Try out our Belle and Sebastian walking trail and visit the places across the city that have helped shape the iconic Glasgow band and inspire their music.
Glasgow Music City Tours, who helped create this trail, offer a series of music-themed tours. They also run bespoke tours, including Belle and Sebastian themed, to individuals and small groups on request. Find out more at glasgowmusiccitytours.com.
1. Stow College (now GSA Stow building)
Belle and Sebastian's debut album Tigermilk was released on Electric Honey Records, the label run by the students on Stow College’s music business course – one of whom was drummer Richard Colburn. Electric Honey was described by Uncut magazine as being "the most successful student-run label in the world", having helped build the careers of bands like Biffy Clyro and Snow Patrol. Stow College has closed with the building now part of the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) campus.
2. Charing Cross Pedestrian Bridge
Linking the city centre and the west end, the footbridge at Charing Cross features in the band’s Dog on Wheels video (view the video on YouTube), which ends with lead singer Stuart Murdoch launching a toy parachute man into the air.
3. CaVa Studios (now flats)
The band recorded their first four albums in this west end recording studio. It took them just 5 days in March 1996 to record their first album. Famous bands/artists to record here include David Byrne, Travis, Snow Patrol and Black Eyed Peas. Part of the studio complex has now been converted into flats.
4. Kelvingrove Bandstand
Belle and Sebastian played the opening gig here for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. The band have a love affair with Kelvingrove Park. The video for Like Dylan in the Movies is set in there, as well as scenes from Stuart Murdoch’s film, God Help the Girl.
5. The Halt Bar (now Finsbay Flatiron)
Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson met here at the weekly open mic night. Stevie agreed to join the band as their guitarist (reluctantly) following the split of his band, The Moondials.
6. Tchai Ovna House of Tea
The speciality tea-house, vegan cafe and music venue is popular with the band, with the artwork for the band’s 2003 album Dear Catastrophe Waitress shot here.
7. The University of Glasgow
Stuart Murdoch ran for Student Rector in 2001 but lost out to Chewin’ the Fat’s Greg Hemphill. Stuart, Chris Geddes and Sarah Martin all studied here.
8. Grosvenor Café (now Vodka Wodka)
Many of the band’s members were recruited at this hangout – aka The Celestial Café, the title of Stuart Murdoch's book. Mark Jones of Jeepster met the band here in an attempt to get them to sign to the label, offering them “anything".
9. Botanic Gardens
School’s Out with Belle and Sebastian and Friends, a free gig as part of the West End Festival, took place here on June 12, 2004 and attracted 12,000 people! The mini-festival also included Camera Obscura, The Trashcan Sinatras and V-Twin.
10. Hotel Du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens
This historic 5-star hotel was the place where the band met music mogul Seymour Stein – the man who launched the careers of the likes of Madonna, Talking Heads and The Smiths. Stevie wrote a song titled Seymour Stein, which is about missing this meeting.
11. Broomhill Hyndland Parish Church
Stuart Murdoch lived in the flat above the church hall from late 1995 for 9 years and worked as the church caretaker. The band rehearsed and recorded here in the mid-nineties, with the church appearing in the Lazy Line Painter Jane video, which you can view on YouTube.
12. The Sparkle Horse
A number of the bandmates frequent the Monday night pub quiz at west end pub The Sparkle Horse and even had a successful streak before parenthood!
Article last updated: February 2022