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Top 10 Things to do in Glasgow

Where to begin in a big city like Glasgow? Starting by planning the length of your stay, I will recommend you to stay at least 2-3 full days in the city; some need more time, others need less. It is always a matter of individual taste, but personally, I like to take my time when traveling and don't just check some destination of my list, but truly want to experience it. And if you don't get to see the "top 10 things to do in Glasgow" this time, well, that's a very good excuse to come back one day, isn't it?

Glasgow Green is the city’s oldest park

1. Glasgow Green

Given to the Bishop and the people of Glasgow in the mid-15th century Glasgow Green is by far the city’s oldest parks.

Situated on the north bank of the river Clyde it is easily accessible from the city center and creates the perfect scenery for a stroll. The park has some interesting history as it hasn’t always been like this green park you see today. One of the park’s main attractions is the People’s Palace.

The People’s Palace - a cultural center from 1898

2. People's Palace

The People’s Palace, a cultural center from 1898, where today you will find a museum in it telling the story of Glasgow and its people from 1750 to the present day. The entrance is for free and you get to know so much stuff about Glasgow’s history and background where amongst other things you will find out about Glasgow’s unhealthy and dirty past. The city was overcrowded so the People’s Palace was established to provide an extra space for the local inhabitants. When that’s done you are definitely ready to head for the rest of the city.

Glasgow’s Cathedral is the oldest cathedral of Scotland’s mainland

3. Glasgow Cathedral

Every city has one – the Cathedral. For many cities this is the main attraction, it’s not different in Glasgow. Actually, it’s an obvious must-see when you’re in there. Glasgow’s Cathedral is the oldest cathedral of Scotland’s mainland and the oldest building in whole Glasgow dating back to the 12th century. It is an excellent example of Scottish Gothic architecture. Underneath the castle lies is a huge crypt containing amongst others the tomb of Saint Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow.

4. Provand's Lordship

After you’ve seen the Cathedral, you’ll find the Provand's Lordship close by - a medieval, historic building in Glasgow which is only one of four surviving, medieval buildings in the city and. If you don’t have time to catch the magnificent inside, where you feel as if you were taken back in time to the medieval Glasgow, you can easily make a quick pit-stop to be amazed by its outer. The building is dating all the way back to 1471 being built by the Bishop of Glasgow, Andrew Muirhead, as part of St. Nicholas Hospital. Behind the building you might be surprised to find an oasis in the midst of the hustling and bustling city.

George Square lays in the heart of Glasgow

5. George Square

Every city has one of those, too – that gigantic main square where everyone's meeting up. George Square is in the heart of the city and a pretty important one too, one can tell from the gigantic and overwhelming buildings in a Victorian style from the previous centuries surrounding the square. There is for instance Glasgow City Council, the Merchants House and a bunch of statues and monuments portraying famous Scottish people. In the center of the square stands a 25 meter high statue of the famous Scottish poet Sir Walter Scott. You don’t want to miss out on that one!

Buchanan street is the very center of the shopping district

6. Buchanan Street

It can never go wrong with a little bit of shopping, am I right? And this is what the Buchanan Street is for. The street is even the very center of the shopping district, aligned by beautiful architectural gems. Some gems are right in front of you, others you’ll have to search for. There is for instance the Princess Square Shopping Center dating back to the early 19th century which is half-hidden with access from the Buchanan Street. This building has even won several awards and if you're still not convinced or shopping is just not you’re thing I challenge you to go and check it out anyway.

Kelvingrove Park is located in the West end of Glasgow

7. Kelvingrove Park

While we have Glasgow Green in the East, Kelvingrove Park is located in the West end of Glasgow surrounded by beautiful (and probably unaffordable) townhouses. This park is an excellent place to hang out, have a picnic, meet with friends, go for a walk with or without your dog (you might find one anyway) and just slow down for a while from all the sightseeing. Kelvingrove Park is a wonderful example of a Victorian park, designed in 1852. Already back then the park had the purpose to serve as a recreational and relaxation area, an escape from the busy and noisy city.

8. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

One of Scotland’s most popular free attractions is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which is simultaneously the most visited museum in the entire United Kingdom outside London. The art gallery and museum are organized into two halves: Life and Expression. The Life galleries represent natural history, human history and prehistory. The Expression galleries include the fine art. All in all, you’ll find extensive, wide-ranging and internationally significant collections distributed in a total of 22 galleries, this place totally got you covered. The purpose-built museum opened its doors for the first time in 1901. It has since been refurbished and restored during a three-year long restoration and reopened its doors in 2006.

This is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world

9. University of Glasgow

One might think that this university comes right out of a Harry Potter movie and it’s not an understatement when I say that pretty much everyone who sees the University of Glasgow’s main building is struck by its resemblance to Hogwarts. But regardless its magical atmosphere, no Harry Potter, Hermione Granger or Ronald Weasley have ever been here, since it was actually the Alnwick Castle in the North East of England which was used for exterior shots in the first few movies. That doesn’t change the fact though that this is THE must-see in Glasgow, especially due to the fact that this is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities.

10. Glasgow School of Art

Founded in 1845 originally as the Glasgow Government School of Design, the art school changed its name into The Glasgow School of Art in 1853. In 1885 when the school had grown so extensively that a new building was needed, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was the architect who won the competition. The building was designed in the Glasgow Style, a regional variation of Art Nouveau. Due to two vastly devastating fires which raged over the course of just four years the school remains closed until the day today. However, it still is a landmark an important piece of architecture in the history of Glasgow which is equally considered Mackintosh's’ biggest masterpiece.


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