With its dazzling interactive science museum, a stirring Gothic cathedral and captivating journeys into Glaswegian stories of the past, the city of Glasgow has attractions aplenty for solo travellers, couples and families.
Step through the portals of Glasgow Cathedral and you’re swiftly transported to the middle ages, when its dramatic structure represented the pinnacle of achievement. Highlights within include the tomb of St Mungo, Glasgow’s sixth century patron saint, surrounded by pillars. Beneath the repaired wooden roof, still upheld by remnants of 14th century timber, the modern stained glass windows make a fitting new-era addition to Glasgow Cathedral worthy of appreciation.
Nearby, the Glasgow Necropolis, with great views of the cathedral and of Glasgow beyond, makes a quirky stop in its own right. Partly modelled on Paris’s feted Père Lachaise cemetery, it’s the final resting place of many 19th-century Glaswegian worthies who commissioned tombs to send them out in high Victorian style. Glasgow Necropolis makes an especially atmospheric – and slightly spooky – attraction at dusk.
Looking the part, with a futuristic titanium shell like the housing of some alien gastropod, the Glasgow Science Centre’s 300 interactive exhibits will keep both kids and adults entertained for hours. Miniature pendulums and whirlpools, optical illusions aplenty and an exhibition that involves reconstructing a brain are all designed to tease and please curious minds. Glasgow Science Centre also has Scotland’s largest IMAX theatre, a planetarium and the Glasgow Tower: the latter has fantastic views of Glasgow but – know before you go – it closes if the wind picks up.
Housed in a palatial Victorian stone building, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum houses 8,000 diverse objects, from Egyptian artefacts to grisly ancient weaponry, a Spitfire fighter plane, a stuffed and much-admired Asian elephant called ‘Sir Roger’, medieval leatherware and early models of the solar system – all arranged in 22 well-themed galleries. A superb art collection contributes to the museum’s stellar reputation, most notably Salvador Dali’s moving portrayal of the crucifixion, Christ of St John of the Cross.
On a more everyday note, many of Glasgow’s citizens lived in multi-storey tenement buildings, often in cramped and unhealthy conditions, for much of the city’s modern history. Some of these buildings have been preserved by National Trust for Scotland to offer visitors the chance to go back in time and see what day-to-day life was like for people in the early 20th century.
These include the Tenement House – a reconstruction of a modest home. To the soft hiss of the working gaslight, explore rooms with preserved original features and objects kept for over 50 years by one single inhabitant, including household medicines, a cubbyhole-like box bed, cosy reclining chairs upholstered in horsehair.