Burrell Collection


Burrell collection, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland.

Getty Images

One of Glasgow's top attractions, this outstanding museum 3 miles out of town houses everything from Chinese porcelain and medieval furniture to paintings by Cézanne. The tapestry collection is a particular highlight. It's closed for refurbishment, and is due to reopen in 2020. The new building will have double the exhibition space as well as a cafe. Meanwhile, some items are on display at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.

The collection was amassed by wealthy industrialist Sir William Burrell and then donated to the city; it's housed in a park south of downtown. Burrell collected all manner of art from his teens to his death at 97, and this idiosyncratic treasure is extraordinarily wide-ranging. It's not so big as to be overwhelming, and the stamp of the collector lends an intriguing coherence.

Visitors will find their own favourite part of this museum, but the exquisite tapestry galleries are outstanding. Intricate stories capturing life in Europe are woven into staggering wall-size pieces dating from the 13th to 16th centuries.

In springtime it's worth spending a full day here and taking the time to wander in the beautiful park, studded with flowers. If you're not heading further north, here's the place to see shaggy Highland cattle, as well as heavy horses.

Many buses pass the park gates (including buses 45, 47, 48 and 57), and there's a twice-hourly bus service between the gallery and the gates (a pleasant 10-minute walk). Alternatively, catch a train to Pollokshaws West from Central station (four per hour; second station on the line for East Kilbride or Kilmarnock) and stroll through Pollok Country Park.