Glasgow Hop on Hop off Tour

Glasgow Hop on Hop off Tour

So when I went to Glasgow  back in June I took advantage of the Hop On Hop Off tour and thought I’d just share some of what I saw.


It was luckily nice and sunny for the majority of it and the clouds only rolled in a little throughout the day. It all started in George Square where I got on.


Onward to the Gallery of Modern Art. The statue of the Duke of Wellington you see at the front always wears a traffic cone on his head. Sometimes his trusty stead has one as well as you can see in the picture below, but not always. This seems to be a point of great pride in Glasgow and as was described on the tour the residents of the city threw a fit when the city wanted to double the statues height in an attempt to impede this tradition. As you can see the people of Glasgow won.

I’ve heard, while spending time in England, that the Scottish spirit is one of hearty stuff. Getting to know my own Scottish honey has only supported what I’ve heard but I would call it something more like a stubborn spirit… mule headed perhaps… so it seems only fitting that the people of Glasgow would want to rebel in a public way by taking this British soldier and gentleman on his horse and putting their own finishing touch on his memorial. I’m curious about why the Duke is memorialized here being that he wasn’t Scottish and in my brief readings of his life’s high points I didn’t see that he played a particularly important part in Scotland’s history. I wonder if he actually ever went north of Hadrian’s Wall.


The tour carried on towards the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The history of this hospital is remarkable and on the tour I learned that the sterilized white coats that doctors wear started in Glasgow, that crazy idea of washing your hands before and after operations started here and thankfully spread worldwide along with this being one of the first places to perform bone grafts. There was a lot more but I’ll leave that for you when you go on the tour yourself. Remarkable, to say the least.


What city tour would be complete without Street Art…


This is Saint Enoch’s Shopping Center, which is the largest enclosed glass covered area in Europe. Designed in the 1980’s by GMW Architects. The idea was to reduce the need for artificial light and heating since the roofs makes it like a Greenhouse.


McLellen’s Arch was the location of the last public hanging in Glasgow… sometime in the beginning of the 20th century. Just an interesting tid bit you get on the tour. Beyond the Arc is  Glasgow Green, a beautiful park.


Along the tour one of the main figures in Glasgow was The Clyde Arc, also known as The Squinty Bridge because the structure is… well Squinty (not at a 90 degree angle to the connecting streets). It was built in 2006 and designed by the Halcrow Group. One of the supports had to be replaced in 2008 because of a failure which would have been terrifying if you’de been on the bridge at the time the cable was no longer connected. They closed it down immediately and further inspections led to the replacement of all of the connectors. So they tell you this as you’re going across the bridge… of course. Seems like they fixed things up nicely though.


Finnieston Crane is a legacy of the ship building of years gone. I believe you can go up and wander around on top of it if you so desire… Glasgow is a windy place though… and I imagine up there is especially more so. Maybe I’ll be curious enough to venture up there some day.


The Glasgow Science Centre was next on the route and it was an interesting building. Designed by BDP and completed in 2001 and is one of the top tourist attractions if you have kiddos or an interest in science.


I didn’t have a chance to go inside but I’ll be back IMAX theater… and I’d like to go to the top of that tower you see in the back. It’s the tallest rotating tower in the world, so says the Guinness World Record. I have a feeling that the architect’s didn’t imagine these tiny picnic tables and huge adverts would be crowding up the view of their building. I’m also not too sure if that building is going to age very well.


Across the river is The Clyde Auditorium at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center, aka The Armadillo. It was built in 1995 and designed by Norman Foster. It seats 3000 people.


The SSE Hydro opened in 2013 and was designed by Foster + Partners… just like it’s Armadillo neighbor. The Arena is for bigger crowds seating 13,000 screaming fans. The panels you see at the exterior are fitted with lights that change color to the operator’s desire so that the building glows with energy and can be seen from miles around. A neat feature but it makes you wonder how trendy that’ll be in 20 years. Maybe just as much or not at all. Either way it’s fun for now.


The Riverside Museum or The Transport Museum was interesting… I use the dot dot dot because I have more to say about this building. It’s one of those projects that has gotten a lot of hype because it’s shocking in it’s structural design and the architect is Zaha Hadid, rather her firm but the building is a piece of sculptural architecture and the inside feels like a warehouse. That’s enough for now.


The Glasgow Botanic Gardens were a little further down the route and so beautiful. I have expressed my appreciation of how the British appreciate a sunny day. Well, it is felt just as much if not more in Scotland because the weather changes so quickly here and it really does seem to rain everyday. Except when I’m there… I seem to bring the sun with me wherever I go… tee hee hee.


The Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum was towards the end of the tour and is a remarkable building. Opened in 1901 and designed by Sir John W Simpson and E.J. Milner Allen. I love that British museums are free to the public. So wonderful that they want people to be able to not only enjoy these buildings but the art too!

So I only showed a few of the places you can Hop on or off at because I think there was something like 29 stops along the way. I absolutely love it and will probably take advantage of it again when I head back to Glasgow just because it was £14 for 2 days, you get the commentary and you get the transport to and fro. Deal! I’ll post about the stops themselves in more detail later on. Stay tuned!

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