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Glasgow has gone through some difficult times, but is currently one of Europe's most trendy cities. The city played a prominent role during the industrial revolution, but seriously declined after World War II. During the 1990s, the city council initiated major renovations of the city center and they have been successful. Glasgow is once again a bustling city with plenty to do.
(With the exception of a few), you will search in vain for medieval houses in Glasgow. Yet it is still a city full of architecture and design and nowhere does this become more evident than in The Lighthouse. Originally home to the Glasgow Herald newspaper, it was converted in 1999 to accommodate Scotland's Centre for Architecture, Design and the City. It holds for example an exhibition on The Lighthouse's designer, Charles Mackintosh, who was also responsible for many other buildings (such as the Queen's Cross Church and Martyrs' School). You can of course also climb the tower and be rewarded with beautiful views of Glasgow and the surrounding area.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum houses a large collection of paintings by European masters, including works by Rembrandt, Monet, Botticelli, Van Gogh and Picasso. In addition, they have an exhibition on antique weaponry and they also have finds from archeological excavations on display. A separate part of the museum is dedicated to paintings of Glasgow from around 1900. For modern art you need to go to the Gallery of Modern Art on the Royal Exchange Square.
Are you filled with nostalgia for your school days? Then we suggest you go to the Scotland Street School Museum. In this former school (also designed by Charles Mackintosh) they reconstructed three classrooms from different eras. There is a Victorian classroom, a classroom as it was at the time of World War II, and one from the 1960s. In an interactive area you can even experience a day from one of those periods.
The Glasgow Science Centre is an exceptional attraction. Inside you will find hundreds of installations and experiments to conduct by yourself. Adjacent to the building there is a 127-meter-tall tower that can rotate around its own axis (the tower faces into the wind), the Glasgow Tower. You can of course go up, however, this is not advisable for people who easily experience motion sickness, as the top moves back and forth.
The Glasgow Cathedral is an example of one of Scotland's medieval buildings. The magnificent Gothic church is situated right next to the Necropolis, a Victorian-style cemetery.
The days Glasgow's economy centered around industry and shipbuilding are long gone; these days the city is a service center. This is illustrated by the city's large Exhibition & Conference Center. And now you will wonder if that is an attraction. It certainly is, as close to the conference center lies the Clyde Auditorium that has a unique architecture. The building has the shape of a huge armadillo, which immediately earned it its nickname of 'armadillo'.
Five kilometers outside the city center lies Pollok Park. Here highland cattle walk around and you can even take a ride on Clydesdale horses. They also mapped out trails through the park to explore on a mountain bike. In addition, the park houses The Burrell Collection. It is an impressive collection of artwork, donated by shipping magnate Sir William Burrell. It does not only include paintings (from the fifteenth up to the nineteenth centuries), but also sculptures, tapestries and colored-glass objects.
Well, and then there is the Scottish weather. It does indeed rain from time to time. And what to do in this case, especially when traveling with children. You can for example go to the M&D's Theme Park that has taken into account the vagaries of the weather, as large part of it is covered. This does, however, not apply to the large 'Tornado' rollercoaster.
About 20 kilometers north of Glasgow, around Great Britain's largest freshwater lake, Loch Lomond, lies the Trossachs National Park. If you don't have the time to travel around Scotland, you can still get a glimpse of the flora and fauna of the Highlands here.
Southeast of Glasgow lies New Lanark. It used to be a town of cotton mills that had excellent working conditions and social security benefits, thanks to the ideas of Robert Owen, who was not only an industrialist but also a social reformer. New Lanark is listed as a World Heritage Site and one of the former mills is now a hotel.
Edinburgh is located only a half-hour' drive away from Glasgow. This city does have a medieval center and offers a wide variety of art and culture, museums, festivals and last but not least pubs.
You can park your car on the street in Glasgow, but often only for a limited time. If the limit is exceeded, your car will be towed away right away. We therefore recommend parking your rental car in one of the parking garages of which the locations are clearly signposted. You are most likely to find parking space in the garages north and northeast of the center (Junction 16, 17 or 18 of the M8).
The city has two airports. The main airport is Glasgow International Airport, 13 kilometers west of the city center. You can easily reach the airport by rental car via the M8 freeway (exit 29). Ryanair flies to Glasgow Prestwick International Airport, approximately 50 kilometers southwest of the city. From Glasgow you can reach this airport by rental car via the M8, followed by the M77, A77, A78 and A79 successively.