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.
As we head into the latter part of 2018 there is a programme of events still on-going to mark the 150th anniversary of pioneering architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. We've seen a summer jam-packed with culture, music and sport but there is still plenty to look forward to before the year is out, including Glasgow Loves Christmas and the brand new, GlasGLOW - a magical experience of light and sound in the Botanic Gardens.
The New York Times 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 with something for everyone
Kelvingrove 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 (number 1 art museum in the UK on TripAdvisor) and Riverside Museum, with these and many others, FREE to visit. There are also hidden gems to be discovered like the Glasgow Women's Library (shortlisted for Art Fund - Museum of the Year 2018) and the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall. Family-friendly attractions such as Glasgow Science Centre and a cutting-edge arts scene evidenced through expertly curated programmes at venues such as Tramway and the Gallery of Modern Art. 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"
Glasgow has an ever-evolving food and drink scene. Rough Guides named it "one of the best places to head for culinary experimentation". Finnieston is considered the city’s ‘foodie quarter’ with a brilliant mix of cool, quality and affordable venues. Local chefs are able to source some of the best local produce in the world, so it’s no surprise city restaurants are receiving plaudits in influential guides including Conde Nast Traveller's – The Gold List 2018 (The Gannet) and the Michelin Guide (Ox and Finch). And with 2018 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
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 a 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
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, the reassembled interiors from his original home, to the stunning House for an Art Lover and the newly refurbished Mackintosh at the Willow, Miss Cranston's original Willow Tea Rooms where visitors can now enjoy the new exhibition, visitor centre, tea room and gift shop.
5. Let the locals take you on a tour - you'll get to know the city really well
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 Thomson Facebook Follower
6. There's plenty to keep you entertained
Glasgow was the first city in the UK to be designated a UNESCO City of Music, it has a legendary music scene and is home to the world's second busiest live entertainment arena - The SSE Hydro. When it comes to music and entertainment, Glasgow has it covered. With an annual calendar of events bursting with world-class cultural highlights such as Celtic Connections, 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 all.
"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 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 around Pollok Country Park in the South 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 finished off with dinner in the West!
"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 McCrory Gallery Director, Goldsmiths, University of London
You can ignite your sense of adventure in Glasgow with snow sports, wakeboarding 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 Clydeside, 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