Glasgow was truly a city which took me by surprise.
I must admit it wasn’t top of my bucket list of UK cities to visit, however, now that I’ve been once I can’t wait to return. It’s a certainly an interesting city full of impressive architecture, beautiful green spaces, a variety of shops and a vibrant nightlife. But my favourite thing about Glasgow had to be the colourful street art you find around every corner.
Glasgow’s amazing city centre mural trail brings a splash of colour to a city which is known for its permanently grey skies. The initiative to ‘rejuvenate streets and revitalise buildings and vacant sites that looked a bit tired’ was brought around by the city council, with the first piece of artwork being commissioned in 2008. The city’s large portfolio of street art has been increasing gradually ever since, with a dedicated fund to support local artists.
If you’re out and about in the city centre then it’s likely you’ll stumble across many of the impressive murals. But just in case you feel like hunting the artwork down yourself, he’s a guide to where you can find some of the best street art in Glasgow.
Where to find the best Glasgow street art:
Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
This realistic piece of street art was located right behind our Airbnb on Mitchell Street (see below). It’s of a giant woman looking through a magnifying glass and attempting to pick up passers-by on the street below. Just a short walking distance from Central Station, this Mural is a great place to start the Mural trail.
The World’s Most Economical Taxi
Just a few steps away from the giant woman on Mitchell Street sits the mural I was most looking forward to seeing. Unfortunately, during our trip, it was covered by scaffolding. You can just about see it peeping through, with the amazing intricate detail from the colourful balloons lifting the taxi off the ground to the brick wall (painted onto an actual brick wall) behind.
Strathclyde University Wonderwall
On the corner of George Street and North Portland Street is the Strathclyde University Wonderwall. Covering more than 1,000 square metres and several stories, it is not only one of the most impressive pieces of street art in Glasgow but it is also the UK’s largest mural.
This mural is certainly worth visiting for its impressive size, but also for its interesting meaning. It depicts a photograph taken during a lecture given in the Royal College during the 1920s but has been updated to include present-day students such as women and those from minority ethnic backgrounds.
The piece was commissioned in 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Charter which conferred the university’s status and also the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Hip Hop Marionettes
A little further on from the Strathclyde University Wonderwall is the Hip Hop Marionettes. Taking inspiration from the Beastie Boys and Run DMC, this fun and quirky mural on John Street brings a lease of life to an otherwise dull scene.
Fellow Glasgow Residents
Probably my favourite piece of street art in Glasgow, Fellow Glasgow Residents is located in Ingram Street car park and depicts a giant kilted man bending down to pick up a mushroom, surrounded by many different woodland creatures that can be found in Glasgow’s green spaces.
Not only is the piece huge but it is also beautifully painted with such intricate detail that you could admire it for hours.
The wall continues further on to the right in the picture below but was too wide to fit in one photo.
Like several of Glasgow’s murals, this piece was commissioned to celebrate the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. It depicts Scottish badminton player Kieran Merrilees and is located right in the heart of the Merchant City district.
Othe Commonwealth Games murals include those adjacent to Partick Train Station which represent hockey, netball and rugby, and the Swimmer on Kingston Bridge.
This mural I stumbled upon completely by accident whilst taking a stroll down the banks of the River Clyde to reach the Glasgow Science Centre. It is located on Clyde Street adjacent to South Portland Suspension Bridge and is, in fact, a refurbished and more detailed version of a tiger which once sat in the same spot.
Of course, this is not a definitive list of all of the street art in Glasgow. And in fact, there are many murals across the city that I didn’t have the time to see during my short weekend trip, including St Mungo in High Street and the Argyle Street Cafe which I will definitely be finding time to hunt down on my next trip. However, if you’re looking for a way to walk the entire mural trail, check out the Mural Map here.
Where to stay in Glasgow?
If you’re heading to Glasgow with a large group, check out these two amazingly beautiful and spacious AirBnB’s on Mitchell Street. Located in the same apartment block, the flats are literally next door to each other and sleep 6 people each. They made the perfect base and hangout space for our group weekend in Glasgow!
Mitchell Street is also right in the centre of the city, just a few minutes walk from Glasgow Central Station and close to most of the main sights (including plenty of street art), as well as many shops, restaurants and bars.
Planning to explore more of Scotland?
How to get to Glasgow from London?
The train is the obvious choice when travelling between London and Glasgow, but did you know you can also fly with both EasyJet and RyanAir for as little as £10 one way? It’s quick, cheap and convenient.
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