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A world of culture and hidden secrets – Explore the museums of Glasgow

1 March 2022

Think museums, and you might conjure up an image of a dusty building filled with fossils and rocks. But you’d be wrong. Glasgow’s museum scene is full of life.

Home to some of the most fascinating exhibits in Scotland, there’s a world of history and culture to explore out there. And much of it, completely free to visit!

So if you’re looking for something to do on that dreary Saturday afternoon, why not step inside the
Glasgow of the present, future, and past.

All in walking distance, the journey takes you on a trip through the Victorian architecture of
Glasgow’s side-streets, before finishing in the bustling heart of the town.

We start our journey in the West End, but if you’ve got time to meander down to Victoria’s Park, you’ll find an exhibit that might just be Glasgow’s most unique.

Fossil Grove is a testament to the trees. Deep in the heart of Victoria Park, it tells an ancient forest fable.

Trees that are over 330 million years old are preserved here. Try counting the rings on that! This was Glasgow before humankind, and it makes for breath-taking viewing.

A true peek into the history of the ground you find yourself on now.

Right, let’s get started. Make your way down the River Clydes’s waterfront and you’ll find the
Riverside Museum, it’s a sure-fire winner for the inquisitive.

Home to Glasgow’s remarkable transportation advancements, it’s got everything from skateboards, to prams, and a genuine old steam locomotive.

Take a trip 100 years back in time to a recreation of the cobbled streets of Glasgow, and discover a truly unique snapshot from across time.

Right next door, you can find the Tall Ship Glenlee. Relive your childhood dreams of being a pirate as you explore this Italian ship of mystery.

Head up Old Dumbarton Road and you’ll run into the Kelvingrove Museum. You can’t miss this
one! An eclectic mix of art and science, it’s well-known for a reason.

A labyrinth of exhibits, one moment you’ll be lost in the mysterious world of ancient Egypt, the next, delving deep into Glasgow’s rich history of realist painters. John Pringle recently had an exhibition there.

Kelvingrove’s majestic building is perfectly situated opposite a row of independent cafes, so there’s
the perfect chance to refuel and take in the lovely view.

Be sure to stroll through Kelvingrove park while you’re here. Fingers crossed the rain has stopped!

Continue up to the University, and snap back to reality with the Hunterian Art Gallery. This place is full of surprises.

Like every city, Glasgow has a complex and sometimes uncomfortable past. The Hunterian is a rich and interesting mix, and will really make you think.

It captures the essence of what good museums can do, by presenting the facts and the artefacts, and letting us do the rest.

Hop on the subway to Ibrox, then wander down the Clyde to find The Glasgow Science Centre. Chock full of hands-on exhibits and cutting-edge research, it’ll inspire the whole family to get involved.

Live shows at the Planetarium and the Space Zone are a fascinating insight into the landmark discoveries our generation are making. Let’s hope you remember GCSE Physics…

The science centre also houses the Glasgow tower, the world’s only fully rotating building! At 127 metres high, the views are incredible. As long as you aren’t scared of heights!

Head up into town and maybe stop to grab some lunch along the way. Wolf Italian Street food is a local favourite, serving up some of the best authentic Italian take-out across the entire city.

We won’t judge if you’re back for dessert!

From science to art, we now come to The Gallery of Modern Art. Home to both local and internationally recognised artists, this is the place for you to scratch your head and pretend you know what the squiggles are all about.

It’s filled with paintings and pottery from a wide range of artists, and really captures the culture
Scotland has to offer.

Its majestic structure is hard to miss, and right next to a row of great shops. The Duke of Wellington stands guard outside, and can often be found donning his famous traffic-cone hat.

Time for something different. Walk down the street and you’ll find the expanse of Glasgow green. The park itself is lovely, but nestled at its heart, you’ll find a collection of art that belongs to the People’s Palace.

This small and varied collection shows off how the people of Glasgow lived from 1750 up to the present day. It’s astounding to see just how much life has changed.

There’s even a plaque to the cat of People’s Palace, who become famous for joining a trade union! Now that’s a clever feline.

And while you’re there, why not treat yourself to an expedition through the Winter Gardens! There might even be a café (or 4) waiting for you.

For a startling look at medieval Glasgow, check out Provance Lordship. Built in 1471, this house is truly a testament to Glasgow’s past.

It has survived the lashings of time and stands proudly as one of only four remaining medieval Glaswegian buildings.

Inside, there’s a range of unique exhibits that showcase Glasgow’s varied and fascinating approach to living through times gone by.

Finally, head right next door to finish peacefully with St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art. Quite the mouthful! Built on a medieval castle, you’ll be transported through a world of cultural beliefs.

Gawp at the golden statues of Shiva, and marvel at the stained-glass exhibition.

The museums promotes respect for different faiths, so be sure to look out for the events that are on when you visit. You might find yourself thinking about the world in a whole new way.

Then come to rest in the museum’s café, which opens out onto Britain’s first ever Zen Garden. Collect your thoughts and enjoy your coffee. Maybe even a bit of cake. You’ve certainly earned it.

COVID-19 restrictions may have affected the opening of some of these museums. Please consult online guidance before going.