The Lighthouse – Glasgow, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

The Lighthouse

Climb this overlooked gem's spiral staircase and you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of Glasgow. 


Hidden within plain sight in the heart of Glasgow, Scotland, the Lighthouse is often missed by visitors to the city.

Completed in 1895 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, it was the famous architect, designer, colorist, and artist’s very first commission at the offices of The Glasgow Herald. The newspaper relocated in the 1980s, and it seemed only fitting that the building then became Scotland’s Centre for Architecture and Design after extensive renovations, re-opening in 1999.

Mackintosh designed the tower as part of a warehouse at the back of the newspaper printing office. The tower contained an 8,000-gallon water tank, to protect the building and its contents from the risk of fire.

Today, the building’s floors display exhibitions, viewing galleries and occasional features on Mackintosh’s life and works. You’ll want to spend time exploring these various exhibits, but the real pièce de ré·sis·tance is the building’s tower.

A spectacular spiral staircase leads to the top of the tower. Climb to the top, and you’ll have wonderful, vast views over the surrounding city.

Update as of July 2023: The lighthouse is currently closed until further notice for renovations. 

Know Before You Go

It's free to visit, but sometimes closed to the public due to private functions. Always check on the website to make sure it's open before planning your visit. Apart from the tower, there's excellent access throughout for all mobilities.

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