The Glasgow Mural Trail: A photo essay and some quick thoughts about the Glasgow Mural Trail, a quirky, self-guided walk past Glasgow’s best street art.
It’s no secret that we thoroughly love Glasgow.
On all our trips to the city, we’ve found it embodies an intangible creative spirit that’s hard to pin down, and isn’t necessarily evident on the surface or when you first arrive. But spend a bit of time in Glasgow, and it will be clear: Glasgow is cool.
Case in point: the Glasgow mural trail, a 19-stop, self-guided walk around the city centre. Much like House for an Art Lover embodies the can-do creative spirit we found in Glasgow, the Glasgow Mural Trail seems to hint at something about Glasgow as well: a recognition by locals, policy makers and politicians that creative industries and art can play a role in urban revitalization, and can help cities face the problems associated with deindustrialization and transition.
From Glasgow City Council: The street murals are helping to rejuvenate streets and revitalise buildings and vacant sites that look a bit tired, reincarnating them as beautiful pieces of public street art.
It’s rare we go to a city that directly supports street art — usually, cities are trying to clean up or prevent street murals, not encourage them through funding — and it intrigued me enough to set aside a few hours one afternoon to walk the Glasgow Mural Trail myself.
I spent about two hours wandering the Glasgow Mural Trail, and got to many — but certainly not all — of the stops. Many of the murals are near other points of historical or cultural interest, as well, meaning you can interweave stops on the Glasgow mural trail with your other sightseeing.
A few of my favorites are below, followed by some practical information at the end of the post if you’d like to strike out on the Glasgow Mural Trail yourself.
#1 – Hip Hop Marionettes
Just a couple of blocks from George Square (be sure to stop by George Square to see the statue with the traffic cone on its head – yes, really!) and the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).
#2 – Strathclyde University
The “Wonderwall” at Strathclyde University is almost 200 meters long, and features the university’s accomplishments.
#3 – Fellow Glasgow Residents
A parking lot is home to “Fellow Glasgow Residents”, a massive mural of creatures large and small.
#4 – Badminton Mural
Right near Merchant Square – be sure to go in for the weekend market, or to check out the ring of restaurants and bars around the edge!
#5 – Spaceman
Just off of Tron Gate, one of the oldest streets in the city.
#8 – Big Birds
Birds escaping their cages, and being hunted by cats. This one wraps around the corner.
#11 – World’s Most Economical Taxi
My personal favourite, and convenient to access near the Lighthouse building. Look closely at the brick in the background – real, or part of the mural?
#12 – Honey I Shrank the Kids
Impossible not to laugh once you learn the title of this piece!
#13 – Wind Power
The World’s Most Economical Taxi, Honey I Shrank the Kids, and Wind Power are packed closely together near the Lighthouse, making it possible to visit all three in quick succession, as well as #14, just around the corner.
#14 – Glasgow’s Panda
Glasgow took matters into its own hands by creating its own panda :)
#15 – Argyle Street Café
A bear, a shark and a walrus walk into a bar…
Glasgow Mural Trail Map — A Google Map with All 19 Glasgow Mural Trail Stops
Glasgow City Council has produced free PDF download map outlining all 19 stops of the Glasgow Mural Trail, along with information about each piece and key tourist sights nearby. If you’re interested in doing the Glasgow Mural Trail, you should absolutely download it and bring it along.
If, however, you forget, I’ve created a mobile friendly solution below – a Google Map with all 19 stops on the Glasgow Mural Trail. If you hit the “star” icon to the right of the “Glasgow Mural Trail” title, you’ll be able to view the map in Google Maps on your smartphone (if you have the app, of course) under the Your Places > My Maps section.
A Few More Notes and Practical Tips for the Glasgow Mural Trail
If you’re in Glasgow and decide to check out the Mural Trail on your own, here’s a few tips:
- You can jump into the Glasgow Mural Trail at any point – it’s not necessary to start at number one, although it’s laid out pretty logically if you want to go sequentially from #1 to #19.
- I highly recommend making a day of it, and bringing the printable map from the City Council along with you — there are multiple interesting sights near the different murals, which the City Council map points out. So if you take it slow, and use the Mural Trail as a framework through which to see much of Glasgow in a day, I expect it’d be quite fun.
- Scotland can be rather cold at all times of the year, so dress for being outside all day, and expect all sorts of weather and strong wind.
Interested in Going to Glasgow? We’ve Got You Covered
- Start with our First Time Glasgow Guide, with an overview of why we love Glasgow, and what to do
- Figure out the best neighbourhood to stay in with our Where to Stay in Glasgow Guide
- Read about our first time in the city, when we visited the Glasgow Necropolis
- Geoff faces his fear of food and tries Haggis Pakora at Mr. Singh’s, a Glasgow institution
- Geoff checks out the Glasgow International Film Festival