Top Reasons to Visit Glasgow in 2018

Officially the world’s friendliest city, you know you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome in Glasgow, and there is so much to explore and enjoy in this beautiful, vibrant city. No matter when you visit, you’ll find world-class visitor attractions, diverse neighbourhoods, stunning architecture, an ever-evolving food and drink scene and legendary nightlife.  The city also has a year-round calendar bursting at the seams with amazing events and festivals and 2018 is set to be bigger and busier than ever!

In 2018 there's a full programme of events planned throughout the year to mark the 150th anniversary of pioneering architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  The city has a summer jam-packed with culture and music festivals including the Merchant City Festival, West End Festival and Trnsmt, and as a great sporting city, it’s fitting that this year Glasgow will host the inaugural European Championships. Check out our list of just some of the highlights in Glasgow in 2018.

The New York Times has named Glasgow as one of the top 52 places (that's one every week!) in the world to visit in 2018 so what better time to make your NEXT STOP GLASGOW!  

“The biggest challenge facing visitors is where to start” 

Herald Sun, Australia


1. The City has World-Class Attractions you can visit for free

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and MuseumKelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Housing one of Europe’s largest civic art collections, the city has a fantastic mix of world-class museums, galleries and award-winning visitor attractions including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and Riverside Museum, with many free to visit.  From a cutting edge arts scene that’s envied across the globe to family friendly attractions and unique visitor experiences like the new Clydeside Distillery, there really is something for everyone.  It’s also the only place in the world that has a concentration of attractions and architecture created by iconic Glaswegian architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  

2. According to Wanderlust travel magazine, the city has an "impressive gastronomic scene"

The Western Club

Glasgow has an ever evolving food and drink scene and Finnieston is considered the city’s ‘foodie quarter’ with a brilliant mix of cool, quality and affordable venues.  Our chefs are able to source some of the best local produce in the world, so it’s no surprise our restaurants are receiving plaudits in influential guides including Conde Nast Traveller's – The Gold List 2018 (The Gannet) and the Michelin Guide (Alchemilla and Bilson Eleven).  And as we head into 2018, already dubbed as the ‘Year of Veganism’ it’s good to know that Glasgow is the UK’s most Vegan Friendly city.   When it comes to bars, it’s no longer just about the whisky, Glasgow is firmly part of the craft beer and gin revolution with a number of independent breweries and dedicated gin bars popping up across the city. 

3. Find stunning architecture hidden in plain sight 

Glasgow Clydeside and Armadillo
River Clyde, The SEC Armadillo and The SSE Hydro

If you ask a local what to see and do in the city, many will tell you to take a walk and “look up” to really appreciate Glasgow’s rich and varied architectural heritage.  From the medieval Glasgow Cathedral to the Neo-Gothic University of Glasgow – rumoured to be the inspiration for Harry Potter's Hogwarts - to the Art Nouveau wonders of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.   Glasgow’s wealthy past has left a legacy of the finest Victorian architecture in the UK but you only have to take short stroll along the ever-changing riverside to see innovative, cutting-edge designs.

 “There are so many beautiful buildings in Glasgow... Generally I think there's loads of architecture in Glasgow that's really quite incredible” 

Sumayya Usmani Chef and food writer


4. Discover the work of Glaswegian architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Mackintosh House
Mackintosh House

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a pioneering Glaswegian architect and designer and no trip to the city is complete without a visit to one of his magnificent works.  From the Mackintosh House, a collection of items from his original home, to the stunning House for an Art Lover and renowned Glasgow School of Art** – considered Mackintosh’s masterpiece.  **Following a major fire in the Mackintosh Building on 15 June 2018, regular visitor activity and tours at The Glasgow School of Art are cancelled until 1st of October 2018, with some pop up activity taking place across the summer. For the latest information on any relocated events, exhibitions and tours that may be available please see:**

2018 marks the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth and a year-long programme of events is underway to mark the incredible legacy and creative genius of Glasgow's great cultural icon.  Highlights include a major exhibition ‘Charles Rennie Mackintiosh Making the Glasgow Style’ at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum as well as the recently opened of Mackintosh at the Willow, Miss Cranston's original Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street. 


5. Let the locals take you on a tour - you'll get to know the city really well  

Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail 
City Centre Mural Trail  

Tours are a great way of seeing Glasgow and learning fascinating facts about the city from expert locals.  There are a number of walking tours on offer where knowledgeable guides can help you explore the city themed around everything from food and music to history and architecture.  You can also take guided tours of many of the city’s venues, from breweries to Glasgow Central Railway Station or City Chambers.  Take things at your own pace by following a self-guided trail around the murals or Mackintosh properties. The City Sightseeing Glasgow hop on, hop off bus is also a fantastic way to get yourself acquainted!

"Glasgow is the perfect size and it's so easy to get around"

Eve Thmson Facebook Follower


6. There's plenty to keep you entertained 

Merchant City Festival

A UNESCO City of Music with a legendary music scene and one of the world’s busiest concert venues (The SSE Hydro).  An annual calendar of events featuring world class cultural highlights, colourful summer festivals and sporting spectacles. A creative and cultural hub, home to all of Scotland’s national performing arts organisations including Scottish Ballet and the National Theatre of Scotland. Independent art house films, basement comedy clubs, glitzy casinos or underground club nights – Glasgow has it covered.

"It's the city's unrivalled music scene that really embodies Glasgow's energy and swagger."

National Geographic Traveler


7. You can discover diverse neighbourhoods

Ashton Lane at night
Ashton Lane in the West End.  Credit: Nils Hasenau

Explore the unique and distinct neighbourhoods of Glasgow each with their own personality, vibe and hidden gems.  As Glasgow is a compact city and easy to get around, you can explore more than one neighbourhood in one day.  So you might want to take a bike ride round Pollok Country Park in the Southside in the morning, followed by some lunch and shopping in the City Centre.  Afterwards, head North for a stroll along the banks of the canal then enjoy a late afternoon brewery tour in the East End finished off with dinner in the West End!

"I like how north, south, east and west are such diverse neighbourhoods. It feels quite personal and because it’s a small city, you get to know it really well."

Sarah McCory Gallery Director, Goldsmiths, University of London


8. It's a "shopaholics paradise" - Lonely Planet 


Glasgow is consistently voted as the top place to shop in the UK outside London’s west end. Buchanan Street is the city’s main pedestrianised shopping street where there is no shortage of mega malls, well-known brand names and speciality shopping. Ingram Street is where to find exclusive fashion brands and check out the mews lanes and arcades in the West End for cool vintage, second-hand and independent boutiques. Every weekend you’ll also find neighbourhood craft markets.

9. You can seek out adventure 

Loch Lomond Cruises
Cruise Loch Lomond

You can ignite your sense of adventure in Glasgow with snow sports, wake boarding and rock climbing or just 30 mins from the city, you can discover the beauty of Loch Lomond.  Explore the National Park by foot, by boat or even on horseback!  Golf fans can also travel easily from Glasgow to championship standard golf courses such as The Carrick and Royal Troon.  And if you’d like to see how Scotland’s national drink, whisky, is produced, a visit to Glengoyne or Auchentoshan Distillery is a must.

"It's easy to forget that sometimes the best adventures are right on your doorstep"

Alec Farmer, Designer, maker and owner of outdoor lifestyle brand, Trakke



Make Your Next Stop Glasgow in 2018!

Video soundtrack:  “The Paper Trench”
Written by Louis Abbott, Kevin Brolly, Sarah Hayes, Joseph Rattray, Philip Hague
© Published by Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd

Find out more about things to do during your stay.