Glasgow

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Fodor's Essential Scotland
Whether you want to explore Edinburgh, sip Scottish whisky, or hike the Highlands, the...

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Trendy stores, a booming cultural life, fascinating architecture, and stylish restaurants reinforce Glasgow's claim to being Scotland's most exciting city. After decades of decline, it has experienced an urban renaissance uniquely its own. The city’s grand architecture reflects a prosperous past built on trade and shipbuilding. Today buildings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh hold pride of place along with the Zaha Hadid–designed Riverside Museum.

Glasgow (the "dear green place," as it was known) was founded some 1,500 years ago. Legend has it that the king of Strathclyde, irate about his wife's infidelity, threw a ring he had given her into the River Clyde. (Apparently she had passed it on to an admirer.) When the king demanded to know where the ring had gone, the distraught queen asked the advice of her confessor, St. Mungo. He suggested fishing for it—and the first salmon to emerge had the ring in its mouth. The moment is commemorated on the city's coat of arms.

The vast profits from American cotton and tobacco built the grand mansions of the Merchant City in the 18th century. Tobacco lords financed the building of wooden ships, and by the 19th century the River Clyde had become the center of a vibrant shipbuilding industry, fed by the city’s iron and steel works. The city grew again, but its internal divisions grew at the same time. The West End harbored the elegant homes of the newly rich shipyard owners. Down by the river, areas like the infamous Gorbals, with its crowded slums, or Govan, sheltered the laborers who built the ships. They came from the Highlands, expelled to make way for sheep, or from Ireland, where the potato famines drove thousands from their homes.

During the 19th century the city's population grew from 80,000 to more than a million. The new prosperity gave Glasgow its grand neoclassical buildings, such as those built by Alexander "Greek" Thomson, as well as the adventurous visionary buildings designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and others who produced Glasgow’s Arts and Crafts movement.

The decline of shipbuilding and the closure of the factories in the later 20th century led to much speculation as to what direction the city would take now. The curious thing is that, at least in part, the past gave the city its new lease on life. It was as if people looked at their city and saw Glasgow’s beauty for the first time: its extraordinarily rich architectural heritage, its leafy parks, its artistic heritage, and its complex social history. Today Glasgow is a dynamic cultural center and a commercial hub, as well as a launching pad from which to explore the rest of Scotland, which, as it turns out, is not so far away. In fact, it takes only 40 minutes to reach Loch Lomond, where the other Scotland begins.

Fodor's Essential Scotland
Whether you want to explore Edinburgh, sip Scottish whisky, or hike the Highlands, the...

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City Chambers
Government Building Building/Architectural Site
City Centre
Glasgow Cathedral
Religious Building/Site/Shrine
Merchant City
Necropolis
Cemetery Memorial/Monument/Tomb
Merchant City
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Museum/Gallery
West End
View Tours and Activities
Tenement House
House/Mansion/Villa Museum/Gallery
City Centre
Culzean Castle and Country Park
Castle/Palace/Chateau Park (National/State/Provincial)
Botanic Gardens
Garden/Arboretum Park (National/State/Provincial)
West End
New Lanark
Historic District/Site Museum Village

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Language

English

Nearby Airports

GLA, PIK

Electrical Outlets

230v/50 cycles; plugs have three rectangular blades

Currency

British pound

Local Weather

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Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

Language

English

Electrical Outlets

230v/50 cycles; plugs have three rectangular blades

Currency

British pound

Nearby Airports

GLA, PIK

Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

The best times to visit Glasgow are spring and summer and into early fall. Although you may encounter crowds, the weather is more likely to...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Glasgow with curated recommendations from our editors.

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Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

The best times to visit Glasgow are spring and summer and into early fall. Although you may encounter crowds, the weather is more likely to...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Glasgow with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

The best times to visit Glasgow are spring and summer and into early fall. Although you may encounter crowds, the weather is more likely to...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Glasgow with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

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Fodor's Essential Scotland
Whether you want to explore Edinburgh, sip Scottish whisky, or hike the Highlands, the...

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Fodor's Essential Great Britain
Written by locals, Fodor's Essential Great Britain is the perfect guidebook for those...

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