I was very much looking forward to introducing Mark to Glasgow as I had a very happy sojourn there about twelve years ago when I did some teaching and research at the University of Strathclyde and really enjoyed staying there.

We stayed in an apartment on St Andrews Square and it proved to be a really convenient location. We were easily able to walk to the People’ Palace, which was a really interesting place to visit and a beautiful building to boot.

IMG_6258I loved all the social commentary that this museum contains, and it gave us a real insight into what Glasgow used to be like as a city and as a place to live. Entry to this museum is free, which is such a bonus as we’ve spent a fortune on admission to various attractions.

The back of the museum has an enormous conservatory but it was closed for renovation when we were there.


I did take a lot of photographs, but will just share this wonderful piece of embroidery with you.


The Doulton Fountain was also of great interest. This is the largest surviving terracotta fountain in the world. I was a bit astonished that it is terracotta, which tends to get brittle, but this is in perfect condition, having been recently restored. It is very detailed and celebrates the Empire, with  four allegorical groups representing Canada, South Africa, Australia and India.


Also conveniently located is the Fabric Bazaar, which I did enjoy looking round but didn’t buy anything – hurrah!


I really wanted to visit the Necropolis and Cathedral, so we walked there and found that there is a whole precinct containing some beautiful buildings.

The necropolis is rather fabulous with enormous monuments to the great of Glasgow.


I was going to say monuments to the great and good, but on reflection I thought about what Glasgow was like at the time and there was a huge amount of poverty. How much better would it have been to have provided better housing, better education and fairer wages to the working population and perhaps having smaller monuments to people who no longer care. We have to remember that many of these people would have been using slave labour to build their empires.

One tombstone that did give me pause was this one. I saw the words “laureate of the nursery” and found myself wondering if this was a gardener of some sort, but no, it’s William Miller, the author of Wee Willie Winkie! I only every knew the English version but I’ve since looked up the Scots version and it’s wonderful!


We walked over to the Cathedral and I had to stop and admire this coffee shop, which has to be one of the smallest coffee shops I’ve ever seen!


Glasgow Cathedral is a wonderful building


It is part of a precinct containing many wonderful buildings.IMG_6319

Inside is awe inspiring but I really liked these three tapestries.IMG_6332

This is the oldest house in Glasgow and was built in 1471 for the Bishop of Glasgow. It’s a large house and was probably very comfortable for its time. Most of the rooms are furnished as they were back in the day, so a good idea can be had of how people lived in this house. I took photos but won’t include them all.IMG_6338

I had a private tour of the Art School when I was previously in Glasgow and was very much looking forward to showing it to Mark. However, as we all know, it burned down in 2014 and is currently being restored. This is what the outside currently looks like. I’ve never seen such extensive scaffolding in my life!


Apparently they’ve been recreating the furniture and have learned a great deal about the construction techniques employed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (CRM). I hope they get documented somewhere.

I knew that Mark would love the Willow Tearooms, every element of which was designed by CRM. The outside gives an indication of the delights that await within.


This historic building is the only tea room where Mackintosh was in control of the outside and the inside and his design of the internal spaces and the furniture are quite unique. It is the only surviving tearoom designed in its entirety by CRM. The building is in Sauchiehall Street and was bought by the Willow Tea Rooms Trust in 2014 to prevent the sale of the building and dispersement of its contents. It is a truly wonderful representation of the work of Mackintosh.

Screens are heavily employed to define spaces, and that blend of Art Nouveau and European Symbolism is magnificent.


CRM designed every part of these tearooms, including the light fittings and furniture.


There is another Willow Tearooms in Buchanan Street which are modelled on some tearooms from the early 1900s, so we had to try them as well.

These tearooms are sufficiently different to make it a worthwhile visit. The chairbacks are really high and are really comfortable.

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I was very happy!IMG_6371 2

We had read that the Kelvingrove Museum had a lot of work by Mackintosh, so we walked over there (it took nearly an hour just to get there, such is our dedication) and we were not disappointed. We discovered that all public spaces in Glasgow are free. This includes museums and art galleries. These spaces were filled with school children learning about their cultural heritage, and we enjoyed their comments as we walked round.

These gesso panels at the top of the photo are extraordinary and apparently took a long time to complete. CRM did them with his wife, Margaret. This area was set up as the dining room with a separating panel with stained glass.IMG_6237

Imagine the amount of work this panel required. Its beauty brings tears to my eyes.


Mackintosh was famous for his chairs and there are several examples scattered around this section of the museum.IMG_6227

We both fell in love with this beautifully crafted writing desk.

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There was so much more to see at Kelvingrove, including this Salvatore Dali painting. Although the subject matter isn’t to everyone’s tastes, the imagery and light is pretty sensational. Note the fishing boats at the bottom of the painting.


Glasgow is such an interesting place. Down a little alley I saw these two pieces of street art which made me smile.

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Speaking of street art, there’s an awful lot in Glasgow and there’s an art walking trail which we had fully intended to do, but we ran out of time.

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I noticed this building and was quite thrilled that a building would be so named. Shame that not every university contains one of these!


We loved the railway station which has not been fiddled with too much and all the additions are totally in keeping with the original design of the building.


So many glorious buildings. This arcade was almost exclusively jewellery shops. Mark bustled through it very quickly indeed!



Some buildings had beautiful adornmentsIMG_6155

Some represented their era rather stunningly and even the modern shops on the ground floor couldn’t spoil their beauty.IMG_6279

And a couple of Georgian crescents à la Bath!IMG_6278

We visited Glasgow University, which is yet another spectacular building


And didn’t even have to trespass to walk around it. I loved this vaulted ceiling


and a quad to equal those of Oxford and Cambridge.


The university has its own museum – The Huntrian, which has free entry, of course.


I hadn’t realised the connection between Glasgow University and McGill University in Montréal.


There is a wonderful museum down by the river (free entry, of course) and it is a must do in Glasgow.

When the king or queen was in town breakfast for them was prepared at the Palace Hotel, placed in this box and wheeled over a special footbridge to the railway platform.


The pilot train for the royal carriages.IMG_6394

Everywhere you look there are fascinating exhibits, particularly if you like mechanical things.IMG_6399

This is a “street” in the museum, with shops and a lot going on, including a horse-drawn hearse.IMG_6403

I can only think of Mr Bean when I see a three wheeler car, but this is called a “Wee Bluey” and seems to have endeared itself to Glaswegians.IMG_6422

A whole wall of motorbikes representing every type and era.IMG_6427

Looking down on a small section. Many of the exhibits had videos of people talking about their memories of these vehicles. They were highly entertaining.IMG_6432

This is allegedly the world’s first bicycle. The pedals didn’t go round but pumped forwards and backwards to achieve propulsion. IMG_6435

Some things couldn’t be there in reality, but were represented in picture form. This poster made me determined to do some rail travel through Scotland at some point. IMG_6442

The outside of the building. The museum itself won a European award for Best Museum.


There is also a sailing ship tied up at the dock, which we visited, and which was also fascinating.

I hadn’t realised that The Two Fat Ladies had a restaurant in Glasgow. The food lived up to its reputation.


There is a Gallery of Modern Art in the middle of the city, which was housed in a mansion built in 1778. This void in the middle with the surrounding balconies is the centrepiece.


Many of the merchants of Glasgow built their wealth on tobacco and sugar, doing none of us any good, and slavery, which brought misery and shame. However, Glasgow has risen above all this as a centre for art and culture, and everyone we spoke to was inordinately proud of this. There is a saying appearing everywhere which says “people make Glasgow” and the city certainly embodies this.

When we were in Leeds we saw that some wag had painted wellies on the Duke of  Wellington, and Judith told me that he permanently wore a traffic cone in Glasgow. I saw it with my own eyes! It is outside the Gallery of Modern Art.

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We managed to see a lot in our short time in Glasgow. Inevitably we missed a bit, but that’s just an excuse to go back. This is the church of St Andrews in the Square which was in front of where we stayed. It’s an 18th-century former church which is considered one of the finest classical churches in Scotland, and is now Glasgow’s Centre for Scottish Culture, promoting Scottish music, song and dance. Sadly we never saw it open.IMG_6470

Glasgow more than lived up to our expectations and is our last stop in Scotland. The next time I write we shall be back in England.




19 thoughts on “Glasgow

  1. A lot of my favourite places here! Glasgow is my hometown. We were at Kelvingrove museum today (23rd) and the Riverside Museum is the children’s favourite. I’m glad you had a lovely stay!

    1. Isn’t it wonderful? I envy you living here with all this history and culture. I was sad to miss the organ recital at Kelvin Grove, so next time!

  2. Continuing to enjoy your travel reports and determined to get on the train to do a day trip to Glasgow again. Sadly the Art College was burnt down again last year before it ever re-opened after the 2014 fire and that is why you saw it as it was. Almost completely destroyed. I suspect they will rebuild.
    I was thinking of your Hadrian’s Wall trip as I was at Housesteads on Wednesday. I suspect you would have enjoyed the central section best with its forts and incredible views. Birdoswald which is not too far from Carlisle is well worth a visit.
    I hope you continue to enjoy this wonderful visit.

    1. Thank you so much Christine, I was sad to see it in such a state. Luckily I have a fabulous coffee table book showing all the details, so will revisit that. Perhaps I need to revisit Hadrian’s Wall when we’re not quite as pressed for time. It’s been the most wonderful trip!

  3. I was delighted by Glasgow when The Management and I visited when we added a couple of days to a flight out of Glasgow. He is always amazed by what I point out after looking up rather than just at street level – and I’m glad to see you do that too!
    I am mentally planning another Scottish trip after all of your posts. I just need to enlighten him now…….

  4. What a fascinating Museum that is, I love machines. Your pictures of the Charles Rennie Macintosh tearooms are a delight. I’m a great admirer of CRM. Incidentally, the maternity home where I was born was named Kelvin Grove.

    1. We have a Kelvingrove campus of a university in Brisbane, so I think the Scots took their heritage far and wide! We have seen some amazing things and have just loved everything.

  5. So glad you appreciate all that Glasgow has to offer….. it’s not as well known as Edinburgh for its appeal, which can be better as you get to see it without all the hoards of tourists (of which we all are at times) and associated tourist shops. Incidentally museums and galleries are mostly free entry throughout the UK… it’s the castles and grand houses that are managed by National Trust, Historic Scotland and English Heritage that charge entry. My Glasgow sewing friends were delighted with your blog.. especially @jen.ks who works in the museums and galleries. Glad you need to come back to visit all the places you missed. And also happy you saw the cone hat!

    1. We haven’t found that all the museums are free – perhaps we have visited private ones? Anyway, it’s just marvellous. Next time we’ll get a National Trust membership. We are definitely coming back as we keep discovering all the things we’ve missed. Thank you Judith! x

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