England is bigger than Glasgow

Glasgow: sights and information

Glasgow was once the grubby problem child of Scotland. Today, however, the city is a worthwhile destination for visitors. It says here why.

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Glasgow was once considered the murder capital of Western Europe. But that has changed radically since the beginning of the new century. The former “problem child” Glasgow has now become Scotland's most likeable city - not always beautiful and smooth, but honest and rough. This is exactly what makes Glasgow so authentic.

So Glasgow is worth the trip. The most beautiful sights of the West Scottish city come here for orientation. There is also information about the residents and the dialect. Finally, there is an outline of the history of Glasgow, which in turn is strongly linked to the sights of the city. All of this illustrated by many photos.

People: Scotland's largest city has the friendliest residents

The 2011 census still counted 593,245 inhabitants, for 2014 the number is estimated at almost 600,000 people. Glasgow is actually significantly larger than the capital Edinburgh with its approximately 492,680 inhabitants.

But Glasgow also still has a problem with its image, because in the 1990s it gained a reputation as a dirty city with high crime rates. However, the city administration is tackling this problem aggressively. The campaign "People make Glasgow" - in English "The people make Glasgow what" - promotes a positive image together with many partners. With success: a survey by Roughguides in the social networks has named Glasgow the “friendliest city in 2014”.

Incidentally, Glasgow also appears to be an internet-friendly city: There is free access via WLAN throughout the center, which sometimes works well, sometimes less well.

Crime: Glasgow is still Scotland's most dangerous city

Although the image is improving and although visitors to the city can feel quite safe in the center, one should not hide this negative side of Glasgow.

In 2014, an average of 892 crimes occurred for every 10,000 inhabitants. Of these, 26 were each severe physical assault. For comparison: in Edinburgh there are only 18. But none of that has anything to do with the violence of the 1990s. Overall crime in Scotland is currently at its lowest level in 40 years. In Glasgow it fell by a whopping four percent - in contrast to Edinburgh, where the rate rose. Robberies, especially in the big cities, have decreased significantly.

However, this violence mostly takes place between gang members in outskirts of the city, where tourists hardly ever get lost.

Nevertheless: As everywhere, visitors should exercise a certain degree of caution. Especially since sexual assault has unfortunately increased somewhat.

Dialect: Glaswegian or Glasgow Patter

Glasgow residents have developed a wonderful language mix to which the Irish, Highlanders and Lowlanders have contributed. However, "Glaswegian" or "Glasgow Patter" is officially part of "Scots", the language of the Lowland Scots.

Words like “a wee bit” for “a little bit” are the slightest obstacle to understanding. However, when a real Glasgow citizen gets going, the German visitor can no longer keep up with his school English.

You can watch a small course in Glaswegian here:

Sights: Glasgow's history makes for an impressive diversity

In its history, Glasgow has seen ups and downs that have left their mark on each era. And so Glasgow seems a bit harder and more drawn than Edinburgh, at first glance maybe not quite as smooth and beautiful.

And yet the architecture of Glasgow is in no way inferior to that of Edinburgh. The mix is ​​just a little strange. You can find old buildings from the 17th century, many from the Victorian era, alongside modern masterpieces.

By the way: Museums and art collections are located in some of the most beautiful buildings in Glasgow. A second specialty of Glasgow comes into play here: all of the city's museums are free of charge.

Quick overview: The most important sights of Glasgow

Here is a selection of the most important sights in Glasgow from my point of view, each with a picture. By the way, I visited them all myself and the photos are also from me - and not from an image portal.

George Square & City Chambers - Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - University of Glasgow - Botanical Gardens - Necropolis - St Mungos / Glasgow Cathedral - The Clydeside Distillery - Riverside Museum and the Tall Ship - Gallery of modern Art - Glasgow Science Center, SECC, the Armadillo and the Clyde Arc - Glasgow Green and People's Palace - Pollock House and Gardens

George Square and the Glasgow City Chambers

The George Square marks the center of Glasgow. Directly next to it is Queen Street Station and thus also an important center for local transport. Almost all buses pass George Square, which is demarcated by four busy streets. A great place to start exploring the city! The city sightseeing buses also start here.

At the west end of George Square are the Glasgow City Chambers, the city hall. If you think the outside is bombastic, you should first take a look inside. The vaulted ceiling and floor are decorated with mosaics - a total of over 1.5 million tiles were used. Granite pillars support the sky and the staircase is lined with lush marble. Tours go twice a day, which then also give insight into rooms that are otherwise locked.

Tip: The tour cannot be pre-ordered. So be there half an hour earlier and pick up your ticket. The rule is: whoever comes first, paints first - more than 25 people are not allowed to join.

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tours at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Entry: free, tour free

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Outside hui ... inside too! Kelvingrove has an impressive red facade and inside there are wonderful halls with great chandeliers and interesting exhibits. There is something for everyone: art, technology and nature. Highlights include exhibits by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries. The history of Scotland is also interesting.

And here too, as with all of Glasgow's public museums: free admission.

More information about Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum here.

Opening hours:
Mon-Thu, Sat: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Fri, Sun: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Entry: free

University of Glasgow

The second oldest university in Scotland (after St Andrews) has existed since 1451. It has expanded over the centuries and is now also a feast for the eyes. You can hang around the campus or take a guided tour. The Cloisters are particularly beautiful to look at. "Cloister" is in itself a monastic cloister. Because the supporting pillars look similar under one of the buildings, this area bears this nickname.

The university has the beautiful Bute Hall, but it is rarely open to visitors. On the other hand, you can visit the Hunterian Museum in the university free of charge, whose hall and exhibits are also beautiful. Opposite the main building across the street are other exhibitions, for example the Charles Rennie Mackintosh House, which shines with its special Art Nouveau interior.

Tours: Tue - Sun 2 p.m.
Adults: 10 pounds
Reduced: 8 pounds
Teens: 5 pounds
Children under 5 years free
Families: 25 pounds

Botanical Garden

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens were founded as early as 1817. Since then, the gardeners have been collecting all kinds of plants there. By 1873, John Kibble built the unique Victorian glass structure that can be seen today. There are also other large greenhouses with many exotic plants such as orchids. Outside there is a rose and herb garden. And the same applies here: free admission!

More about the Glasgow Botanic Gardens here.

Opening hours:
Outdoor garden:
daily 07:00 am - sunset
daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (summer)
daily 10:00 am - 4:15 pm (winter)

The necropolis

Glasgow's City of the Dead is home to 50,000 (former) citizens. The richest of them have been immortalized with wonderful tombs. Elaborate mausoleums and richly decorated tombstones with damming alternate here. Particularly impressive: the so-called Bridge of Sighs leads to the former underground entrance.

More details in the detailed article here.

Opening hours: last admission 4 p.m.
Entry: free

St Mungo's / Glasgow Cathedral

Right next to the Necropolis is the magnificent cathedral of the city's founder, St Mungo. The building, which is over 800 years old, is well worth seeing inside. The choir is spanned by a wooden vault with many coats of arms on it. Stained glass windows and carved altars adorn the stone pillars and arches. Particularly interesting: the grave of the city's founder, St Mungo, in the crypt.

More information in this post.

Opening hours:
Mon-Sat: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sun: 1: 00-4: 30 p.m.
Mon-Sat: 10:00 am-3:30pm
Sun: 1: 00-3: 30 p.m.
Entry: free

The Clydeside Distillery

Directly on the River Clyde, a few hundred meters from the Riverside Museum, is the very young The Clydeside Distillery. This only producing distillery was only completed in 2017, which is why there is still no finished single malt whiskey but only "new make spirit" or bottlings from other distilleries. The tour, however, is interesting, the building is handsome and the subsequent tasting of three whiskeys from different regions is delicious.

More information in this post.

Opening hours:
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(last tour 4:00 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. during July & August)
Adults: 15 pounds
Reduced: 13 pounds
Children (8-17): 5 pounds
Families: 33 pounds

Riverside Museum and the Tall Ship

The latest architectural architecture on the River Clyde: The Riverside Museum mainly exhibits the history of traffic. But this also includes prams and toys, for example. In addition, entire streets of old Glasgow have been recreated. A highlight lies in front of the building on the river: The Glenlee is a huge sailing ship that has circled the world several times. And visitors can come on board for free and marvel at the ship both inside and out.

More information in this post.

Opening hours:
Mon-Thu, Sat: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Fri, Sun: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed at Christmas, Jan 1st and 2nd
Closed on New Year's Eve from 1 p.m.
Entry: free

Gallery of modern art

In the center of Glasgow is the GoMA, as it is called for short. In front of her is a statue of the Duke of Wellington, which usually wears a traffic cone - here it becomes clear: respect for conservative art is not appropriate here. And the inside of the gallery confirms it: modern art in changing exhibitions. And again, entry is free.

Opening hours:
Mon-Wed, Sat: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thu: 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fri, Sun: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Entry: free

Glasgow Science Center, SECC, the Armadillo and the Clyde Arc

The Glasgow Science Center building looks like a piece of lemon on a schnitzel. The modern building is located directly on the River Clyde in the west of the city, in it visitors can explore the effects of scientific discoveries - mostly with funny toys. That is why the Science Center is also suitable for children. Right next to it is the largest completely swiveling tower and the IMAX cinema. Entry does not cost anything.

It is definitely worth taking a walk along the Clyde afterwards, as modern architecture such as the SECC, the “Armadillo”, in English “Armadillo”, the gigantic Finnieston Crane and the “Clyde Arc” bridge are concentrated here. By the way, all of this can be seen as a picture at the top of this page.

Opening hours:
Summer (Apr - Oct)
Mon - Sun: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Winter (Nov - Mar)
Wed - Fri: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Sat, Sun: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Entry: free

Glasgow Green and People’s Palace

A palace for the people in a park in the middle of the city. The Glasgow Green dates back to the 15th century, the People's Palace opened in 1898 and was intended to be a cultural center for Glasgow's east. Today it is a museum that shows life back then, a garden under a wonderful glass structure with a café. Admission to the People's Palace and its museum does not cost the visitor anything either.

For more information on Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace, click here.

Opening hours:
Mon-Thu, Sat: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Fri, Sun: 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Entry: free

Pollock House and Gardens

Pollock House is located on the south-western outskirts of the city. The house has wonderful rooms with old and expensive furnishings. The paintings in the house are also often old Spanish masterpieces. A beautiful, well-tended garden stretches around the house and around it again a huge park, which also served as a film set in the series Outlander.

More information about Pollock House can be found here.

Opening hours:
daily: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
last admission 4.30 p.m.
Adults: 7.50 pounds
Family: 18.50 pounds
Family (one adult): £ 12.50
Concessions: £ 5.50


OF COURSE these are not all the sights, just some of the attractions in Glasgow. I would be happy if you write in the comments what you liked best if you have already been to Glasgow.

Shopping Tour: Shopping in Glasgow

Of course, there are good shopping opportunities in the city center from George Square. One of the shopping miles is Buchanan Street, which is also home to the Buchanan Quarter and the Buchanan Galleries.

Incidentally, Buchanan Street runs between two large shopping centers. The large shopping center of the same name is located on Ennoch Square.

At the other end, the Buchanan Galleries, with the Royal Concert Hall in it.

Tip: For a break in a special Glasgow ambience, you can take a seat in the Willow Tearoom. It's not exactly cheap, but the interior was designed by Charls Rennie MackIntosh:

Alternatively, head to Byres Road to the west of the city. It not only has shops but also bars and restaurants.

By the way, at the north end of Byres Rd, at the corner of Great Western Road, is Oran Mòr, a converted church that now houses a more upscale pub. There is live music, good food and affordable whiskey here. Accordingly, it can be quite full at times. But we also enjoyed it almost empty on a Sunday evening.

From my point of view, however, the venerable Barras market, which is still used as a stop on city tours, is hardly to be recommended. It was interesting and worth seeing a good 20 years ago, but now I find it repulsive. There is more rubbish than goods there.

Public Transport: Explore Glasgow

Airport transfer: The Airport Express with the number 500 takes you easily from Glasgow Airport to the city center. The journey costs around 8 pounds one way, 12 pounds there and back. There are discounts for families and children.

Alternatively, you can authorize a transfer with a chauffeur, which may be worthwhile from groups onwards. It can also be pre-booked via GetYourGuide here (advertisement).

In the city: Glasgow is the only Scottish city with an underground line, and has been since 1896. When it was still a cable car, the line was electrified in the 1930s. In a European comparison, Glasgow was very early on with the underground. Only London, Istanbul and Budapest opened their underground rails earlier.

Today the subway takes you around the city center of Glasgow - it is an excellent means of transport for visitors. It is operated by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), which also run some bus routes past the underground stations. There are also other bus companies that drive across the city. The best known is SimplyCity, which has a well-developed network. One competitor is the Glasgow CityBusses, which drive a little further out.

Likewise, the Scottish Railway connects the suburbs and further outskirts of the city with many lines that end in either Central Station or Queen Street Station. Both are located in the middle of the city center.

Tip:City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-on / Hop-off Bus (advertisement) rattles clockwise around the most important sights of the city and stops there. The tour starts directly at George Square, the center of Glasgow, first drives to the west, then passes George Square again before the bus continues to the east.The tours start about every 20 minutes.

To get an overview and as an introduction, I can really recommend this tour. The ticket is initially quite expensive at 17.50 pounds (as of 2018), but it's worth it if you buy the two-day ticket, which costs just under 20 pounds, and then use it to travel from attraction to attraction the next day.

History of Glasgow

Established by St Mungo

A successful city needs a good founding legend. Preferably a saint. St Mungo's provides this legend for Glasgow. Around 600 AD, he is said to have worked in the area around the River Clyde. He is said to have performed three miracles: He is said to have brought a dead robin to life and started a fire with a frozen hazel branch.