The 17 Best Glasgow Attractions

Glasgow, Scotland, is a first-rate destination that has carved out an enviable reputation for its architectural grandeur and a delightful maze of cultural digressions. Edgy and sophisticated, Scotland’s largest city is one of the most distinct destinations in Britain. Its greatest hits? Artfully designed historic buildings, world-class museums, and galleries, and a teeming nightlife.

Here’s a guide to the 17 attractions you must see when you visit Glasgow. Have a look!

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The 17 Best Glasgow Attractions

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Glasgow Botanic Gardens, in Scotland.

Glasgow Botanic Gardens is home to several glasshouses, which together harbor a collection of over 9000 plants from around the world. The garden’s crown jewel is unarguably the dreamy Kibble Palace, a 19th-century wrought iron-framed glasshouse often regarded as the city’s most prestigious iron and glass structure from the Victorian era.

Aside from its whimsical architecture, the Kibble Palace dazzles visitors with its alluring collection of marble statues as well as temperate plants from around the world, including the national collection of Australasian tree ferns that have grown there for the last 120 years.

Address: Botanic Gardens, Glasgow G12 0UE

Recommended Read: 11 Bucket-List Things to do in Edinburgh

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, in Glasgow, Scotland.

If you’re an art lover, don’t pass up the chance to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. This prestigious Glasgow museum is home to 22 themed art galleries filled with 8000 objects, including arms and armory, natural history treasures, and artworks.

Kelvingrove’s most famous relic is The Christ of Saint John of the Cross painting, made by surrealist painter Salvador Dalí in 1951.

After discovering fabulous masterpieces and century-old relics, be sure to explore Kelvingrove Park, where the museum is located. This Victorian Park has scenic riverside walks, and children’s play areas, making it a prime place for a lovely afternoon in Glasgow.

Address: Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG

Glasgow Science Centre

Glasgow Science Centre, in Scotland, at nightime.

Those visiting Glasgow with the little ones can’t pass up the chance to visit the Glasgow Science Centre. Located on the south bank of the River Clyde, this family-friendly museum treats visitors to around 300 hands-on interactive science exhibits.

Some of the award-winning facilities you’ll find in this science museum include an immersive space zone, a planetarium featuring a state-of-the-art full-dome digital projection system, and a bio wall: an entire living wall system containing a range of different plant species.

Address: 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow G51 1EA

Pollok Country Park and Pollok House

Pollok Country Park and Pollok House, in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Pollok House is a scenic country house beautifully set in the Pollok Country Park on the outskirts of Glasgow. Built-in 1752, this 18th-century Palladian mansion was inhabited for almost 700 by the affluent Maxwell family until it was donated to the City of Glasgow.

Now managed by the National Trust for Scotland, this gorgeous estate shelters an impressive collection of Spanish art, which belonged to Sir William Stirling Maxwell, a Glaswegian shipping magnate, and former resident.

Aside from a collection of Spanish paintings, which includes El Greco’s “Lady in a Fur Wrap”, the mansion also harbors antique furniture, silverware, fine art, and ceramics.

The house is surrounded by well-manicured gardens dotted with more than 1,000 cultivated varieties of rhododendron, and a heritage beech tree.

Address: Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G43 1AT

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral, in Scotland.

Erected between AD 1136 and 1484, the Glasgow Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland and the oldest building in Glasgow. This history-filled building was erected in honor of St Kentigern (or St Mungo), Glasgow’s patron saint, whose tomb lies at the center of the building’s Lower Church.

The Glasgow Cathedral remains an impressive example of Scottish gothic architecture both inside and out Some of its highlights are the carved stone bosses on the ceiling of the Blackadder Aisle, and the post-war collections of stained glass windows — the largest in Britain.

Address: Castle St, Glasgow G4 0QZ

Riverside Museum

Riverside Museum, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Set in a hyper-modern building on the banks of River Clyde, Riverside Museum is Glasgow’s award-winning transport museum. The institution is home to over 3,000 objects, with a focus on historic vehicles — from skateboards and vintage cars to prams and locomotives.

Glasgow’s Riverside Museum also harbors eye-popping interactive displays. Here, you’ll get the chance to walk down an old cobbled Glasgow street with shops dating from 1895 to the 1980s, and climb aboard a vintage train, to get a real feel for old public transport.

Sitting directly outside the Riverside Museum lies the Tall Ship, a three-masted, steel-hulled ship built at Port Glasgow and launched in 1896.

Address: 100 Pointhouse Rd, Partick, Glasgow G3 8RS

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow, in Scotland.

The University of Glasgow is one of Glasgow’s major attractions. Founded in 1451, this is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities.

Take a tour around this prestigious university and uncover a series of age-old buildings filled with history. Must-see facilities are the University Chapel, dedicated to the university students and staff

who died in the First World War; and the Lion and Unicorn Staircase was created in 1690 by stonemason William Riddel.

Another dazzling feature of the University of Glasgow is “The Undercroft”, aka the cloisters. These archways boast fluted columns and transversely ribbed vaults, and due to their magnificence, have been seen onscreen in many films and TV shows including Outlander.

Address: Glasgow G12 8QQ

The Lighthouse

The spiral staircase in The Lighthouse, in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Lighthouse is Scotland’s national center for design and architecture. Here, visitors are happily surprised to find an ever-changing program of creative exhibitions and events focused on the impact of design and architecture on our everyday lives

Designed by famous Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the museum’s building is an attraction itself. Once a warehouse at the back of the printing office of the Glasgow Herald, the museum features a prominent tower that offers visitors uninterrupted views over Glasgow’s cityscape.

Address: 1 Mitchell Ln, Glasgow G1 3NU

Royal Exchange Square

Royal Exchange Square, in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Royal Exchange Square is one of Glasgow’s main squares. Located in the heart of the city, this alluring square draws visitors thanks to its distinguished architectural features built throughout the centuries.

In the center of the square lies the former Royal Exchange, a stunning Graeco-Roman building designed by architect David Hamilton in 1829. The structure was used by merchants who exchanged contracts for cotton, linen, chemicals, coal, iron, steel, timber, and other commodities.

The square also has a bronze equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington, one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, created by the Italian-born French sculptor Baron Carlo Marochetti.

You’ll also find an array of vibrant cafes and restaurants in and around the cafe

Address: Royal Exchange Square

Hunterian Art Gallery & Museum

Hunterian Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.

Welcome to Scotland’s oldest public museum. Located at the heart of the University of Glasgow since 1807, the Hunterian Museum is actually a complex that covers the Hunterian Museum, the Hunterian Art Gallery, the Mackintosh House, the Zoology Museum, and the Anatomy Museum.

The founding collection of the museum came through the bequest of Dr. William Hunter (1718-1783) and comprises an array of precious items covering subjects like the history of medicine, history, zoology, and art.

Precious relics harbored by the museum include a 2500-year-old mummy, a 330 million-year-old shark, and a Cleopatra coin!

Address: University of Glasgow, 82 Hillhead St, Glasgow G12 8QQ

Buchanan Street

Buchanan Street, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Travelers in need of a shopping spree can head over to Buchanan Street, the main pedestrianized shopping area in Glasgow.

Running from south to north, from Argyle Street, this centrally located shopping street is dotted by a myriad of stores and high-end boutiques, making it one of the top retail destinations in the UK.

One of Buchanan Street’s top shopping spots is the Buchanan Galleries, a mall with over 80 stores — from retail giants to small independents.

Address: Buchanan Street, Glasgow

Glasgow Green

The Glasgow Green, in Scotland, Glasgow.

Established in the 15th century, Glasgow Green is Glasgow’s oldest park. This lush park is located within walking distance of central Glasgow, and provides the perfect backdrop for a range of activities like jogging, walking, and picnicking.

Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow

Inside of the Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow, Scotland.

GoMA is the main art gallery in Glasgow. Opened in 1996, the museum is set within an 18th-century neoclassical building in the Glasgow city center and houses an extensive modern and contemporary art collection.

Here, you’ll come across works by David Hockney, Sebastiao Salgado, and Andy Warhol as well as works by Scottish artists such as John Bellany and Ken Currie.

Address: 111 Queen St, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow G1 3AH

George Square

Glasgow City Chambers, Glasgow, Scotland.

George Square is the main civic square in Glasgow. Beautifully located in the Glasgow City Center, the square is dotted with whimsical statues dedicated to famous Scottish people like Robert Burns, James Watt, Sir Robert Peel, and Sir Walter Scott.

The eastern side of George Square is dominated by the City Chambers, which is the headquarters of the local government.

Overlooking George Square, this Victorian-style building is one of the city’s main cultural assets and a symbol of Glasgow’s historic wealth. The chambers were completed in 1888 and are the headquarters of the Glasgow City Council.

Go on a guided tour to discover the building in all of its splendor. You’ll certainly stand in awe with the chamber’s vast range of ornate decorations, such as sculptures and a mosaic of the city’s coat of arms.

Address: George Square, Glasgow

Trossachs National Park

Trossachs National Park, in Scotland.

Natural charms will also prove a major attraction during your stay in Glasgow. For a well-deserved nature escape, head over to the Trossachs National Park, which is located less than an hour’s drive from the city center.

Covering an area of 720 square miles, the park encompasses hills and mountains, lush valleys, mist-shrouded lochs, and shady woodland trails.

Tried and true attractions at Trossachs include viewing scenery and wildlife, walking, climbing, water sports, and other outdoor activities.

Glasgow Tower

Glasgow Tower, in Glasgow, Scotland.

At 417 ft high — the equivalent of over 30 double-decker buses — Glasgow Tower is the tallest freestanding building in Scotland. The tower is situated on the south bank of the River Clyde and has a platform offering 360° views of the city.

Curious fact: the Glasgow Tower holds a Guinness World Record for being the tallest fully rotating freestanding structure in the world (the whole structure is capable of rotating 360 degrees!).

FAQ

Is Glasgow worth visiting?

Yes. Filled with historic buildings, beautiful squares, and wonderful museums, Scotland’s biggest city is definitely worth visiting.

What is Glasgow known for?

Elected the European Capital of Culture in 1990, the city is notable for its architecture, culture, music scene, and transport connections.

How many days are enough in Glasgow?

Plan for at least 2-3 days in Glasgow, so you can visit the city’s fantastic museums, parks, and historic sites.

What are the top attractions in Glasgow?

The top 17 attractions in Glasgow are:

  • Glasgow Botanic Gardens;
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum;
  • Glasgow Science Centre;
  • Pollok Country Park and Pollok house;
  • Glasgow Cathedral;
  • Riverside Museum;
  • University of Glasgow;
  • Glasgow City Chambers;
  • The Lighthouse;
  • Royal Exchange Square;
  • Hunterian Art Gallery & Museum;
  • Buchanan Street;
  • Glasgow Green;
  • Gallery Of Modern Art Glasgow;
  • George Square;
  • Glasgow Tower;
  • Trossachs National Park.

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