“Glasgow and Edinburgh, how do you tell them apart? One has a castle, one has a heart.”

I learned this and much more whilst taking a peek into the cultural nucleus of Glasgow. The industrial capital of Scotland, ‘where even the grass had soot on it’, Glasgow has regenerated from its dirty past to become a thriving cultural centre and top tourist destination. However, the city still plays true to its roots and the raw Glaswegian spirit of grit and determination is no better expressed than in music and art.

Glasgow crane

It’s easy to mash-up two self-guided walks to experience both the music and street art scenes at the same time. Clever idea eh? They were pretty easy to find and follow, the art tour has maps available here and the music tour comes as a series of short podcast notes here.

St Mungo mural
Mungo is Glasgow’s patron saint. He is said to have performed four miracles, which are commemorated in the following verse:

Here is the bird that never flew

Here is the tree that never grew

Here is the bell that never rang

Here is the fish that never swam

The mural depicts St. Mungo restoring a robin back to life after his classmates had killed the bird.
rapper marionettesFamous GlaswegiansGymnastic figuresmore famous Glaswegianseven more famous Glaswegians

The tours are a brilliant method of conducting an educative wander around the city centre. You can get your bearings whilst finding out about different music venues and stumbling upon the artworks. Not a bad way to spend a few hours.

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This mural fills the side of a car park area and celebrates the natural wildlife of Scotland. What a refreshing way to brighten up a parking lot.
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Hidden down alleyways or popping up on random walls, the murals appear like urban tattoos.

wall of the clutha pub, part 1wall of the clutha pub, part 2

The Clutha Vaults is one spot where art, history, music, and tragedy combined. The site of a public house since 1819, it is a popular venue for gigs, comedy and alternative events. Unfortunately, in 2013 a police helicopter crashed into the site, killing ten people.

Billy Connolly mural part 1Billy Connolly mural by Jack Vettriano

One of Glasgow’s most famous residents is comedian and actor, Billy Connolly. To commemorate his 70th birthday a series of portraits have appeared amongst the Glaswegian buildings, including a giant depiction of the ‘Big Yin’ by world-renowned artist, Jack Vettriano.

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If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

tiger muralballoons taking taxi awaygiant girl with microscope muralbusker mural

Life imitates art.
busker outside the zoo bar mural

Decorative walls form the backdrop to Glasgow’s street performance stages.

Commonwealth games muralSwimming pool users mural

Celebrating Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014 in pictures.

It was a most informative and game-like meander through Glasgow’s streets. I enjoyed finding out about the different musical haunts, from old theatre venues to pumping nightclubs, via sweaty low-key pub concerts, Celtic festivals and grand concert halls. The audio stories made the buildings come alive with legendary tales of rock superstars and discovering new talent. The Glasgow grass may not be covered in soot these days, but its streets still stir to a gritty beat of creativity.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.

If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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