Includes Glasgow City, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, and North and South Lanarkshire
Glasgow is a large city that lost its medieval architecture as a result of the industrial revolution. Along with the destruction of older buildings, many factories were built to employ people in the textile industry and shipping. Victorians imposed their own architecture on the city, and many of their more imposing buildings are located in George Square in the city centre.
Around George Square are reminders of former tobacco storage warehouses. This is now an area of retail trade and downtown housing. Hutcheson’s Hall is a listed building of 1802-05 reconstructed in 1876. Inside is an impressive staircase, portraits, exhibitions and a visitor centre with an AV presentation on Glasgow.
Further afield, the Gothic Glasgow cathedral was built during the 13th-15th centuries. This is the only Scottish mainland medieval cathedral surviving the Reformation undamaged (except for the western towers). It has an elaborately vaulted crypt, rich moulded arches in the nave, a timber roof and a unique stone screen. The choir and lower church are of the First Pointed style with finely worked details. The lower church houses the tomb of St Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint.
Greater Glasgow is a museum lover’s paradise. Near the cathedral is St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art showcasing works of art of all the world’s religions. Across the street from the museum is the oldest surviving house in Glasgow, Provand’s Lordship, built in 1471, and now a museum with rooms reflecting its former usage. Modern art lovers will want to head to the Gallery of Modern Art on Queen St.
The Glasgow Science Centre is the place to bring kids on a rainy day. In addition to the IMAX theatre and planetarium the centre has lots of hands-on activities to entertain them while they learn a lot of fascinating scientific information.
The Glasgow University area has a number of varied museums. The Hunterian museum deals with the archaeological history of Scotland and has a collection of fossils, coins and medals. The Hunterian art gallery is the place to go to see the paintings of the Scottish colourists. The Kelvingrove art gallery and museum has a Scottish natural history display, European arms and armour, Scottish weapons, glass, silver, ceramics and jewellery.
Admirers of Charles Rennie Mackintosh will want to visit the Mackintosh wing, a reconstruction of his Glasgow home. The Museum of Transport has collections on all forms of transport (except aviation). Trams, trolley buses, locomotives, motor cars, horse drawn vehicles and fire vehicles are included.
Greater Glasgow includes a number of suburban areas that are not places to visit in their own right. However, there are attractions scattered among the endless housing estates. At Paisley is Paisley Abbey, founded in 1163, burned, then restored. The building reflects the 14th and 15th centuries although it was again restored in the 19th century. The west front doorway is from the 13th century, and the abbey has unusual corbelled galleries. Stained glass windows and a 10th century cross are part of the attractions.
The Paisley Museum and Art Gallery in a 19th century building has a section on the Paisley shawl that tells of the development of the industry. The art gallery has works by the Scottish School, pottery, and local and natural history exhibits.
The Tenement at Garnethill is an example of a late Victorian first floor tenement flat. Most of the original features, furniture, furnishings and personal possessions present a picture of domestic life at the beginning of the 20th century. There is an exhibition. Scotland’s rural past is found at the Museum of Scottish Country life at East Kilbride. There are exhibits, historic photos and farming implements. Historic house interiors are also on show.
The 360 acre Pollok country park is home to a museum and historic house. The Burrell collection in the park has 8000 items, including medieval glass and tapestries, Chinese ceramics and 19th century French paintings. Pollok house is mid-Georgian but was extended in the 1800s. It contains the Stirling Maxwell collection of Spanish and European paintings including works by El Greco and Goya. Porcelain, silver and glass are displayed in furnishings appropriate to the Edwardian period.
Near the Glasgow airport is Finlaystone, seat of the earls of Glencairn (William, the 9th Earl was Lord High Chancellor of Scotland under Charles II) for 400 years, now a MacMillan family home. Robert Burns often visited here. The house dates from the14th century but was rebuilt in the mid 1700s. It was purchased by the chair of the Clyde Shipping Co and repaired in 1900 but its 18th century façade was preserved. There are marble pillars and chimney pieces and decorated plasterwork ceilings, fine furniture and paintings. Of interest is a doll and toy museum. In the grounds are formal and walled gardens.
Greenbank Garden at Clarkston is a 2½ acre walled garden built around a Georgian house. Of particular interest to owners of small gardens are the ornamental plants, annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees.
South of the city centre at Cathcart is Holmwood House, designed in the classical Greek style by Alexander Thomson in 1857-8. Decorations are of wood, plaster and marble.
The town of Hamilton, south of Glasgow, is the site of a museum in a former coaching inn. The museum has a local history collection including industries, lacemaking, and transport. Also here is the Cameronian (Scottish Rifles) Regimental Museum located behind the District Museum in the Duke of Hamilton’s old riding school. There are displays of uniforms, medals, banners and photos.
Dumbarton is home to the castle of the same name. There have been defensive fortifications on the rock here since the time of St Patrick, and the castle has a long and varied history. The earliest surviving part of the castle is the portcullis arch, which dates from the 14th century. A medieval gatehouse was torn down to build the governor's house in the early 1900s. The house now serves as a museum and visitor centre. In front of the house is King George's battery.
Followers of the adventures of David Livingstone will want to visit the David Livingstone centre in Blantyre, where he was born in 1813. There is a display of his personal belongings.
Bothwell castle, near Blantyre, is the largest and finest 13th century stone castle in Scotland though much dates from the 14th and 15th centuries; part of the original circular deep survives.
Southwest of Glasgow close to the town of Hamilton is 500 acre Chatelherault Country Park containing a restored William Adam hunting lodge once belonging to the Dukes of Hamilton. Among the attractions are woodland walks among ancient oaks, a visitor centre, an historic garden, café, shop, and picnic and adventure playground areas. A castle built in 1550 lies in the grounds.
Lanark is the location of the first Scots parliament, which took place in AD 978. It was also the home of William "Braveheart" Wallace. Northwest of Lanark is Craignethan castle. The oldest part is a 16th century tower house with a stone vaulted artillery chamber.
At New Lanark is an 18th century planned industrial village located on the floor of the deep gorge of the River Clyde. The river was used to power textile mills. Among the attractions are restored millworker houses, a village store, and working textile machinery. A visitor centre details the story of the workers’ town. This is a highly commercialized site. There are walks along the river.
From New Lanark a path leads to the Falls of Clyde Wildlife Nature Reserve, mixed woodland along both sides of the Clyde gorge with a series of waterfalls. Wildlife such as badgers, deer, fox and bats inhabit the woodland. Peregrine falcons breed in the reserve, and the woods are home to many different birds. A Visitor Centre offers walks and educational services.
In the village of Douglas is 14th century St Bride’s church. The clock tower dates from the 16th century and has the oldest working clock in Scotland. The mausoleum is the resting place for two well known historical figures: Sir James Douglas, known as the “Black Douglas” and the 5th Earl of Angus, known as “Bell the Cat”.
Biggar is the site of a number of museums. The Biggar gasworks, the only coalfired ones left in Britain, were built in 1839 for both domestic use and street lighting. It ceased operation in 1963. Gladstone Court is an indoor street museum with historic shops. Greenhill Convenanter’s house is a relocated farmhouse with 17th century furnishings, displays and relics of covenanting times when Presbyterians and Royalists clashed. Moat Park Heritage Centre, in a renovated church, has exhibits covering the natural and folk history of the area.
Greater Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Visitor Information Centres
Welcome Break Ltd
M74 Motorway Jct 13
Abington ML12 6RG
Tel. 0 1864 502 436
Open: Jan-May: daily 10am-5pm; June-Aug: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-5pm; Sep-Dec: daily 10am-5pm
155 High St, Biggar ML12 6DL
Tel. 0 1899 221 066
Open: April-Sep: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm
Glasgow Airport VIC
Glasgow Airport, Paisley PA3 2ST
Tel. 0848 4440
Open: Oct-Easter: Mon-Sat 7.30am-5pm, Sun 8am-3.30pm; Easter-Sep: daily 7.30am-5pm
Glasgow City VIC
174 Buchanan St, Glasgow
Tel. 0 141 204 4400
Open: Jan, Easter and Oct-Nov: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm; Easter-May: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10am-6pm; June and Sep: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-6pm; July-Aug: Mon-Sat 9am-8pm, sun 10am-6pm; Dec: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm
Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, ML3 6JW
Tel. 0 1698 285 590
Open: Oct-Easter: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; April-end Sep: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm
Horsemarket, Ladyacre Rd
Lanark, Lanarkshire, ML11 7LQ
Tel. 0 1555 661 661
Open: Easter-Sep: daily 10am-5pm; Oct-Easter: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm
9a Gilmour St, Paisley, Renfrewshire, PA1 1DD
Tel. 0 141 889 0711
Open: Oct-Easter: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; Easter-Sep: Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm, Sun noon-5pm
Greater Glasgow Attractions
For full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.
Biggar Gasworks Museum
Biggar, South Lanarkshire, on the A702
Botanic Gardens Glasgow
730 Great Wester Rd, Glasgow
Tel. 0141 334 2422
Web: Botanic Gardens Glasgow
Bothwell, South Lanarkshire
Approached from Uddingston, off M74/A725 near Glasgow
Tel. 0 1698 816 894
Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Rd
Glasgow G43 1AT
Tel. 0141 287 2550
Cameronian (Scottish Rifles) Regimental Museum
Hamilton, South Lanarkshire
Just off the M74, south of Glasgow
Chatelherault Country Park
Carlisle Rd, Ferniegar near Hamilton, Lanarkshire
Take junction 6 from the M74, following the A72 Larkhall to Ferniegar road
Tel. 0 1698 426 213
Renfrew, off King’s Inch Rd, Glasgow
5.5 miles (8.9km) northwest of Lanark, South Lanarkshire
Off the A72
Tel. 0 1555 860 364
David Livingstone Centre
165 Station Rd, Blantyre, Lanarkshire
Tel. 0 1698 823 140
129 Muir St, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire
Just off the M74, south of Glasgow
Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire
14 miles west of Glasgow, on the A82
Falls of Clyde Visitor Centre and National Nature Reserve
One mile south of Lanark, off the A73; follow signs for New Lanark World Heritage Site; visitor centre located in the Old Mill Dyeworks, New Lanark, Lanarkshire
Tel. 0 1555 665 262
For photos and more details see our article Fall of Clyde Visit Centre
Finlaystone Country Estate, House and Gardens
On A8 Greenock Rd, Langbank, Renfrewshire
2.5 miles (4km) west of the end of M8 (junction 31), a few miles west of Glasgow airport
Tel. 0 1475 540 505 (country estate); 0 1475 540 530 (house office)
Web: Finlaystone Country Estate
Web: Finlaystone House
Gallery of Modern Art
Queen St, Glasgow, on the (M8/M77)
Tel. 0141 229 1996
Biggar, North Back Rd, South Lanarkshire
On the A702
Cathedral Square, Glasgow
Tel. 0141 552 6891 or 0141 552 0988
Glasgow Science Centre
50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow
Reached by public bus, train, directions on website
Tel. 0141 420 5000
Web: Glasgow Science Centre
Flenders Rd, Clarkston, Greater Glasgow
Off the A77/A726
Tel. 0141 616 5126
Greenhill Convenanter’s House
Biggar, South Lanarkshire
On the A702
61-63 Netherlee Rd, Cathcart, Glasgow
Tel. 0 141 637 2129
Hunterian Art Gallery
82 Hillhead St, University of Glasgow, Glasgow
Tel. 0141 330 5431
Main/Gilbert-Scott Building, University Ave
University of Glasgow, Glasgow
Tel. 0141 330 4221
Web: Hunterian Museum
158 Ingram St, Glasgow
Tel. 0141 552 8391
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Argyle St, Kelvin Park, Glasgow
Tel. 0141 276 9599
Glasgow University Grounds, (M8/M77)
Moat Park Heritage Centre
Biggar, South Lanarkshire
On the A702
Motherwell Heritage Centre
High Rd, Motherwell
On the A721/723, by Glasgow
Tel. 0 1698 251 000
Museum of Scottish Industrial Life
Heritage Way, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire
Tel. 0 1236 638 460
National Museum of Rural Life
Wester Kittochside Philipshill Road, East Kilbride
Near A726, south of Glasgow
Tel. 0 300 123 6789
New Lanark Mills
New Lanark, South Lanarkshire
On the A73/ A743/706
Tel. 0 1559 665 738
For photos and more details see our article New Lanark
Web: New Lanark
On the M8/A726, just west of Glasgow
Web: Paisley Abbey
Paisley Museum and Art Gallery
High St, Paisley, off the M8 by Glasgow
Tel. 0141 889 3151
Pollok Country Park Museum and House
2060 Pollokshaws Rd
Off M77, junction 1, 2.5 miles south of city centre of Glasgow; follow signs for Burrell Collection
Tel. 0141 616 6410
3 Castle St, Glasgow City
Tel. 0141 553 2557
For photos and more information see our article Provand’s Lordship
100 Pointhouse Place, Glasgow
Tel. 0 141 287 2720
St Bride’s Church
Douglas, South Lanarkshire
18 miles (29km) southeast of Glasgow, on the A70
Tel. 0 1555 851 657
St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art
2 Castle St near the Cathedral, Glasgow
Tel. 0141 553 2557
Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life
Heritage Way, Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire
Tel. 0 1236 638 460
Greater Glasgow Museums. (M8/M77) 145 Buccleuch St., Garnethill
Tel. 0141 333 0183
Photos by Barbara Ballard and courtesy of
Pollak House painting and interior and exterior of Holmwood House: National Trust for Scotland
Falls of Clyde: Scottish Wildlife Trust
Glasgow city view, Glasgow Cathedral, Museum of Modern Art, Science Centre, Kelvingrove Museum, Paisley Museum, Museum of Country Life, and Burrell collection: Glasgow Tourism
Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
George Square Glasgow: wfmillar
Paisley Abbey: Vince Madden
Finlaystone and Dumbarton Castle: Lairich Rig
David Livingstone Centre: Thomas Nugent
Chatelherault Country Park: Elliott Simpson
Biggar gasworks: Elliott Simpson
Greenhill House: Paul Nardone
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Our Glasgow and Clyde Valley Articles
Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve
Provand’s Lordship House
New Lanark, World Heritage Village
Finlaystone Country Estate and Gardens
Take a CalMac Ferry to the Hebrides
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