We may be famous as a nation packed with vertiginous Munros, but Scotland also has some impressive man-made buildings amd structures too. Here’s a countdown of the tallest man-made wonders that you can experience across the country.
Glasgow Tower - 127m
Scotland’s tallest structure by a large margin is the Glasgow Tower, which features an observation deck at 100m and is part of Glasgow Science Centre. Currently the holder of a Guiness World Record authenticating it as the world’s tallest freestanding and fully-rotating structure, the Tower First opened in 2001 and has had several high-profile closures and repairs since.
Whitevale and Bluevale Towers, Glasgow - 91m
51 Whitevale Street (with sister tower block 109 Bluevale Street) in Camlachie just make it onto this list as Scotland’s tallest buildings, with 28 habitable floors out of a total of 30. Opened in 1968, their Brutalist, Jenga-like construction survived largely intact until earlier this year, when the Bluevale development was completely demolished due to the high running costs of the ageing building. Sister tower Whitevale is due to be taken down one floor at a time next year.
St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh - 90m
In a city which lacks many high-rises stands a Gothic-style Category A listed building in Edinburgh’s New Town. With easy access to the cathedral permitted by Ethe “Haymarket” and “West End - Princes Street” Edinburgh Trams stations, tourists and worshippers alike can visit the ornate design that dates from 1874.
Glasgow University Tower - 85m
Continuing Glasgow’s dominance on this list is the university’s grand tower, which is currently undergoing maintenance works to preserve its spiral staircase and bell tower. Projected to reopen and be unsheathed from its scaffolding in spring next year, the tower was originally constructed in 1887 and is preserved on account of its Category A-listed status.
Barclay Church, Edinburgh - 76m
Taking just over two years to complete, the Church of Scotland’s Barclay Church was completed in 1864 and has survived largely unchanged to this day. Several clergies have called the Barclay Church home over the decades, with Bruntsfield and Viewforth churches uniting within the building since the 1960s.
The Hub, Edinburgh - 74m
Just missing out on fifth place on this list is perhaps one of the Royal Mile’s most noticeable buildings - The Hub. Used as the home of all information for the Edinburgh International Festival since 1999, the Gothic Revivalist-style building was originally made for the Church of Scotland. Both The Hub’s and Barclay Churches’ spires are the highest in Edinburgh, The Hub has a main hall that can hold just shy of 500 people.
Croftbank Street and Edgefauld Road Towers, Glasgow - 74m
When the Whitevale and Bluevale Towers join the Red Road flats in Glasgow’s social housing history books, Croftbank and Edgefauld will become the city’s tallest housing structures and one of few earmarked to be renovated by Glasgow Housing Association within the next decade. Decisions to decimate much of Glasgow’s high-rise housing stock in favour of modernised offerings have been met with a mix of opposal and acceptance from residents and city-dwellers alike.
Marischal College, Aberdeen - 72m
As the second-largest granite building in the world, the city’s Marischal College is owned by the University of Aberdeen and leased to the city council as their current headquarters. A three-year restoration of the Gothic Revivalist-styled granite was completed in 2011, with the granite flag-topped spires just one of the building’s many intricate details.
St Andrew House, Glasgow - 71m
Guests of the Premier Inn Glasgow Buchanan Galleries can enjoy the view from the highest hotel rooms in the city from the 18th floor of St Andrew House. First seeing use as a postwar office block, the building was taken over in 2010 and renovated to become a hotel positioned close to the city’s Sauchiehall Street.
Glasgow Hilton 70m
With over 300 rooms, the 23 year-old Hilton building at 1 William Street has hosted celebrities including Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton and Robert Duvall. At the time of its construction in November 1992, the Glasgow Hilton was the first tower block over 20 storeys high to be built in the city since the 1970s social housing projects were completed.
From this comparison, it is clear to see that Glasgow takes the title of Scotland’s tallest city, with 60 per cent of the tallest buildings listed coming from Clydeside. However, these structures pale in comparison to the world’s tallest structure at present, which is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 829m metres tall.
The tallest free-standing building with floors in both Britain and the European Union is The Shard in London, which totals 309m and opened in 2013. All these structures are resoundingly beaten by Scotland and Britain’s highest natural peak, Ben Nevis, which stands proud at a monstrous 1,344m.