Free tour

The Mysterious and Magnificent History of Glasgow

Duration: 2h and 30min
Languages: English
Guru: Bruce
Quality Verified Registered on March 13, 2023

I've lived in Glasgow for over 20 years. I was born in a town called Ayr, forty miles to the south of Glasgow, but for a long time, before I ever moved here, I was always visting to enjoy the culture and nightlife of this great city. When I finally moved here, it was to work in theatre. For a while I was an actor but then I became a director. Throughout that time, I got to know the history of Glasgow very well. In more recent years, I've been working in the heritage sector, writing books about the history of some of the districts of Glasgow, talking about Glasgow and encouraging people to explore and discover the history of the city. Working as a tour guide is great fun. I really enjoy introoducing people to the city and sharing some stories. When I'm not touring, I'm in the library, researching and discovering more stories to share.

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  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free
  • Accepts electronic payment
    This tour allows payment by electronic means or credit card

Tour description

Join me on a tour through the streets, alleyways, parks, and courtyards of Scotland’s biggest city. 

Explore a little of the history of this ancient, and very modern city, from its origins in the 6th century, and marvel at the tremendous wealth, power and prosperity Glasgow enjoyed in the 19th century, when it became known, across the world, as The Second City of the Empire.

Hear about some memorable moments from Glasgow’s history, including a few scandals and darker secrets.
Follow in the footsteps of the merchants, traders and pioneers who transformed the city’s fortunes and reputation and the workers who enabled that transformation.

Marvel at the grandeur of the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture and sculpture that can still be found on so many streets.

Learn how Glasgow has continually reinvented itself in the 20th and 21st century, becoming one of the most cosmopolitan and creative cities in Europe.

Discover some of the top attractions in the city of Glasgow such as the spectacular City Chambers, and even some lesser-known sites such as world’s oldest, surviving music hall, the Britannia Panopticon. The tour finishes near the Ramshorn Church, close to George Square.

(Please note, this tour is in English)


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What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    50 George Square, Glasgow G2 1EH, UK
    50 George Square, Glasgow G2 1EH, UK
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    Meet me outside Costa Coffee on the north side of George Square. I will be holding a green notebook

  • 1
    Outside visit
    Glasgow City Chambers

    The most spectacular building in Glasgow, which opened in 1888. The amazing sculptures on the outside, all relate to the history of Glasgow.

  • 2
    Outside visit
    James Oswald Monument

    One of several statues on the square. James Oswald was a politician but the statue has become part of an important tradition in Glasgow.

  • 3
    Outside visit
  • 4
    Outside visit
    Monument to Robert Burns

    Robert Burns is the national poet of Scotland. Every year, on the 25th of January, Scots all over the world celebrate his birth. Robert wrote one of the most famous songs in the world

  • 5
    Outside visit
    Walter Scott Monument

    Walter Scott was one of the most important novelists in the 19th century and played a significant part in creating modern Scotland

  • 6
    Outside visit
    Gallery of Modern Art

    A spectacular building that was orginally a private house

  • 7
    Outside visit
    Duke of Wellington statue

    One of ther most famous landmarks in Glasgow and Scotland. The Duke of Wellington has a very special hat.

  • 8
    Outside visit
    Tobacco Merchant's House

    A typical private house from the 18th century.

  • 9
    Outside visit
    Virginia Court

    One of the most important commercial sites in the city in the 18th century, where tobacco and sugar were sold

  • 10
    Outside visit
    Rab Ha's Hotel

    Rab Ha' (Robert Hall) was a very famous Glaswegian who had an enormous appetite

  • 11
    Outside visit
    City Halls & Old Fruitmarket

    The first concert venue in Glasgow and the market where fruit and vegetables were sold for nearly a century

  • 12
    Outside visit
    Trongate 103

    An exciting arts centre.

  • 13
    Outside visit
    Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre

    Inside the Trongate 103, the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, has one of the most unusual shows in all of Glasgow

  • 14
    Outside visit
    Britannia Panopticon

    The oldest surviving music hall in the world, where Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy fame) made his debut

  • 15
    Outside visit

    An excellent vegan cafe

  • 16
    Outside visit
    McLennan Arch

    A spectacular arch at the wester edge of Glasgow Green

  • 17
    Outside visit
    Glasgow Green

    Glasgow's oldest public park, over 500 years old

  • 18
    Outside visit
    St Andrew's in the Square - Glasgow

    One of the most beautiful churches in Glasgow, now an arts centre. Also, site of some spectacular events in the history of Glasgow

  • 19
    Outside visit
    Mercat Cross

    The Mercat Cross is the ancient heart of Glasgow, where markets took place

  • 20
    Outside visit
    Tolbooth Steeple

    Part of the original council Chambers, dating back to the 14th century

  • 21
    Outside visit
    Babbity Bowster

    One of the most celebrated restaurants in Glasgow

  • 22
    Outside visit
    Ramshorn Graveyard

    A old church in the centre of Glasgow. Many rich people are buried here. Some of the graves are protected by iron cages, to prevent grave robbers stealing bodies

How much does this tour cost?

Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).

Tour opinions

(533 ratings)
By category
Deirdre 18 Jul 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Jul 2024
Great tour
Dianne 16 Jul 2024

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Travelled in group - Jul 2024
A great overview of Glasgows history and many of the city’s landmarks were visited.
Irina 15 Jul 2024

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Travelled alone - Jul 2024
Thanks, Bruce, the tour was super informative, detailed and fun. Perhaps it could be a bit shorter, though!
Valeriy 12 Jul 2024

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Travelled alone - Jul 2024
Bruce was really great at explaining all the history of glasgow and made it continually engaging!
Jay Tipton 08 Jul 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Jul 2024
Great tour! Bruce was fun, professional, and knowledgeable. Highly recommend!
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Who is this tour for?

Non suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Does not accept large group reservations.
Not suitable for pets.

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
A minimum of 5 people is required for the tour.
Additional costs:
The tour does not require the payment of entrance fees or additional expenses.
Free cancellation
If you will not be able to attend the tour, please cancel your booking, otherwise the guide will be waiting for you.
Payment methods
Electronic or credit card payment is accepted.
When do you want to go?
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