Quick Adventures: Old Glasgow

The oldest parts of Glasgow have a lot to offer for a quick afternoon trip.

Interior of Glasgow Cathedral by Steve Collins licensed under CC-BY-2.0

The old settlement of Glasgow sprang up around what is now the Cathedral and that is where some of the oldest and most interesting places in the city are. Our fine University even used to be around there before moving to the current campus at Gilmorehill. The main attractions are the 12th century Cathedral (which houses the remains of Glasgow’s patron Saint Mungo), the St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art, a 15th century house that is now a museum called the Provand’s Lordship and the Victorian graveyard called the Necropolis, which overlooks the city. All of these interesting places can be found just east of the University of Strathclyde, at the crossing of Cathedral Street and Castle Street (yes, there used to be a castle here, it’s now the Royal Infirmary).

The Cathedral is a beautiful example of the Scottish Gothic style, you’ll probably have visited it if you studied History of Art. It was built on the site of the church originally founded by St. Mungo. You have to see it from all angles, inside and out. But if you’re superstitious, don’t walk around it anti-clockwise as the old Scottish belief is you’ll end up in trapped the fairy realm.

Across from the Cathedral on Castle Street is the Provand’s Lordship. It’s the oldest house in Glasgow, with a lot of historical artifacts inside. There are quite a few exhibits detailing various stages of history in Glasgow as well, it’s not just creaking floorboards and weird monk mannequins. Check out the gardens in the back as well. They’re a very modern, but still interesting.

Directly across the road from the Provard’s Lordship is the St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art. This is the most modern complex of these attractions, but it tries to simulate the medieval style of the Cathedral and ancient house. Even though it carries a Saint’s name from Celtic Christianity, it is dedicated to exploring the artistic merits of various world religions. There is Britain’s first zen garden, a large number of elaborate stained glass windows, exhibits of Christianity in Scotland and all sorts of religious stories and artefacts from around the world.

High above the Cathedral is the Necropolis. It’s a vast graveyard with a massive looming statue of John Knox and plenty of eerie crypts and mausoleums. There’s lots of elaborate carvings, columns and statues. Due to its prominent location it gives great views of the city. Try playing hide’n’seek here at night. Absolutely terrifying. It is also a fantastic spot to watch the fireworks at Glasgow Green on Guy Fawkes night (5th November).

Oh, and the Tennents Brewery is nearby :p happy #UofGsummer