An Afternoon in Glasgow

After our stay in Edinburgh and a day exploring the Highlands, we headed west to spend a day in Glasgow (our last day in Scotland).

On our way from Edinburgh to Glasgow we stopped at Stirling Castle and it was one of my favorite stops of the whole trip. Situated on top of a volcanic crag, it’s surrounded by steep cliffs on three sides. Its strategic hilltop position and location (lowest crossing point of the River Forth) made it one of the most important fortifications and defensive positions in Scotland.

The first record of Stirling Castle dates back to 1110 when King Alexander I dedicated a chapel there. Until the Union of the Crowns in 1603, almost every Scottish monarch had either lived in the castle, been crowned there, or died there. Mary Queen of Scots lived at Stirling Castle as a child and was crowned there in 1543.

Stirling Castle was also an icon of independence throughout the wars with England (1236-1356). The castle was fought over and changed hands frequently. One of the most notable nearby battles was William Wallace’s victory over the English at Stirling Bridge. The National Wallace Monument is nearby and is visible from the castle.

We arrived at the castle in the late morning and it was still pretty empty. There was a free guided tour starting just as we arrived and almost everyone there joined, so we had the rest of the castle almost to ourselves. It was fun to explore all of the buildings and walk along the defensive wall in relative peace. 

After our stop at Stirling Castle, we made our way to Glasgow for lunch and an afternoon of exploring. Our first stop in Glasgow was the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

The collections at Kelvingrove range from natural history, arms and armour, art from many different periods and movements, and much more. The most famous painting there is Salvador Dali’s ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’. Unfortunately it was on loan to another museum at the time. We did see Rembrandt’s ‘A Man in Armour’ though.

I’m not usually a huge fan of art museums, but I was actually excited for this visit because the day we visited was the unveiling a long-lost portrait (it was missing for 400 years)! This portrait of George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham, was painted by Flemish artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens around 1625. The original painting was believed to be lost and this was thought to be a copy. However, the BBC series Lost Masterpieces reassessed the painting and confirmed it to be the original. The painting went through the restoration process to remove layers of dirt and overpaint that had concealed Rubens’ trademark techniques. We ended up catching the special about finding and restoring the painting the night before our visit, so it was fun to see in person. You can read more about the lost masterpiece here.

This art installation is supposed to represent every human expression. I can’t decide if it’s interesting or creepy…I’m leaning towards creepy.

They also have a giant organ (it’s over 100 years old) and recitals are Monday-Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. We were there just in time to catch the 1 p.m. recital and it was a fun experience.

After our time at the museum we took a drive around the city to see the Carrera marble staircases at Glasgow City Chambers and the “cone head” Duke of Wellington statue.

Our last stop was the Glasgow Necropolis and Glasgow Cathedral. The Necropolis is a Victorian cemetery across the “Bridge of Sighs” from Glasgow Catheral. Fifty thousand individuals are buried there.

Glasgow Cathedral is not technically a cathedral. It hasn’t been the seat of a bishop since 1690, but like many other pre-Reformation cathedrals in Scotland, it’s still an active place of worship. Like most cathedrals, it has beautiful stained glass windows. I really like this modern blue window, the Millennium Window.

Unfortunately the lower crypt was closed while we were there, but if you’re an Outlander fan, you’ve already seen it. The crypt was the filming location for the hospital where Claire volunteers in season 2, L’Hopital des Anges.

Oh, if you’re a Doctor Who fan, there’s a police box near the cathedral. I’m not a fan, but my friend Michelle is so I ran across traffic to get my picture with a tardis to send to her.

From there we went to our hotel and rested a bit before heading out to dinner. It was a quick trip to Glasgow and I would have loved more time to see the street art on the Glasgow Mural Trail, but I feel like we packed a lot in an afternoon and we really enjoyed our (short) stay.


  1. I love your style of writing. I like that you know and tell the history of the places you visit. This was a good read, thanks for sharing!

  2. Glasgow looks amazing! Girl, your trips are really spurring on my wanderlust! Need to hit up all these places ASAP!

  3. We're looking at a trip to Great Britain this upcoming year, seeing your pictures of Scotland make me want to go even more. You're pictures are incredible!

    1. That's so exciting! We went to England a few years ago and LOVED it! You're going to have an amazing vacation!

  4. These pictures are amazing! Looks like such an interesting place to visit

  5. Wow, what beautiful pictures! Traveling the US more is on my to-do list for 2018--already planned a January weekend in NOLA! But I really need to start doing Europe as well. Have never been

    1. I love NOLA! That's going to be such a fun trip. We're planning to travel around the US more this year too!


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