The Complete Itinerary for a Weekend in Glasgow

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Last updated on May 6th, 2020

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 boasts 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.

George Square

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.

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!

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A weekend in Glasgow – day one

  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 the museum are over 9,000 artefacts and paintings that depict every aspect of history from wildlife, 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.

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’s 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.

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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.

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 on 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 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.

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]


A weekend in Glasgow – day two

  1. Glasgow Botanic Garden
  2. Glasgow Necropolis
  3. House For an Art Lover
Google Map of glasgow

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

No visit to Glasgow can be complete without a visit to the ever-popular Botanic Gardens in the city’s west end. This peaceful oasis of plant-life is the perfect antidote to the hectic buzz of the city centre and is a place where you’ll find not only an astounding variety of plants but also quiet woodland copses and relaxing walks alongside the River Kelvin.

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The grounds also feature several giant glasshouses that will transport you from the cool climate of the west of Scotland into the balmy heat of tropical rainforests.

The grounds of the Botanics have been a popular leisure site in Glasgow for over a hundred and seventy years and the land on which they now sit was once used as a major venue for concerts.

The biggest addition to the modern Botanics was made in 1873 when the largest greenhouse on the site, the ‘Kibble Palace’, was moved from its previous home at Coulport on Loch Long to its current location.

This impressive 2,137 square metre greenhouse houses the national collection of tree ferns, as well as some spectacular specimens from tropical rainforests across the globe.

The wrought iron and glass Victorian glasshouses feature enough plants to keep visitors entertained for a good few hours and the collections of orchids, carnivorous plants and tree ferns serve as a relaxing alternative attraction to the industrial-themed venues that the rest of the city is famous for.

Discover this fantastic city attraction in greater detail with my Complete Guide to Glasgow Botanic gardens.

Opening Times:

  • Grounds: 7am – dusk (all year)
  • Glasshouses: 10am – 6pm (all year except winter), 10am – 4.15pm (winter)
  • Winter Oct-Mar. Summer Apr-Sep

Entry Prices:

Entry to the gardens is free.

Address: 730 Great Western Rd, Glasgow, G12 0UE
Telephone: 0141 276 1614
email[email protected]


The Necropolis

This Victorian cemetery residing on a hillside to the east of Glasgow Cathedral is the final resting place of over 50,000 individuals, of which 3,500 are buried under a collection of ornate monuments and gravestones.

The graveyard officially opened in 1832 although there were other monuments there before this date, most notably that of the 16th-century Scottish reformer John Knox who can be seen sitting on a column at the top of the hill.

A walk through the Necropolis will reveal many monuments to Scotland’s most prominent historical figures, including Charles Rennie Mackintosh (actually buried in London), and William Miller, the man responsible for the children’s nursery rhyme Wee Willie Winkie!

One of the reasons that this graveyard has become so popular as a tourist attraction is that there are so many different faiths interred there, with Catholics, Protestants, Quakers, and Jews laid to rest under some of the most beautiful sculptures to be found in any resting place in Britain.

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In fact, the very first person to be buried at the Necropolis was jeweller Joseph Levi, who came from Jewish descent.

As more and more Glasgow residents were buried at the Necropolis several extensions had to be added in the late 19th-century, and today the entire site covers a remarkable 37 acres. A network of paths meanders all the way through the graveyard which provides an interesting walk through Glasgow’s history that’s quite unlike any other in the city.

If you want to learn more about The Necropolis I’ve put together a Complete Guide to The Glasgow Necropolis that’ll tell you all about its history and even take you on a virtual tour – plus you can get up close and personal with a 360-degree YouTube video.

Opening Times:

Open from 7.00am till 4:30pm daily.

Entry Prices:

Entry to The Necropolis is free.

Address: Castle St, Glasgow, G4 0UZ
Telephone: NA
email: [email protected]


House for an Art Lover

The House for an Art Lover is based on a 1901 design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, although it was actually constructed between 1989 and 1996.

Situated on land in Bellahouston Park in central Glasgow, the building is a focal point for displaying art exhibitions by some of Glasgow’s leading talent as well as encouraging an interest in art, design and architecture for visitors. In addition to the galleries, there are regular workshops and artist conferences held at the site, while a cafe and shops cater for tourists.

Bellahouston is one of Glasgow’s oldest and finest public parks and become famous nationwide for hosting the 1938 British Empire Exhibition which was visited by over 12.5 million people. Today the 169-acre site is mainly used as a recreational area for walks and summer picnics, with the House for an Art Lover taking pride of place in the centre.

Visitors to the site can wander around a Victorian walled garden in the house’s studio pavilion while the Art Park includes an educational Glasgow heritage centre built inside a former stable and dovecote. There’s also an exhibition dedicated to one of the city’s most famous sons (and designer of the building) Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Opening Times:

Both the Art Lover’s Café and the Art Lover’s Shop are open daily from 10am to 5pm.

The Mackintosh Exhibition opening times vary. Contact the venue for details.

The Heritage Centre is open daily from 10am to 4pm

Entry Prices:

Adults£6.00
Children / Concessions / Students£4.50
Children Under 10 (Must be accompanied by an adult)Free
Family (2 Adults + 2 Children)£16.00
Groups (10+ Adults)£5.50 per person

Address: Bellahouston Park, 10 Dumbreck Rd, Glasgow, G41 5BW
Telephone: 0141 353 4770
email: [email protected]


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Craig Smith

A proud native of Scotland, Craig Smith loves writing about the country almost as much as he loves exploring it. His aim is to visit every Scottish attraction and share his experiences with the world. Follow Craig's adventures on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.