Set on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and is steeped in history. With many buildings dating back to the 15th century, and some even going back to Roman times – such as the Antonine Wall and Bearsden Roman Bathhouse – there’s no shortage of impressive architecture in the city. Here are our top five historic sites in Glasgow.
The oldest building in Glasgow and the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland, Glasgow Cathedral (also known as St Mungo’s Cathedral) was built between the 13th and 15th centuries, at the site of St Mungo’s resting place. With stunning Gothic architecture, it is truly a sight to behold, and drew many pilgrims throughout the ages. Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction, with visitors coming from all over the world to marvel at its design.
The King’s Theatre
An imposing building standing on the corner of Bath Street and Elmbank Street, the King’s Theatre was designed by Frank Matcham in 1904. Its Bath Street façade is a mix of styles, with influences of Baroque and Art Nouveau, while the grand interior features a barrel vaulted ceiling, marble pillars and decorative plasterwork. It’s a remarkable venue for musical, dance and family shows in Glasgow.
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the UK, being founded in 1451 by a charter from Pope Nicholas V at the suggestion of King James II. The Gothic revival architecture of its current premises is generally agreed to include some of Scotland’s finest stonework, and key features include the bell tower and Bute Hall, which is used for examinations and graduation ceremonies.
Built in 1471, the Provand’s Lordship is the oldest house in Glasgow, and sits in the most ancient part of the city. Originally part of St Nicholas’ Hospital, it’s then thought to have become part of the accommodation provided for the 32 canons of the Cathedral Chapter. At the turn of the 20th century it served as a sweet shop and factory before undergoing extensive renovations that restored it to its 18th century state. It is one of only four medieval buildings to survive in Glasgow.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Located in the 84-acre Kelvingrove Park, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was built in the 19th century in the Spanish Baroque style. The Locharbriggs red sandstone façade is particularly striking, and the breath-taking interior impresses with its Giffnock sandstone, grand staircases and decorative galleries. Artworks housed in the gallery include paintings by Monet, Gaugin, Renoir, Titian and Dali.
If you like the idea of seeing a kids’ theatre show in Glasgow set in a historic building, don’t miss The Tiger Who Came to Tea, which is playing at the King’s Theatre from 21-22 February. Based on the best-selling picture book by Judith Kerr, and ideal for children aged three and up, it’s one of the most popular theatre shows for kids, keeping the whole family entertained with sing-along songs, magic and clumsy chaos. Book your tickets today!