Planning a trip to Glasgow? There will be plenty of things to add to your sightseeing list.
Botanic Gardens? Tick. Kelvingrove museum? Well that’s a must do. Glasgow School of Art? Already on the list.
But what about a graveyard?
There aren’t many cities in the world where you’ll find a cemetery towards the top of the ‘must see’ list, but in Glasgow the necropolis is world-famous, and one of the most visited places, loved by tourists and locals alike.
Home of the Victorian Elite
Head east out of the city, and you will find The Glasgow Necropolis, which was modelled on the world-famous Pere-Lachaise in Paris.
Created in the 1830s and expanded 4 times right up to 1892, this Victorian graveyard is located up a hill next to the gothic Glasgow Cathedral (which itself is worth a visit).
With its impressive entrance, and imposing Gothic architecture, over 50,000 burials have taken place here, although there are less than 5,000 memorials.
Many of the tombs for the city’s elite and and wealthy have ornate designs, created by world-famous sculptors and architects including Charles Rennie Macintosh.
It’s without a doubt the place to go to witness stunning Gothic architecture.
There’s over 34 acres of land to explore, and the view from the top of the hill, where there’s a monument dedicated to John Knox, a Scottish minister and theologian, is particularly impressive.
Amazing views of Glasgow
If you’re after views, then this is one of the best in the city.
Looking over Glasgow, it’s a wonderful place to capture the sun setting.
You could spend hours meandering around the many graves, taking in all the names and exploring the small corners and areas surrounding this impressive graveyard.
Interestingly, this is one of a very few select graveyards that has successfully documented every death and burial here – if you’re interested in finding who was laid to rest in this cemetery, pop along to the Mitchell Library in the city – another stunning gothic building that is well worth a visit.
Open most days from 7-dusk, in the winter you can get there for sunrise or sunset, and for those really interested in the graveyard’s history, there are walking tours available through this website (make sure you book in advance as they fill up very quickly!).
My experience of Glasgow’s city of the dead
It was a dark, damp spring morning when I decided to pay Glasgow’s necropolis a visit, which seemed almost idyllic considering.
Heading east out the city, it’s quite a walk before you stumble across the gorgeous cathedral.
The Gothic architecture really stands out and the trip out here is actually worth it just to see the cathedral – while not on the large side, it’s very impressive inside and out and many come to visit to see the post-war stained glass windows which adorn it.
Heading in to the necropolis and there’s a really mysterious feeling about it.
There were lots of other visitors there, including families with children who spent their time running around the graves while the adults explored various little pathways and admired the architecture around them.
The pathways zig zag up the hill with tombstones adorning either side. If you’re unfit, there are plenty of opportunities to stop and catch your breath as you climb up Glasgow’s city of the dead but once you get to the top you will want to take in the amazing view.
I really enjoyed my trip to the necropolis. It’s unlike anything else i’ve ever seen before – it most definitely isn’t your usual graveyard, and what’s particularly beautiful is having the opportunity to take in the view while surrounded by such incredible architecture.
For Glaswegians, this isn’t just a cemetery, but a park to explore and enjoy and i’d highly recommend that anyone visiting the city takes a tour around this rather eerie, but spectacular park.
Location: Glasgow Necropolis, Castle St, Glasgow G4 0UZ