Top 20+ Tallest Buildings in Scotland

Renowned around the world for its spectacular landscapes, diverse culture and rich history, Scotland also has its fair share of impressive architecture. Indeed, there are some impressively tall buildings you’d find hard to miss. 

From historic castles to soaring skyscrapers, each of these tall buildings has unique features and functionalities that reveal a lot about the communities they stand in. They all play their part in modern Scottish society, performing residential, commercial, touristic, or other key roles. 

With this in mind, let’s look at the top 20+ tallest buildings in Scotland, featuring completed buildings from John O’Groats to Gretna. Please note, for this list, we’re not including uninhabitable structures, such as monuments, chimneys and transmitters. 

1. Glasgow Tower, Glasgow


Height: 127 metres

Completion: 2001

Type of building: Observation Tower

First on our list of the tallest buildings in Scotland is Glasgow Tower. This freestanding structure, which has an observation deck near its highest point, is located to the west of Glasgow’s city centre and adjacent to the famous Science Centre. 

Designed by architect Richard Horden, it is thought to be the only building in the world that can fully rotate 360 degrees, allowing visitors to get a fully panoramic view. Glasgow Tower was opened to the public in 2001, and despite the odd technical issue remains one of the city’s best-loved attractions. 

2. St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh


Height: 91 metres

Completion: 1879

Type of building: Cathedral

Located in the heart of Edinburgh, St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral is a 19th Century religious building that is one of the city’s most recognisable. Boasting elaborate Gothic architecture and hosting important religious artefacts, it also performs an important role in community outreach.

The Cathedral stakes a claim as Scotland’s second tallest building thanks to its lofty spire, which reaches 91 metres into the sky. It’s certainly not one to miss for architecture fans taking a trip to the Scottish capital!

3. Glasgow University Tower, Glasgow


Height: 85 metres

Completion: 1887

Type of building: Educational Building

Glasgow University Tower, sometimes named the Gilbert Scott Building, is one of Glasgow’s tallest landmarks. At 85 metres high, it forms part of the city’s University complex, and houses the main library, lecture theatres, classrooms and research facilities. 

The tower was completed in 1887, and is one of Glasgow’s finest examples of Victorian architecture – of which there are many. Today, visitors and students alike can take tours to the top of the structure, and get an unparalleled view of the city. 

4. Barclay Church, Edinburgh

Height: 76 metres

Completion: 1864

Type of building: Church

Since 1864, Barclay Church has been welcoming the people of Edinburgh’s West End through its doors. Situated near the Tollcross area of the capital, the church has been renovated numerous times since its opening, and today stands highly visible on the city’s skyline. 

Although it doesn’t quite match the height of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Barclay Church is nevertheless one of Scotland’s tallest structures, with a full vertical span of 76 metres. As well as this, it has been granted category A listed status by Historic Scotland.

5. The Hub, Edinburgh 


Height: 74 metres

Completion: 1845

Type of building: Events Building

The Hub is an events and community centre that is located on the historic Royal Mile in Edinburgh. As the name suggests, it is a hub for a number of different cultural and creative organisations, such as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Originally constructed as a church in the mid 19th Century, the building has been renovated and adapted into a modern cultural venue, complete with restaurants and cafes. The church’s spire remains, and gives the building a full height of 74 metres. 

6. Croftbank Street and Edgefauld Road Towers, Glasgow

Height: 74 metres

Completion: 1966

Type of building: Residential Building

Glasgow’s Croftbank Street and Edgefauld Towers complex make up two of the tallest individual buildings in Scotland, and the tallest residential buildings in the city. Built in the 1960s, the flats were originally built to provide housing for low-income families.

Today, the 74 metre tall buildings are some of the most easily visible buildings in Glasgow, and offer amazing views of the city. As well as this, they represent a striking reminder of the city’s connection to post-war social housing.

7. Balgrayhill Flats, Glasgow

Height: 74 metres

Completion: 1967

Type of building: Residential Building

Located in the suburb of Springburn in Glasgow, the Balgrayhill Flats are a set of 1960s-built residential buildings, with the tallest rising to 74 metres in height. Four buildings comprise the flat complex: two 26-storey blocks containing 200 flats and two 25-storey blocks featuring 192 flats.

With such a lofty height, the flats are not just a huge visible presence in Springburn but across the city as well. 

8. Wyndford Road Flats

Height: 74 metres

Completion: 1964

Type of building: Residential Building

Staying in Glasgow, the Wyndford Road Flats make the list of Scotland’s tallest buildings with a maximum height of 74 metres. These lanky apartment blocks are some of the many that were built to address the city’s urgent need for social housing in the post-war period.

However, they might not be on this list for much longer. Controversial plans are currently in place to demolish the flats and replace them with low-rise housing, but this has drawn staunch opposition from local residents.

9. Glasgow City Chambers, Glasgow


Height: 73 metres

Completion: 1889

Type of building: Government Building

Located in the heart of Scotland’s biggest city, the Glasgow City Chambers building was completed in 1889 and serves as the headquarters of Glasgow City Council. It boasts an impressive Victorian exterior, which was designed by architect William Young.

As well as the exterior, the interior of the structure is also impressive, with it boasting large stained glass windows, a marble staircase and a distinctive copper dome. Its tower has a height of 73 metres, making it Scotland’s ninth-tallest building. 

10. Marischal College, Aberdeen

Height: 72 metres

Completion: 1844

Type of building: Educational Building

By far Aberdeen’s tallest building, Marischal College is one of the most notable landmarks in the city. Rising 72 metres high, it is named after George Keith, who was the fifth Earl Marischal of Scotland. 

Although the building was originally intended for educational purposes, it is now the headquarters of Aberdeen City Council. It is the second-largest granite building in the world, second only to the Escorial Palace in Spain. 

11. Townhead Flats, Glasgow

Height: 72 metres

Completion: 1967

Type of building: Residential Building

The Townhead Flats, situated in the Townhead suburb of Glasgow, is a 1960s social housing complex built in keeping with similar types of flats of the time. Featuring four 20-storey tower blocks and six 10 storey blocks, there are 926 flats in total. 

At the time of completion, the Townhead Flats were considered a pioneering example of urban regeneration – however, by the 1990s they had fallen into a state of disrepair. A multi-million pound renovation that began in 1996 helped to improve matters and make the flats welcoming again. 

12. St Andrew House, Glasgow

Height: 71 metres

Completion: 1964

Type of building: Hotel

Standing 71 metres tall in the centre of Glasgow, St Andrew House is renowned as one of Scotland’s first mid-rise skyscrapers. It was completed in 1964 and provided Grade A office space until 2010, when it was converted into a Premier Inn hotel.

St Andrew House is situated on the same spot where the Lyric Theatre stood, with the former building being destroyed by fire in 1953. If you’re looking for a hotel with the highest vantage point in Glasgow, this is the place for you! 

13. Glasgow Hilton, Glasgow

Height: 70 metres

Completion: 1996

Type of building: Hotel

Narrowly missing out on the title of tallest hotel in Glasgow, the Glasgow Hilton building has 20 floors worth of rooms to offer guests. The hotel was opened in 1992, and was designed by architects RMJM. 

As well as hundreds of luxurious rooms, Glasgow Hilton also features a spa, a fitness centre and even a Michelin-starred restaurant. The building places a heavy emphasis on sustainability, and has won several awards for green tourism and design.  

14. Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow


Height: 69 metres

Completion: 1197

Type of building: Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral is one of Scotland’s most historic buildings, as well as one of its tallest. Also known as St Mungo’s Cathedral, it was built in the 12th century and is one of the few medieval-era buildings to remain standing in the city. 

It is a prominent example of Scottish Gothic architecture, boasting intricate stone ornamentation, stained-glass windows and historic monuments. Today, it continues to play a major part in the local community, with thousands of visitors a year enjoying its history and beauty. 

15. St. Andrew’s West Church, Glasgow


Height: 67 metres

Completion: 1852

Type of building: Church

Located in the West End of Glasgow, St. Andrew’s West Church is a historic religious building that was first opened in 1852. Constructed in the English Gothic revival style, it gained Category B listed building status in 1970.

With a spire height of 67 metres, it comfortably makes the list as one of Scotland’s tallest buildings. That is, despite the best efforts of mother nature – a 1998 hurricane caused the spire to fall and severely damage the church, although this has since been repaired. 

16. Anniesland Court, Glasgow

Height: 66 metres

Completion: 1968

Type of building: Residential Building

Anniesland Court is a 22-storey high residential building consisting of 160 flats in total. Built in the brutalist style, it was designed by architects J Holmes and Partners to provide vitally needed post-war social housing. 

Since its completion, the Glasgow building has undergone numerous renovations, with the most recent taking place in 2012. Due to its architectural significance, it has become the only tower block in the city to be Grade A listed. 

17. Martello Court, Edinburgh

Height: 64 metres

Completion: 1967

Type of building: Residential Building

Edinburgh’s highest-rising residential building is Martello Court, which is an apartment block located in the suburb of Muirhouse. Completed in 1967, it has 23 floors of affordable housing.

Despite not always having had the best reputation among locals (it was once known as ‘terror tower’ due to high crime rates’), the tower is an impressive sight. At 64 metres, it is the 17th tallest building in Scotland. 

18. Cineworld, Glasgow

Height: 62 metres

Completion: 2001

Type of building: Cinema

Cineworld in Glasgow may not be close to the tallest building in Scotland, but it does hold the proud distinction of being the tallest cinema in the world! Standing 62-metres high, it boasts 18 screens and has a capacity of over 4,000 seats, which makes it one of the largest in the UK. 

Located on Renfrew Street in the heart of Glasgow, the Cineworld building replaced the iconic music venue Glasgow Apollo. Today, it continues to draw in visitors from across the city who want to catch the latest Hollywood blockbusters. 

19. Argyle Building, Glasgow

Height: 62 metres

Completion: 2008

Type of building: Residential Building

Bringing down the curtain for Glasgow is the Argyle Building: a 62 metre tall residential tower that lies in the Anderston district of the city. After beginning construction in 2005, this modernist structure was completed in 2008. 

The Argyle Building provides accommodation for young professionals, with 21 floors of rented flats available. It is ideally situated for this purpose, with a prominent central location between the Kingston Bridge and the M8 motorway. 

20. Fettes College, Edinburgh

Height: 60 metres

Completion: 1869

Type of building: Educational Building

Edinburgh’s prestigious boarding school Fettes College takes up the final place on our list of the tallest buildings in Scotland. Founded by Sir William Fettes, it has been admitting students for over 150 years, and remains to this day one of the finest schools in the UK.

Renowned for its beautiful Gothic revival architecture, the grounds of Fettes College feature a range of structures aimed at different academic and extracurricular activities. However, it is the main building, and in particular its lofty spire, that gives Fettes College its 60 metre high status.

That’s it for our guide to the tallest buildings in Scotland. New tall buildings are going up all of the time across the country, so there may be a new set of structures to consider in the near future!

Now that you’ve seen what Scotland has to offer in terms of existing tall buildings, look to the future with our list of the top 11+ construction projects in Glasgow.

Or,  more compilations, building news and architectural discussion, explore our latest articles, including how cities are built on top of each other

And, for similar guides to definitions and meanings of terms within the building profession, take a look through our range of building wikis, including a guide to what a kop is in stadium architecture

Last Updated on 26 March 2023 by Michael