Things To Do & Places to See in Glasgow

Glasgow is a great city for local visitors and international travelers alike because it has a variety of things to see and places to visit. Every museum and gallery I have visited so far in Glasgow has offered free admission to all visitors, so no-one is left out! Here are a few of my favorite places in Glasgow so far:

  1. University of Glasgow: Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery and the University of Glasgow Library
  2. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
  3. Glasgow Botanic Gardens
  4. Tinderbox Coffeeshop
  5. Caledonia Books
  6. Glasgow Cathedral
  7. Provand’s Lordship
  8. The Necropolis
  9. St. Mungo’s Church

1. University of Glasgow Hunterian Museum: Found on the University of Glasgow campus, right by the University Chapel. The museum has a great display of medical and scientific instruments used by James Watt, Joseph Lister, and Lord Kelvin. You can also find a collection of education tools used to teach nursing and medical students. The Art Gallery section of the museum shows off works by James McNeill Whistler and his wife.

University of Glasgow Library is impressive with 12 floors. Each floor of course has books, but there are separate areas for private and group study, quiet spaces for postgraduate study, and a Special Collections Department.

2. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has many different sections from a cafe and gift shop to an animal exhibit, an collection of Egyptian artifacts, art by the Glasgow Boys, exhibits on Glasgow and Scottish culture, and more. They currently have a special exhibition entitled “Frank Quitely: The Art of Comics” in the Royal Bank of Scotland Exhibition Gallery.

3. Glasgow Botanic Gardens is a great place to visit in almost any weather. Escape from the rain inside the greenhouses, or enjoy the sunshine by taking a stroll or relaxing on one of the many benches. The Botanic Gardens also has tea houses so you can treat yourself and just have a cup of tea or a whole meal with breakfast or lunch.

4. Tinderbox Coffeeshop is very cozy and provides amazing coffee and baked goods (the carrot cake is a must-have on my list). The Tinderbox also has free wifi so you can connect to the interwebs on any of your devices. I have yet to visit the Tinderbox without seeing quite a few other customers, so I cannot recommend a slow time in the day to stop by, but everyone has always been very friendly.

5. Caledonia Books is the place to visit if you want a great deal on a used, but well cared for, book. Everything is fairly easy to find as the owners have separated the books by category and then alphabetically by the author’s last name. You can usually find the owners near the back end of the shop with a book in hand. The lower level offers a varied selection of travel books that can help you find your next adventure!

*Side note: there is another well-known used bookshop nearby called Voltaire and Rousseau. While it is a great deal to be able to purchase any book in the entryway for £1, your chances of finding something specific are slim to none.

6. Glasgow Cathedral is located close to Cathedral Square and the Necropolis. The 800 year old historical site is gorgeous and appears to be very well maintained. The stained glass windows themselves are worth a visit of their own if you have the time. If you have any questions you can talk to a number of volunteers that work in the Cathedral.

7. Provand’s Lordship is Glasgow’s oldest house. It was built in 1471 for the Bishop of Glasgow. The house is said to have had many important visitors, and Mary Queen of Scots is said to have visited the house in 1567 when she was visiting her second husband.

8. The Necropolis is just a short walk from the Glasgow Cathedral. The Victorian cemetery houses about fifty thousand graves. Many of the headstones along the hill’s grass paths appear as if they are part of the hill as the plants have grown around them. The view from the top is spectacular and well worth the walk.

9. St. Mungo’s Church, built in 1841, is a few minutes farther from the Glasgow Cathedral (I was able to walk between the two sites in about 6 minutes). The Roman Catholic Church is very peaceful and only had a few visitors when I stopped by. The inside of the dome is painted a beautiful blue and has simple gold designs.

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