The Glasgow Tower is part of the Glasgow Science Centre complex, located in Finnieston on the south bank of the River Clyde.
The tower is the tallest freestanding building in Scotland and the only structure on Earth capable of rotating 360 degrees into the prevailing wind and, indeed, it holds a Guinness World Record for being the tallest tower in the world in which the whole structure is capable of rotating.
The original design was by the renowned architect Richard Horden and BuroHappold Engineering. At the time it was known as the “Millennium Tower” and was the winning design in an international competition to design a tower for the city centre.
It is 127 metres high and shaped like a giant aerofoil. The tower turns using two powerful computer-controlled motors to rotate it into the wind to reduce wind resistance and improve the stability of the structure. The whole thing sits on a 65cm diameter thrust bearing and is connected to its foundations by two concentric rings and shock absorbers.
Glasgow Tower is a radical engineering feat, and the staff at the centre are happy to give you an insight into the sophisticated design and science that make it possible.
At the base of the tower, there is a ‘timeline tunnel’ which uses archive images and storyboards to explain the key events from the last century of Glasgow’s history. The tunnel also features a five-metre long map of the River Clyde which uses historic images and footage to show how the local area has changed over the years.
The journey to the viewing platform at the top of the tower takes about 2 and a half minutes. Once there you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.
As well as the superb views of the city, the viewing cabin also features iPads with pre-programmed virtual panoramic views. These are enhanced by augmented reality (AR) software that allows you to zoom in on any part of the 360-degree view and discover a dozen places of interest, complete with archive and contemporary pictures.
Access and Opening
The tower is designed to move in the wind, but to ensure the comfort and enjoyment of visitors the tower closes when wind speed exceeds gusts of 25mph or higher.
In the event of an emergency, there is an evacuation route via the tower’s 523-step spiral staircase. If you intend to visit, you need to able to get down the stairs unaided. Anyone with limited mobility or young children should talk to the centre’s staff before buying a ticket.
50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow, G51 1EA
Tel: +44 141 420 5000
The Tower follows the same opening times as the Science Centre, but check the website before you go, as the tower's opening is weather permitting.
Tower only: £6.50
As an add-on to Science Centre Entry: £3.50
The closest railway station is Exhibition Centre which is just over the river by the SEC. The closest subway is Cessnock which is about a 10-minute walk away. The Glasgow Tour bus stops just over the river at the SEC and the 100 Riversider service along with the X19 and McGills 23 service stop nearby too.