Ancient Glasgow: Top Spots for History Buffs
Whether you’re keen on stomping around castles and imagining yourself as a Tudor princess or you’re like me and you simply savour the sound of your brogues clopping on a good old cobbled street, many of us like to imagine what our lives would be like if we lived in a different century. Ancient sites recall simpler times when we would drink beer instead of water and accuse our neighbour of being a witch if they refused to look after our dog while we were visiting our sister in Balloch. So if you’re keen to reminisce upon times gone by and explore the longstanding nooks and crannies of this fine city, then take a gander to these top spots for history buffs…
A mere 10-minute stroll from Crookston train station, Crookston castle is situated on a mighty hill overlooking Glasgow’s South Side, with ruins dating back to the 11th century. Venture inside the castle walls and discover life in medieval Scotland, from the master’s chambers to the great hall and guest apartments. You can also climb to the very top of this fine fortress to imagine battles gone by and witness breathtaking views of the Pollock area.
Fun fact: It was rumoured that Mary Queen of Scots was betrothed to her second husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, under a yew tree.
With its looming tombs and crumbling gravestones, the Necropolis may seem an unlikely candidate if you’re on the hunt for a jolly weekend jaunt, yet its position overlooking the East End and its architectural excellence make for stunning scenes and a truly gratifying experience of Glasgow’s ancient soul. Admire the city’s rich history at this humungous haunt and breathe in the wealth and magic of the city’s most famous past dwellers.
Fun Fact: You can visit the memorial to John Knox as well as the grave of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
University of Glasgow
Often referred to as ‘that one that looks like Hogwarts’, the University of Glasgow stands to be the fourth oldest university in the English speaking world, with almost 500 years educating the nation. On a sunny day, its iconic turrets and stained glass windows pierce the sky, a majestic reminder of Glasgow’s architectural and cultural achievements.
Fun fact: If you’re looking to tie the knot here, you can only do so if you’re a student, alumni or staff.
A unique facet of Glasgow’s past can be witnessed at Tenement house, a 20th-century middle-class tenement in Garnethill. Its original fittings and fixtures including its coal fired kitchen and gaslights make for a rare experience of what life was like in the early 1900s.
Fun fact: Shorthand typist Miss Agnes Toward lived here from 1911 until 1965, and it’s her possessions that remain in the house today.
This ancient gem lies hidden in plain sight, a stone’s throw away from George Square. As Glasgow’s auldest hoose, Provand’s Lordship was built in 1471 and now acts as a museum, showcasing a glimpse into medieval housing that would make even the hardiest history nerds weak at the knees. The house even showcases 17th century furniture donated by Sir William Burrell as well as historical royal portraits.
Fun fact: The house also features the St Nicholas Garden, a medicinal herb garden recreated in 15th-century style.
Britannia Panopticon Music Hall
The world’s oldest surviving music hall, the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall was birthed into Glasgow’s humble arms in the 1850s, during the some of the worst living conditions that the city has endured. The hall, therefore, provided much-needed entertainment for working class locals, featuring an eclectic array of comedy acts, singers and dancers. The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall is open to public viewing and you can even nab yourself tickets to one of their evening shows.
Fun fact: Back in the day, acts that met the audience’s disapproval could be bombarded with an assortment of waste products, including rancid turnips and horse manure.