I’ve had 3 trips to Glasgow, and every time I visit I manage to come up with a new list of things to do. Despite the fact that it has enough to offer for a lifetime of exploring, most people who visit only spend one day or a weekend in Glasgow before carrying on with their journey through Scotland. But in all honesty it has so much more to offer. Here’s a curated list of some unique experiences I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and should serve as your guide to Glasgow:
See the stars from the Glasgow Science Centre
Rising from the ground like a shimmering orb, the Glasgow Science Centre is a wonder inside and out. The space-age structure houses a big planetarium where you can day dream. There’s also a revolving tower that provides visitors with views of the city from 417 feet up. If not for the stars and science, then go for the massive IMAX cinema screen. We did, to watch the newest Avengers film.
Climb up the lighthouse in the middle of town
Back in the city centre, stop by The Lighthouse, Glasgow’s centre for design and architecture. Not for the faint-hearted or ones with a fear of heights, but you can climb all the way up to the tower of the building for some great views of the city or, like us, cheat a little and take the elevator until the spiral staircase.
Taste the best of both worlds (Whisky and Chocolate)
Whisky is never far away in Scotland. Glasgow has a booming bar scene which offers all sorts of cask whiskies, innovative craft beers and smooth ales. Splurge on that one big night out and enjoy some of Scotland’s finest malts. I recommend trying Clydeside Distillery, as they have a new chocolate and whisky tour that allows visitors to savour five carefully selected single malt whiskies, each expertly paired with freshly-made artisan handcrafted chocolate.
Try Axe Hurling
Axe hurling was by far the most fun I’ve had in comparison to any competitive sport. Your reasons for trying this may be pent up stress or merely acquiring a new skill, but once the basic introductions are done and groups are formed, everyone’s competitive side starts to shine. While hitting the bullseye will get you the maximum points and a feeling of honour, exploring skills like two hand throws can feel quite liberating. The environment is quirky and the music is just what you need to get going. We had an absolute blast and are itching to try it again!
Feel tropical at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens
It features several gorgeous glasshouses, that make for a peaceful tropical escape in the hustle and bustle of this upbeat city. They teem with exotic life and colours, and one can get easily lost in wonder walking around the green grounds, or from one glass house to the other if it’s pouring outside, or as the locals call it “lashing down”. It’s one of the many free things one can enjoy in Glasgow.
Visit the saints and souls
The Glasgow Cathedral (1197) and Necropolis (1833) are right next to each other and worth a visit. The cathedral is an impressive example of Scottish gothic architecture that is complimented by the Necropolis. Meandering your way through a historic cemetery is surprisingly both therapeutic and breathtaking as, at its highest point, it looks over the city of Glasgow. Somehow it manages to host over 50,000 bodies, and whether tomb, monument, mausoleum, statue or stone, this Victorian cemetery is beautiful, if only to find out more about some former Glaswegians.
Meander for some Murals
There are some massive and vibrant murals that are part of Glasgow’s City Centre Mural Trail. These are scattered throughout the city on buildings that range from abandoned to iconic and busy spots. The city council began commissioning the individual pieces in an effort to revive old, unsightly buildings and transform them into displays of street art. They are marvellous, quirky and radical, and you can take a self guided tour on foot one day, but don’t forget to grab a good pair of walking shoes and keep an eye out.
Go back to school
Harry Potter was never actually filmed at the University of Glasgow even though it looks the part!! The gothic style building, with its spires, twin quadrangle and majestic cloisters, make for a beautiful wander when imagining to be at Hogwarts. Ask for directions to cloisters as its beautiful arches are beneath the building.
Platform at Argyle St Arches
A mecca for street food, Glasgow’s best, biggest and busiest weekly indie food market, where food vendors set up stall every Friday and Saturday, within the refurbished Argyle Street Arches! If your dates don’t match, here are some places on the same street that we really loved:
- Piece: Glasgow’s best sandwich place
- Jacques (Brel’s Wee Brother): Delicious choice of cured meats with fondue
- The Islay Inn: Live music and good whisky
Soak in some art and expression
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland’s most popular free attractions, favourite with both Glaswegians and visitors alike. Initially it made it to our list only so that we could visit Dippy the diplodocus (a temporary exhibit that has since moved on), but we ended up spending at least 4 hours there. On arrival I was enamoured by its beautiful architecture, fashioned out of red stone. There is some truly wonderful art in here, including some Monet. One of the wings boasts a display by Sophie Can where you’ll see floating heads, all sporting eerie human expressions. She created over 50 of them, each displaying different emotions including laughter and anger. Don’t forget to take a selfie of how you feel when you’re there!
And this sums up all the awesome things we were able to try (so far!). It is barely possible to scratch the surface whilst doing Glasgow in a day. There is a lot more to do and see all across the city. If you can, I recommend spending at least 2-3 days, to visit more of Glasgow’s fantastic museums and parks. Maybe even explore further on the Mackintosh trail.
Did I miss something from my guide to Glasgow? Comment below and let me know…
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