Glasgow is a city of culture, bursting with activity and experiences, with a refreshingly down-to-earth personality that is devoted to good times. Find out why Glasgow should be top of the list for your next UK city break.
Glasgow is a city of architectural grandeur, with a trademark flair for design. Start right in the heart of the city centre and stumble upon one elegant street after another, each lined with some of the UK's best-preserved Victorian architecture. In such a compact city it's easy to visit the neighbourhoods, each bursting with their own character and charm. Glasgow is a city of constant reinvention, powered by progressive people. One compelling character who left his mark on the city like no other is the architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh – nowhere else in the world can you witness Mackintosh's genius on this scale!
Hailed as one of the driving forces behind the city's rejuvenation, Glasgow's art scene is unfussy and open to all. Named as the UK’s Top Cultural and Creative City (European Commission 2019), Glasgow is home to one of Europe’s largest civic art collections, much of which is free to visit in the city's museums and galleries. And with more Turner Prize winners and nominees than any other UK city, Glasgow's acclaimed contemporary art scene shows the city at its edgy and energetic finest. It is therefore no wonder that Scotland's biennial festival of contemporary visual art, Glasgow International, has made it onto Time Out's DO List of the most exciting things to do in the world in 2020! Art spills out beyond venue walls in the form of neighbourhood festivals and urban street art adorning the sides of buildings, which can be experienced as part of a mural trail.
Whether bagpipes or beats, traditional or techno, Glasgow is not afraid to make some noise. As the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow's iconic music scene is vibrant and varied. From gatherings of traditional musicians in cosy pubs, international DJs at cultural hotspots to open-air gigs in scenic settings – no matter the venue or genre, you can expect to experience the famously warm Glasgow welcome in surround sound. And then there's the legendary Barrowland Ballroom; one for the bucket list for fans and bands alike! And it's not just music, as the World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination (2019 World Travel Awards), Glasgow is the place to be for live performances and events.
When Time Out Magazine named Glasgow as one of their 'top ten best destinations in the world for 2019', they also named the city as 'first for friendliness'. People really do make Glasgow. From taxi drivers to tour guides, whether chatting to creators at weekend markets or to locals in whisky bars – you'll discover a distinctive personality that is rooted in earthy Scottishness and energised with a progressive urban outlook. Glasgow’s heritage is all around. It's in museums and city tours, it's in hidden gems and restaurants, and it's in the people’s natural ability to tell their story with trademark wit and warmth.
Scotland's stunning scenery seeps into Glasgow in rolling hills, expansive country parks, woodland walks and even Highland cattle. Take in the Victorian extravagance of the Park Circus tenements, the gothic brilliance of the Glasgow Necropolis or the leafy tree-lined Queen's Park and you'll find scenic viewpoints overlooking the city, showing just why Glasgow is known as the Dear Green Place in Gaelic. You'll find some of the city's top attractions and museums within beautiful parkland settings and just ten minutes from the buzzing city centre is the tranquil Forth and Clyde Canal.
Glasgow combines the earthiness of a historic nation with the flair of a city on the rise. From medieval to modern, Glasgow’s architectural heritage strides the centuries. Marvel at the Glasgow City Chambers, often the site of filming for Hollywood productions and the University of Glasgow, said to be the inspiration behind Hogwarts. Take in precious places of interest in the city's many cobbled lanes or the down-to-earth banter and wares at the famous Barras Market. Admire intricately detailed surrounds whilst indulging in an afternoon tea at Mackintosh at the Willow or the elegance of ballet performers on stage in historic theatres. Whatever your version of beauty, you will find it in Glasgow.
Glasgow is the ultimate destination for an urban Scottish experience, with the chance to enjoy a dram at the riverside, take a whirl at an impromptu ceilidh and take photos with Highland cattle. Glasgow is the gateway to Scotland's great outdoors, with beaches, castles and rugged coastlines to discover. Experience unmissable day trips less than the average daily commute away – from the historic Stirling to the breath-taking bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, there are legends and adventures of epic proportions awaiting you.
As Scotland’s city of cool, creatives converge in Glasgow. When Glasgow was named as the UK's top cultural and creative city in 2019, it was also named as Europe’s leader for ‘openness, tolerance and trust’. This unique, nurturing and collaborative outlook, combined with an amazing art heritage, has helped Glasgow become a magnet for creative people. The city's neighbourhoods are bustling with original products from Glasgow's makers and creators, whilst down the cobbled lanes, you'll find treasures by independent traders. Whether speciality products from the likes of Timorous Beasties, Clydeside Distillery or crafters at weekend markets, you'll find lovingly created products made in and inspired by Glasgow.
Make Glasgow top of the list for a city break in 2020! Check out our trip inspiration pages and start planning your next short-break now.
Article last updated: January, 2020