Updated: Oct 31
If you're in Glasgow for one day only and you really want to have it all - then this tour is for you! We show you the most interesting parts of Glasgow and manage to take in the majority of the city.
As guests will know we try and tailor all of our tours to suit the group so we've compiled this to give you a sense of the tour...here are some of the stops we make - as always, the interesting part is in the in-person narrative during the tour. At least we like to tell ourselves that. Some of these stops are covered within our Glasgow Classics Tour and our Glasgow Alternative Tour however if you want to see all of these sights and hear all of the stories, then you need a bike and you need the Gallus Pedals The Big Glasgow Loop Tour'.
1. La Pasionaria
The La Pasionaria monument, located in Glasgow, Scotland, is a statue dedicated to Dolores Ibárruri, the Spanish communist leader and political activist who was popularly known as "La Pasionaria" (The Passionflower). The statue depicts Ibárruri in a powerful and determined stance, holding a book and a rose in her hands. It was unveiled in 1979 in the Clyde Walkway, Glasgow, as a symbol of the city's solidarity with the International Brigade which fought against Franco and Fascism during the Spanish Civil War. What's remarkable about this status is that it was unveiled only 4 years after Franco had died and was in the same year that Britain elected Margaret Thatcher. This a good example of Glasgow being out of sync with Westminster consensus and for good reason too!
2. Glasgow Green
Glasgow Green is a picturesque park located in the heart of Glasgow, Scotland. It is the oldest public park in the city, with a rich history dating back to the 15th century when Bishop Turnbull gifted the green space to the people of the city. The park features a variety of attractions including the People's Palace (more info below on that) and the old Templeton Carpet Factory. Visitors can also explore the Doulton Fountain, one of the largest terracotta fountains in the world, or take a stroll along the river Clyde, offering a great view of the city. The park is also a popular spot for sports and activities, with facilities for football, hockey, and nearby rowing. Additionally, Glasgow Green is host to several festivals and events throughout the year, making it a lively and fun destination for locals and tourists alike. It also houses the magnificent Templeton Carpet factory building (pictured above) which rather conveniently, also now houses a brewery.
3. People's Palace
The People's Palace in Glasgow is our personal favorite museum in Glasgow! This historic building, which dates back to 1898, is home to a fascinating museum that tells the story of the ordinary working-class people of Glasgow from 1750 until today. Inside, you'll find exhibits on everything from the city's social and industrial past to its cultural heritage, all presented in a fun and engaging way. There's a fascinating exhibit on some of the city's wealthy individuals who were engaged in industries tied to enslavement. We would have this museum down as a must-see!
4. Glasgow Cathedral
Glasgow Cathedral, also known as St. Mungo's Cathedral, is a magnificent medieval structure located in the heart of Glasgow, Scotland. With its rich history and stunning Gothic architecture, the cathedral stands as a testament to the city's religious and cultural heritage. Built between the 12th and 15th centuries, it is the only medieval cathedral in Scotland to have survived the Reformation intact.
The cathedral's impressive exterior features soaring spires, intricate stonework, and beautiful stained glass windows, which showcase biblical scenes and saints. Inside, visitors are captivated by the grandeur of the nave, adorned with ribbed vaults and clustered columns. The cathedral is also home to the shrine of St. Mungo, Glasgow's patron saint, and houses a remarkable collection of medieval relics and artifacts. As a popular tourist attraction and active place of worship, Glasgow Cathedral offers a glimpse into Scotland's rich religious and architectural history, providing visitors with a truly awe-inspiring experience.
4. 'Finnieston' Crane
The Stobcross Crane, or Finnieston Crane as it is better known, is a large cantilever crane located in Glasgow, Scotland. It was built in 1932 by the Stobcross Crane and Engineering Company and was used for shipbuilding and repair on the river Clyde - it was used for picking up locomotive engines and putting them on a ship. The crane is now considered a Grade A listed building and is considered an important symbol of Glasgow's industrial heritage. It is most definitely a modern Glasgow icon and is probably up there with being one of the most 'postcarded' icons of the city.
5. Riverside Museum
The Riverside Museum in Glasgow is a fun-filled destination for anyone interested in transportation, technology, and architecture. The building, designed by the renowned architect Zaha Hadid, is a true architectural gem with its wave-like shape and use of glass and steel that give it a modern and dynamic feel. Inside, the museum is packed with a wide range of exhibits, including vintage cars, trains, and bicycles, as well as interactive displays and hands-on activities that make learning about the city's past! You can even step inside a replica of a Glasgow street from the early 20th century and experience what it was like to live in the city during that time. But the Riverside Museum is not just about the exhibits inside, it also offers an outdoor experience. The museum's location on the banks of the River Clyde provides a beautiful backdrop for outdoor concerts and other events. Visitors can enjoy the spectacular view of the river while listening to music, making it a great spot for entertainment. It's a unique combination of history, architecture, and fun in one place. You can learn about the history and enjoy the beautiful view.
We also use this stop to talk about the phenomenal history of the Govan Stones, some of which is still emerging to this day. One particular favourite photo of ours sourced from the fantastic Mitchell Library is below. This gives an idea of the scale of the urbanisation and industrialisation of area around the church and burial ground, which remarkably, remained pretty untouched.
6. The Yardworks at SWG3
If you're a fan of street art, then this might be your favourite spot. SWG, also known as South West Glasgow, houses 'The Yardworks' which is a vibrant area known for its colourful and dynamic street art. It is home to a wide variety of street art, from large murals to small, intricate pieces. Visitors can see works by some of the most talented street artists from around the world, including local and international artists. The street art in here largely reflects the diversity of the Yorkhill neighbourhood and its people, and it is a testament to the creativity and spirit of the community. Walking through the streets of SWG is like taking a stroll through an open-air art gallery. You will be able to find and appreciate the beauty of street art, and the way it brings colour, life and meaning to the neighbourhood, and the city in general. It's the perfect spot for a photograph or even better take in one of the many concerts or exhibitions happening at SWG3. Of course, like most things, best seen on the bike (it is not the easiest place to get to by public transport).
7. Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery
This stunning museum, located in the heart of the west end of the city, is home to an incredible collection of over 8,000 works of art, including masterpieces from Spanish artists and designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Not only that, but the museum also features a variety of interactive exhibits and natural history collections. It's also just off a beautiful stretch of cycling on Kelvin Way - making it the perfect destination for our tours. This is one of the jewels of Glasgow's rich cultural and architectural crown, so we don't need to add too much here.
8. University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a rich history dating back to 1451. The main campus is located in the city's West End and is home to stunning Gothic architecture. The university also has some museums and collections open to the public, including the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, which feature a wide range of artefacts and artworks. There are also plenty of green spaces on campus and around the city where you can relax and take in the beautiful scenery. Whether you're a student, a history buff, or simply looking for a fun day out, the University of Glasgow has something to offer. The University of Glasgow has produced many famous alumni throughout its history. Some notable examples include:
Adam Smith, a philosopher and economist who is considered one of the founders of modern economics. He wrote "The Wealth of Nations" which is considered a classic work in the field.
Lord Kelvin was a physicist and mathematician who made important contributions to the field of thermodynamics and is best known for the development of the absolute temperature scale that bears his name.
Alexander Graham Bell was an inventor and scientist who is credited with the invention of the telephone.
John Logie Baird was a Scottish inventor and engineer credited with developing the first television system.
In terms of achievements, the University of Glasgow is known for its excellence in research and teaching. It is consistently ranked among the top 100 universities in the world and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities in the UK.
9. Kelvingrove Park
With wide open spaces and well-maintained paths, the park is lovely to cycle through while taking in the beautiful views of the River Kelvin and the surrounding gardens. It's easy to see why it's one of Glasgow's top cultural attractions. Not only is the park perfect for cycling, but it's also a great place for all kinds of activities - you'll regularly see: boot camp, yoga, running, frisbee etc. The park is also home to several monuments and statues, which we occasionally stop to chat about. We also find a spot in the park which we think is one of the most appropriate places in the city to talk about the success of multiculturalism in Glasgow.
10. Billy Connolly
Billy Connolly in our view is the most famous living Glaswegian and probably the most loved. At our designated "Billy Connolly" stop, we talk a bit here about his life story - mainly because it was so typical of working-class life in Glasgow. Born and raised in working-class Partick, before being shipped out to the schemes of Drumchapel and then residing in Anderston, whilst working in the shipyards. Billy Connolly refers to life in the tenements, schemes and shipyards as his 'training' as he got so much inspiration for his material. It is of course his own unique style and ability to connect with audiences that made him one of the most beloved comedians in the UK and around the world. We stop at the foot of a large mural of Billy Connolly in Anderston. The large-scale portrait of "The Big Yin," was created to celebrate his life and career before being unveiled in 2018. The mural was designed by artist Andy Scott and commissioned by Glasgow City Council, and is a solid addition to the wide variety of Street Art in the city. The portrait depicts Billy Connolly with his trademark wild hair.
In case you're new to Billy Connolly - heres a link to some of his best stuff.
Fantastic Bike Tour! This was such a wonderful way to reconnect with Glasgow and to explore the history of this great city. It would be wrong for anyone to assume that there won't be anything relevant to them but as our most knowledgeable guide, the guide explained, the history of Glasgow is relevant to all those who inhabit it and beyond. You'll take in all the usual sights and even some which you may not even be aware of and you'll definitely never be bored as the guide injects such enthusiasm and passion into the story of Glasgow. We were a chatty bunch, full of questions and a little bit of mischief but the guide was the epitome of patience and good humour. I was truly surprised by how much this gentlemen knew about Glasgow and how limited my own knowledge was! We were provided with bikes helmets, snacks, hand sanitizer etc. All you really need is to bring yourself. The bikes were an easy and comfortable ride and I especially loved the huge basket at the front. Time really does fly when you're having fun as the hours flew by and before we knew it the tour was over. I could've cycled around Glasgow all day! This really is the best way to see Glasgow, especially if like us, you're lucky enough to get some sunshine while you're at it. Thanks!
An excellent way to get a feel for Glasgow - What a great tour this morning! The bikes are unique, the time around town special, and Martin, the guide/owner, is fantastic. He gave a great introduction to the vintage bikes, and after a practice run, we were off. I loved the pace, information, and his vibrant personality and passion for Glasgow. Lots of beautiful photo opportunities along the tour. I highly recommend it!
Joyous and enlightening experience - A truly fabulous experience. This was s truly wonderful, discovering so much about Glasgow and seeing parts of Glasgow I would never have discovered. The Guide's knowledge of the City is exemplary but the real joy comes from his pride and ownership of his home City. I learned so much - if you’re ever relocating to Glasgow, do this tour to help you understand the values of all the different districts. A joyous time.