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Ten historic Glasgow attractions: things to do in Glasgow

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Patricia Clark of GreetinGlasgow Walking Tours offers her tips for making the most of a visit to Glasgow.

The city of Glasgow offers so much to see and so much to do. Glasgow has a history very different from that of Edinburgh. We are Scotlands biggest city, Scotlands industrial city and the city of immigrants. The city has welcomed Highlanders from the Clearances, Irish, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Pakistani, and Polish to name but a few.

In the Victorian era, Glasgow was called Second City of the Empire, second to London in population and prosperity, yet at the same time tragically had the worst working and living conditions for the working classes.

Nowadays, left wing politics and the best sense of humour in Scotland (and maybe the world) are part of what makes the Glaswegian. Glasgow is the best place for a night out!

Glasgow KelvingroveAs well as our huge music venues, concert halls, theatres and the home of Scottish Opera we have many bars in the city centre with great free music. The iconic Barrowland Ballroom in the East End is the favourite venue for any rock musician. So from traditional folk music to electronika, Glasgow has something for everyone.

In 1990 Glasgow was the European City of Culture. The spit and sawdust bars gave way to a new kind of socialising in the city. The Merchant City initiative transformed the old industrial buildings into stylish bars and restaurants, making Glasgow is a fabulous destination for great food, Scottish and International.

Things to do in Glasgow

If you make Glasgow a base for your Scottish holiday or short break, what can you do? This great city has as history dating back to at least the sixth century. Among the treasures are:

1. Glasgow Cathedral, a fantastic medieval structure

2. ​Saint Mary of the Assumption, the first Roman Catholic parish since the Reformation and an architectural gem

3. Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum (above). A Victorian masterpiece with an amazing collection

4. Gallery of Modern Art. Modern art in what was a tobacco lord’s mansion

5. Glasgow Green - a huge park sometimes compared to New York's Central Park. The site is also home to the Peoples Palace Museum and Gallery which tells the story of the city’s working population and its culture

6. The City Chambers (top), if it isn’t being used as a film set!

Glasgow – further afield

Glasgow makes a great destination for a holiday or short break, allowing you to travel further afield and explore Scotland. From Queen Street Station in George Square, the low level train will have you at Loch Lomond in 35 minutes, whilst trains to the coastal towns such as Prestwick and Troon will take you to the beach in 45 minutes.

It’s only fifty minutes on the train to Edinburgh, so instead of staying in Edinburgh and visiting Glasgow, who not make it the other way round? You cannot do Glasgow on a day trip.

MORE: Glasgow in the Fifties

Patricia Clark runs GreetinGlasgow Walking Tours and is the author of Calton Connections – the history of Glasgow told by a Glasgow family.

Images: Doulton Fountain copyright Chris Phan; Kelvingrove aerial © Phillip Capper; City Chambers © Kilburn

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