Glasgow Necropolis

Holiday Travel Guide
Glasgow Necropolis featuring a church or cathedral and heritage architecture

This impressive Victorian cemetery, behind the Glasgow Cathedral, is home to remarkable tombs and tens of thousands of graves, including those of notable Scots.

Set aside a couple of hours to wander around the Glasgow Necropolis. Spread across 37 acres (15 hectares), this is one of the largest green spaces in the center of Glasgow. Although there are more than 3,000 tombs, and tens of thousands of graves, the site is less eerie than you may expect of a Gothic cemetery.

The city cemetery was initiated in 1831 and involved the transformation of a city park and arboretum. The first person buried here was Joseph Levi, a Jewish jeweler. Today, the cemetery contains many monuments designed by acclaimed Glaswegians, including artist James Hamilton and the architect Charles Mackintosh.

Look for Mackintosh’s Celtic Cross and the baroque tomb of John Henry Alexander, the former manager of Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. Gaze up at the 70-feet (21-meter) tall John Knox Monument and admire the Hindu gargoyles on the Monteath Mausoleum for Archibald Douglas Monteath, a military leader who served in India.

Learn more about the necropolis on a guided walking tour. Well-informed volunteers tell stories of the burial ground’s major tombs, historic figures, and architects. The tour is free, but a donation to help preserve the cemetery is appreciated. Check the official website for the scheduled tour times. You can also pay a small fee to download a pocket guide of the 60 most famous monuments on the grounds and explore on your own.

Combine a tour of the cemetery with a visit to the magnificent Glasgow Cathedral and St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. This is all part of the city’s Heritage Trail, which showcases the city’s important historic buildings. Download a map of the trail from the Glasgow City Council website.

Glasgow Necropolis is within walking distance of central George Square. There is metered on-street parking nearby if you decide to drive. Public buses stop on Castle Street, close to the main entrance. The nearest train station is High Street. The cemetery is open daily, but closes after sunset.

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