An itinerary For: A Glasgow Weekend – Day One

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The Out About Scotland complete guide to a weekend in Glasgow

 Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland both in size and population, with around 600,000 people living in this cosmopolitan city situated on the banks of the River Clyde. Once famous for its shipbuilding industry, the city is now more famous for its bustling shopping areas and world-class variety of theatres, museums and galleries.

Second only to Edinburgh for the amount of green space per acre, Glasgow also boats some of the finest parklands of any city in Britain, and a wide range of traditional and modern music events can usually be found playing somewhere in the city.

The heart of Glasgow is the River Clyde and it was here where the first rural settlements began in pre-Roman times with the river eventually proving to be an ideal location for Roman outposts.

The city was officially founded 600 years later by St. Mungo with the establishment of a church at the site where Glasgow Cathedral now stands, and with each passing century the population expanded until the city became one of the great industrial areas and sea-ports of Great Britain.

Medieval buildings and architecture can still be seen in many districts such as the Trongate and Saltmarket, and some of Glasgow’s best gothic architecture and sculptures can be seen up close and personal in the 37-acre Victorian Necropolis.

Nearby you’ll find the 18th century Merchant City which was once an important trading place for the shipping of goods to the Americas and the Caribbean, while the River Clyde plays host to a number of museums celebrating Glasgow’s rich cultural heritage including the Transport Museum and the Glenlee, otherwise known as the Tall Ship.

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There are also some of the finest museums in Scotland to be found here, with Kelvingrove Museum often regarded as one of the best in the country, while the Glasgow residents proud heritage is celebrated in the wonderful People’s Palace.

All of these sites can be easily visited thanks not only to the excellent road network but also thanks to the subway system – which is actually the third oldest underground transport system in the world.

There’s surely too much to see and do in Glasgow to fit it all into one weekend but I’ve put together some highlights that will give you a flavour of the very best that the city has to offer. So join me now on an adventure into this magnificent city with my Glasgow weekend itinerary. Happy exploring!

  1. The Riverside Museum
  2. Kelvingrove Art Gallery
  3. Gallery of Modern Art
Google Map of glasgow

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

This stunning building has been entrancing visitors to Glasgow for over 115 years since it initially opened in 1901, and from the very first moment that people step onto the marble floor of the central hall they’re captivated by the diversity of the exhibits on display.

Inside this museum there are over 9000 artefacts and paintings which depict every aspect of history from wildlife and war, art and literature, to Glasgow’s industrial past.

As part of a major restoration project the museum was extensively renovated over three years and was re-opened in 2006 with the exhibits organised into two halves; Life and Expression.

The Life galleries represent natural history, human history and prehistory while the Expression galleries include the fine art collections. Both themes are staged across 22 state-of-the-art galleries which are large enough to easily take up several hours of your day.

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Kelvingrove is second only to the museums of London for the number of visitors it draws annually, with many coming to view the great art collection which is arguably one of the best in Europe.

Here you’ll find masterpieces from Rembrandt, Renoir, Salvador Dali and others alongside antiquities from ancient Egypt and more modern works from the celebrated Glasgow designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. All in all, Kelvingrove Museum and Gallery is a must-see attraction during your time in Glasgow.

If you want to learn more about this museum you can read my Complete Guide to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which will tell you everything you need to know.

Opening Times:

Mon to Sun 10:00 (11:00 Sun) to 17:00

Entry Prices:

Free entry

Address: Argyle St, Glasgow, G3 8AG
Telephone: +44 (141) 276 9599
email[email protected]

The Gallery of Modern Art

The Gallery of Modern Art is the main gallery of contemporary art in Glasgow and is one of the most-visited attractions in the city centre. This impressive neoclassical building was built in 1778 as the townhouse of a wealthy Glasgow trader but was subsequently used by the Royal Bank of Scotland before being converted into the Royal Exchange.

Glasgow District Libraries took over the building in 1954 and it continued life as a library until 1996 when its usage was converted yet again, this time to house the city modern art collection.

The gallery receives several million visitors annually and serves to both educate and entertain tourists and locals alike with workshops, artist receptions and a learning library in the basement.

The exhibits are some of the finest in Britain and are the equal of any modern art gallery in the world, with pieces by David Hockney and Andy Warhol displayed amongst works by up-and-coming local talent.

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Tired feet can take a rest at the cafe inside the gallery while the multimedia terminals will be of use to anyone wanting to learn more about the various fields of modern art.

Of particular note is the front of the gallery which is the home of the Duke of Wellington statue, made famous for the traffic cone that has been perched on the top of his head for several years.

Clearly a sign of the well-known Glaswegian sense of humour, the cone has been removed several times by local authorities but has been replaced each time by locals, and so it’s now a permanent fixture of the statue!

I’ve created a guide to the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art that will tell you everything you need to know before you visit.

Opening Times:

Mon to Sun 10:00 (11:00 Sun) to 17:00

Entry Prices:

Free entry

Address: Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AH
Telephone: 0141 287 3050
email[email protected]

The Riverside Museum

The Glasgow Museum of Transport at the Riverside Museum is one of the most popular tourist venues in the city, with over a million visitors pouring through its doors each year.

The location of the Transport Museum on the north bank of the River Clyde is not accidental, as this is the site where the old A & J Inglis shipyard stood for over 100 years until its closure in 1962.

The shipyard made over 500 ships during its lifetime and the Transport Museum goes some way to preserving Glasgow’s shipbuilding heritage with the Clyde Maritime Trust’s SV Glenlee permanently moored alongside the museum.

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Inside the building you’ll find an impressive range of transport memorabilia with full-size steam locomotives exhibited alongside buses, trams, cars and bikes, with over 3000 objects on display from Glasgow’s industrial past.

Perhaps the most impressive display is the faithful recreation of an entire cobbled Glasgow street, with shops dating from 1895 all the way through to the 1980s. And best of all, like the majority of museums in Glasgow, the Transport Museum is completely free to visit!

You can discover this museum in greater detail with my Complete Guide to The Glasgow Riverside Museum.

Opening Times:

Mon to Sun 10:00 (11:00 Sun) to 17:00

Entry Prices:

Free entry

Address: 100 Pointhouse Place, Glasgow, G3 8RS
Telephone: 0141 287 2720
email[email protected]

You can also check out my Glasgow weekend itinerary day two.

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Craig Smith

Out About Scotland founder. Scotland explorer extraordinaire. Tourist attraction aficionado. Enthusiast of all things Scottish. Follow my adventures in Scotland on social media.