Britannia Panopticon

Location: Trongate, Glasgow

Sat 12-5pm

Glasgow Central Railway Station

Glasgow is a modern, dynamic destination with a proud industrial past. A lively nightlife, Italian quarter, fantastic shopping and great architecture mean this Scottish city has broad appeal. Also famous for its friendly residents, you’ll find they make it easy to explore the sights, seek out the ideal accommodation or arrange car hire in Glasgow.

Recently, one Glasgow attraction has undergone something of a transformation. Situated on Trongate, near Argyle Street, The Britannia Panopticon originally opened to the public in 1857 and is now the world’s oldest surviving music hall. In the mid-1800s, Glasgow’s industrial workers couldn’t stay away from the place, with its lively programme of song, dance and comedy. When other flashier venues stole music hall audiences away, the Britannia Panopticon became a venue for fortune-tellers, waxworks and other late-Victorian fun and games.

In later years, the Britannia Panopticon hosted performances by a very young Stan Laurel and one Archie Leech, who became the Hollywood heartthrob Cary Grant. As the 1920s rolled around, the freak shows and variety acts made room for cinema goers too.

Today, however, the Britannia Panopticon is in the throes of a renaissance. Since the late 1990s, the space has been undergoing careful renovation and today’s visitors can get a real feel for its rich Victorian history. As well as staging traditional music hall shows, great cinema nights, comedians and bands, the Britannia Panopticon hosts fairs and exhibitions all year round. If you’re planning a trip to Glasgow, add this place to your must-see list. Check out the silent movie nights, or simply pop in to lose yourself in the atmosphere of this piece of Victorian history.

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