A guide to the best attractions in Glasgow

  • The List
  • 3 September 2012
A guide to the best attractions in Glasgow

The striking exterior of Glasgow's Riverside Museum was designed by Irawi-British architect Zaha Hadid

The Burrell Collection, Botanic Gardens, Necropolis and School of Art among the city's top sights

Burrell Collection

In the heart of Pollok Country Park is this collection of art, including work by Degas, Rodin and Cézanne as well as ancient and medieval artefacts. It is named after shipping tycoon Sir William Burrell, who amassed much of its collection of over 8000 objects in his own lifetime.
2060 Pollokshaws Road, 287 2550, glasgowlife.org.uk/museums. Mon–Thu & Sat 10am–5pm; Fri & Sun 11am–5pm. Free.

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

A great place to relax in summer or take a brisk walk in winter, with events including stargazing, gardening talks and even theatre. Also look out for exotics and exhibitions in Kibble Palace Glasshouse and the vegetable, herb and flower gardens.
730 Great Western Road, 339 6964, glasgow.gov.uk. Gardens open daily 7am–dusk; visitor centre 11am–4pm. Free.

Glasgow Necropolis

Standing on a hill behind Glasgow Cathedral, the necropolis is the city’s own Père Lachaise, with an obelisk to John Knox, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s first solo work, and breathtaking views to boot. Tours are offered by the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis, advance booking essential.
50 Cathedral Square, 552 3145, glasgownecropolis.org. Daily 7am–dusk. Free.

Glasgow School of Art

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s astounding architectural masterpiece (and still a working art school) can be viewed throughout the year, with daily tours led by current students offering an in-depth look at the building’s design.
167 Renfrew Street, 566 1472, gsa.ac.uk/visit-gsa. Interpretation space & shop open daily 10.30am–6.30pm; frequent tours departing between 10am and 5pm. Tours £8.75 (£7; under 18s £4; under 5s free).

Glasgow Science Centre

The home of Scotland’s first IMAX cinema, as well as fun exhibits, science shows, workshops and talks.
50 Pacific Quay, 420 5000, gsc.org.uk. Summer opening hours, daily 10am–5pm; winter opening hours (from Mon 29 Oct) Wed–Fri 10am–3pm; Sat & Sun 10am–5pm. £9.95 (£7.95; under 3s free); Planetarium, Glasgow Tower or IMAX Science films £2.50 extra.

Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery

Scotland’s oldest public museum, founded in 1807, houses collections relating to science, medicine, archaeology, geology and more, as well as art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (including The Mackintosh House – the reassembled interior of his home) and James McNeill Whistler. The art galleries have recently undergone a major refurbishment.
82 Hillhead Street, 330 4221 (museum)/ 330 5434 (gallery), gla.ac.uk/hunterian. Tue–Sat 10am–5pm; Sun 11am–4pm; closed Mon. Free; Mackintosh House £5 (£3; under 18s free).

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Twenty-two collections and over 8000 artefacts, from natural history, armour and weaponry to art from many different eras and touring exhibitions, all housed in a grand red sandstone building on the banks of the River Kelvin. See Visual Art section for exhibition details.
Argyle Street, 276 9599, glasgowlife.org.uk/museums. Mon–Thu & Sat 10am–5pm; Fri & Sun 11am–5pm. Free.

The Lighthouse

The home of Architecture and Design Scotland’s Glasgow office, running design-related exhibitions, workshops and educational events. Other features include a permanent Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition and amazing views from the top of the tower.
11 Mitchell Lane, 276 5360, thelighthouse.co.uk. Mon–Sat 10.30am–5pm; Sun noon–5pm. Free.

National Piping Centre

Home to the Museum of Piping, a reference library, shop and restaurant.
30–34 McPhater Street, 353 0220, thepipingcentre.co.uk. Mon–Fri 9am–5pm; Sat 9am–1pm; closed Sun. £4.50 (£3.50; under 16s £2.50; family £11).

People’s Palace & Winter Gardens

Located on Glasgow Green, the Palace gives an insight into how the people of Glasgow lived from the 1750s to the late 20th century, while next door the Winter Gardens house exotic plants and a café.
Glasgow Green, 276 0788, glasgowlife.org.uk/museums. Palace: Tue–Thu & Sat 10am–5pm; Fri & Sun 11am–5pm; closed Mon; Winter Gardens: daily 10am–5pm. Free.

Pollok House

Set within Pollok Country Park, this 18th-century house holds one of the best collections of Spanish art in the UK, as well as traditional Edwardian furniture and decoration.
2060 Pollokshaws Road, 0844 493 2202, nts.org.uk/property/pollok-house. Daily 10am–5pm. £6 (£5; family £11–£16).

Provand’s Lordship

The oldest house in Glasgow, and one of only four surviving medieval buildings. Restored to its 17th-century finest, there is also a medicinal garden with the intriguing Tontine Faces stone masks.
3 Castle Street, 276 1625, glasgowlife.org.uk/museums. Tue–Thu & Sat 10am–5pm; Fri & Sun 11am–5pm; closed Mon. Free.

Riverside Museum

A rebooted version of the Transport Museum, housed in a cutting-edge piece of architecture by Zaha Hadid. The recently acquired South African locomotive is the largest exhibit in the Glasgow Museums’ collection.
100 Pointhouse Place, 287 2720, glasgowlife.org.uk/museums. Mon–Thu & Sat 10am–5pm; Fri & Sun 11am–5pm. Free.


With two separate indoor circuits on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotkart offers some of the most exciting go-kart racing in Scotland. Beginners or Formula One aspirants can book into practice sessions or sign up for a ‘grand prix’ series which involves a minimum of five heats of five laps each, culminating in a ten-lap grand finale. Smooth concrete tracks, plenty of overtaking room, decent straights and even a bridge (on the Cambuslang circuit) help to make the racing fast and dramatic. Phone ahead for booking.
Westburn Road, Cambuslang, 0141 641 0222; John Knox Street, Clydebank, 0141 641 0222, scotkart.co.uk. Daily 10am–10pm. From £15 (£8; student 2 for £15 offers available Mon–Fri 12pm–5pm).

St Mungo Museum of Religious Art & Life

Situated across the road from the Provand’s Lordship, this museum holds artwork and historical artefacts exploring the role of religion in people’s lives, promoting understanding and respect between faiths.
2 Castle Street, 276 1625, glasgowlife.org.uk/museums. Tue–Thu & Sat 10am–5pm; Fri & Sun 11am–5pm; closed Mon. Free.

The Tall Ship at Riverside

Step aboard the Glenlee, one of only five Clyde-built ships still afloat today. Learn about the maritime history of the area through talks, tours and costume days.
150 Pointhouse Place, 357 3699, thetallship.com. Daily 10am–5pm. £5 (£4.50; one child free per paying adult, additional children £3).

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