80 George Square
Glasgow G2 1DU United Kingdom
+44 141 287 0399
Dominating the east side of George Square, this exuberant expression of Victorian confidence, built by William Young in Italian Renaissance style, was opened by Queen Victoria (1819-1901) in 1888. Among the interior’s outstanding features are the entrance hall’s vaulted ceiling, the marble-and-alabaster staircases, the banqueting hall, and Venetian mosaics. The debating chamber has gleaming oak panels and fixtures.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
730 Great Western Road
Glasgow G12 0UE United Kingdom
+44 141 334 2422
Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens are not as extensive or exemplary as the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, but they nevertheless cover some 16 hectares (40 acres). There is an extensive collection of tropical plants in Kibble Palace, the Victorian cast iron glasshouse which was restored in 2004. The plant collection includes some rather acclaimed orchids and begonias. This is a good place to unwind and wander, whether through the working vegetable plot or along the banks of the River Kelvin. The Botanic Gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk. The greenhouses are open 10am to 4:45pm (only until 4:15pm in the winter).
Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis
Glasgow G4 0RH United Kingdom
+44 141 552 8819
Also known as the cathedral of St. Kentigern or St. Mungo’s, it dates to the 13th century. The edifice is mainland Scotland’s only complete medieval cathedral — the most important ecclesiastical building of that era in the entire country. Unlike other cathedrals on the mainland, this one survived the reformation practically intact, but 16th-century zeal purged it of all monuments of idolatry. Later, misguided “restoration” led to the demolition of its western towers, thus altering the cathedral’s appearance.
The lower church is where Gothic design reigns, with an array of pointed arches and piers. The Laigh Kirk (lower church), whose vaulted crypt is said to be one of the finest in Europe, also holds St. Mungo’s tomb, where a light always burns. Mungo’s death in 612 was recorded but the annals of his life date to the 12th century. Other highlights of the interior include the Blackadder aisle and the 15th-century nave with a stone screen (unique in Scotland) showing the seven deadly sins.
Glasgow G1 5DB United Kingdom
+44 141 554 0223
This museum covers the social history of Glasgow, with exhibits on how “ordinary people” have lived in the city, especially since the industrial age. It also attempts to explain the Glasgow vernacular, speech patterns, and expressions that even Scots from outside the city can have trouble deciphering. Also noteworthy are the murals painted by “new Glasgow boy” Ken Currie. The spacious Winter Gardens to the rear of the building, in a restored Victorian glass house with cafe facility, offers a good retreat.
Somerset Merchant City
1-19 Albion St
Glasgow, Scotland G1 1NY United Kingdom
Trendy Merchant City, once just containing warehouses and the homes of Glasgow’s tobacco, sugar and cotton barons, is now the place to eat, drink and be entertained in fashionable bars, restaurants and clubs. Among the preserved Georgian and Victorian buildings of this city-center neighborhood are many elegant designer boutiques. The City and County buildings, on Ingram Street, were built in 1842 to house civil servants; note the impressive arrangement of bays and Corinthian columns. To see more interesting architecture, explore the roads off Ingram Street — including Candleriggs, Wilson, and Glassford.
The Tenement House
145 Buccleuch Street
Glasgow G3 6QN United Kingdom
+44 141 332 9368
Tenements (or apartment buildings) are what many Glasgwegians lived in from the middle of 19th century. And many still do so today. Run by the National Trust for Scotland, this “museum” is a typical flat, preserved with all the fixtures and fittings from the early part of the 20th century: coal fires, box bed in the kitchen, and gas lamps. Indeed, the resident, Miss Agnes Toward, apparently never threw out anything from 1911 to 1965, so there are displays of all sorts of memorabilia, from tickets stubs and letters to ration coupons and photographs from trips down the Clyde.