Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow

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Glasgow, Scotland. It began as an industrial city on the River Clyde and transitioned into the cultural center of Scotland. While Edinburgh is the country’s capital, Glasgow is known for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture, and a rich legacy due to trade and shipbuilding.

Glasgow is home to the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland. Additionally the grand old city boasts acclaimed museums and a thriving music industry.

While Edinburgh feels like home to me, I’d consider Glasgow the high energy weekend getaway city. Glasgow possesses a larger nightlife, with more night clubs, bars and pubs.

When planning a trip to Scotland, check out this exciting city and these top ten places to visit in Glasgow.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow title meme

A Few Things to Know Before You Go

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the fourth largest in the UK. The people of Glasgow are Glaswegians. And don’t get off on the wrong foot by mispronouncing the city’s name. Glasgow is pronounced glaz – go. The word means “green hollow”.

Glasgow is a big sports city, with two major league football (soccer) clubs and a rugby club.

Add these top ten places to visit in Glasgow to your list of must see sites.

Glasgow Cathedral

This 12th century cathedral is also called St. Mungo Cathedral and the High Kirk (church) of Glasgow. It is the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland and the oldest building in Glasgow.

The cathedral has never been unroofed and the medieval structure has continuously offered services within its walls for more than 800 years. The cathedral contains the finest collection of stained glass windows in Britain.

Beneath the cathedral lies the crypt, which predates the structure above it. The crypt houses the tomb of Saint Mungo, buried there in the 7th century.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow Cathedral
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – Glasgow Cathedral


Near the Cathedral is the Necropolis, a gothic Victorian cemetery that covers 37 acres. It is nicknamed the “city of the dead”. More than 50,000 Glaswegians are buried here, in the cemetery based on the famous Paris Pere Lachaise cemetery.

Burials began in 1832. There are 3,500 memorial stones and structures in the cemetery and also sculptures and buildings. It is an atmospheric place to walk among the monuments, with beautiful views of the Cathedral and the city.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow Necropolis
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – Necropolis

George Square

This square lies at the heart of the city. It features 12 statues of famous people associated with Glasgow, including Robbie Burns, Walter Scott and Queen Victoria. Town Hall dominates the east end of the square, with it 230 foot tower.

Just south of George Square lies the merchant district, a trendy area offering a host of unique cafes, restaurants and boutique shops.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow George Square
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – George Square

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

In Glasgow’s West End lies a neighborhood of cafes, restaurants, high end shops, beautiful hotels…and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Since its opening in 1901, Kelvingrove offers fine collections of paintings including Van Gogh’s portrait of Glaswegian art collector Alexander Reid.

Other exhibits include Scottish archeological finds such as Bronze Age tools and jewelry, weapons from the 15th and 16th centuries and Flemish tapestries.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow Kelvingrove Art Gallery
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Glasgow Science Centre

The Science Centre, located near the Riverside Museum, is a popular place for families to gather. This hands-on centre, housed in a modern looking titanium clad structure, contains many exhibits and stations where kids…and adults…can learn.

The Science Centre also offers a planetarium, Imax theater and a science theater, where talks and lectures are regularly presented. And finally, check out the Glasgow Tower, the tallest freely rotating tower in the world.

Top Ten Places to Visit Glasgow Science Centre
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – Science Centre

Riverside Museum and Tall Ship

This award winning museum includes exhibits from the city’s former Transport Museum. Exhibits include model ships, trams, locomotives, vintage cars and horse drawn carriages, most of which were Glasgow built.

The Tall Ship, docked outside, gives visitors a chance to explore the Glenlee, a restored three mast ship, also built in Glasgow.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow Riverside Museum
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – Riverside Museum and Tall Ship

Buchanan Street

Buchanan Street is one of the main shopping thoroughfares in Glasgow. It forms the core of Glasgow’s famous shopping district with its upscale shops. Buchanan Galleries, what we in the US would call a mall, houses 80 retail stores. There are also many cafes and restaurants available along Buchanan Street, when shoppers need a break.

The street is named after a famous Glaswegian merchant, Andrew Buchanan, a successful tobacco plantation owner.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow Buchanan Street
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – Buchanan Street

Kibble Palace and Glasgow Botanical Gardens

Kibble Palace, built in 1873, is one of the largest glasshouses in the UK. It houses rare orchids, tree ferns from Australia and New Zealand, and plants from Africa, the Americas and the Far East.

The glass palace is part of the Glasgow Botanical Gardens, where visitors explore extensive grounds and greenhouses and appreciate Victorian sculptures. There is also a garden tearoom to enjoy.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow Kibble Palace
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – Kibble Palace and Glasgow Botanical Gardens

Gallery of Modern Art

Also called GoMA, this Romanesque building offers a changing roster of exhibits featuring local and international artists. Workshops and lectures take place here too.

Look for a traffic cone on the head of the equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington in front of the gallery. It’s a playfully irreverent Glaswegian attitude on display. Local authorities don’t even attempt to remove the cone anymore.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – Gallery of Modern Art

Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace

Established in 1662, Glasgow Green is the oldest park in the city. It’s an easy walk to the park, from George Square.

One of the park’s main attractions is the People’s Palace, a museum built in 1898 that tells Glasgow’s story, from 1750 to the 20th century.

In the Winter Garden, a large conservatory located at the back of the palace, find a collection of tropical and subtropical plants. And the Doulton Fountain is the world’s largest terracotta fountain. Built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, the fountain is 46 feet high and 70 feet across.

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow Green
Top ten places to visit in Glasgow – Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace

Bonus Attraction

I love the lively spirit that pervades Glasgow. The people are friendly and very willing to talk about their love for their city. Although I didn’t make it to Glasgow on my most recent trip to Scotland, I’ve visited the city twice. As with Edinburgh, there is always more that I want to do and see when I visit. That just means I need to make more trips to Scotland!

One last bonus attraction awaits, for lovers of the British television series Doctor Who. If you are a fan, this spot, located near the Glasgow Cathedral, needs no explanation. I’ve taken a photo here twice. My last visit is documented below.

Which of these top ten places to visit in Glasgow are on your travel list? Or if you’ve visited this magical city, which ones did you see?

Top Ten Places to Visit in Glasgow police box
Is it the TARDIS?

Fun Glasgow Finds from Amazon:


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Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland

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Fourth in the Movies That Inspire Travel series, these are the movies that inspire a trip to Scotland. I’ve greatly enjoyed writing this series of travel related posts. Check out the movie inspirations from Italy, Ireland and England too.

If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know that Scotland is dear to me. I grew up with an intense longing to explore this gorgeous country, after I learned about my Scottish roots as a young child. My dreams became reality in 2014, with my first trip to Scotland. I returned in 2017 and 2019. Truthfully, I think about my ancestral homeland daily. Scotland calls to me continually. I feel more myself, more at home there, than I do anywhere else in the world.

This collection of movies inspired me through the years, while I yet dreamed of visiting Scotland. And today they stir fond memories and ease…a tiny bit…the ache to return home.

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The Three Lives of Thomasina 1963

This early Disney live action drama stars Patrick McGoohan, Susan Hampshire, Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice.

In this fantasy meets reality film, a young Scottish girl’s cat, Thomasina, helps bring a family together through her mysterious death and magical resurrection. Set in 1912 Scotland, this tender movie enchants both children and adults.

Fun fact: As is usual in films featuring animals, several cats played the role of Thomasina. One of the felines held up filming for two days by absolutely refusing to perform a stunt she had trained for.

Purchase The Three Lives of Thomasina

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland the three lives of thomasina
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – The Three Lives of Thomasina

Local Hero 1983

This comedy drama stars Burt Lancaster, Peter Riegert, Peter Capaldi and Denis Lawson.

An oil billionaire sends his representative to a remote Scottish village, to secure property rights for a proposed refinery. While the villagers initially seem excited by the prospect of a cash windfall, the eccentric local hermit doesn’t share in the enthusiasm. He refuses to sell his portion of the beach where he lives. This is the story of a materialistic man who discovers the incredible beauty of a simpler life.

Fun fact: After the movie released in 1983, many people came looking for the quaint village featured in the film. The Scottish village is Pennan on the Moray Coast.

Rent Local Hero on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland local hero
Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland – Local Hero

Rob Roy 1995

Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, John Hurt and Tim Roth star in this historical drama.

In the Highlands of Scotland, in 1713, Rob Roy McGregor attempts to better the lives of those dwelling in his small village. He borrows money from a nobleman to purchase cattle to herd to market. When the money is stolen, Rob Roy becomes a Scottish Robin Hood to defend his family and his honor.

Fun fact: Actor Tim Roth feared losing the role because he played Archibald Cunningham as too eccentric. He even asked his agent to start looking for another part for him. Instead, the director encouraged Roth, asking him to up the level of eccentricity. Roth later received an Oscar nomination for his performance.

Rent Rob Roy on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland rob roy
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Rob Roy

Braveheart 1995

Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohand and Angus Macfadyen star in this historical drama.

Scottish rebel William Wallace leads an uprising against the English king, Edward Longshanks, who covets the crown of Scotland. With the assistance of Robert the Bruce and the clansmen of the Highlands, Wallace seeks freedom for all of Scotland.

Fun fact: When asked by a Scotsman why the Battle of Stirling Bridge was filmed on an open plain, Gibson answered, “The bridge got in the way”. “Aye,” the local responded, “that’s what the English found too.”

Watch for free on Starz or rent Braveheart on Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland braveheart
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Braveheart

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 2001

This fantasy adventure stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and Richard Harris….plus a huge ensemble cast.

Harry Potter, an orphaned boy, discovers the truth about himself at the magical Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Famous for an incident that happened shortly after birth, Harry learns that the wizarding world is more dangerous than he ever imagined.

Although Hogwarts attracts students from across Europe, the school is located in the Scottish Highlands.

Fun fact: Author JK Rowling hand picked Alan Rickman to play the role of Snape. Rickman privately received special instructions about the character from Rowling that shaped the actor’s portrayal. Those details about Snape’s backstory were not revealed until the final novel and film.

Rent the Harry Potter films on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland - Harry Potter
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Harry Potter

Dear Frankie 2004

Gerard Butler, Emily Mortimer and Jack McElhone star in this romantic drama.

Nine year old Frankie and his mum Lizzie continually move from place to place. Their most recent stopping spot is a small seaside Scottish village. Wanting to protect her deaf son from the truth about his father, Lizzie creates a false story. She writes Frankie letters that the boy believes are from his father, who is supposedly away at sea. When Frankie discovers the ship his “father” is on is due to dock in his town, Lizzie chooses to hire a stranger to play Frankie’s dad, rather than tell him the truth.

Fun fact: The actor who plays Frankie is not deaf. However, he worked with a speech coach so that his one spoken line sounded correct.

Watch Dear Frankie on CBS All Access or rent on Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland dear frankie
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Dear Frankie

Stone of Destiny 2008

Charlie Cox, Stephen Cole, Ciaron Kelly, Kate Mara and Billy Boyd star in this comedy adventure based on a true story.

The films tells the fascinating and true story of four young Glaswegian students who, in 1951, successfully take back Scotland’s stone of destiny.  The 300 pound sandstone block is the stone that the kings of Scotland sat upon for their coronations. It was taken to Westminster Abbey in England as a spoil of war in 1296. Centuries later, these students outwit British authorities to return Scotland’s pride to its rightful place.

Fun fact: One of the real life students, Ian Hamilton, makes a cameo in the film, as an “older sour faced Englishman”. Ian passes the actor portraying him as he gets out or a car, shortly before he enters Westminster Abbey.

Watch Stone of Destiny free on IMDb TV

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland stone of destiny
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Stone of Destiny

Brave 2012

This animated film features the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd and Julie Waters.

Determined to make her own way in life, Scottish princess Merida defies long held traditions, bringing chaos to her family and kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a curse.

Fun fact: Kevin McKidd, who voices Young MacGuffin, enjoyed working on this film. It was the first time in years that he used his natural Scottish accent in a movie.

Rent Brave on Amazon Prime

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland brave
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Brave

Macbeth 2015

Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jack Madigan star in this drama inspired by Shakespeare.

Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches. They claim that one day, he will become King of Scotland. Spurred on by ambition and his wife, Macbeth murders the king and takes the throne for himself.

Fun fact: During filming on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, visibility became so poor that Marion Cotillard strayed into a bog and disappeared from view. It took two crew members to free her from the mud that sucked at her feet.

Watch Macbeth free with a Prime membership

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland macbeth
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Macbeth

Outlaw King 2018

Chris Pine, Stephen Dillane and Rebecca Robin star in this historical drama.

After receiving the declaration of “outlaw” by the English, Robert the Bruce raises an army of Scottish warriors in rebellion. He uses cunning and bravery to defeat the much larger and better equipped English army occupying Scottish soil.

Fun fact: After a screening of the film, the director cut 20 minutes from the movie. Included in the edits…a scene with an encounter between Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.

Watch Outlaw King on Netflix

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland outlaw king
Movies that inspire a trip to Scotland – Outlaw King

When You Can’t Travel, Watch a Movie

The Three Lives of Thomasina, which I watched many times as a child, ignited a desire within my heart to visit Scotland. The other films, and more like them, kept that fire stoked. Even after my trips to Scotland, watching a film set in that amazing country creates a deep longing to return.

I am willing to feel the homesickness, as I watch movies that capture the rugged mountains and narrow glens of Scotland. And I willingly allow tears to fill my eyes when I hear bagpipes or that delightful Scottish brogue. These are invitations to return, from a land I consider home. When travel restrictions ease, I intend to answer that call.

How many of these films have you seen? And have you visited Scotland yet?

Movies That Inspire a Trip to Scotland eilean donan castle
I am home.




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Fun Scottish Expressions and What They Mean

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Ah, Scotland. For me, the most beautiful country in the world. And Edinburgh, the capital city, is my favorite place to explore. The bagpipes, the castles, the green, green hills covered with heather in the summer and the language all pierce my heart. If you’ve ever watched the popular series Outlander, you’ve perhaps appreciated listening to the soft Scottish brogue too.

It takes me about 24 hours, in the country, to begin to understand that wonderful Scottish accent. And the phrases and slang are both endearing and amusing. Sit in a pub and listen to the locals talking to each other and you’ll understand why it’s one of my favorite things to do while touring the country.

These fun Scottish expressions and what they mean will help you decipher what’s said.

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Fun Scottish Expressions and What They Mean

Although the Scots speak English, their language is influenced by Gaelic, an older language that harkens back to the 13th century. Like other countries, there are different dialects present, from the northern Highlands to the southern Borders. However, all Scots are experts at turning a phrase, from humorous slang to hilarious cutting insults.

Lang may yer lum leek

While this phrase may sound inappropriate, it literally means “long may your chimney smoke”. It’s used as a toast to health, wishing one a long and healthy life.

Failing means yer playin’

An encouraging expression that means “at least you are trying”.

Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye

This expression translates to “what’s for you will no go by you”, meaning what’s meant to be, will be. I love this one.

Haste ye back

Used as a farewell, this one means “come back with speed” or “hurry back”.

Ah dinnae ken

Heard frequently in Scotland and on the series Outlander, this expression means “I don’t/didn’t know”. I use ah dinnae ken often when I’m speaking aloud to myself.

Fun Scottish Expressions Highlands
Fun Scottish Expressions – Ah dinnae ken how beautiful the Highlands are, until I traveled through them.

We’re a Jock Tamson’s bairns

This one means we are all God’s children. No one is better than anyone else. We are all equals.

Noo jist haud on

No, just hold on, meaning wait a minute, take your time or you are speaking too fast.

Is the cat deid?

This unusual expression means, “your trousers are too short”. Why, ah dinnae ken!

Haud yer wheesht

If you hear this expression, you need to shut up!

Och, it’s a dreich day

A reference to the weather, this means it’s a cold, wet, gloomy day. Scotland definitely has it’s share of dreich days.

Fun Scottish Expressions Glasgow
Fun Scottish Expressions – a dreich day in Glasgow

I’m fair puckled

I’m out of breath. Try this phrase next time you climb flights of stairs!

Gonnae no’ da that

Don’t do that!

Yer bum’s oot the windae

Literally, “your butt is out the window”. This one makes me laugh because I get such a visual image. It means you are lying or exaggerating.

Ma heid’s mince

“My head is mince”, meaning I’m a bit confused or mixed up.

Mony a mickle maks a muckle

I love this phrase too. Say it fast several times. It translates to “small amounts of savings soon build up to large amounts.” What a great saying to write on a travel savings jar!

Fun Scottish Expressions lass
Fun Scottish Expressions – this lass believes in mony a mickle maks a muckle. My heart longs to return to Scotland.

Aye mate, nae bother

Yes, friend, no problem. I absolutely love the Scottish “aye”.

That’s pure boggin

When something is boggin, it’s disgusting. That’s pure boggin means “that’s really disgusting”.

She’s a bonnie lass

You might know this one, as we use bonnie somewhat in the US. It means “she’s a beautiful woman”.

Dinnae be a wee clipe

This one means “don’t be a tattle tell”.

Yer oot yer face

Another one that makes me laugh, this one means “you are extremely drunk”.

Fun Scottish Expressions cheers
Fun Scottish Expressions – we dinnae get oot our faces in Edinburgh!

Mad wae it

This means “drunk”, as in Ian wiz so mad wae it.

Och, yer talking oot yer arse

You might guess this one! It means you are talking nonsense or making something up.


This expression is used when someone doesn’t look 100% his best or seems out of sorts. Yer lookin’ a bit peely-wally.

Wur tearin’ the tartan

When enjoying a riveting, gossipy conversation, people are tearin’ the tartan.

Dinnae fash yerself

Outlander fans are familiar with this phrase. Jamie utters it to Claire frequently. It means “don’t worry yourself” as in, don’t get stressed or annoyed over a situation. Jamie calls Claire Sasanach. In case you wonder, that word translates to “English born” or it can refer to someone born in the Scottish lowlands or borders as opposed to the Highlands.

Fun Scottish Expressions Eilean Donan Castle
Fun Scottish Expressions – dinnae fash yerself when you visit Scotland

Which of the Fun Scottish Expressions is Your Favorite?

Did you pick out a favorite expressions? Truthfully, I love all of them and use several, privately. I enjoy Scottish films. The background scenery, the city shots and especially hearing the language all tug me energetically back toward Scotland.

Reading these expressions as I typed the words, I could mentally “hear” them spoken with a Scottish accent. It makes me feel homesick. I trust travel restrictions will ease someday and I’ll get back there.

I’ll leave you with one more fun phrase.

Better tae bust oot than rust oot.

Translation: Live every moment of life to the absolute fullest before you die.


Fun Scottish Expressions flags

Other fun posts in this series:

English expressions

Irish expressions


Check out these Amazon finds. Click HERE to start a FREE 30 Amazon Prime trial.

Rent Outlander on Amazon or start a FREE 7 day trial of Starz and watch the whole series.



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