the courtyards with arches and trees, spiral staircases leading to classrooms, and a stunning view of the city. For the romantics, the University has a chapel where weddings are held. For painting lovers, there’s an outdoor museum that houses the largest collection of paintings by James Whistler. For nature lovers, there’s a terrific park with tame squirrels. It’s better to come in the afternoon when there are fewer students, though there is also the beauty of their perpetual movement between the buildings.
8. Listen to music.
Glasgow’s Royal Theatre has concerts almost every day – if you’re lucky, you can catch famous performers – musicians and singers.
9. Go to a soccer match.
The city is famous for the eternal rivalry between the Glasgow Rangers and Celtic. It’s up to you to choose the team you like. You can watch it at the stadium or in one of the many pubs. The main thing is to be in the right company. Watching soccer matches is accompanied by countless pints of beer, the roar of the fans and the obligatory fight.
10. Get out of the city.
The beauty of Glasgow is that it’s a stone’s throw from some of the most scenic places in Scotland. Each is no more than an hour away by train.
From the delightful Glasgow Central station, you can drive to Firth of Clyde Bay, which is part of the Irish Sea. Distant islands are almost invisible from the shore, so you get the full impression of the sea. Delightful townhouses, clean beaches, and golf clubs can all be found on the coast. On the way out the window you can enjoy views of Scotland – endless hills, lakes and sheep.
A must-see is the south shore of Loch Lomond – the village of Balloch. In addition to scenic views, an English-style park, old castle and orangery, you can see England’s last paddle steamer, the Lake Maiden, launched in 1953. Modern vessels will take you around the lake, and if you like it more active, there are biking and hiking trails of varying difficulty levels around the lake.
In addition to these close suburbs, you can easily get from Glasgow to the islands – you can take a ferry or use the services of numerous companies offering boat trips.
Glasgow is also the key to the north of the island, where you can drive out through the picturesque Glencoe Valley and Fort William to Loch Ness Lake and further north.
P.S. A few places that didn’t make the top 10, but would be interesting to visit.