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.
The floating museum features a restored interior with authentic displays of life at sea in the Victorian era. The attraction also houses a shop and a café. Discover everything you need to know about the Tall Ship with this complete visitor guide.
|Address:||150 Pointhouse Place,|
|Opening Hours:||Monday 10am - 5pm|
Tuesday 11am - 5pm
Wednesday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 3pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm
|Parking:||Paid car park at the Riverside Museum|
|Contact:||0141 357 3699|
|Facilities:||Cafe, shop, toilets, disabled access, baby changing|
One of the highlights of visiting Glasgow is heading down to the River Clyde and having a look around 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.
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 walking around the cargo hold.
There’s even a restaurant and a souvenir shop on board.
I have to say I was mightily impressed by this floating museum and in my opinion it totally deserves its 4-star rating.
1: The Tall Ship has displays and interactive exhibits that will appeal to both adults and children, making it one of Glasgow’s best family attractions.
2: The facilities are great and very family-friendly, especially the café and the play area in the cargo hold.
3: The Tall Ship is completely free and it’s close enough to the Transport Museum that you can combine a visit to both in one afternoon.
1: Another first-rate attraction in the area is the Glasgow Science Centre which is located across the River Clyde. Unfortunately, entry to the science centre is not free.
2: If you’re feeling like a land-lubber 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 – Kelvingrove Museum.
3: For inspiration on more things to do in Glasgow check out this article: Glasgow Weekend Itinerary.
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 where 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 tween 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 seems a lot bigger on the inside than you’d think from looking at her on the quay.
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 deck.
The café is pretty good and you can grab a coffee and a basic lunch – chips/soup/sandwich etc – for a reasonable price before heading out to wander around the rest of the vessel.
The only negative I have about the café is that you might feel a bit enclosed because the only windows are small portholes, but on the other hand how often do you get to munch a sandwich inside a traditional sailing ship?
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.
It’s way bigger than you might expect and even though it’s dimly lit down there it’s very atmospheric.
If you’ve got kids with you they’re going to love spending time in the hold, especially seeing as there is 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 seeing as they’re both completely free.
If you’d like to know more about The Riverside Museum check out my Complete Guide to The Riverside Museum of Transport for full details including opening times and facilities.
If you’re in Glasgow and looking for a cheap way to kill a few hours I honestly can’t think of a better place to visit than the River Clyde and these two fascinating museums.
The Glenlee was built in 1896 as a cargo ship at the Anderson Rodger shipyard in Port Glasgow.
During the course of her 47 years of service she navigated the world’s oceans both as a transport vessel and a military training ship before being rescued and converted into the floating museum that we can visit today.
The vessel changed ownership several times during the 23 years that she operated as a bulk carrier, and was renamed Islamount in the early 1900s before being purchased by the Star of Italy shipping company in 1919.
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 the Galatea and converted her into an officer training vessel capable of accommodating three hundred military personnel.
By 1943 the 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 90s, at which time she was discovered by a British naval architect and was subsequently purchased by the Clyde Maritime Trust.
The trust ensured the ship was restored with 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.
Discover more places to visit in Glasgow with: The Best Places to Visit in Glasgow – Ultimate Visitor Guide.
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.
Historical Roots: Built in 1896, the Glenlee was one of the last cargo tall ships constructed on the River Clyde, marking an important era in Glasgow’s shipbuilding history.
Global Voyager: The Glenlee has circumnavigated the globe four times in its lifetime, covering an impressive 1.5 million nautical miles.
Spanish Service: For 47 years, from 1922 to 1969, the Glenlee served as a training ship for the Spanish Navy, and was renamed as ‘Galatea’.
Survivor Ship: The Glenlee is one of only five remaining Clyde-built sailing ships still afloat in the world.
Rescue and Restoration: After being abandoned in Seville Harbour in 1990, the Glenlee was rescued and brought back to Glasgow in 1993 for restoration.
Authenticity Maintained: The Glenlee’s restoration was carefully done to preserve as many original features as possible, including the ‘tween deck and the captain’s cabin.
Things to do nearby
The Glasgow SEC. Exhibition Way, Glasgow G3 8YW. 21-minute walk.
Arts and exhibitions arena 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 St, Glasgow G3 8AG. 18-minute walk.
One of Scotland’s most-visited museums, Kelvingrove 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 Kelvingrove Museum.
The Glasgow Science Centre. 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow G51 1EA. 21-minute walk.
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
How do I get to The Tall Ship?
Address: Pointhouse Place, Glasgow, G3 8RS
Directions map: Google Maps
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.
Is there parking at the Tall Ship?
The Tall Ship is located next to the Riverside Museum which has a large car park behind it with disabled access.