The Lighthouse
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The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse
4
Visitor CentersArt GalleriesSpeciality Museums
Temporarily closedClosed until further notice
About
The Lighthouse, Scotland's Centre for Design and Architecture, is a visitor centre, exhibition space and events venue situated in the heart of Glasgow, just off the Style Mile. The Lighthouse acts as a beacon for the creative industries in Scotland and promotes design and architecture through a vibrant programme of exhibitions and events. Formerly housing The Glasgow Herald, The Lighthouse was the first public commission completed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and is the perfect place to begin a Mackintosh tour of Glasgow. The Mackintosh Interpretation Centre on Level Three is home to a permanent Mackintosh exhibition where visitors can learn more about his life and work. Climb the Mackintosh Tower or take the lift to the Viewing Platform for stunning views across the city, indulge yourself in the latest designer products at The Lighthouse Shop, or simply relax in the Doocot, our cafe/bar.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Neighborhood: Merchant City
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles963 reviews
Excellent
418
Very good
369
Average
127
Poor
32
Terrible
17

Amy T
Swampscott, MA63 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
My husband and I had seen an amazing Macintosh exhibit years ago in NYC and were expecting something similar here in his "hometown" but the Lighthouse was very disappointing. The exhibits were so poorly lit that they were barely readable. Many were "interactive", meaning that you have to manually go back and forth between screens in possibly the most clunky software ever. Don't make people work so hard to see the work!

Speaking of the work, from what they did show it seems that Macintosh did not do the majority of the work on display, rather most of it was done by his wife Magaret MacDonald. I don't know how they did it, but this museum took an artist we liked and made us dislike him.

BTW, the staircase looks ok, but it WAS NOT designed by Macintosh. We started to go up, but my husband was so depressed by the museum and we bailed.
Written February 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for your recent visit to The Lighthouse and for taking the time to leave a review. We're sorry to hear you were disappointed. The Mackintosh room on level three of the building is somewhat dated and we are looking into options for funding to revitalise this. The staircase was not designed by Mackintosh, however the building and the tower were, if you climb to the top you are able to see the decorative elements of his architecture in a different way. The Mackintosh room and tower is one part of the centre and whilst we appreciate that many people do visit to learn about Mackintosh there are other more current exhibitions relating to architecture, design and the creative industries within the building. If you would like to discuss anything further then please do email us on lighthousemarketing@glasgow.gov.uk.
Written February 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Anne S
Leeds, UK575 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
We were looking forward to visiting one of the beacons of Glasgow’s heritage. Their own website was down for maintenance but other sites indicated it was open. When we arrived there was a sign on the door saying closed. Given that we had made a special effort to go there we have given it 1 star because it was closed and we were so disappointed.
Written June 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ian L
Glasgow, UK18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Great venue right in the middle of Glasgow. I've been here many many times. It's worth popping in, even if just to get out of the rain, as there's usually something cool going on.

Also some of the friendliest staff around. Who clearly love their jobs.

The Question Session Music Conference was/is fantastic. Looking forward to next year.
Written March 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PookyCake
Victoria, Canada14,274 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
The Lighthouse made for an intriguing stop during my whirlwind 2-day tour of Glasgow. Given that I wanted to take in as much as possible without rushing through things, stopping here made perfect sense because it was a mere 5-minute walk from my hotel AND it carries a lot of historic and cultural value. As such, I would suggest that for those who like architecture, history and the arts, The Lighthouse should appear on any itinerary. Let me elaborate a little:

The building that houses The Lighthouse was completed in 1895 and represents the first public commission executed by Charles Mackintosh who is, perhaps, Glasgow’s most famous architect. For nearly a century, the edifice played home to the Glasgow Herald. After sitting vacant for about 15 years, the building was purchased in 1999, underwent extensive renovations and subsequently opened in its current form. Now, the building is multi-purpose. It is billed as Scotland’s “Centre for Design and Architecture” and functions as a major visitor centre, exhibition space and events venue.

When I visited, The Lighthouse wasn’t overly busy, which was appreciated because I generally dislike large crowds. As I explored its multiple levels, an overarching theme became readily apparent: Each floor, while separate and distinct, nevertheless attempts to weave a clear narrative which says that architecture, design and creativity are interlinked and impact our daily lives in ways we might not even be aware. This theme is perhaps no clearer than on The Lighthouse’s third floor, which is devoted to the Mackintosh Interpretation Centre. Here, you gain a solid introduction to the life and works of Glasgow’s most famous architect and how they (and he) – to this very day – continue to influence life in the city.

Now, I’ll be honest. A lot of the exhibits didn’t particularly grab me, so I just sort of skimmed most of them like a stone skipping across water. The major attraction, for me, was the Mackintosh Tower and its helical staircase. Once you climb the tower (and burn your calories for the day), you’ll be privy to unparalleled cityscape views of Glasgow – quite stunning on a reasonably clear day! After you’ve finished admiring the history laid out before your eyes, the staircase itself presents some pretty epic Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.

All in all, I think The Lighthouse is definitely worth a visit if you’re playing tourist around Glasgow. The helical staircase is a major attraction, as is the permanent exhibit dedicated to Mackintosh, but so too is the visitor centre on the main floor. Here, you can seek helpful advice and better plan your journey . . . and snag a few reasonably priced items to take home ;)

My one caveat: To fully appreciate The Lighthouse, a strong interest in architecture would probably enrich the overall experience; otherwise, like me, you may end up more interested in the staircase and its subsequent view!
Written August 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Hidden in a narrow side street, in the centre of the city, in view of the shoppers in Buchanan Street (if they turned their heads skywards), is the lighthouse. This relative newcomer among glasgow's many museums and galleries is a welcome addition for the youth of the city. Free exhibitions year-round in the glasgow tradition provide an insight into the history and culture of the city itself and it's great sons and daughters.

This tranquil space is ideal for a break from shopping, or sight seeing tours of the city, and is one of the many tourist resources that has been seized by Glaswegians as one of their own. It is a focal point for city pride, and nowhere can this be better felt than atop one of the two viewing towers which can be accessed through the museum. From here you can see the best views of the city centre, and you don't have to feel separated from city life by the walls of the museum.

If you go to Glasgow, or if you are a native of the city, go to the Lighthouse. I promise the view alone is worth the visit, and the view from the old tower is definitely worth the stairs.
Written December 3, 2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2019 • Friends
Wonderful place but is not well advertised, you could easily walk by it but you get amazing views of Glasgow from top. Well worth a visit.
Written March 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for taking the time to review your recent visit to The Lighthouse, we hope you will visit again soon!
Written April 23, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

clairetokyo
UK9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The Lighthouse tower is well worth the climb up the spiral staircase to see the mix of styles and hotpotch of buildings that is Glasgow. Gave me real perspective when I first moved here.
Written April 13, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Traveler
Oslo, Norway1,052 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Friends
The view from the top is fabulous and from the bottom of the staircase

Worth going Art meets music 🎵 meets architecture lots for your imagination

Quite an interesting family day out
Written October 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for your kind review! Hopefully you will visit again soon :)
Written October 31, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

George B
Aberdeen, UK1,538 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019 • Solo
I visited this when coming from Aberdeen to Ayr by bus. Easily found just off Buchanan St in Mitchell Lane. Nice receptionist kept my bag to enable me to climb the 132 steps to the top viewing gallery, fantastic views across the city as far as the eyes can see right over Central Station.
Also nice furniture by CRM and models for buildings which were never built.
Lots to see and do. Well worth a visit.
Written November 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for your visit and for taking the time to leave a review.
Written February 3, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

generation60s
Cheshire23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2011
Do go to see the History of Glasgow Exhibition in the Lighthouse well worth it. You go into a dark space and you are looking down into the Earths core just go and see it we were impressed. The next floor is the Rennie Mackintosh story again well worth a visit.
Written August 25, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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The Lighthouse - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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