I was once gainfully employed giving guided tours. Even now I don’t do that, I can’t help lapsing into guide mode whenever I have half a chance. Whenever I’m showing off Glasgow, I have a few places I would naturally choose. Our city is blessed with many fine museums not to mention its architecture, parks, rivers and libraries. Since I don’t give much of a hoot about eateries, I can’t comment about where to eat or indeed about nightlife since I would rather see Hearts win the Champions League than visit a nightclub.
I think that the best days are carefully curated, especially if they are with other people. We can get in our bubbles and just go to the same places we like but that gets stale after a while. That was how I visited the Glasgow Women’s Library for the first time. One of my friends was in Glasgow and suggested we go to some places neither of us had been to before. I suggested the GWL and it went down a treat. If memory serves, we went to Provand’s Lordship that day too, possibly the Necropolis, all fairly new to us. It’s all about seeing where you end up and following impulses. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Fossil Grove over the river in Victoria Park then went on an urban ramble around Partick. Even just turning off Dumbarton Road and looking at the West of Scotland Cricket Club and Partick Burgh Halls was enough for me. After a walk I had in the West End last night, a couple of Streets of Glasgow walks might happen around Hyndland.
I’m getting sidetracked from the places I would recommend people to visit here in Glasgow. With a few hours, I would suggest one or more of the following:
These are listed in no particular order, based on how they came out of my head into my fingers and tapped out on this computer keyboard. Let’s start with the Hunterian. Glasgow University is a rather grand campus, the Gilbert Scott architecture and mighty Tower looking out over the city. The Hunterian Museum is in the University’s Main Building and combines medicine, anthropology, geology, archaeology and anatomy all in the one place. Some of it creeps me out, particularly the bodily bits in jars, but I like how random it is. The Roman altars from the Antonine Wall are positioned well, right in front of a big window looking towards if not directly over the route of the Wall itself. The Art Gallery over the way’s no’ bad either.
The People’s Palace is another museum, a social history story of Glasgow. It’s a nice red sandstone building with some interesting exhibitions but that’s not the main reason I like it. On the first floor is a video on a constant loop featuring Glasgow singers and comedians, including Billy Connolly whose famous banana boots are nearby in the same gallery. Also on the video is Stanley Baxter doing his Parliamo Glasgow routine with the very broad Weegie interspersed with the best RP translation. His facial contortions do it to me every time.
The Mitchell Library is the largest public reference library in Europe. It also features Aye Write, the city book festival, and some half-decent exhibitions. Plus a whole load of books. It has old and new bits, some only open if you ask nicely, but it is one of the best buildings on the planet.
Pollok House is south of the river, the best end, I always think, nestled in Pollok Country Park. Pollok House has a nice library in it too, plus a good Spanish art collection. The nearby Burrell Collection is getting refurbed this weather but go to Pollok House instead.
Cathkin Park is a derelict football ground just off Cathcart Road, once the home of Third Lanark. The terracing is being slowly reclaimed by nature though efforts are underway to spruce the place up and get more football happening there. It feels like a church to me and in its eerieness is its great beauty, a reminder for those of us who love football of how our game can be corrupted and our teams can just disappear in a matter of minutes. Cathkin has appeared here numerous times. I collected together some of those posts recently on my other blog Easter Road West.
The Lighthouse I’ve only been to once but it’s nice, an arts centre with a rooftop gallery boasting incredible views over Glasgow city centre. It’s a Rennie Mackintosh building so go for that but stay for the views. I’ve written about the Lighthouse in View from the Lighthouse and Streets of Glasgow: Mitchell Street.
I know that there are some folk who read this blog who know Glasgow very well indeed, probably better than I do. This is just a wee selection of what I would recommend people see in this great city. Rather than following a list, it’s sometimes just worth following your nose and seeing where it leads you. Even doing a bit of psychogeography and taking a random turn. It will be worth it.