The Glasgow Cathedral, also known as St Mungo's Cathedral, is one of the main monuments to visit in the city.
From the outside you might be disappointed, but, enter the building and you will be impressed by its architecture, colorful stained-glass windows and the unique feature of the lower church.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit.
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Why visit St Mungo's Cathedral in Glasgow?
St Mungo's cathedral is also known as:
- Glasgow Cathedral
- High Kirk of Glasgow
- St Kentigern's Cathedral
The first stone of the cathedral was dedicated in 1136 and the building was consecrated in 1197.
It makes it the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland, and it is also the oldest building in the city.
Below a short video to give you an idea of what your visit could look like - enjoy a virtual tour!
I recommend adding it to your itinerary, even if you have only one day in Glasgow.
More photos after the planning tips.
PLANNING TIPS - St Mungo's Cathedral, Glasgow
Getting to the Glasgow Cathedral
- Located off Castle Street East of central Glasgow - at the East end of Cathedral Street
- Near the Glasgow Royal infirmary, the Necropolis and the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art
- Bus stops - After Cathedral Square - Many local busses stop there and the Hop-on Hop-off bus too
Glasgow and its attractions are included in my travel guide eBooks to help you plan your Scotland itinerary:
Visiting St Mungo's
- Glasgow Cathedral Opening hours: 9:30am to 5:30 pm from April to September and 10am to 4pm from October to March (afternoons only on Sundays) - last admission 30 min before closure - check out the latest times
- Free entrance
- It is quite touristy inside with souvenirs and all
- A few steps to access the Lower Church but otherwise easy to explore
- No facilities
Accommodations in Glasgow
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Architecture of St. Mungo's Cathedral
From the outside, St mungo's Cathedral Glasgow does not look like a cathedral. It looks more like a simple medieval church.
However once inside, the impression is very different. Despite a reasonable size, the effect from the inside is that it appears huge. This upper part is divided in 2 by the pulpitum which you can see in the photos below.
The Cathedral is 87m long, 20m wide and 32m high (105ft). The middle section is quite narrow which give that impression of a very high ceiling.
The building is not technically a cathedral, but the name remains because of history.
The other main interest of St Mungo's Cathedral Glasgow are the very colorful and modern stained-glass windows. The Dioceses decided in 1856 to start adding those stained-glass windows.
The mosaic method was used for most of those windows where colored glass was used and painted in some places. This explains why they are so vibrant in color and why it darkens the church.
And it has one of the finest post-war collections of stained-glass windows.
The next 2 pictures are of the Creation Window. Located on the West side of the Nave, it was created by Francis Spear in 1958. It is a very modern and colorful representation of Adam and Eve.
Glasgow Cathedral Organ
Originally built in 1979, the Glasgow Cathedral Organ was enlarged several times in the 20th century and completely reconstructed in 1996.
The current organ is currently placed on both sides of the church over the pulpitum. the console is placed centrally. The Ggreat organ is on the North side and the solo on the South one. You can listen to it on the Glasgow Cathedral Organ page.
The Sacristy at St Mungo's Cathedral Glasgow dates back to the 15th century. Its oak door is the only original left in the church. The Sacristy also has very colorful stained-glass windows.
The Lower Church
The most unique feature of St Mungo's Cathedral Glasgow is the lower church. As it was built against the hill where the necropolis is, a lower level has been built.
The arches cover the whole space creating a feeling of stepping back in time. Several artefacts are presented in the lower church with tombs and sculpture for example.
In the lower church, there is a display with the evolution of the map of the Glasgow Cathedral. Here are a few Glasgow Cathedral Facts: St Mungo's original church was built of wood in 550AD. The Tomb of St Mungo is still in the cathedral today
- Churches in stone have been built before on that site but destroyed
- What we see today dates partly from the early 1200s. It is a medieval cathedral
- Major alterations were done in the 1800s with the removal of 2 towers
- The Glasgow Cathedral is the only one on mainland to have survived the Reformation of 1560 intact.
Cathedral Architecture - Exterior
And to finish, here are a few photos of the Glasgow Cathedral from the outside:
Other attractions near the cathedral
And as you are exploring the area, check out the following buildings:
- The Glasgow Royal Infirmary opened in 1794
- The Glasgow Necropolis
- The Provand's lordship, a medieval historic house (in photo below)
- The St Mungo Museum
Want to see more about Glasgow?
- Check out my 1 day tour of Glasgow itinerary - read article
- Discover the People's palace and its museum - read article
- Admire the architecture of the University - read article
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