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Plan for when you can: A guide to visiting Glasgow

The easing of restrictions alongside the arrival of spring is sparking a desire in many of us to get planning. From April 26, attractions, galleries, hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops are due to reopen.

The wait is nearly over for reconnecting with the places and people that you’ve missed. Whether you are craving experiencing city centre life once again or looking to slowly dip your toe back in, Glasgow will be ready to welcome you back, safely. And expect it to be a warm welcome, as the city was once again named the ‘friendliest city in the world’ (Rough Guides, 2021). Some things never change!

Back to the heart of the city

A birds-eye view of George Square on a sunny day looking towards the City Chambers

Have you missed Glasgow city centre as much as we have? Get ready to explore the heart of one of Europe’s most cultural cities. Walk down Buchanan Street lined with flagship Scottish stores, cycle up the new wider and greener Sauchiehall Street Avenue, saunter down the cobbled city lanes or take a walking tour around the colourful mural trail. No matter how well you know Glasgow, you are sure to see the city with fresh eyes. 

The city centre is a shopper’s paradise, with its combination of designer, high street, vintage and independent stores. It is also the main neighbourhood in the city for sampling the city’s contemporary food and drink scene. New additions in the past year include fine-dining restaurant Glaschu (visit their website to make a reservation), the city's largest beer garden, Cranside Kitchen (check out their available booking slots and menus here), with more lined up to open soon, such as the Art-Deco inspired Beresford Lounge.

 

Glasgow city centre has beauty built-in. Whether your version of beauty is the elegant City Chambers, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's trademark style, street performers or perfectly brewed craft beers or coffees, Glasgow city centre’s got you covered.

Remember that many places, especially restaurants and bars, will be operating booking systems, so it’s time to get excited and start planning which favourite spots you want to revisit and which new places you want to discover. 

 
Where city life meets green space

An aerial view featuring the greenery of Kelvingrove Park in the foreground with the old grand buildings of Park Circus in the background

Glasgow enjoys the best of both worlds with the excitement of city life combined with wide-open green spaces. Never have the city's 90 parks and gardens been more appreciated than during this past year. But a change of scene is calling for many and you don’t have to travel far in Glasgow to feel like you are in a completely different place. Lose yourself in nature wildlife spotting on the peaceful Clyde and Forth Canal (find out which wildlife to look out for at the Scottish Canals website) or walking through woodlands in Pollok Country Park (look out for the newly-born fluffy Highland calves). Find out more about the city's amazing parks at Glasgow City Council's parks pages.

Or maybe it’s the active outdoors that you have missed? From track cycling to tree-top climbing, biking to bouldering, wakeboarding to walking trails – many of the outdoor activities in the city have re-opened or are in the process of opening soon with safety guidelines in place (check directly with operators for booking).

A man walks his dog down a pathway in Pollok Park on a sunny day with beautiful plants and canopied shelters on one side of the path and benches on the other..

For a place to pause for thought, then head to the top of one of the city’s parks for stunning panoramic views. See the Campsies from the flagpole at Queen’s Park, take in Glasgow Cathedral from the Necropolis, or marvel at the city skyline from the elegant Park Circus.

A unique feature of Glasgow is that many of the city's top attractions and museums are set within picturesque parkland settings. Look forward to being able to set foot in some of the country’s most spectacular buildings and browse their world-leading collections soon. In the meantime, the exterior of many of these attractions are worth the visit alone, such as Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Kelvingrove Park and House for An Art Lover in Bellahouston Park.

Culture waiting to be explored

a side view of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum with green lawn in front and blue skies behind the red sandstone Victorian building

Have you had your fill of Netflix box sets and online quizzes? Are you longing for an in-person cultural experience? As the UK’s top cultural and creative city (European Commission, 2019), Glasgow is home to world-class museums, galleries, family-friendly attractions and an edgy contemporary art scene that shows the city at its energetic finest. It's time to start planning your Glasgow wish-list and think about where you would like to go once dates allow.

Are you looking forward to walking into the grand hall of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum or admiring new artworks at Tramway, spending hours of family fun at the Glasgow Science Centre, tucking into scrummy afternoon tea in the historic Mackintosh at the Willow or trying one of the city’s hidden gems which you’d always meant to visit but hadn't gotten around to? Follow Glasgow Life on Twitter to keep-up-to-date with reopening and booking info for many of the city's museums and galleries.

If you would prefer to stay outdoors for the time-being many tours take place outside. You can book now for a City Sightseeing Bus Tour, which start back from April 26, offering the chance for an open-top tour of the city’s top sights. Meanwhile Walking Tours in Scotland are taking bookings on their website for various Glasgow tours, such as their popular street art one.

 
Avoiding peak times when travelling and checking shops, restaurants and attractions you plan to visit are open and operating booking systems, can ensure a more enjoyable safe experience. Visit our Glasgow Now section for more inspiration on how to enjoy the city.
 
Article last updated: March 2021