The Lighthouse

Central Glasgow isn’t all about shopping and
cocktails (although there’s plenty of that too!)


Just a few steps from teeming Buchanan Street, you’ll find The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture.

That title doesn’t do this magnificent gallery/museum/historic building justice, though.

Designed in 1895 as an extension to The Glasgow Herald’s headquarters, the original building was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s first architectural commission.

In the early eighties, the Herald moved out and the building was silent it was extended and converted into a visitor attraction as part of Glasgow’s successful bid to be UK City of Architecture and Design 1999.


The centrepiece is the permanent
Mackintosh Centre, a wonderful
insight into the artist’s work.


Artefacts, models and photos demonstrate both the contemporary relevance of Mackintosh’s art and the historic context in which he and his wife Margaret Macdonald worked.

The innovative timeline wall and models of all Mackintosh’s significant commissions are a great way of introducing children to Scotland’s architecture.

From here, climb the helical staircase within the building’s original water tower to experience magnificent views over central Glasgow from the balcony at the top.

That’s not all, though! There are another four floors of galleries that host a changing programme of exhibitions to explore. And another tower in the modern wing of the building – this time accessible by a lift.

This viewing platform is completely glassed – so more suitable for those who don’t like heights.

Music-loving visitors should definitely visit the shop on the ground floor and the Doocot Café Bar on Level 5, too.

When we visited, they were playing a selection of Country & Western standards from Billie Jo Spears, Kenny Rogers and Johnny Cash.

Could anything be more Glasgow!


Pick up a copy of our January issue for a full nine pages on Glasgow highlights

Sally Hampton