Glasgow is hands down one of my favorite cities on the planet. There’s something about the combination of Victorian architecture, modern murals, friendly folks, fascinating history, and great vegan eats that makes my heart swoon.
Peter and I had the chance to visit Glasgow earlier this summer during a jaunt we took around Scotland, which also included Stirling and Inverness. While it was my fourth time in the city, it was Peter’s first, so we were sure to visit all the must-do sights. See the list below to learn my favorite spots in Glasgow, plus a bonus recommendation!
The Tall Ship
Although I’ve never been much of a sea person, I love visiting historical ships when the opportunity arises. The (aptly named) Tall Ship was originally built in Glasgow and is one of only five Clyde ships left in the world. It is still a functioning ship, but now acts as a fascinating maritime museum covering Glasgow’s seafaring past and current preservation efforts. While the Tall Ship is free to visit, we recommend purchasing one of the many printed guides offered to support the museum.
The Glasgow Necropolis is the pinnacle of spooky graveyard exploring. Even if visiting cemeteries isn’t usually on your to-do list, the Necropolis is worth an exception. Spanning over 37 acres and housing 50 thousand bodies, the cemetery contains some of the region’s most ornate Victorian grave markers and includes several famous figures.
Enter through the Bridge of Sighs (where funeral processions used to begin) and walk through the sprawling area. From the top of the hill, you can get a great view of the city and the nearby Glasgow Cathedral, which is worth a stopover as well.
Purrple Cat Cafe
One of the hardest parts of traveling is leaving our two cats at home, so the chance to visit a vegan-friendly cat cafe is something we couldn’t miss. The Purrple Cat Cafe is home to 29 friendly felines who are ready to play, nap, and cuddle with visitors.
We had a great time casually hanging out with the kitties while sipping cappuccinos and eating tomato grilled cheeses (mine with dairy-free cheese). While the cats at the Purrple Cat Cafe aren’t up for adoption, they support the local CATFLAP rescue with regular donations. If you go, be sure to reserve a spot ahead of time on their website because slots often fill up.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
Besides the Necropolis, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was probably the attraction I was most excited to share with Peter. It’s easy to spend hours wandering the 22 displays that cover everything from marble sculptures to the famed Glasgow Boys painters that delve into Scottish modernism. If art isn’t exactly your thing, the free museum also houses ancient armor, Egyptian sarcophagi, and there’s an organ recital performed every afternoon.
Built in 1895 as the home of the Glasgow Herald newspaper, the Lighthouse is now Scotland’s Center for Design and Architecture. The space houses design programs, art exhibits, and (the real reason for our visit) a modern viewing platform on their sixth floor. Totally free to enter, you can march up the spiral staircase and be rewarded with a beautiful sight of Glasgow. Since much of the district surrounding the Lighthouse has relatively short buildings, you can see an uninterrupted view of the cityscape.
Bonus: Stirling Day Trip
If you’re in Glasgow for a more extended period of time, Stirling is definitely worth a day trip. Just a 30 minute train ride outside of the city, Stirling is a medieval little town with a ton of character. I recommend checking out Stirling Castle, Cambuskenneth Abbey, Stirling Cemetery, and grabbing a lunch of vegan haggis with neeps and tatties at Nicky-Tams Bar and Bothy.