- The Museum of Piping at The National Piping Centre holds three hundred years of piping heritage. Consisting of artifacts from the rich collections of National Museums of Scotland, this is the most authoritative display of its kind anywhere in the world. It is next to the Piper’s Tryst Hotel. Here is information about visiting the piping centre.
- Shopping: Shopping in Glasgow is great. Sauchiehall Street is an outdoor pedestrian only street with shops and street musicians. St Enoch Centre is an indoor mall that’s a great place to go if it’s raining. Buchanan Galleries is a large, clean, modern shopping centre with a good selection of big name stores as well as some independent traders.
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum has a large section of Charles Rennie Mackintoshh’s work, Salvador Dalí’s memorable Christ of St John of the Cross, as well as lots of armor and swords. Great for Outlander fans to see the broad sword and Claymore they’ve been reading about in Diana’s books. See more of my pictures from the Kenvingrove museum here.
- Take a tour of Glasgow on a hop-on hop-off bus. You can find more details here abut the City Sightseeing bus.
- Kelvingrove Park is “more or less the heart of the West End, tying together several of its neighbourhoods and most famous sites and attractions. On a clear, bright morning, the view from the top of the hill at the entrance from Park Circus, down across the River Kelvin towards the spires of Glasgow University and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum might just be the finest in the city.” The bridge in Kelvingrove Park is where we see Claire push a baby carriage as she tries to be a good housewife. This is also where Claire sees a bagpiper playing and gives him some money before walking across the park.
- George Square: In 2013, the headline in The Guardian read: “Dumped: £15m plan to redevelop Glasgow’s George Square dropped after popular backlash.” The people spoke and said they like their square just fine thank you very much but it could do with a facelift. So instead of a massive redesign, the people got what they asked for: “They want the square to look better and be a place of which they can be proud – a place they can while away a sunny afternoon or get together and celebrate the big occasions in the life of the city. They also want us to keep the statues where they are, and they like the grass.”
- Glasgow Cathedral, the dramatic construction of spires and blackened stone that stands just back off the city’s High Street today, was erected between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. Fortunately it survived the 1560 Reformation virtually complete. It might also have some ties to the filming of Outlander (the episode “Faith”).
- Glasgow School of Art, legendary local architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s defining masterpiece. In May 2014, a fire ripped through Glasgow School of Art’s historic century-old main building, but the vast majority of it was saved thanks to some heroic work by firefighters. A principal exception, however, is the beautiful Mackintosh Library – which was tragically completely destroyed. Then in 2018, another fire ravaged the building. This was a huge tragedy because as Jonathan Glancey of BBC said, “Mackintosh is to Glasgow as Gaudí is to Barcelona.” In a recent article in The Scottish Sun, they said that the first phase of physical preparation works for the rebuild has been completed, and phase two which includes a “faithful reinstatement” of the building is underway.
- Glasgow University stands in for Harvard, and in the Outlander episode in Boston when the Dean is expounding on post-war American power, the Victorian turrets of the university quadrangle are visible through the window. Then there are a couple of scenes of the cloisters, the beautiful vaulted arcade outside of the Hunterian Museum, and the spot where Brianna tells Roger that he is seeing “one of the only examples of gothic revival on campus.”
- #124 Dowanhill Street, west of Glasgow University, contains the house that was used for the exterior shots of Frank & Claire’s house in Boston.
- Glasgow Botanic Gardens, originally laid out in 1841 to supply the University of Glasgow, were acquired by the City of Glasgow and made public in 1891. The gardens’ defining Kibble palace, the eccentric wrought-iron and glass domed glasshouse, was erected in 1873. A few years later the Main Range teak glasshouse was built. Both remain beautifully preserved, free to enter, and filled with exotic plant life — from arid lands and tropical rainforests alike.
- Glasgow’s West End can be described as “cosmopolitan, multi-cultured, bohemian, intellectual, grand, leafy, confident, tolerant and ‘trendy’. It is known for its impressive Victorian architecture, public parks and gardens, as a home for celebrities and for its many and varied attractions including restaurants, pubs and shops.” It is just south of the Botanic Gardens. Here is a good write-up of restaurants in the West End. And here is a nice blog from someone who lives there and loves it.
- Glasgow Beer Tours: Join a walking tour of Glasgow’s New Town with Glasgow Brewery Tours.
- Willow Tea Rooms: there are apparently 2 of them and reservations would be a good idea.
- Tenement House – It looks like you need to call to make a booking or can just walk in (and pay there).
- Falkirk Wheel is an engineering marvel. It was designed to replace lock gates and is a way for boats to get from one canal to another. You can take a ride on it for a fee. More information here.
- Pollok Country Park “extends over 146 hectares and has various walks, an attractive walled garden, a woodland garden, Clydesdale horses, a pedigree fold of Highland cattle, three mountain bike circuits, a play park for kids and places to picnic.” (See map below.) It was also used for the outside of Castle Leoch in the filming of the Outlander Starz TV Series. More pictures here.
- I almost forgot about the Kelpies! No, not the ones from Diana’s book, but huge, silver ones. They are the “The Mane Attraction at the Helix” haha. Here is a blog about them. They are right off the M9. We had been at the Falkirk Wheel and tried to use our Garmin to find them. Big mistake. We drove around and around. We finally decided we had to move on and used our mobile phone to find the highway – then we drove right by them.
Much Further Away
- A Fraser Whisky Distillery (The Borders Distillery) has opened in Glasgow.
- Glasgow Live has a list of the Outlander filming sites in Glasgow here.
Click on the of Overview of Glasgow map to enlarge.
Click on the map of central Glasgow below to enlarge.