This self-guided tour will guide you around our stunning main campus, highlighting key buildings and tourist attractions to explore.
Founded in 1451, the University is the fourth oldest in the UK and the second oldest in Scotland, and has more listed buildings than any other university in the UK.
On this tour you’ll be walking in the footsteps of some of the world’s most renowned visionaries, from economist Adam Smith to the pioneer of television John Logie Baird, and you’ll find out more about the University’s 550 years of innovation and excellence.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
PLease note, the self-guided tour is suitable for individuals and small groups. It does not replace the Guided Tour for larger groups.
The Welcome Point
The Welcome Point is a visitor information centre based in the McIntyre Building (beside the University’s Main Gate) with friendly staff on hand to answer questions, give advice and provide directions relating to the campus.
Opening times are:
- Monday: 9.30am-5pm
- Tuesday: 9am - 5pm
- Wednesday: 9am - 5pm
- Thursday: 9am-5pm
- Friday: 9am-4pm
The McIntyre Building was designed by Sir John James Burnet in the 1880s and during its history has been the site of both the University’s Men’s and Women’s Unions. Beside this building, you can admire our iconic red British telephone boxes, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (the architect of Battersea Power Station and Liverpool Cathedral).
Professors' Square (also known as The Square) comprises 13 terraced townhouses designed by renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.
The houses were originally built as accommodation for the University’s professors in the 1870s, and are now home to various college offices and teaching spaces for subjects including Law and Theology, as well as administrative departments.
The University Chapel
The University Chapel was completed in 1929 as a memorial to University members who died in the two world wars, and is one of the few locations in Scotland where marriages in the Protestant, Reformed and Roman Catholic faiths can be celebrated.
The design was the work of Sir John James Burnet and recalls the early Gothic period, and the stunning stained-glass windows were created by Douglas Strachan.
There are a wide variety of services and events held here throughout the year, including cinema screenings and concerts.
The Lion and Unicorn Staircase
The Lion and Unicorn Staircase was created in 1690 by stonemason William Riddel and was part of the original University of Glasgow campus located in the city’s High Street.
When the University relocated to its present site here at Gilmorehill in 1870, this staircase was brought over stone by stone, by horse and cart, to be rebuilt by hand and made part of the new building.
The lion and the unicorn are symbols of the United Kingdom: the lion is the national animal for England, and the unicorn is the national animal for Scotland, symbolising purity and strength.
The Principal’s Lodging
The Principal’s Lodging (12 The Square) is the official residence of the University’s Principal, and is the only building still in residential use within Professors’ Square.
The townhouse was built in 1871 and housed the University’s Professors of Divinity until 1962, when it became the new Principal’s Lodging. It is also used for hospitality and corporate events.
Lord Kelvin’s House
Lord Kelvin’s House (11 The Square), was the home of the renowned physicist Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, from 1870 until his retirement in 1899. It was one of the first houses in the world to be lit entirely by electricity.
Lord Kelvin earned international acclaim for proposing an absolute scale of temperature now known as the Kelvin Scale. He was equally well-known for his pioneering research in the fields of mechanical energy and heat, his invention of the Kelvin Compass and sounding machine, and his work on the transatlantic telegraph cable, sending the world’s first wireless telegram.
He was both the youngest and oldest matriculated student of the University, first registering as a student when he was only ten years old, and again when he retired at 75.
The University Flagpole
The University Flagpole is the perfect spot on campus for terrific views of the city. From here you can admire two of Glasgow’s most popular tourist attractions, Kelvingrove Park and the landmark Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Glasgow is Gaelic for ‘Dear Green Place’ and has over 90 parks and formal gardens, with Kelvingrove being the most iconic.
To the right you will also see the stunning architecture of the newly developed Kelvin Hall, a partnership between the University, the Hunterian Museum, the National Library of Scotland, and the city of Glasgow.
To the left of Kelvingrove in the distance, you can admire the striking architecture of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), the Clyde Auditorium (known locally as the Armadillo) and the SSE Hydro arena on the waterfront of the River Clyde.
The Gilbert Scott Building
The Gilbert Scott Building (the University’s striking main building) is named after its designer Sir George Gilbert Scott, a leading figure in the Gothic Revival movement who designed many of the University’s buildings in the late 19th century.
Above the main central doorway, a plaque carries the University`s badge and motto Via, Veritas, Vita (the way, the truth, the life).
Sir George died before the building was finished, but his son John Oldrid Scott, a famous architect in his own right, completed the building in 1891. This included the University’s iconic tower, which stands 278 feet high and is one of Glasgow`s most notable landmarks.
The East and West Quadrangles
The East and West Quadrangles are two of the most popular and picturesque parts of our campus, and host our graduation day celebrations. It’s traditionally bad luck for students to walk across the grass before they graduate, so once they become graduates they take full advantage of the freedom.
The quadrangles also house a number of lecture theatres and academic subjects, including the Adam Smith Business School.
The Cloisters (also known as The Undercroft) connect the East and West Quadrangles and lead inside the Gilbert Scott Building to the stunning Bute Hall, where the University’s graduation ceremonies are held, and The Hunterian Museum.
With their fluted columns and transverse ribbed vault, these impressive archways are an iconic part of the University, and have been seen onscreen in many films and TV shows including Cloud Atlas and Outlander.
The Hunterian Museum
The Hunterian Museum is Scotland’s oldest public museum and home to one of the largest collections in the country. It was founded in 1807 by money and collections donated by William Hunter, one of our most famous alumni and a leading anatomist.
The impressive collections include scientific instruments used by James Watt, Joseph Lister and Lord Kelvin; outstanding Roman artefacts from the Antonine Wall; major natural and life sciences holdings; and Hunter’s extensive anatomical teaching collection.
Find out more about The Hunterian Museum, which is open to the public and free to visit.
The University Gift Shop
The University Gift Shop (located underneath The Hunterian Museum) is the perfect place to visit on campus for unique University of Glasgow merchandise, including our official tartan collection and a range of clothing and jewellery.
There is also a large selection of Scottish gifts including artwork, accessories, stationery, books and traditional sweets. Find out more about the University Gift Shop.
Outside of the gift shop is a scale model of the University, which shows a bird’s eye view of the main campus and its surroundings in the West End.
The Memorial Gates
The Memorial Gates lead to University Avenue, and were presented to the University in 1952 to honour 29 outstanding individuals of the University’s first 500 years.
The names of Donald Dewar, first Scottish First Minister and former Labour leader John Smith were added to the gates on the University’s 550th anniversary in 2001, in recognition of their status as outstanding University figures of the late 20th century.
Located beside the gates is our Memorial Garden, commemorating members of the University who died in World War 1, and The Hunter Memorial, which was unveiled in 1925 to honour former student and benefactor William Hunter, and his brother John Hunter, a respected anatomist who founded a second Hunterian Museum in London.
The Hunterian Art Gallery
The Hunterian Art Gallery (located beside the University Library) boasts one of the most distinguished public art collections in Scotland.
It features over 900 paintings and permanent displays, including works ranging from Rubens and Rembrandt to the Scottish Colourists and Glasgow Boys.
It also features the world’s largest permanent display of the work of James McNeill Whistler and the largest single holding of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Find out more about The Hunterian Art Gallery, which is open to the public and free to visit.
The Mackintosh House
The Mackintosh House (located within The Hunterian Art Gallery) is a meticulous reconstruction of the principal interiors from the Glasgow home of the renowned Scottish designer, artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), and his artist wife Margaret Macdonald (1864-1933).
The interiors were decorated in his distinctive style and have been furnished with the Mackintoshes' own furniture, all to Mackintosh's design.
Find out more about The Mackintosh House, which is open to the public to visit.