The David Livingstone Centre and Bothwell Castle

Things to do near Glasgow

Why do I love Glasgow so much? It’s a question that I get asked quite frequently, usually by people who have visited on one of our many rainy days. There’s a long roundabout way of answering this question but to put it succinctly, it’s about the people more than anything else. There’s a hospitality and a humour here that’s unmatched. While I’m gushing praise, another traditional trait is the desire to explore, to be entrepreneurs and pioneers. History is full of great Glaswegians. Not many though have led such an impressive, challenging and absolutely spectacular a life as David Livingstone.

things to do near glasgow

He is regarded as one of the all-time great explorers, a man who went for a wander into the unknown and left his mark in more continents than one. He will mainly be remembered for his work against the slave trade and his exploration of a huge chunk of Africa. His story was a traumatic one as he balanced his job as a missionary with his desire to keep unearthing new parts of the world, while also being a husband and a father. That he came from a working class background in Blantyre (just outside Glasgow) and educated himself against all the odds in the early 19th Century makes him even more remarkable.

His full story is told in the David Livingstone Centre in the same tenement building he was born and raised in. Perhaps most impressive of all is the statue of the moment he was attacked by a perturbed lion and was badly wounded. Now if I could have a statue…..

things to do near glasgow

The Centre is due a welcome facelift in the near future which is only fitting for such a story. Take a look at this link in the Scotsman here to read more about how the revamp will have it looking more like a jungle adventure centre than a museum. Exciting times!

Another one of the great things to do near Glasgow is to check out Bothwell Castle. Widely regarded as the best 13th Century ruin remaining in Scotland it’s another one of my favourites. A terrific red sandstone colour that is so commonplace throughout Glasgow still, it was one of the key strongholds during the Wars of Independence. The early years of the war saw it held by both English and Scottish forces and remain standing despite numerous arduous sieges.

things to do near glasgow

things to do near glasgow

After the wars the castle fell into the ownership of the ‘Black’ Douglas family who did it up nicely and are probably responsible for the condition it is in today. Perched overlooking part of the River Clyde in a remote and peaceful spot, it is hard to imagine that this was one of the most sought after military bases in Scottish history.

The castle is within about a half hour on foot from the Centre or ten minutes in the car which makes them a very convenient match. If you haven’t already, check out my Glasgow city guide that picks out more of the must see spots in the city.

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