Top Glasgow's landmarks
As the most populous city in Scotland, Glasgow offers a variety of things to see and do. If you're planning a trip to Glasgow and want to make sure you don't miss out on some of the top attractions and landmarks in the city, be sure to include these destinations on your list of places to visit.
The Glasgow Necropolis is a Victorian cemetery that offers incredible architecture, stunning sculptures and fascinating stories. It's estimated that around 50,000 burials have taken place in the 37-acre cemetery. When the Necropolis was first designed, it was supposed to have catacombs running deep into the hillside overlooking Glasgow. At the time, designers felt this was necessary because grave robbers would frequently exhume bodies and sell them to anatomists.
However, when the Anatomy Act of 1832 passed and made it easier for medical professionals to study donated bodies, the grave robbers could no longer make any money and the need for catacombs ended. At that point, the impressive memorials and monuments started to appear aboveground. Today, you can take a guided or self-guided walking tour of the cemetery to learn more about the remarkable tombs and some of the famous people buried there.
Located across the street from the Glasgow Necropolis, the Glasgow Cathedral is a grand medieval cathedral that's not only the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland but also the oldest building in Glasgow. The cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries on the site where it's believed Saint Kentigern was buried in A.D. 612. It's a breathtaking example of Scottish Gothic architecture.
Even though the cathedral still has an active congregation, it's open for tours on Monday through Saturday. Volunteers at the cathedral are available for guided tours that take about an hour to complete. As you're on the tour, be sure to take some time to admire the carved stone on the ceiling of the Blackadder Aisle. You'll also have an opportunity to view one of the finest collections of post-war stained glass windows in Britain.
Glasgow City Chambers
Glasgow City Chambers is a municipal building that has functioned as the headquarters of the Glasgow City Council since 1996. The building was constructed between 1882 and 1888 and is a fine example of Victorian civic architecture. If you're interested in learning more about some of the fascinating stories about the building's construction and history, public tours are available Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Duke of Wellington Statue
Glaswegians have a unique sense of humor, and nowhere else is this more apparent than at the Duke of Wellington statue. The statue was erected in 1844 to honor Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, who is best known for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. For around 140 years, the statue stood without much interest. However, in the early 1980s, an orange traffic cone mysteriously appeared on the Duke's head one night. While no one knows exactly why the cone first appeared, most believe it was the result of a drunken dare between college students.
Although the Glasgow City Council tried numerous times to remove the cone, a new one always showed up again. Eventually, the cone became such a symbol of the city and so popular with everyone that the City Council gave in and allowed it to stay.
The River Clyde
The River Clyde is the second-longest river in Scotland and cuts right through the heart of the city. It played a major role in shipbuilding and the Industrial Revolution in Glasgow. At one time, the banks of the Clyde were lined with shipyards and factories. When the shipbuilding industry started to decline in Glasgow, many buildings were abandoned. However, the city now has renewed interest in the waterway thanks to the Clyde Waterfront Regeneration project. Nearly 13 miles of the waterfront has been redeveloped to house museums, hotels, residential areas, a business district and more. If you want to explore some of the most popular attractions and uncover the history of the river, spend some time strolling down the river's walkways.
Part of the revitalization project on the Clyde included the construction of the Riverside Museum. This modern museum houses over 3,000 objects that explore the history of transportation. During your visit, you can learn more about Glasgow's shipbuilding history or climb aboard a tram, bus or train to get a feel for old public transportation. The hands-on museum also has over 90 large touch-screen panels that showcase films and images that tell the stories behind the objects.
Provand's Lordship is a medieval historic house that was built in 1471. It's one of only four surviving medieval buildings in the city and the oldest surviving house. The home is furnished with a nice selection of royal portraits and 17th-century historic furniture to give you a better idea of what life was like in Glasgow at one time. Behind the building, you'll find the Saint Nicholas Garden, which is an herb garden that offers a calm escape from the noise of the city.
As you stroll along the waterfront of the River Clyde, you might notice a small statue of a woman with her arms stretched over her head. This poignant statue that sits upon a 9-foot base is called La Pasionaria and represents Dolores Ibarruri, one of the leaders of the Republican and Communist movements during the Spanish Civil War. The statue pays tribute to those killed during the conflict. At the time, 2,100 volunteers from Britain went to help the fight. 534 of those volunteers were killed, and 65 of the people who lost their lives were from Glasgow.
Glasgow offers something for everyone to enjoy. The next time you're planning a trip to this vibrant city, be sure to include some time to check out a few of these popular landmarks and attractions.