Glasgow often makes the shortlist as one of the best cities in the world. With friendly Glaswegians happy to help you with any directions and the city’s unique historical buildings, it’s easy to see why it tops the list. The city’s distinct architecture is another attraction, as well as its proximity to the stunning Scottish countryside for outdoor adventures and sightseeing.
If you’re planning a trip to Scotland’s largest city and wondering how you’re going to make the most out of your 24 hours there, we’ve rounded up the city’s must-see tourist attractions to pack in the best Glasgow has to offer. To make the most of your time, we recommend buying a ticket for the hop-on-hop-off bus to travel around the city- this way you know you are getting the expert guide of the city as well as a ride to each sight.
Considered to be the heart of Glasgow, George Square is a great place to start your tour of the city. You can take advantage of the many cafes located around the square, grab a coffee and stroll around the square observing the stunning architecture of the buildings surrounding it. It’s also the centre point of Glasgow’s most prominent streets, including George Street and Queen Street. It was first laid out in 1781, taking its name from King George III. It’s also conveniently the meeting point for the hop-on hop-off tour bus.
The next stop on the tour bus is the city’s oldest building, Glasgow Cathedral. The cathedral was the centrepiece for which the city was built, so it’s a great place to get a feel for the city’s unique personality. It’s free to enter and you’ll definitely want to take part in one of their guided tours available inside to learn more about the history of Glasgow. This building features impressive stained glass windows and a timber roof that dates back to the building’s construction.
This Victorian garden cemetery is located right beside Glasgow Cathedral making it an easy stopover. It’s located on a hill with beautiful views overlooking the entire city. The cemetery is a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and reflect on the past. The Glasgow Necropolis is open to the public and there are guided tours available for those who want to learn more about the history of the site. Over 50,000 Glasgow residents are buried in the Necropolis, many of whom were instrumental in shaping Scotland into the nation it is today. The best way to explore the Glasgow Necropolis is to download a map of the site and then go on a hunt for the graves of famous Scots like John Knox and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The history and culture of Glasgow is dotted around the city through the use of murals, and there’s a trail you can follow around the city to visit each mural and view them. The mural trail was officially launched in 2014 to showcase the growing portfolio of street art that were transforming the exterior of buildings in Glasgow city centre. To help you get around, the Glasgow mural trail has put together a map of the walking route you can follow including all 29 murals. It’s a great way to learn about the history and culture of Glasgow while enjoying some beautiful art.
Duke of Wellington State Statue
You’ll definitely want to snap a photo of the Duke of Wellington statue, located outside the Gallery of Modern Art in the city centre. This massive statue depicts the Duke on horseback, however, since the 1980s the Duke has had a traffic cone concealing his head. The cone was a prank by Glasgow students and was immediately removed by the police, only to have it put back on the following night. This back and forth went on until eventually the police gave up and left the cone on top of the statue’s head. Sometimes the Duke’s horse also features a traffic cone. No visit to Glasgow is complete until you’ve visited this quirky piece of history.
Gallery of Modern Art
This city centre gallery found behind the Duke of Wellington State, has four rotating galleries displaying world-class art. This 18th-century, neoclassical building features stained-glass windows and Corinthian columns. Even if you don’t fancy stepping inside it’s definitely worth seeing the building because of its impressive architecture. This gallery also offers free entry to its exhibitions.
Museums in Glasgow
You should choose one museum instead of planning to visit them all, since it may be a challenge to absorb all the historical information. It’s also more enjoyable to take your time and stroll through the different exhibitions offered. For your convenience, we’ve covered the must-see museums in Glasgow here, hopefully making it easier for you to narrow down your choice.
University of Glasgow
It’s definitely worth your while visiting this university’s campus as the unique neo-gothic buildings are over 500 years old and will give you the feel of being a Harry Potter character. There are self-guided tours available, highlighting the key buildings and tourist attractions you should explore while there. The University of Glasgow also has a number of museums and galleries, including the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, which is home to a collection of art and artefacts related to the history of the university and the city of Glasgow.
The Tall Ship Glenlee
At Glenlee, you can experience life on the high seas during the 19th century. This ship has quite a history and has passed through many owners all over the world. It began as a cargo trading vessel shipping to Oregan, then was sold to Italian owners to trade on the Mediterranean Sea, and it then spent 47 years as a sail training vessel for the Royal Spanish Navy. Discover the ship’s history by visiting its galley, ringing its bell, and exploring below deck. You’ll get the opportunity to find out what life aboard a tall ship was really like during this time period while having a fun and exciting day out.
After you’re done exploring the below deck on the Glenlee, you could continue your nautical history tour by exploring the Riverside Transport Museum. This museum is located right beside The Tall Ship Glenlee. It is the first purpose-built museum created by Glasgow Life. It houses collections of the city’s transport and technology which have been gathered over centuries.
Relax and Recharge At Maldron Hotel Glasgow City
For your one night stay in Glasgow, treat yourself to a wonderful night’s sleep in our 4-star hotel in Glasgow city centre. We are just 500m from George’s Square, where the hop-on hop-off bus starts and ends. We know you’ll be tired after all your sightseeing, so rest up in one of our King Koil double beds and enjoy the amenities like a flat-screen TV with Chromecast and complimentary high-speed WiFi.