Q) Where in Glasgow can you simultaneously time travel and go to France ( sort of) ?
A) Glasgow Cathedral. Disclaimer- it only works if you’re a dedicated Outlander fan with a vivid imagination.
So the opening question is just a bit fun but Outlander fan or not, and however vivid your imagination, Glasgow Cathedral is worth a visit. Travelling around Europe over the past few years, I’ve visited a lot of churches and Cathedrals and it’s easy to become a little bit seen-one-seen-em-all. Not so in Glasgow. Here’s why.
We’d arrived in Glasgow by train and its an easy walk from Glasgow Central to the Cathedral. The route we used took us through the University campus and, to be honest, it’s not the most inspiring walk. Lots of high-rise and fairly bland modern buildings. But then you see the Cathedral on the horizon , with the Necropolis climbing the hill behind it. The older buidlings with the cemetery backing them create a little island of history and heritage . Seeing them come into view as you approach is a little bit exciting.
The Cathedral might be the star attraction but the area around it, Cathedral Square, is more than just an area to pass through. It’s home to a variety of statues and monuments including one of explorer David Livingstone. Imagine if travel blogging was a thing in his day. He would have had some interesting posts.
On a more sombre note there is also a plaque dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha disaster. It’s touching in its simplicity.
I’ve already blogged about my visit to the Necropolis , and my love of a good graveyard is no secret. The Necropolis was modelled on the Pere Lachaise in Paris and these days it rivals the best burial grounds of any other European city. Due to the sheer scale of the place, you’d be wise to book a tour or at least pick up a heritage sheet or guide from the Cathedral. I didn’t and as much as wandering the paths made for a good day out, a bit of guidance would have unlocked more secrets and stories. Check out Friends of Glasgow Necropolis for more information.
The Welcoming Spirit
The Cathedral remains a place of worship with an active congregation, but it’s also a place that feels welcoming to all. Free to visit with volunteer guides on hand for tours and questions, postcards and leaflets on sale with payment by honesty box and guide literature available in several languages, this is a place that is embracing visitors and beautifully balancing worship, heritage and tourism.
It’s an Outlander Filming Location
So about that time travelling French connection. Well, its not entirely inaccurate. Parts of the Cathedral were indeed used as a filming location for Outlander. This little corner of medieval Glasgow doubles up as L’Hopital Des Anges in Paris where Claire volunteers to work alongside the French nuns. So if you’ve the imagination, and I believe we all have, you can transport yourself back in time to Paris of old and embrace all your Outlander day dreams.