Miles Better: Exploring Glasgow’s Architectural Gems

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Take a stroll around Glasgow and it’s easy to be seduced by shopping on Sauchiehall Street or the buzz of bars on Ashton Lane – but there’s so much more to see in Scotland’s largest city …

… and the following architectural adventures won’t cost you a penny.

In a city famous for its distinctive 19th century architecture, Glasgow has an impressive portfolio of Victorian buildings designed by some of the world’s finest architects.

From the main building of the University of Glasgow to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, there’s plenty for the traditional – and modern – architecture buff to enjoy.

However, you needn’t necessarily have an architectural technology degree – although such a qualification is never a bad idea – to fully enjoy these beauties.

So, if you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Glasgow but are looking for some architectural inspiration, add the five locations below to your “must visit” list immediately.

Willow Tearooms

The willow tearoom


Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Willow Tearooms first opened its doors in 1903 and, today, it continues to thrive. Located at 217 Sauchiehall Street, Mackintosh showed glimpses of Art Nouveau thinking when redesigning the external facade of the building, but also ensured the tearoom meshed with neighbouring buildings.

Holmwood House

Holmhood house


Designed by Alexander “Greek” Thomson, Holmwood House is a sophisticated residential villa located at Netherlee Road in Cathcart. Originally constructed for a paper manufacturer in the mid-19th Century, you’ll fall in love with the frieze of panels in the dining room, enlarged from John Flaxman’s (a leading figure in British and European Neoclassicism) drawings of Homer’s Iliad.

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St Vincent Street Church

St Vincent Street Church Glasgow


Also designed by Alexander Thomson, St Vincent Street Church was built in 1858 and is a Category A listed building. The World Monuments Fund listed this Pesbyterian church in the 1998 World Monuments Watch, with subsequent listings helping to provide funding to restore the church’s beautiful tower.

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall


Designed by Sir Leslie Martin, a man greatly influenced by the Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto, and constructed in the late 80s, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall has not had its troubles to seek. Despite being widely criticised for its “over-imposing” facade, the building continues to take pride of place on Glasgow’s main shopping street.

Clyde Auditorium

Clyde Auditorium

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Also known as The Armadillo, Clyde Auditorium was designed by Sir Norman Foster and opened its doors to the public back in 1997. Constructed at a cost of £30m, the auditorium is one of the most recognisable buildings on Clydeside and has quickly become one of the most iconic symbols of modern Glasgow.

Now it’s over to you …

What are some of your favourite architectural gems in Glasgow? Please let us know by leaving a comment below – we’d love to hear from you.

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