Dating back to the medieval times, the city of Glasgow has a distinct architecture, while only 2 examples of medieval architecture remain, there is a remarkable mix of 19th century Victorian architecture and early 20th century ‘Glasgow Style’ Mackintosh-designed buildings
Here are the 12 most impressive buildings worth discovering in Scotland’s largest city… and they all just happen to be free to enter!
Glasgow City Chambers
In the centre of Glasgow is George Square, filled with fine buildings, statues and war memorials. At the Eastern end you will find the magnificent Victorian building of the Glasgow City Chambers and is the masterpiece of Scottish architect William Young. The building was opened in 1888 by Queen Victoria, and as well as being striking on the outside, the inside oozes opulence with elegant and stunning Italian marble staircases, mosaic ceilings, gold leaf accents, rich Spanish mahogany panelling, swathes of stained glass and pillars of granite. Glasgow City Chambers is one of the city’s most prestigious buildings.
Free- Open Monday- Friday with guided tours being conducted at 10.30am and 2.30am. If you cannot make the tour, you can wander freely around the entrance hall.
Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is the most visited modern art gallery in Scotland, and sits as the pride and joy of Royal Exchange Square in the city centre. Constructed in 1778, this neoclassical building is the former townhouse of a wealthy tobacco lord. Having passed through many owners, the building underwent reconstruction from 1827 to 1832, resulting in the addition of the notable Corinthian pillars, cupola and substantial hall. Today the building is exquisite on the outside and filled with amazing art pieces inside.
Glasgow Cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture remaining in Scotland. The structure has origins from the 12th century, most of what is here today dates from the 15th century. Glasgow’s patron saint, St Mungo is believed to have hosted the original church, and indeed in the crypts beneath the cathedral you can find the tomb of St Mungo. Enormous ceilings, pointed arches, ribbed vaults and intricate stained glass exist in abundance. The best views of the cathedral are from the neighbouring Necropolis, which is also very worthy of visiting- there are over 50,000 souls buried in this Victorian cemetery.
Free- part of Historic Scotland
Neighbouring the Cathedral is this, the oldest house in Glasgow. Dating back to 1471. Thoughtfully maintained and preserved, the three storied house/museum is a wonderfully authentic look at simple medieval domestic life for city dwellers. It is believed to have served as temporary living quarters for Cathedral staff. The house owes its name to the Lord of the Prebend (or ‘Provand’) of Barlanark, who later occupied the house. Today the house is furnished with a collection of 17th century Scottish furniture donated by Sir William Burrell.
One of Glasgow’s most fascinating intersections is the Trongate, this junction has been central to the city for centuries. Trongate begins at Glasgow Cross, where the Tolbooth Steeple is situated, being the original centre of medieval Glasgow, and goes westward changing its name to Argyle Street at Glassford Street, look up and around as you wander here. Standing at the foot of High Street is the Tolbooth Steeple standing at 126-foot-tall and built in 1626 at what was the meeting point of the main streets of Glasgow at that time. The Steeple is all that remains of the original Tolbooth buildings which contained the town hall, court and jail. The Tolbooth housed the Glasgow Council Chambers until 1814, when the council sold the Tolbooth building (later demolished in 1921) and moved to Jail Square in the Saltmarket, before eventually moving to the current City Chambers in George Square. Along with the nearby Tron Theatre, formerly the Tron Kirk built in 1794 the Tolbooth Steeple is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Here you can picture days gone by with trade carts rolling past, however this area was also where the city hangings once took place.
People’s Palace And Winter Gardens