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Basic information

  • Area: 175.5 km² (67.76 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +44 141
  • Currency: Pound Sterling - GBP (£)
  • Population (EST): 580,690
  • Official language: English, Scots
  • Time Zone: GMT (UTC0)

Glasgow – Overview

Glasgow is the UK’s fourth largest city and has undergone considerable changes in the last 20 years. Once a busy industrial centre, today's Glasgow has been referred to as the world's first post-industrial city and is fast becoming a modern, forward-looking and vibrant metropolis.

Glasgow's most recent self-reinvention was built on the foundation of a Garden Festival in 1988 and Glasgow's designation as the European City of culture in 1990. When in 1999, the city became the UK City of Architecture and Design, its rebirth was complete. Today art and culture play an integral part in daily life. Prime examples include the Burrell Collection of art and antiques, the Kelvingrove Gallery and the People's Palace.

Whilst major redevelopments in the 1800s put an end to most of the city's medieval heritage, Glasgow is still famed for its diverse range of architecture with some outstanding buildings by renowned architects including Alexander Thomson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Built on a grid pattern, the centre of the city is bounded by the M8 motorway and the Clyde. The name, Glasgow is derived from the Gaelic for, "The Dear Green Place" a name which the city still lives up to thanks to its city centre parks and the beautiful Botanic Gardens. Many of the green spaces have facilities for tennis and bowling, and all offer the chance to simply sit and relax.

Art and culture are evident throughout Glasgow. The city has thriving, film, theatre, writing, music and design communities, all capturing worldwide attention. Glasgow has over 20 galleries and museums, many of which offer free admission. Any trip would be incomplete without visiting the award winning Burrell Collection, housed in Pollock Country Park. It houses a fabulous collection of antiques, artefacts and paintings, bequeathed to Glasgow City by Sir William and Lady Burrell in 1944. It includes over 8,000 object-de-art dating from the Neolithic period to the early 20th century. The brilliant design for the gallery incorporates antiquarian pieces from the collection, such as archways, stained glass and doorways into the modern building.

In complete contrast to the Burrell Collection gallery, is Pollock House, the ancestral home of the Maxwell family. Situated in Pollock Park, it was designed by William Adam in 1752. The house contains many fine antiques and some important works of William Blake, together with an impressive collection of Spanish art.

The cultural repertoire of Glasgow also includes the Scottish Ballet and Opera, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. Visitors will also find a wide choice of Theatres and Cinemas and festivals from Jazz to Celtic events throughout the year.

Glasgow is also famed for its pubs, restaurants and nightlife. In its restaurants bistros and tea-rooms there is hardly an international dish, particular taste or budget not accounted for. As for music, there is a plethora of venues offering live music from country to jazz to full orchestral performances.

As a shopping centre, Glasgow cannot be faulted. Whether among its charming galleries or modern arcades, designer names stand side-by-side with local producers offering goods to suit all tastes and budgets.

Just beyond the city's boundaries visitors will find some of Scotland's most beautiful countryside with its mountains, glens, lochs and unspoilt coastline waiting to be explored. Only 20 miles (32km) away, for example, is the spectacular Loch Lomond, the largest fresh water Loch in the UK.