Steeped in history yet defined by innovation, Glasgow is one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan destinations in Europe. The city has been reborn as a centre of style and vitality set against a backdrop of outstanding Victorian architecture. Glasgow boasts world famous art collections, the best shopping in the United Kingdom outside London, and the most vibrant and exciting nightlife in Scotland. A must see is the splendour of Scotland's best known architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whose style adorns many unique attractions throughout Scotland's largest and greatest city.
Reiterating its status as one of the world's most desirable destinations to work, study or simply enjoy a weekend visit, Scotland's thriving central metropolis is developing and recasting itself to meet the challenge of hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Art and culture are important in Glasgow life where galleries and museums are in abundance - most with free admission. A choice of over 20 includes the world's first Museum of Religion and the renowned Burrell Collection in Pollok Park. No visit would be complete without experiencing the city's shopping with high street stores, designer labels, and speciality outlets to explore, with welcome pit-stops in the first-class cafe culture around the Italian Centre, Merchant Square, Gallery of Modern Art or the Buchanan Galleries. Take a closer look at things to do in Glasgow’s West End and beyond.
KELVINGROVE ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM
The red sandstone Spanish baroque architecture is the first thing you’ll notice about the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Step inside the edifice not far from our hotel, and you’ll find that there’s so much more to what has become one of the top attractions in Glasgow and one of the most-visited museums in the UK. A few highlights include Sir Roger the stuffed elephant, a Spitfire fighter jet, Sophie Cave’s floating heads installation, paintings by Sottish colourists and French impressionists, and Salvador Dali’s masterpiece, Christ of St John of the Cross.
THE CITY CENTRE MURAL TRAIL
Walking is a great way to experience Glasgow at street level. Follow the City Centre Mural Trail to see how talented artists have helped revitalise various spaces and places. Highlights to look out for include the Billy Connolly murals by Jack Vettriano, Rachel Maclean, and John Byrne, and Smug’s St Mungo mural. You’re sure to agree that the mural trail is one of the best things to do in Glasgow city centre.
GLASGOW CATHEDRAL AND NECROPOLIS
Exploring the Cathedral and Necropolis is one of the most interesting things to do in Glasgow West End. Glasgow Cathedral (consecrated in 1197) is the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland and the oldest building in the city. It’s also one of the finest examples of Scottish gothic architecture. The nearby Necropolis cemetery is every bit as atmospheric as the name suggests. Opened in 1833, the site was inspired by Paris’ Père Lachaise. Explore the weird and wonderful monuments and enjoy gorgeous views of the city.
GLASGOW BOTANIC GARDENS
Dating back to 1841, the Glasgow Botanic Gardens are a firm favourite with locals and visitors. Explore the outdoor plantings as well as the gardens’ distinctive buildings, such as the Kibble Palace and the Main Range teak glasshouse and be amazed by a wealth of plant life from Scotland and the wider UK, tropical rainforests, and dusty deserts.
Scotland’s most populous city has a longstanding tradition of brewing and distilling. Encounter this tradition at Drygate Brewery on the East End’s Duke Street. Located partly in a 1930s former box factory, the brewery is a joint venture between the Williams Brothers craft brewers and macro-brewers Tennent’s. Go on a brewery tour and follow it up by sampling a few of the 26 rotating beers on tap and a few of the bottled beers. Try to time your visit to coincide with one of the comedy or musical performances. If you prefer whisky, visit the Clydeside Distillery inside the old Pumphouse at the Queen’s Dock in the West End.
If you’re looking for things to do in Glasgow’s West End that offer panoramic views of the city and a few other sights to delight the eyes, head to the Lighthouse. The Centre for Design on Mitchell Lane just off Buchanan Street boasts permanent attractions such as the Mack Centre that celebrates the life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as well as temporary contemporary art and design exhibitions. Climb the historic tower to enjoy views of the city.