Glasgow: Things To See

Published on 18 September 2004 in , , , , , , ,

Blimey, I almost forgot about this… So here goes. Things to see in Glasgow. There’s more to do in Glasgow than this little lot – it’s just all the stuff we had time to see!

The Glasgow School of Art

Charles Rennie Mackintosh – perhaps Glasgow’s best known architect, designer and more. His work is outstanding but if you don’t know much about him, check out the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society‘s website for some more information. If you’re planning on doing lots of Mackintosh in one day, there’s even a special Trial ticket which gives you entry into the various buildings plus free subway and bus travel.

For me, of all the Mackintosh stuff we saw, nothing was as good as The Glasgow School Of Art – a fantastic building, designed wonderfully inside and out.

You view the school via a guided tour where the notable features are shown and explained, including the utterly fantastic library. It’s well worth doing – the entire place is a masterpiece of design and a worthy home of a School of Art.

Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6RQ. For more information, see the School of Art website

McLellan Galleries

The Glasgow School of Art’s former home is now a gallery with a room about the Glasgow Style, of which Mackintosh was a part. It’s a great chance to see some of the original furniture and artwork created by those in the Glasgow Style movement. It’s also free.

In our visit, the Galleries were hosting a collection from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery whilst Kelvingrove was being refurbished but the rest of the space normally hosts a series of temporary exhibitions.

McLellan Galleries, 270 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3EH. For more information, see the Glasgow Museums website

The Willow Tea Rooms

Near both of the above is the Willow Tea Rooms – a recreation of the original rooms designed on the site by Mackintosh and fantastic do they look! They also sell a bloomin’ fine cup of tea to refresh you on your Mackintosh filled day. Whilst we didn’t have one, the afternoon tea looked fantastic.

The Willow Tearooms, 217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3EX. For menus and other information, see the Willow Tea Rooms website

The Lighthouse

Of all the things we saw, this was probably the biggest disappointment. Apparently this Centre for Architecture, Design and the City has won awards although I found it pretentious and dull. There’s a Mackintosh room (the building was designed by him until someone put a carbuncle of an extension on it in the late 1990s) but it doesn’t tell or show you anything you couldn’t have seen somewhere else.

As for the other exhibitions, well some were just plain dull. One was okay, but for the entrance fee, it just didn’t seem worth it – although on a nice day, a trip to the top for the view might just make it worth while.

The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow G1 3NU. For more information, see the the Lighthouse website.

Museum of Transport

Because sometimes you need a break from Mackintosh… We’d originally headed to the West End to see the Mackintosh House but it was Sunday and shut. The Museum of Transport was nearby so we popped in.

Personally I was a little disappointed – this is a pure collection museum and there’s not much background information provided. Despite the rows of trams, buses, cars, trains and even a couple of old Subway trains, there wasn’t much to tell you about any of it. Why the trams closed. Who ran the buses. Why the subway was built.

One of the great things about the London Transport Museum is that it shows and explains the history – which I really like. Sadly the Glasgow museum didn’t really do that.

All that makes it sound like this isn’t a good museum – it is. There’s plenty to see, and it’s worth a visit.

The Museum of Transport, 1 Bunhouse Road, Glasgow G3 8DP. For more information, see the Glasgow Museums website

The Mackintosh House

On our second attempt to visit, the sign said the place was shut Bank Holiday Mondays. Thankfully on this Bank Holiday it lied and was open. We went in.

The Mackintosh House is a recreation of the home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret Macdonald. It’s a fascinating chance to see inside the home of a designer and a great example of the pair’s design work. The white living room was quite remarkable.

Also on the same site is the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery – full of various art. Not particularly my taste in art but had some interest.

Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QQ. For more information, see the Hunterian Art Gallery website.

Scotland Street School Museum

We visited the School to see more Mackintosh and it’s a nice building. And once you’ve seen it, well it’s just a building. It must have been a great place to study in. But the residental area it served has now gone, and it’s a lone building in an area dominated by a motorway.

Thankfully inside is now a museum about education in Scotland – and a fantastic museum it is. There’s reams of information about educating people over the years. The reconstructed and restored classrooms are complemented by well written, interesting and informative and displays about the School (and Mackintosh’s design work), the area, and education in Scotland over the years. Even if you go there for the Mackintosh, you’ll get sucked in to the rest. Apparently they do lessons for local schools where the kids go back in time as well.

This is a quite frankly superb museum, and due to its location, probably not one which is on the tourist route. However if you’re in Glasgow, it’s one to see.

Scotland Street School Museum, 225 Scotland Street, Glasgow, G5 8QB. For more information, see the Glasgow Museums website