Don’t really fancy going to the pub? Already had a lifetime’s supply of fish and chips? It’s time to unleash your inner historian and do some proper exploring in Glasgow. The following activities have been hand-picked by myself, a history aficionado who’s lived in this great city for the past 10 years – I think that gives me just a tad of street cred (right?).

Provand’s Lordship

This house was built in 1471 and is just one of four medieval buildings that still survive in the city. It was part of a hospital in its past, but has since been restored to resemble the interior of a home from the 1700s. The furniture is all completely original, with all of it being kindly donated by Sir William Burrell.

It’s great if you’re the type of person that really needs a visual aspect to learning about history. Rather than having to imagine what a house during the 18th century looked like, you actually get a proper taste of it. Well worth a visit.

It’s a beautiful house that’s open 10-5pm most days and entry is free.

The Tall Ship at Riverside

This ship harks back to the celebrated shipping industry of Glasgow’s docks. The Tall Ship Glenlee was built in 1896 at Port Glasgow and it actually still sails. When you visit this part of town, you can really imagine the hustle and bustle of the old docks.

The Tall Ship has an in-house museum (or is that on-ship museum?), cafe, gift shop, and a range of interesting exhibitions. The boat has been restored and maintained to perfection, giving a true reflection of its former glory. This is another must-see attraction for you budding historians.

Antonine Wall Bearsden

Glasgow isn’t necessarily well-known for its Roman sites, but if you’re into your swords and sandals you’ll enjoy a visit to this section of the Antonine Wall. Here, you’ll find a Roman fort with a bath house that has been surprisingly well-preserved. You can easily identity the different ‘stages’ that the average bath dweller would go through: the hot and dry rooms, the selection of steam rooms, as well as the baths themselves.

This is definitely a site that I’d call a ‘hidden gem’ – not many people actually know about it and are surprised to find out just how much you can see. Of course, your imagination will have to do quite a bit of the heavy lifting, but for a Roman site there’s plenty there!

Bonus #4 – Glasgow Cathedral

You’re not going to get away with visiting Glasgow and skipping the great Cathedral.

Not on my watch. 

If you’ve landed on this page directly from a Google search, you may not have noticed this salient fact: this website is entirely dedicated to Glasgow Cathedral. And there are several reasons for it:

  • We’re history buffs, plain and simple.
  • Glasgow Cathedral is a unique example of Gothic architecture. It’s stunning. 
  • The sheer history and significance of the place, both in terms of the country’s religious and political past.

In short, you must visit Glasgow Cathedral. No excuses.

All of these sites are 100% free, as with most Scottish museums and historic sites. I urge you to support these fantastic ventures by visiting the cafes, having a peek in the gift shop, or just giving a few pounds when you leave – it all helps massively and contributes to the preservation of these important sites.