Glasgow for first time visitors
Glasgow for first time visitors
Visiting Glasgow for the first time? Here’s our helpful guide to some unique experiences that should be top of your itinerary.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
No visit to Glasgow would be complete without a trip to one of the many museums and galleries, most of which are free to visit. Housed in an iconic red sandstone building that sits next to the beautiful Kelvingrove Park, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is arguably the top must-see attraction in the city. Visit glasgowlife.org.uk for opening times.
City Sightseeing bus tour
The City Sightseeing Glasgow bus tour operates all year round and has 21 stops, with informative commentary on board about the city’s history, architecture and places to visit. Visit the City Sightseeing Glasgow website to find out more.
Pollok Country Park
Located in the southside, Pollok Country Park is rich in history, popular with families, walkers and cyclists and well known for its much-loved Highland cattle. It is also the setting for the world-renowned Burrell Collection (reopening in March 2022) and home to Pollok House, a stunning Georgian mansion and gardens managed by the National Trust for Scotland. Visit theburrellcollection.com to find out more about the attractions and the park.
City Centre Mural Trail
In recent years, many of Glasgow's lanes and buildings have undergone colourful makeovers by talented street artists. You can explore these amazing works of urban art at your own pace or on a guided tour by Walking Tours in Glasgow. Visit our City Centre Mural trail page to find out more about a self-guided tour and download the map. Visit the Walking Tours in Glasgow website for information on their tour.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Glaswegian architect and designer, and Glasgow is the place to view an unrivalled collection of his work. You can visit Mackintosh House, the stunning House for an Art Lover or head to Mackintosh at the Willow, Miss Cranston’s original Tea Rooms, which have been beautifully restored to include a visitor centre and gift shop. Visit our Charles Rennie Mackintosh page to find out more about the places you can visit.
Glasgow UNESCO City of Music
Glasgow was the UK's first UNESCO City of Music and is a hotspot for live performances in famed gig venues like The Barrowlands and King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. You’ll also find live music and open mic nights at many of the city’s bars. Or experience a Glasgow Music City Tour – a lively walking tour that brings to life the people and places that helped shape the city’s legendary scene. Book on the Glasgow Music City Tour's website.
Glasgow has a rich and varied architectural heritage. The city's wealthy past has left a legacy of some of the finest Victorian architecture like the iconic City Chambers which sits majestically overlooking George Square. Glasgow Cathedral is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture that remains in Scotland and next to the Cathedral is the fascinating Necropolis – a cemetery full of wonderful sculptures and stories. Visit our Historic Glasgow page to find out more.
As Glasgow is a compact city and easy to get around, you can explore more than one neighbourhood in a day. Walk, cycle using the city’s popular OVO Bike scheme, or hop on the city’s 125-year-old Subway!
There is the historic and creative east end, the suburban southside and its collection of beautiful parks, and the north with its scenic canal pathways and watersports centre. The city centre is the bustling heart while the laid-back west end is where you’ll find hidden lanes and vintage stores. Head to our neighbourhoods section to discover more.
Glasgow has a diverse and constantly expanding food and drink scene. Enjoy classic Scottish dishes from haggis, neeps and tatties at The Ubiquitous Chip to the finest Scottish seafood at Gamba. From street food at Platform to Michelin star dining at Cail Bruich, Glasgow has some of the most exciting chefs and independent restaurants with a focus on the finest locally sourced and sustainable produce. Visit our Eat & Drink section for some more inspiration.
Glasgow is a shoppers’ paradise. The city centre is where you'll find big high street brands and designer stores in Princes Square, St Enoch Centre and Buchanan Galleries. Or be an environmentally conscious shopper and support the city’s creators and independent traders in places like the Scottish Design Exchange, The Clydeside Collective and The Hidden Lane or in the eclectic mix of vintage and pre-loved stores scattered throughout the city’s neighbourhoods. See our shopping pages for more information.
Whisky is Scotland’s national drink and is renowned globally, so be sure to add sampling a dram to your must-do list. Located on the banks of the River Clyde, The Clydeside Distillery is the first dedicated single malt distillery in Glasgow in over 100 years. Visit The Clydeside Distillery website to find out more about their visitor centre and distillery tours.
While you’re here you can also sample whisky at some great traditional bars and pubs. Must-visits include The Pot Still and The Ben Nevis, where friendly locals and staff will help you navigate their huge selection of whisky on offer. Visit our bars & pubs pages to find out more.
Article last updated: September 2021