Just over an hour west of Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, is the city of Glasgow. Once a small fishing village, Glasgow grew into one of the great seaports during the industrial revolution, its influence rippling to every corner of the globe.
A city forged upon the wealth of seafaring trade, it is graced with architectural masterpieces, green estates, and imposing modern-day marvels. However, the people of Glasgow remain fiercely proud of their working-class roots and celebrate their industrial heritage alongside the elegance and extravagance that followed.
Explore this city’s unique variation of style and character at George Square, the center of it all. Adorned with statues and plaques of the city’s most important historical figures, it stands as a venerated time-capsule of the city’s rich past.
The Gallery of Modern Art
The Gallery of Modern Art is a five-minute walk southwest from here. The neoclassical building was once the townhouse of an affluent tobacco lord.
Collections of Gallery of Modern Art
Though timeworn on the outside, inside the gallery is an explosion of modern creativity.
The Duke of Wellington
Guarding the entrance to the gallery is the Duke of Wellington atop his trusty steed. The irreverent Scots don’t take authority – or themselves – too seriously, and they have a tradition of accessorizing the duke at every opportunity.
There’s no better way to delve into the culture of this fun-loving city, than by joining the parade on Buchanan Street. Glasgow’s “Style Mile” is home to some of the city’s finest shopping, architecture and a few of its quirkier additions.
Looming over the city’s north-east are the brooding spires of Glasgow Cathedral. This 12th-century work-of-art has been the set for period television dramas, and rightly so! To step beneath its medieval arches takes you on an 800-year journey back in time.
On the hill behind the cathedral lies Glasgow Necropolis, a timeworn Victorian cemetery. Some 50,000 souls have been laid to rest here, and with a view this good of the city, you’re sure to find a little peace too.
Just a 20-minute drive from the city center is Bothwell Castle, a not-so-peaceful remnant of the past. Originally built in the 13th century, the castle was the subject of a gruesome tug-of-war with England for most of its history and played a crucial role in Scotland’s Wars of Independence.
While kings and clans clashed for hundreds of years at Bothwell, today’s battles are fiercely fought at Hampden Park, KTHE national soccer stadium (football to the Scots).
This venue frequently hosts rousing matches, so try to catch a game while you’re here.
Home to over 90 parks and gardens, Glasgow aptly translates to ‘dear green place’ in Gaelic. Despite the often-inclement weather, these green spaces are always full of cheery Scots.
Admire the city views at Queen’s Park and find yourself transported to a tropical oasis when you enter the display house and nursery.
The SSE Hydro
Overlooking the banks of the River Clyde are the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre and the SSE Hydro, the city’s most popular performance venues.
These buildings are a striking showcase of the city’s modern style and draw some of the world’s brightest international superstars each year.
The Titan at Clydebank
Further west is the Titan at Clydebank. This 150-foot crane was completed in 1907 and would once hoist engines and boilers into the bellies of vast trading ships. Though not as easy on the eye as some of Glasgow’s other landmarks, the Titan is a powerful symbol of the city’s historic industrial might.
But it’s not all hard graft here in Glasgow. Take a trip out to the West End, whose streets are lined with cafés, bars, and restaurants. While some are firmly traditional, others offer something just a little more contemporary.
Grab a coffee, then walk to the nearby Botanic Gardens to enjoy another of the city’s impeccably manicured green spaces.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
The West End area is a place of culture, creativity, and learning, and its modern style balances perfectly with its historic influences.
An attraction which exemplifies this balance is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The building houses an immense natural history exhibit, one of the finest collections of arms and armor in the world, and countless priceless works from illustrious artists.
The University of Glasgow
The West End is also the birthplace of higher education in Glasgow. Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is one of the oldest, and most distinguished, learning institutions in the world.
Glasgow is a city which ties together elements from all walks of life. This is a city built upon the toil and sacrifice of its forefathers and the rewards of their innovation and daring.
From stately homes to stark infrastructure, from castles to modern concert venues, the city’s seamless marriage of the earthy and the elaborate make it so perfectly Scottish and so very… well… Glasgow.