Glasgow School of Art

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This tour deserves its Trip Advisor ranking of #1 in Glasgow. It is led by students of the school. Their knowledge of the School is way above the average tour guide’s script. So they really bring the building to life! The building itself is alive – it continues to fulfill its original purpose as a vibrant institution. You can really feel the buzz in the place as you walk around.

As advised, we booked in advance as numbers/tour are limited. Visitors gather in the brand-new Reid Building, opened by Robbie Coltrane, an alumnus of the School, on 9 April. The new building by the US architect Robert Holl is designed to be a complementary contrast to Mackintosh’s masterpiece. It is controversial, but I think it works.

After a short introduction, we crossed Renfrew Street to start our tour. The whole hour’s tour was absolutely fascinating especially well illustrated with interesting anecdotes from our guide. Highlights for us were the old library, preserved exactly as Mackintosh had designed, and an exhibition of furniture illustrating the evolution of the iconic Mackintosh chair. The tour ended in a small shop offering tastefully themed gifts. No touristy tack was seen!

This was altogether a superb outing. The 224 stairs on the tour route were simply part of the atmosphere of the building. However if you have a mobility problem, just call the school in advance and staff will organise lifts for you. This is typical of the attention to detail that makes this tour a cut above the usual.

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