There is a reason that Glasgow has been recognised as a must visit destination by a plethora of international publications. Anyone who knew Glasgow even 10 years ago would be amazed at the change – Glasgow is one of Europe's most vibrant, dynamic and stylish cities. It’s a transformation that began in the 1990’s and which represents much that is new, merged with a hugely successful reclaiming of the past.
The city has a rich heritage of fantastic Victorian architecture. For instance, on the east side of George Square stands one of the city's most important and prestigious buildings - the City Chambers. This is recognized as one of the most beautiful Victorian buildings in the whole of the UK. The City Chambers is the focal point of George Square and a great symbol of Glasgow's political strength and historical wealth. Completed in 1888, the City Chambers has been the headquarters of Glasgow City Council for over 100 years. Free tours are conducted twice every weekday.
But the city didn’t stand still and Glasgow is also well known for the Art Nouveau splendour of Charles Rennie Mackintosh - Glasgow born architect, designer and artist. Mackintosh created the “Glasgow Style” movement and is celebrated around the world as one of the most creative figures of the early 20th century. The Glasgow School of Art is considered by many to be his architectural masterpiece and was recently voted by consumers on TripAdvisor as the number one attraction in Glasgow.The Mackintosh trail is the perfect way to explore the works of Glasgow's most celebrated architect. You can buy a great value ticket for £10 to see the key Mackintosh buildings in the Greater Glasgow area.
Glasgow offers visitors a rich array of activities and attractions. The city has over 20 museums and galleries, most with free entry, and there are over 1 million objects in the Glasgow Museums' collections! It is also a UNESCO City of Music, further reflecting the strong cultural life of the city.
Glasgow is the biggest retail centre in the UK outside London's West End. The “style mile” refers to the square mile in the very centre of Glasgow which houses a great variety of shops - from unique designer boutiques to flagship stores for British and international retailers.
And though you are unlikely to run out of things to do in Glasgow, it is a wonderful base from which to explore a bit more of Scotland. There are over 90 golf courses within easy reach of Glasgow, for example, and Glasgow’s location on the West coast means that Scotland's breathtaking landscapes, historic castles and world-renowned food and drink are all within reach.
Less than an hour's drive North West from Glasgow is the spendour of the "bonnie banks" of Loch Lomond. Less than an hour's drive South West from Glasgow you find yourself in Ayrshire, known for its natural beauty, 80 miles of wonderful coastline and its close associations with poet Robert Burns. And with the Forth & Clyde Canal, Edinburgh, Stirling, the Campsie Fells and the West Highland Way to add to your list – you are going to have to book an even longer stay in Glasgow to make the most of it all!
Take in the Art Nouveau flair of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the building that now houses the Scotland Street Museum. Or the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which was built in the late 1890’s in grand Spanish Baroque style. A major art gallery as well as a museum, the Kelvingrove is a monument to the insatiable curiosity of mankind. Amongst its most popular museum exhibits are Sir Roger the Asian elephant who died in 1900, a spitfire plane from World War 2, Kelvingrove’s very own beehive and the remains of a medieval satchel. Kelvingrove is situated in a beautiful park that was originally created in 1852 by noted English gardener Sir Joseph Paxton, Head Gardener at Chatsworth House, whose other works included The Crystal Palace in London.
Riverside Museum is not just housed in an award winning building – this multi-award winning museum was voted European Museum of the year in 2013. The Riverside Museum is home to over 3,000 objects that detail Glasgow’s rich past from its days as maritime powerhouse to a glimpse into daily Glasgow life in the early to mid-20th Century.
Riverside Museum is recognised as Glasgow’s museum of transport - amongst the objects on display are everything from skateboards to locomotives, motorbikes to prams, velocipedes to vintage cars and old trams to fire engines. There are also 250 model ships, remembering Glasgow's heyday as a shipbuliding powerhouse. Visitors can get a real feel for vintage public transport by accessing four locomotive footplates, three trams, two subway cars, one train carriage and a bus!
At Riverside Museum you can see one of the largest locomotives on display anywhere in Britain - a huge export South African locomotive designed and made in Glasgow. This museum is on the site of the former Inglis Shipyard, which also enables The Tall Ship Glenlee, to berth alongside the museum. She is a three mast former Victorian cargo carrier that hosts interesting nautical exhibitions.
One really fun aspect of the Riverside Museum is the three interactive streets with access to "shops" dating from 1895 right through to the 1980s. These 'shops' include an Edwardian photography studio, a 1930s' Italian Café and a 1960s' garage.
The People’s Palace, set in historic Glasgow Green, tells the story of the people and city of Glasgow from 1750 to the end of the 20th century. Visitors explore the city’s social history through a wealth of historic artefacts, paintings, prints and photographs, film and interactive computer displays. It gives a wonderful insight into how Glaswegians lived, worked and played in years gone by.
Provand’s Lordship is the oldest house in Glasgow and it was built in 1471 as part of a hospital in the cathedral precinct. It is one of only four surviving medieval buildings in Glasgow. Beautifully preserved, the “auld hoose” is furnished with a fine selection of 17th-century Scottish furniture donated by Sir William Burrell, and a series of historic royal portraits. Room settings give a flavour of interiors around 1500 and 1700, so you can immerse yourself in medieval Glasgow.
The Mackintosh House is a meticulous reassemblage of the principal interiors from the Mackintoshes’ Glasgow home. The couple lived at 78 Southpark Avenue (originally 6 Florentine Terrace) from 1906 to 1914. Substantial alterations were made in 1906 as Mackintosh remodelled the proportions and natural lighting of the Victorian end-of-terrace house. The principal interiors were decorated in his distinctive style, remarkable then, and now, for the disciplined austerity of the furnishings and decoration.
But Glasgow’s musical roots are as broad as they are deep. This is the city that gave us (amogst many others) Lulu, Lonnie Donnegan and Marmalade in the 60’s, Plus many others including Simple Minds, The Vaselines, Wet Wet Wet, Franz Ferdinand, Belle & Sebastian, Chvrches and Texas up to recent times.
Glasgow’s legendary music scene stretches across the whole spectrum from contemporary and classical to Celtic and Country. Its venues are equally varied and the city hosts an average 130 music events each week, more than any other Scottish city. Musical Ambassadors for Glasgow include Alex Kapranos, the lead singer and the guitarist of the Glasgow band Franz Ferdinand and Billy Connolly CBE - before he became a performer, Billy was as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, giving it up to be a folk singer with his group, the Humblebums.
And when it comes to art, Glasgow seems to be especially blessed. The 2015 Turner prize will be presented in Glasgow: specifically, in the southside arts centre, Tramway. It will be only the fourth time that the prize has migrated outside London and its traditional home of Tate Britain, and the first time the prize has been awarded in Scotland. But for some reason - perhaps a tribute to that incredibly vibrant arts scene in the city - an incredible number of Glaswegian artists have been nominated for this prestigious arts prize.
The City of Glasgow boasts one of the finest art collections in Europe. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a good place to start your pilgrimage. The displays are extensive and wide-ranging, including: Dutch Old Masters and French Impressionists ; Scottish Art including galleries dedicated to the Glasgow Boys and Scottish Colourists and Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross. And because you cannot escape his influence anywhere in Glasgow – of course you will find exhibits devoted to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style.
In the heart of Pollok Country Park, The Burrell Collection is housed in an award-winning building and offers a unique collection of art in a beautiful woodland setting. Displays range from work by major artists including Rodin, Degas and Cézanne, to important examples of late medieval art, Chinese and Islamic art, Ancient Civilizations and much more. The Burrell regularly hosts temporary exhibitions, and runs an extensive programme of events and activities for both adults and families with children.
The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art is found in an iconic building in the heart of Glasgow, which it shares with the city centre library, GoMA plays an important part in the city’s rich heritage. For over 100 years the building was a centre for business and commercial exchange where information and goods were traded. GoMA continues that philosophy of exchange by being a centre for people to gather, discuss and learn, inspired by the art it collects and shows.
The award-winning St Mungo Museum is a haven of tranquillity in a bustling city. This museum is named after Glasgow's patron saint. The building was built in 1989 in Scottish baronial style by Ian Begg. It was designed to reflect the architecture of the Bishops’ Castle, the site of which is occupied by the museum. Its galleries are full of displays, artefacts and stunning works of art. They explore the importance of religion in peoples’ lives across the world and across time.
Glasgow is a city alive with remarkable culture where you’ll find performing arts, music, museums and galleries galore. And it offers a packed calendar full of vibrant festivals - so whenever you visit you will find lots going on. Check back at www.peoplemakeglasgow.ca to find out the latest events.
Merchant City Festival (July 25 - 2 August, 2015)
Merchant City Festival returns on 25 July until 2 August, 2015. There will be nine days filled with free events in Glasgow's cultural quarter including street arts, dance, live music, markets, fashion and design, comedy, family events, tours, heritage walks, talks, food and drink and much more. They will be announcing their full programme over the next few months so check out the website for a preview of what's to come: www.merchantcityfestival.com
Piping Live! (August 10 – 16, 2015)
Make sure you are part of a week-long piping event that makes Glasgow the centre of the world stage for piping brilliance. It’s exciting and challenging, traditional and contemporary and very much alive.
World Pipe Band Championship (August 14 – 15, 2015)
The biggest event in any piping fan's calendar is certainly the annual World Pipe Band Championships, affectionately known as The Worlds. The event has had a long association with Glasgow, and for many years has been bringing top flight international piping competition and a wonderfully entertaining event to the city.
Glasgow Doors Open Day (September)
Glasgow Doors Open Day is an annual, city wide event. Buildings open their doors and allow access to the public. As part of Doors Open Day there are also walks, tours, talks and special events, to learn about Glasgow’s unique building heritage. All events are free.
Creative Mackintosh Festival (October)
The Creative Mackintosh Festival – an annual festival celebrating the life and works of Glasgow architect, artist and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh takes place in Mackintosh venues and other Glasgow locations and includes exhibitions, tours, talks and drama performances.
MOBO Awards (October)
One of the most televised music shows in the world, the MOBO Awards are set to make a return to Glasgow’s SSE Hydro in 2015. Founded in 1996, the MOBO Organisation was established by Kanya King MBE to recognise the outstanding achievements of artists who perform music in genres ranging from Gospel, Jazz, RnB, Soul, Reggae to Hip Hop.
Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run (October 3 – 4, 2015)
Giving people of all ages and abilities the chance to participate, the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run combines a half marathon and 10k senior races on Sunday 5 October, with a full programme of mini, junior and toddler races on Saturday 4 October in and around George Square and the city centre.
Turner Prize (October 1 2015 – January 17 2016)
The Turner Prize will be presented at Tramway in Glasgow in 2015. This will be the first time the exhibition and award will be presented in Scotland. The Turner Prize was first shown outside London at Tate Liverpool in 2007. Since 2011 the Turner Prize has been shown at a gallery outside London in alternate years. Many artists who have won, or been nominated for, the Turner Prize, have hailed from, trained in, or worked out of Glasgow. The coveted prize will be awarded at a ceremony on the 7th December, 2015.
Sonica Festival (October 29 – November 8, 2015)
Sonica is a programme dedicated to world-class sonic arts, presenting emerging British talent alongside exceptional international artists in collaboration with renowned co-producers and venues. Curated by Cathie Boyd, Patrick Dickie and Graham McKenzie and produced by Cryptic in Glasgow, Sonica gives a UK platform to performances of exceptional and rarely seen work.
World Gymnastics Championships (October 23 – November 1, 2015)
The event will bring together more than 500 gymnasts from over 80 countries around the world, for ten days of exhilarating competition at The SSE Hydro. Tickets are now on sale - www.2015worldgymnastics.com/tickets/prices-and-seating.aspx
Glasgow Loves Christmas (Nov – Dec)
Nowhere captures the magic of the festive season quite like Glasgow. With fun and frolics for young and old, Christmas 2015 is sure to be bigger than ever!
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