The Tall Ship

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Last Updated: by Craig Neil.

The Tall Ship is a 19th-century, fully restored sailing ship and museum moored up at Pointhouse Quay next to the Riverside Transport Museum in Glasgow in the city’s West End. The floating museum features a restored interior with authentic displays of life at sea in the Victorian era. The attraction also houses a shop, café, cinema, and children’s play area.

The Tall Ship
Address:150 Pointhouse Place,
Glasgow,
G3 8RS
Opening Hours:Monday 10am - 5pm
Tuesday 11am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 3pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm
Admission Price:Free
Parking:Paid car park at the Riverside Museum
Contact:0141 357 3699
Facilities:Cafe, shop, toilets, disabled access, baby changing
Photos:YouTube Video

Overview

One of the highlights of visiting Glasgow is heading down to the River Clyde and having a look at The Tall Ship, the 19th-century sailing ship moored alongside Pointhouse Quay. This fully restored three-mast sailing ship offers an interesting glimpse into a bygone era of wind-powered vessels.

The Tall Ship (real name Glenlee) is one of only five remaining tall ships built on the Clyde that’s still afloat today, and a visit is well worth making the time for if you’ve ever wanted to know anything about Glasgow’s shipbuilding heritage.

The Glenlee is one of those tourist attractions that’s guaranteed to keep all members of the family entertained, and mums and dads will enjoy their visit just as much as children thanks to the tales of her sea-faring voyages that are displayed throughout the ship.

Questions like ‘what did the crew eat?’ and ‘where did the ship sail?’ are answered in detail during a tour, while an audio guide explains what life was like onboard a British sailing ship more than one hundred years ago. Perhaps the best thing about a visit to The Tall Ship is exploring every nook and cranny and imagining what it would have been like to sail around the world’s oceans in the days of Queen Victoria.

It’s pretty much impossible to get bored at this attraction as there are so many things to see and do, including taking the wheel in the wheelhouse, inspecting the captain’s quarters, viewing the onboard cinema, and exploring the cargo hold. There’s even a restaurant and a gift shop on board.

The Tall Ship

The Highlights

1: The Tall Ship is one of the few remaining Clyde-built sailing ships still afloat in the world. Originally launched in 1896, the Glenlee has been restored to her former glory, offering visitors a chance to experience life on board a Victorian sailing ship. You can explore the ship’s history, learn about the stories of the people who worked on it, and get a sense of the conditions faced by the sailors of the time.

2: The Tall Ship not only serves as a museum with informative displays but also offers a range of interactive exhibits. It’s very family-friendly, providing educational activities for children such as treasure hunts, dressing up in period costumes, and engaging with hands-on exhibits that teach about the history of the ship.

3: Visiting the Tall Ship is an opportunity to step back in time and immerse yourself in Glasgow’s shipbuilding past while enjoying the scenic beauty and vibrant culture of the River Clyde’s waterfront.

Visiting Tips

1: Another first-rate attraction in the area is the Glasgow Science Centre which is located across the River Clyde. Unlike the Tall Ship and the Riverside Museum, entry to the science centre is not free.

2: If you’re feeling like a landlubber and pining for greenery, you should head inland to Kelvingrove Park which is a 20-minute walk away. The park is home to another famous Glasgow attraction, the Kelvingrove Museum.

3: Keep in mind that strollers may not be easy to manoeuvre on board due to the ship’s layout. For those with mobility issues, it’s important to note that while the main deck is accessible, other areas of the ship may not be. Check with the attraction in advance for the latest information on accessibility.

Tall Ship

Tourist Information

There’s a surprising amount of things to see in The Tall Ship, and I really wasn’t expecting to spend more than a half-hour aboard her so I was surprised to find myself strolling through the exit over two hours later.

Self-guided tours begin at the gangway, and from there, you can walk around the upper deck and look inside the main deckhouse before stopping to gaze up at the masts and their impossibly complicated network of ropes and pulleys. How those yesteryear sailors managed to keep all that rigging in working order is hard to imagine, but it must have been a back-breaking job keeping the Glenlee ship-shape as she sailed across the globe.

The upper deck is also where you’ll find the galley and the carpentry and sailmaking workshops, and it’s in these sections of the ship that the history of the Glenlee really comes to life. All of these areas have been faithfully restored to their original condition so that visitors can see how the sailors would have lived and worked when the ship was operating in its heyday.

From the upper deck, you move down to the twelfth deck, and I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how big the ship actually is once you start exploring the lower levels. The Glenlee is a bit of a Tardis because she appears to be a lot bigger on the inside than you’d think from looking at her on the quay.

The Tall Ship

Not only is there a well-stocked gift shop on one side of the tween deck, but they’ve also managed to fit a café in there as well, both of which take up less than half the floor space of the entire deck. The café is pretty good, and you can grab a coffee and a basic lunch (chips, soup, sandwiches, etc.) for a reasonable price before heading out to wander around the rest of the vessel.

The lower deck is where you’ll find the toilets and an education room, along with a few informative displays about the types of cargo the ship would have carried, but it’s the cargo hold that really impresses due to its immense size.

If you have children with you, they’re going to love spending time in the hold, especially as there’s a play area and a mini cinema down there too. Perhaps best of all, the Riverside Museum of Transport is situated next door so you can easily combine a visit to both attractions in one afternoon, which you should definitely do as they’re both completely free.

The Tall Ship

History

The Glenlee was built in 1896 as a cargo ship at the Anderson Rodger shipyard in Port Glasgow. During her 47 years of service, she navigated the world’s oceans both as a transport vessel and as a military training ship before being rescued and converted into the floating museum that we see today.

Throughout her 23-year career as a bulk carrier, the ship underwent a number of ownership changes and was renamed Islamount in the early 1900s. In 1919, the Star of Italy shipping company finally acquired the vessel. At this time, the days of traditional sailing ships were coming to an end due to diesel power, so in 1922, Islamount’s owners retrofitted the vessel with two auxiliary diesel engines.

Shortly after this upgrade, she was sold to the Spanish Military Naval School, which renamed her Galatea and converted her into an officer training vessel. By 1943, Galatea had been abandoned in a Spanish port, and it seemed as if her sailing days were over until plans were made to transform her into a floating naval museum in Seville.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for Glasgow), the Spanish Navy decided to scrap her in the early 1990s, at which point a British naval architect discovered her, and the Clyde Maritime Trust subsequently bought her. The trust ensured the ship was restored to her original name, Glenlee, before carrying out an exhaustive six-year restoration. She is now a permanent fixture at Glasgow’s Riverside Transport Museum on the River Clyde.

The Glenlee

Things to Do

Explore the Glenlee: This restored Victorian tall ship, first launched in 1896, offers a fascinating insight into nautical life in the 19th century. Wander through the cabins, explore the cargo hold, and take in the awe-inspiring sight of the towering masts.

Interactive Displays: Engage with the ship’s captivating interactive displays. Learn about the ship’s history, the sailors who once lived and worked on it, and its various voyages around the globe. These displays combine education and entertainment, making them enjoyable for both children and adults.

Relax at the Mini Cinema and Cafe: After exploring the ship, unwind at the ship’s mini cinema, which showcases films related to maritime history. Then, head over to the cafe, set in the ship’s pantry, and enjoy a range of coffee, cakes, and light bites while soaking in the atmosphere of the Glenlee.

Explore the Harbour: Kelvin Harbour is worth taking a look around to see some of the River Clyde’s most famous sights. A little further up the river is the SECC, and across the water is the Glasgow Science Centre.

Special Events and Festivals: The Tall Ship often hosts special events, from pirate days to maritime festivals. These events provide an immersive experience where the whole family can enjoy fun activities, enjoy live performances, and even dress up in period costumes for a day.

Glenlee Glasgow

Book Tours

Things to Do Nearby

The Glasgow SEC. Exhibition Way, Glasgow G3 8YW, is a 21-minute walk.
The arts and exhibitions arena is located on the bank of the River Clyde. The SECC is split into three different buildings, which are the most distinctive in Glasgow. The Finnieston Crane is nearby, and there are cafés and bars inside the centre.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AG. 18-minute walk.
Kelvingrove, one of Scotland’s most-visited museums, offers a diverse range of exhibits and artefacts from across the globe. The museum is situated near the west end of the 84-acre Kelvingrove Park. Entry is free.

Kelvingrove Park. 6 Professors’ Square, Glasgow G3 6BY. 23-minute walk.
One of the oldest public parks in Scotland. Kelvingrove Park features a collection of memorials, walking paths, sports areas, the River Kelvin, and the Kelvingrove Museum.

The Glasgow Science Centre. 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow, G51 1EA, is a 21-minute walk.
This is a science and technology museum situated on the bank of the River Clyde. The centre offers a collection of fun and informative interactive exhibits based on all aspects of science. There is also a tall rotating tower that offers panoramic views of Glasgow, an IMAX cinema, a planetarium, a shop, and a café.

The Riverside Museum of Transport. 100 Pointhouse Rd., Govan, Glasgow, G3 8RS. 1-minute walk.
Scotland’s premier museum is dedicated to all forms of transport, from bicycles to aircraft. The museum features a collection of rare cars, steam trains, a re-creation of a Victorian Glasgow street, interactive displays, a café, a shop, and much more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I park for the Tall Ship in Glasgow?

The Tall Ship is located adjacent to the Riverside Museum at Pointhouse Quay. There are multiple parking options available for you:
Riverside Museum Car Park: This is the closest parking available to the Tall Ship. It’s a pay-and-display car park with around 300 spaces.
Kelvin Hall Car Park is located a bit further away, but it’s larger and also offers a pay-and-display system.
On-street parking: There is limited on-street parking available around the museum. Be sure to check the local parking restrictions.

Is the Tall Ship Glasgow free?

There is no fee to visit The Tall Ship, and there is no requirement to book a visit.

What is the name of the tall ship in Glasgow?

The Tall Ship in Glasgow is called the Glenlee, but she was renamed several times, first as Islamount, then Clarastella, then Galatea, and then back to Glenlee.

What can you do at the Tall Ship?

The Tall Ship, also known as the Glenlee, is a must-visit attraction in Glasgow. Here’s what you can do at this fascinating maritime heritage museum:
Explore the ship: Wander around the ship’s decks and cabins, gaining a sense of what life was like for sailors over a century ago.
Interactive Exhibits: The ship hosts a range of interactive exhibits that delve into the ship’s history, the trade routes it sailed, and the goods it carried.
Educational Workshops: The Tall Ship offers a variety of educational workshops for children and adults. These sessions offer an enriching insight into maritime history and seafaring life.
Cafe and Gift Shop: After a day of exploration, you can unwind at the onboard cafe, which offers a range of refreshments. There’s also a gift shop where you can pick up maritime-themed souvenirs and memorabilia.

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Craig Neil

Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.