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Landmarks Of Glasgow Part 2 (Self Guided), Glasgow

Glasgow is home to a number of great historic, architectural and cultural landmarks. To make sure you see the best attractions of the city, we've created this two-part Landmarks of Glasgow self-guided tour.
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Landmarks Of Glasgow Part 2 Map

Guide Name: Landmarks Of Glasgow Part 2
Guide Location: Scotland » Glasgow (See other walking tours in Glasgow)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles
Author: irenes
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Glasgow Necropolis
  • St Mungo's Cathedral
  • Provand's Lordship
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Glasgow City Chambers
  • George Square
  • Lighthouse
  • Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St Andrew's
  • Glasgow Green
  • Obelisk
  • People's Palace & Winter Gardens
  • Doulton Fountain
  • Templeton's Carpet Factory
Glasgow Necropolis

1) Glasgow Necropolis (must see)

The Necropolis, located on a hill east of Glasgow, is known as "the city of the dead" and it is the cemetery for the Scottish city. It was conceived as a Père Lachaise for Glasgow and subsequently established by the Merchants' House of Glasgow in 1831. To get there, take the Bridge of Sighs, which is next to the Cathedral. The memorial to John Knox built in the 19th century dominates the pretty hill. In total, it is estimated that 50,000 people have been buried there, but only 3,500 tombs have been built.

Many tombstones have a sculpture of the face, chest or the whole body of the dead person, and the largest mausoleum has four people inside. There are also memorials to the Scots who went to fight with other troops – for example, with the English troops in Korea. Several famous architects and sculptors of the 17th and 18h centuries built the graves of the famous people of the time. It is one of the few cemeteries that has detailed information about its dead, with their age, occupation and cause of death. Glasgow native Billy Connolly has said: "Glasgow's a bit like Nashville, Tennessee: it doesn't care much for the living, but it really looks after the dead".

Why You Should Visit:
This place is not only interesting and historic to explore but absolutely beautiful, from the ornate mausoleums to the beautiful panoramic views of the city.
You can go round yourself; however, the stories and facts that the tour guides give are fascinating and bring the place to life in an engaging manner.

Try to go on a clear sunny day, bring along some water and wear very comfortable hiking or walking shoes as some of the surfaces are uneven.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-dusk
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia
St Mungo's Cathedral

2) St Mungo's Cathedral (must see)

St Mungo's Cathedral, or simply Glasgow Cathedral, is one of the few churches to have survived the Reformation. The setting for numerous literary works over the ages, its ornate construction and rich history dating from the 12th century provide hours of learning and exploration.

The ground on which the cathedral stands is steeped in history; it was first blessed by Saint Ninian over 1600 years ago and St Mungo, the son of a pagan King of Lothian, built his church here in the 7th century. You can see his tomb under the main altar, in the crypt.

The original church was wooden and was mostly destroyed by fire. Building began on the “new” church during the 12th century, in the Gothic style. It once had towers at its west end, but these were removed during renovations in the 18th century and there wasn’t enough money to replace them.

Inside the cathedral, you can admire the ancient “rood screen”, an ornate partition between the chancel and the nave. Rood screens are rare in Scottish churches and this one is much prized. In 1999 the magnificent Millennium Window was installed in the North wall of the nave. There are several side chapels, including the Chapel of St John the Baptist where you can see St Mungo’s Well.

During the Reformation, when many churches were sacked and torn down, the people of Glasgow took up arms to defend the cathedral. In 1583 the Town Council agreed to oversee the building and pay for its upkeep. It stands today as a reminder of the devotion and determination of the people who worship in it.

Admission is free, and it's highly recommended that you visit the interior because there are very few places you aren't allowed in.
After that, go next door to the Museum of Religious Life and Art, across the road to Provand's Lordship, and up the hill to the Necropolis (to get beautiful views of the Cathedral and the city), and you'll have seen the original medieval heart of Glasgow, and experienced four free attractions in one day.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9:30am–5:30pm; Sun: 1–4:30pm
Provand's Lordship

3) Provand's Lordship (must see)

At the top end of Castle Street, you will find Provand’s Lordship, the oldest house in Glasgow, which is the home of a fascinating house museum giving a sense of life during Medieval times.

The medieval building was constructed in 1471 and was part of St Nicholas Hospital. Although it was originally intended as accommodation for the Master of the hospital, it was inhabited by a succession of Canons from the Cathedral Chapter. In the 19th century, the Lord Prebendary of Balenock lived here. A prebend is a stipend allocated to priests of the Anglican Church. It is possible that “provand” is a corruption of prebend.

In 1906 the house was sold to a family of confectioners who opened a sweet shop at the front and had their factory at the back. They kept the shop until the end of the Second World War when they sold the building to the Provand’s Lordship Society, who wanted to restore the house to its former beauty. In 1978 the Society had no more money, so they gave the house to the City of Glasgow, who paid for renovations and opened it to the public as a house museum in 1983.

Today when you visit the house, you will see it furnished as it would have been in the 17th century, with authentic wooden furnishings of the epoch. The house has three storeys connected by a winding staircase and there are many stained glass windows to admire. Behind the house, you can visit the St Nicholas Garden where the medicinal herbs that grow in profusion fill the warm summer air with their delicate perfume.

Why You Should Visit:
Completely free to enter and a nice way to spend 30 minutes or so as you usually have the place to yourself to get immersed in it without hassle.
The fact that it is just next to the Museum of Religion and the Cathedral makes it easy to 'attraction jump' when the yawns start to appear.

Start with the video introduction for a nice background and be sure to see all three floors (the steps can be difficult for those with balance issues).
Make sure you then go to the end of St Nicholas' garden to see the building from a different angle.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Thu, Sat: 10am–5pm; Fri, Su: 11am–5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
University of Strathclyde

4) University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde is one of the oldest and the third largest place of higher education in Glasgow and it is a very interesting place to visit.

In 1964 it received the Royal Charter as the first technological university in the United Kingdom, 164 years after its founding.

The building was funded by money left by John Anderson, who was a professor of Natural Philosophy and the university opened its doors in 1796, with four faculties: Engineering, Science, Humanities and Social Science and the Strathclyde Business School.

Members of the public can explore the campus and every year thousands of students flock here to drink up the atmosphere of their future school. You can visit many areas of the university during the holidays, except for the student’s accommodation and the various departments.

The Rottenrow Gardens were laid out over the site of a former maternity hospital and you will see a giant 7 meter-high steel nappy-pin in the center of the gardens, put there as a memorial to the hospital.

The Collins Gallery hosts temporary art exhibitions by some of the world’s foremost artists. There is a group of 16 steel and concrete pillars by Gerald Laing on the campus, called “Callanish” and they represent the standing stones of the same name that were on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in 2900 BC.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Glasgow City Chambers

5) Glasgow City Chambers (must see)

You will find the City Chambers on the eastern side of George Square, and while you might not be interested in the Glasgow City Council business, do go and visit the building, which you can do either on a self-guided tour or with a tour guide on a scheduled basis.

The Chambers, which have been the City Council headquarters since 1996, were built in 1889 by William Young. The City Council originally met in the Old Tolbooth but by the mid 19th century they were too small and the new building was commissioned.

Although it has been extended in 1923 and 1984, it has kept its Renaissance Classical and Italianate style with a lot of ornate exterior decorations. The sculpture work is by James Alexander Ewing, with a celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee on the central pediment.

The statues on the apex represent Honour and Riches, with Truth in the center. The statues on the tower represent the Four Seasons.

The entrance hall has a wonderful floor-mosaic of the Glasgow Coat of Arms and the ceiling is decorated in gold leaf with a stained-glass dome. Marble and alabaster pillars support the main marble stairway.

The ground floor loggia has a breath-taking mosaic ceiling and the Councillors’ Corridor is decorated in Italian faience.

The best room in the building is the Banqueting Hall with its magnificent arched ceiling and chandeliers. The murals were executed by the Glasgow School of Art and show the history and culture of the city, the granting of the Royal Charter and Scotland’s four principal rivers.

Why You Should Visit:
There are free one-hour tours run on weekdays from the lobby. Tickets are first-come-first-served but aren't heavily publicised so likely to be availability.
The tours take place at 10:30am and 2:30pm – show up at least 30 mins early. You can also walk around yourself, but you'll have significant restrictions.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
George Square

6) George Square (must see)

When you see George Square today, it is hard to believe that at its origins it was a hollow filled with filthy, stagnant water and its marshy edges were used as a slaughterhouse. Between 1787-1829 the area was drained, opened out and lined with houses on the east and west sides.

Named after King George III, the square became the center of merchant activity with the Merchants House customs and exchange building constructed in 1850. No statue of King George is placed there, although one was intended to be. Unfortunately, because of Britain’s defeat in the American War of Independence, which caused so much anguish for Glasgow’s Tobacco Lords and the king’s later mental illness, the 24-meter column in the square’s center is topped by Sir Walter Scott instead.

Other statues and monuments abound on the square, including the Cenotaph by Burnett raised to the memory of Glaswegian soldiers killed in the First World War. There are rare equestrian statues representing Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, figures of Robert Burns, James Watt, Thomas Graham, William Gladstone, Robert Peel and James Oswald.

If you are lucky to be in Glasgow during the winter, you can enjoy the ice-skating rink that is set up there and buy your presents in the enormous Christmas Market.

Why You Should Visit:
Big square with statues in it – what's not to like? A good place to catch some sun, 'people watch' or protest against the government if that's what you are into.

Enjoy a pint at the gargantuan Wetherspoon restaurant & bar, housed in the former home of the Bank of Scotland. One of the best Wetherspoons out there!
Sight description based on wikipedia

7) Lighthouse

While you are visiting Glasgow you will surely hear about the Lighthouse and you wouldn’t be the first visitor to wonder what a lighthouse is doing in the center of a city far from the sea. The only way to satisfy your curiosity is to go and see it for yourself.

The building was constructed in 1895 from designs by the architect John Keppie, but it was his apprentice Charles Mackintosh who oversaw the work as his first public commission. It is because of this that most people forget about Keppie and attribute the building to Mackintosh.

The Lighthouse was once the offices and headquarters of the newspaper, the Glasgow Herald. It now belongs to the Glasgow City Council, who has turned it into a Centre all about architecture, design and the city.

The Centre’s aim is to help people understand the link between architecture, creative industry and design, through exhibitions and interactive displays. On six floors, the Centre boasts 6000 square meters of exhibition space and hosts twelve local and three international shows a year.

The first floor is dedicated to education with a computer laboratory, workshops and the “Wee People’s City”. This is a hands-on play area especially designed for 8 – 13 year olds, to promote understanding about building and design. It is great fun for the kids as they take a path that leads them through investigation, exploration and discovery of the city.

The Lighthouse has a viewing platform on the top of the Mackintosh Tower that can be reached from the third floor by a helical stairway. For those who don’t feel up to climbing the stairs, another view-point on the 6th floor can be reached by lift.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St Andrew's

8) Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St Andrew's

You will find the Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St Andrew in Clyde Street on the North bank of the River Clyde.

This rather simple church was built by James Graham on land once owned by Boyle and Scott who were traders with the United States and West Indies. At the time there was a strong anti-Roman Catholic feeling in Scotland and while work was underway, the progress was hampered by saboteurs who tore down walls at night. Eventually guards were hired to protect the building and it was finished in 1814.

The cathedral, which has neither steeple nor bell tower, was constructed in the Neo-Gothic style with an ornate entrance with large buttresses on each side and an enormous arched central window. Above the window is a statue of St Andrew.

By the turn of the 21st century the building was getting a bit ragged-looking and extensive renovations were carried out in 2009. This included the restoration of the gold-leaf decoration, the installation of new bronze doors and a modernizing of the lighting and heating systems. The distinguished Scottish artist Peter Howson donated his painting of “The Martyrdom of St John Ogilvie” to the cathedral.

When you have finished visiting the cathedral, why not sit for a short while in the Italianate-style Cloister Garden on the east side of the building.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Glasgow Green

9) Glasgow Green (must see)

Glasgow Green is Glasgow's oldest city park. It has hosted major city events since 1450. Park founder Bishop Turnbull’s vision is a multi-purpose attraction drawing thousands of visitors. Attend the Annual Fireworks Display or Great Scottish Run. Look at horticulture at its finest at the People's Palace Gardens. Take a horse ride. Peek into the Doulton Fountain (the largest terracotta fountain in the world) and Collins Fountain planted in Glasgow Green. Stand next to the astonishing McLennan Arch that was added as a landmark in 1890. Glasgow Green contains some of the UK’s most coveted monuments.

Why You Should Visit:
To be amazed at how many different routes and paths you can take for a walk – including several miles along the river. Great place for a break in city sightseeing!

Not too far away from the Doulton Fountain is the West Brewery so if you fancy a break from the wandering around, there's a lovely beer garden. At the least, check out the garden for the view!
Sight description based on wikipedia

10) Obelisk

This monument, which stands 44 meters high, is located in the very heart of Glasgow Green near the river Clyde, just outside the city center. It commemorates the most famous naval admiral in Great Britain - Horatio Nelson. Partially financed with public donations, the work was completed in 1806. It was designed by renowned architects David Hamilton and A. Brockett.
People's Palace & Winter Gardens

11) People's Palace & Winter Gardens (must see)

Opened in 1898 by the Earl of Rosebery, the People's Palace and Winter Gardens in Glasgow are a museum and glasshouse situated in Glasgow Green. Originally, the ground floor of the building provided reading and recreation rooms, with a museum on the first floor, and a picture gallery on the top floor. Since the 1940s, it has been the museum of local history for the city of Glasgow and tells the story of the people and the city from 1750 to the present day.

The collections and displays reflect the changing face of the city and the different experiences of Glaswegians at home, work and leisure. Current displays include glimpses of typical Glasgow history such as living in a 'single end' (a one-room tenement home), going to 'the steamie' (communal laundry), nights out at 'the dancing' in the famous Barrowland Ballroom and trips 'doon the watter' (down the Firth of Clyde) on steamers such as the Waverly. And of course Billy Connolly's Big Banana Boots.

Why You Should Visit:
To learn about what makes Glasgow tick and how it came to be the city it is today, followed by a lovely walk through the gardens and a stop at the café in the glass house.
The museum doesn't attempt to mask the city's problems and is informative and truthful while also remaining courteous and complimentary where credit is due.

Be sure to take a look at the Doulton Fountain outside, described as the largest terracotta fountain in the world.
If you're on a budget, take a picnic and sit outside if the weather permits.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu, Sat: 10am–5pm; Fri, Sun: 11am–5pm
Free entry although donations welcome
Sight description based on wikipedia
Doulton Fountain

12) Doulton Fountain

Of all the monuments in Glasgow, the most impressive is undoubtedly the Doulton Fountain in Glasgow Green Park.

The fountain is the largest remaining fountain built of terracotta in the world. It was commissioned by Sir Henry Doulton, a ceramic manufacturer in 1887 for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It was built by students from the Lambeth School of Art and unveiled for the International Exhibition in Kelingrove Park in 1898. After the exhibition it was given to the city and it was placed in the park, in front of the People’s Palace Museum in 1890.

The fountain is 14 metres high and 70 metres across the base. On top is a statue of Queen Victoria. Beneath her, statues of female water carriers spill water to the next basin. Under the water carriers are statues representing servicemen from the Black Watch, the Irish Fusiliers, the Grenadier Guards and the Royal Navy.

Water spouts from lion masks, which represent the symbol of England, around the upper basin. Beneath this are statues which stand for Canada, Australia, India and South Africa – the four main countries of the British Empire.

In the nineteen sixties the water supply was cut off and the fountain fell into a state of disrepair. It was restored in 2003 and is considered a symbol of Glasgow.
Templeton's Carpet Factory

13) Templeton's Carpet Factory

Can you imagine the council allowing a company to build a huge factory in a chic area of your city? No? Neither could the people whose houses overlooked Glasgow Green Park, but Templeton’s Carpet Factory was constructed there in 1892.

There had been weaving sheds on the edge of the park for many years, and James Templeton wanted to incorporate them into a single factory, but the wealthy citizens didn’t fancy the idea and his plans were repeatedly rejected.

Finally he hired William Leiper, a renowned architect and told him he wanted a building that didn’t look anything like a factory. Leiper based his design on the Doge’s Palace in Venice, with an elegant façade of glazed red brick, vitreous enamelled tiling and terracotta.

The construction was well underway when a part of the façade collapsed onto adjoining weaving sheds, killing 29 women working in them. In 1900 a fire destroyed part of the building, killing several other workers and the factory began to gain a reputation for being haunted.

Extension work was carried out during the nineteen thirties and the factory produced double-weave Axminster carpets until it merged with another company in 1983 and the Scottish Development Agency took over the building and turned it into a business centre.

In 2005 the extensions were torn down and a block of flats were built in their place. A section of stonework at the base of the Templeton Gate was inscribed with the story of the façade’s collapse and the names of the women who had died there.

Walking Tours in Glasgow, Scotland

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