What Can You See from the River in Glasgow?
Cruising along the River Clyde in Glasgow is a unique way to see the city from a different perspective. It is one thing to see waterfront sites from the land; it is an entirely different thing to see them from a boat. Cruising with a company like Clyde Cruises lets you experience all the sights and sounds the river has to offer.
What makes a river cruise so unique? The fact that it is all about the scenery. Where an ocean cruise is all about the various destinations you visit along the way, the river is the destination of a river cruise. That means you will be enjoying all the most important sights throughout your entire journey. There is no time spent getting to and from your destination.
The size and scope of Glasgow is such that you would expect to see quite a bit along the riverfront. Indeed, you will. Here is just a short list of exciting sites you will see as you cruise up and down the River Clyde:
Titan Crane at Clydebank
Near the western end of town is the former location of the famous John Brown shipyard. At its peak, the shipyard was building magnificent vessels such as HMS Hood and the QE2. The shipyard’s magnificent Titan Crane was a big part of what happened there. Today, it is one of only 13 of its kind still standing. It towers 150 feet above the ground, giving visitors incredible views of the entire Glasgow area.
Finnieston in Crane
The Titan Crane is pretty impressive by any measure. However, just up the river is another crane known as the Finnieston Crane. It stands 174 feet tall with a cantilever jib measuring 152 feet. It was originally built to replace a smaller crane incapable of handling the job of lifting train locomotives from a manufacturing yard and placing them on ships for export. Finnieston is still in working order, although it remains unused today.
Tall Ship Glenlee
A favourite of cruise passengers is a tall ship named the Glenlee. She was one of 10 ships built for Archibald Stirling & Co for the purposes of transporting steel. Originally launched in 1896, Glenlee has managed to travel around Cape Horn 15 times and circumnavigate the globe four times. She now sits in dock at the Riverside Museum.
You will be duly impressed by the two impressive main masts that were at one time rigged with five double top sails each. The beautifully restored ship is a testament to the engineering feats of sailors who worked with wind prior to the introduction of combustion engines.
The crown jewel of Glasgow’s river front district is the Riverside Museum. First opened in June 2011, the museum is one of the most modern looking buildings in the entire city. Even if you never went inside, you would still be impressed with the architecture and its contribution to the Glasgow skyline. The Riverside Museum focuses mainly on transportation – displays include bicycles, trams, locomotives, and cars.
Glasgow was built on the shipping industry of the 19th and 20th centuries. As such, the city used to be home to multiple shipyards building both commercial and military vessels along the river. Two such shipyards, in the Govan section of the city, are still active today. They are owned and operated by BAE Systems. You will pass them on the southern banks of the river near the Riverside Museum.
Seeing these shipyards still active gives you a sense of what the shipbuilding industry might have been like during its heyday. From the largest commercial vessels to their smaller counterparts, watercraft of all kinds come in and out of these impressive shipyards.
You have seen pictures of Australia’s Sydney Opera House on the banks of the Sydney Harbour. Well, did you know that Glasgow has its own version? It is known as the Clyde Auditorium or, more affectionately, the Armadillo. Despite architectural similarities with the Sydney Opera House, the architects who designed the auditorium insist the Opera House was not their inspiration. Rather, their design was meant to pay homage to Glasgow’s shipbuilding heritage. The outer shell of the building looks like a series of ship hulls set on end then placed in a row. The building is especially impressive from the river when illuminated at night.
To the east of the city centre is a public park known as Glasgow Green. This 55-hectare property runs along the north bank of the river and is home to dozens of buildings and monuments commemorating important people and events in Glasgow’s history. From the water, it is evident that Glasgow Green is a quiet and peaceful place in which city residents and visitors alike come to relax and be at rest. Groundskeepers do an impressive job of making sure the property is always at its best.
The City Bridges
Among all the sites visitors are impressed with, none are talked about as much as the 21 bridges that span the river in the city. From your favourite river cruise, you could see the Millennium Bridge, the historic St Andrews Bridge, the George V Bridge, and the Gothic style Dalmarnock Bridge.
Each of the bridges has its own unique character and story to tell. They are favourite spots for photographers looking to tell the story of Scotland from the perspective of the River Clyde. We trust you will find them as fascinating as any of the other sites you will see from the water.
There are many other sites that space does not allow us to mention here. Sites such as the Glasgow City Chambers and the three-building Glasgow Science Centre complex. We think it is safe to say that you could take multiple river cruises and see something new every time.
Clyde Cruises offers daily Glasgow river tours during the summer months. Please check our website for scheduling details and booking information. We hope to see you this coming season as we enjoy all of the sights and sounds of the River Clyde. There is nothing quite like it.