TARDIS hunting in Glasgow

This Scottish city has been on my ‘to visit’ for a while and when my fiancé and I were discussing a simple getaway after our July wedding it seemed perfect. We enjoy a city break and loved that we could just jump on the train and be there in a just few hours. Also there was the added attraction of no less than six in-situ police boxes dotted across the city – a wonderful opportunity to see a TARDIS in the wild!

I do love a big blue box – one of the first things I planned for my wedding was having a full size TARDIS. Fortunately I happened to know someone who had one and who would very kindly dismantle and build it at the venue (and bring along a couple of Daleks as well!). Doctor Who has been a presence in mine and my husband’s life since childhood and it was wonderful to include that on our wedding day.

So when people asked where we were going on honeymoon I was only semi joking when I replied that we were going ‘TARDIS hunting’. I’d found this fantastic resource online https://www.greatestglasgow.com/best-glasgow-police-boxes/ (check out the bouncy boxes on the map) and we headed out into the city the day we arrived clutching a print out and map. We managed to bag four the first afternoon and the remaining two the next day. It turned out to be a really good way to explore the city, with a few in the main retail area and a couple at tourist sites like the cathedral and botanical gardens. You could easily do them in a day if you wished or were short on time.

Below are the 6 in the order we visited them;

Buchanan Street – saw this one in the afternoon and were horrified to see it covered up in CBD advertisements from floor to ceiling. Fortunately we discovered when we went past in the evening that they’re only stuck on by Velcro – which is unsightly but thankfully not permanent.

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Sauchiehall Street I– aka ‘the red one’. More adverts covering it as again it’s a CBD kiosk by day.

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Sauchiehall Street II – near the Mackintosh at the Willow tea room. I’m certain this is the one that used to be on Wilson Street. I compared it with the website mentioned before and checked on Google maps – there was a box in Wilson Street in May 2018 but I think was moved later that year https://reglasgow.com/police-box-coffee-kiosk-can-open-in-sauchiehall-street/. It is currently being repainted and is covered in pigeons as it seems to be a perfect roost for them amongst the trees.

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Botanic Gardens – still in its original location apparently, partly enclosed by railings near the main entrance.

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Cathedral Square – the most pristine. It obviously pays to be located where it is – paint work and condition immaculate. Has a de-fibulator inside which is a great use for it.

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London Road – this is the most battered of the lot but has more charm because of it. Has a bit of a graffiti and damage, probably the least touristy area of the city.

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Bonus TARDIS – there is a huge wall mural which featured amongst other things the TARDIS, 1960’s Doctor Who producer Verity Lambert and the character ‘Malpha’ from lost 1965 Doctor Who episode ‘Mission to the Unknown’. I didn’t realise that Verity’s written archive is held at Strathclyde University and the mural is attached to one on the campus buildings. The ‘Mission to Unknown’ lost episode is fresh in my mind as I was fortunate to be able to see some of it being filmed at UCLan at the start of the year and see the finished work in a private screening.

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NB I hadn’t quite realised how much Glasgow has been used in films and TV – I watched World War Z when we got back as it doubled as Philadelphia in the opening scenes. We were also impressed to see a whisky bar we’d stopped in appear in the new ‘Fast and Furious; Hobbs and Shaw’ when the city was used as a double for London.

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