The St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art is located near Glasgow Cathedral in the city’s East End. It’s renowned for being one of the world’s only museums that’s solely dedicated to the theme of religion, showcasing a varied collection of religious artefacts from across the globe.
The museum offers a very good café and gift shop in addition to the displays and exhibits in its multi-level historic building. Discover Glasgow’s St. Mungo Museum with this complete visitor guide.
|Address:||2 Castle Street,
|Opening Hours:||Monday Closed
Tuesday 10:00 – 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 – 17:00
Thursday 10:00 – 17:00
Friday 11:00 – 17:00
Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
|Parking:||No on-site car park. Paid car park on Castle Street.|
|Contact:||0141 276 1625
|Facilities:||Cafe, shop, toilets, wheelchair access, cloakroom, hearing loop|
Glasgow is a city that’s chock-full of tourist attractions, from the busy Riverside Museum on the banks of the River Clyde to the tranquil Botanic Gardens in the West End, and not only are most of the city’s attractions top-notch but all the best ones are completely free too.
One of the attractions that easily fits the bill for offering an interesting visit while being totally free is the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art next door to Glasgow Cathedral.
Billed as the only museum in the world that’s solely devoted to the subject of religion you’ll find that it’s crammed full of artefacts and displays collected from across the globe, and the curators have managed to present the museum in a way that’s both educational and genuinely interesting.
The museum doesn’t try to shove the ideas behind each faith down your throat either – quite the opposite in fact – and instead you’re presented with beautiful artworks along with background information behind each piece, leaving you to make up your own mind about what it all means.
One of the aims of this museum is to promote an understanding of people of different faiths and the St. Mungo Museum has done a first-rate job of presenting a multitude of different cultures together in this small corner of Glasgow.
1: The St. Mungo Museum of Religion is a fascinating attraction, and a unique one too as it’s the world’s only museum that is solely dedicated to religion. As a bonus, it’s completely free to enter.
2: The café is very good and reasonably priced and the souvenir shop is a cut above most others you’ll find in Glasgow.
3: The St. Mungo Museum is easy to get to from the city centre and it’s located in one of the oldest parts of the city. I recommend taking a walk around the surrounding streets to soak up the atmosphere of Glasgow.
1: Get there with the 19, 19A, 38, 57 and 57A bus services or walk from the city centre which should take no more than 15 minutes.
3: For inspiration on more things to do in Glasgow check out this article: Glasgow Weekend Itinerary.
You’ll enjoy visiting the St. Mungo Museum whatever your beliefs are and it has been thoughtfully designed to offer something for everyone. The exhibits are genuinely interesting and there’s no chance you’ll get bored looking at the same old relics – something I was a bit wary of before I visited it for myself.
Many of the artworks on display are easily as impressive as anything you’ll find in the more celebrated Kelvingrove Museum and Gallery and this ‘small museum’ exclusivity makes it feel a wee bit special.
They’ve certainly made an effort to be different anyway – an example of which can be seen in the angel section which in a twist of lateral thinking has a display about the TV show Charlie’s Angels – and little touches like that extend throughout each floor.
One of the main areas is dedicated to the man behind the museum – Glasgow’s patron saint St. Mungo – and there’s a lot of information about the early days of the nation and how religion moulded Scotland into the country that it is today.
The museum showcases lots of medieval artefacts so you can not only learn about the history of St. Mungo but also about the city which grew around the nearby Cathedral, and I bet you’ll learn a few things even if you’re a bit of a history nerd.
Oh, and speaking of the cathedral, if you go to the top floor of the museum you’ll get a fantastic elevated view from the large windows that look out over it, so remember to take your camera with you.
The only negative I have is that it might be a bit dull for children so it’s probably not the best place to take a young family, but if you’re a couple or you’re visiting on your own you’ll find it’s an interesting place.
Once you’ve wandered through the exhibits you can pause to grab a bite in the on-site café which I thought was reasonable value and served good quality food, or you can sit in the zen garden which is apparently the first of its type in Britain.
And after all that, it’s just a short walk to both Glasgow Cathedral and The Necropolis so you can easily spend the majority of the day sightseeing in this part of the city without paying any entrance costs at all. Gotta love Glasgow.
I spent nearly two hours at the museum which surprised me as I’m not a religious type but there’s just so much to look at the time seemed to fly by, which is a sign of all the best tourist attractions.
St. Mungo was born in Culross in Fife in 528 AD after his mother had been set adrift in a small boat on the River Forth. His mother had become pregnant after an illicit encounter with her cousin and when her father the King of the Gododdin found out he cast her out from their home in East Lothian.
Luckily for St. Mungo, he was taken in by St. Serf who ran a monastery in Culross and by the age of 25 he began missionary work on the banks of the River Clyde. After building a church and growing his own following he was forced to leave by the anti-Christian King Morken and he eventually found himself in Wales where he founded a cathedral with St. Asaph.
Following the defeat of King Morken in the 570s AD, Mungo was asked to return home to act as Archbishop of Strathclyde which he did along with expanding the church that he had previously built.
St. Mungo continued to minister to the local people until his death in 614 AD, while his church became the focus of a new community from which the city of Glasgow emerged.
Things to Do
Exploring Diverse Faiths: Dive into the abundant and diverse world of religious faiths at the St. Mungo Museum. See exhibits on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism. Each exhibit is enriched with beautiful artefacts, informative displays, and multimedia presentations, making it a truly enlightening experience.
Discovering Religious Art: Explore the museum’s extensive collection of religious art which includes sculptures, paintings, and textiles from around the world. These stunning artworks not only reflect the beliefs and practices of various religions but also offer insights into different cultures from across the globe.
Visiting the Zen Garden: Take a moment to reflect and find inner peace in the museum’s Zen Garden. This tranquil space, inspired by Buddhist traditions, is a perfect spot to unwind after touring the museum. The garden’s minimalist design is intended to promote thoughtfulness and serenity.
Eat in the Cafe: The museum boasts an excellent cafe that serves a wide range of hot drinks and light lunches, all at very reasonable prices. Grab a baked potato or a panini, sit back with a cup of tea or coffee, and reflect on the things you’ve seen at the museum.
Attending Special Events: The St. Mungo Museum often hosts special events with guest speakers holding debates and discussions on various religious topics. These events offer a unique opportunity to engage in stimulating conversations and broaden your understanding of different beliefs.
Things to Do Nearby
Glasgow Cathedral. Castle St, Glasgow G4 0QZ. 1-minute walk.
Founded in 1197, this is one of the largest Christian buildings in Scotland. Glasgow Cathedral is notable for its underground crypt and post-war stained-glass windows. Entry is free but donations are welcome.
The Necropolis. Castle St, Glasgow G4 0UZ. 3-minute walk.
The Necropolis is a large Victorian cemetery located behind Glasgow Cathedral. There are many footpaths winding their way around the 37-acre site and entry is completely free.
George Square. Glasgow G2 1DH. 12-minute walk.
Glasgow’s principal civic square is located in the heart of the city next to the grand City Chambers. This historic square was laid in 1781 and is ringed with statues of famous Scots.
The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. 111 Queen St, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow G1 3AH. 16-minute walk.
Originally a large city mansion owned by a tobacco merchant, this ornate building is now the home of the GOMA. Visitors can view a collection of modern artworks in the permanent collection for free and there are paid temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The GOMA also has a café and gift shop.
Provand’s Lordship. 3 Castle St, Glasgow G4 0RH. 1-minute walk.
This museum is situated inside one of only four medieval buildings that survive in Glasgow. Built in 1471, Provand’s Lordship is furnished with a collection of 17th-century furniture and portraits. Entry is free.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is St. Mungo famous for?
St. Mungo is famous for being the patron saint and founder of the city of Glasgow. He is known for performing miracles and spreading Christianity in Scotland during the 6th century.
How much does it cost to visit the St. Mungo Museum of Religion?
There is no fee to visit the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.
What is the St. Mungo Museum of Religion?
The St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art is a museum of religion located in Glasgow, Scotland. It has been named after Glasgow’s patron saint, who brought the Christian faith to Scotland in the 6th century.
The museum houses exhibits on the world’s major religions, including a Zen garden and a section dedicated to religious art. It also displays artefacts related to different religions from around the world, including Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, and Islam.
Where is St. Mungo buried?
St. Mungo, also known as Saint Kentigern, is buried in Glasgow. His tomb is located in the lower crypt of Glasgow Cathedral.