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Things to do in Glasgow

Things to do in  Glasgow

Welcome to Glasgow

The edgier cousin of elegant Edinburgh, Glasgow has grown in recent decades to become one of Scotland’s most captivating cities. The grand Victorian architecture stands as testament to the wealth created by manufacturing and trade in the 19th century; and the contemporary bar, live-music, and restaurant scene brings travelers from far and wide. Get to know the city by taking a private walking or minibus tour to famous landmarks such as 12th-century Glasgow Cathedral, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and Templeton on the Green; or enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace on a hop-on hop-off bus service. Tours may include a stop at the pedestrian-only Buchanan Street, or a respite in the historic George Square. Using Glasgow as a base, explore Scotland on single or multi-day guided tours. Journey to Edinburgh—home to UNESCO World Heritage–listed treasures including Edinburgh Castle and the famous Royal Mile—and hear its history on a private minibus tour. Or travel deep into the Scottish Highlands, where you can take in the serene Loch Lomond and Loch Ness, ancient fortifications such as Alnwick Castle and Stirling Castle, and the rugged wilderness of Glencoe. Bold adventurers looking to clock up the miles can travel out to the Isle of Skye for a multi-day small-group tour or the remote Orkney Isles, where sweeping green landscapes await. And if you’re looking to wet your whistle with a traditional Scottish whisky, a Highlands distillery tour can satisfy that thirst.

Top 10 attractions in Glasgow

#1
St. Andrews Castle

St. Andrews Castle

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St. Andrews Castle on the east coast of Scotland dates back to the 1100s and was home to the Archbishops of St. Andrews. It was once the main administrative center of the Scottish church. The castle was badly damaged during the Wars of Independence and little of the original castle remains today. The new castle was finished around 1400 and was built to be easily defended. Steep cliffs to the north and east protected the castle, and the building included thick curtain walls and ditches. Five square towers served as living space for the bishop, his large household, and guests.Later St. Andrews Castle served as a prison. Visitors can see the bottle dungeon where John Knox and George Wishart may have been imprisoned. Cardinal Beaton's body was also kept here after his murder. The mine gives visitors a sense of what medieval siege warfare was like. The castle also offers impressive views of the sea over the rugged rocky coast.More
#2
George Square

George Square

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Dwarfed by haughty buildings on all sides and surrounded by statues of great Scots, George Square makes sense of poet John Betjeman’s claim that Glasgow is “the greatest Victorian city in the world.”Named after King George III and built in 1781, George Square began life as little more than a muddy hollow used for slaughtering horses. Today, it’s surrounded by some of grandest buildings in the city, not least the imposing Glasgow City Chambers on the east side.To Glaswegians, George Square is the city’s cultural center. Hosting concerts and events throughout the year, it comes alive during winter, when children skate around the ice rink and parents enjoy mulled wine at the Christmas market. In summer, George Square is a good place to find a bench and watch the world go by.George Square leads to Glasgow’s famous shopping streets in the Style Mile, as well as the ritzy Merchant City district. Glasgow’s main tourist information office sits on the south side, and sightseeing buses begin their journeys here, making this a handy place to get oriented with the city.More
#3
Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral

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Dating back to medieval times, Glasgow Cathedral is the only medieval cathedral on Scotland’s mainland to have survived the Reformation almost fully intact. A magnificent Gothic construction, it features stained-glass windows, a 15th-century stone choir screen, and the tomb of St. Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint.More
#4
Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorms National Park

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Stretching over 1,500 square miles, Cairngorms National Park is a popular destination for mountain bikers, nature lovers, sea kayakers, and hikers. The park has been named one of the world’s Last Great Places by National Geographic and is the perfect place to enjoy Scotland’s renowned wild landscapes of granite mountains and deep lochs.More
#5
Merchant City

Merchant City

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A historic quarter in central Glasgow, Merchant City has a vibrant atmosphere thanks to trendy bars and restaurants, boutique hotels, and designer shopping. Extending from Merchant Square to Royal Exchange Square, this district is popular for a city stroll or people watching at a sidewalk cafe. It’s also home to the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA).More
#6
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

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Housed inside a striking sandstone Victorian edifice, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland’s most-visited cultural attractions. Works by Dali, Botticelli, and Monet are counted among its collection, alongside more eclectic items such as a taxidermy elephant, a Spitfire airplane, and a magnificent Lewis pipe organ.More
#7
Kilchurn Castle

Kilchurn Castle

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On a tiny peninsula at the northern tip of Loch Awe surrounded by glens, Kilchurn Castle is one of the most photographed spots in Scotland. The castle of 1,000 calendar covers, Kilchurn has had many lives: it served as the powerhouse of the Campbell clan from the year 1440 and was even later used as barracks able to house up to 200 troops during the Jacobite Risings. In the 1750s, however, a huge fire caused by lightning ran right through the castle, and its ruins have been abandoned ever since.Kilchurn is for anyone who has ever dreamed of having a ruined Scottish castle all to themselves, with no tourist trinket shops around. There isn’t even an attendant at the door of this picturesque ruin, but despite being unmanned, there are plenty of information boards throughout the castle. Climb to the top of its four-story tower for views of the loch and surrounding hills, and remember to say hi to the sheep on your way out!More
#8
Glengoyne Distillery

Glengoyne Distillery

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When in Scotland, you don’t have to head to the Highlands for a taste of good whisky—you don’t even have to leave the Lowlands. The historic Glengoyne Distillery dates back to 1833 and is renowned for its award-winning malt whiskies, distilled at a third of the usual rate and matured in sherry oak casks.More
#9
Tenement House

Tenement House

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Providing a glimpse into early 1900s working-class Glasgow life, the Tenement House, restored by the National Trust for Scotland, shows how Miss Agnes Toward lived for over 50 years in the four-room home she shared with other lodgers. The Victorian flat maintains much of its original fittings, and you’ll see fascinating details, such as the old straw beds and blackened ball of soap, providing an insight into another time.On a visit, you’ll see how an independent woman lived in a time of gas lighting (electricity wasn’t introduced to this house until 1960), and on the ground floor you’ll get to peruse Miss Toward’s extensive personal archive.More
#10
Isle of Arran

Isle of Arran

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The Isle of Arran sits off the western coast of Scotland. Since the line the divides the Scottish Highlands from the Lowlands runs through the island, its landscape reflects this, and the island is often referred to as Scotland in miniature. The northern part of the island is more rugged and mountainous and sparsely populated. The southern part of the island has more rolling hills, and the majority of the island's population reside here.The island boasts many attractions for visitors. Castles, such as Brodick Castle and Lochranza Castle, are located on the Isle of Arran. There is also a heritage museum where you can learn some of the island's history. Some people come to climb Arran's highest peak, Goatfell, which stands at 2,866 feet, while others choose to hike the more leisurely Coastal Way. Nature lovers will enjoy the beautiful scenery on the island, including waterfalls, rocky coastlines, and wildlife. It's also a popular place for water activities such as sea kayaking.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Glasgow

How to Spend 1 Day in Glasgow

How to Spend 2 Days in Glasgow

How to Spend 2 Days in Glasgow

How to Spend 3 Days in Glasgow

How to Spend 3 Days in Glasgow

Top activities in Glasgow

3-Day Isle of Skye and Highlands Tour from Glasgow
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Outlander Day Tour from Glasgow or Edinburgh
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Half-Day Private Glasgow Must-Sees Tour

Half-Day Private Glasgow Must-Sees Tour

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GREENOCK (GLASGOW) SHORE EXCURSION: Scotland Adventure Sightseeing Day Trip Tour
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Oban, Glencoe & West Highland Castles from Glasgow
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Culzean Castle, Burns Country & the Ayrshire Coast Small-Group Tour from Glasgow
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Recent reviews from experiences in Glasgow

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Get out into nature
Ahuv_d, Jul 2021
Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands Day Trip from Glasgow
Having seen the highlights made me fall in love with Scotland!
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Nice drive around the city
jluv65, Jan 2020
City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Given Jan 2nd is a banking holiday in Scotland which I did not know when booking this tour, all the attractions were closed but it was nice to see where everything was and listen to the commentary on Glasgow's significant locations, I was even able to use the bus as a transfer between my hotel and the train station :)
star-5
Fun way to see Glasgow
teresajablonski, Nov 2019
City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
great way to see the city in one day, the audio was very informative and we stopped at many sights especially Glasgow Cathedral, Get an early start as there are many stops to see.
star-5
Great tour!
Passport761861, Sep 2019
Oban, Glencoe, Highlands Lochs & Castles Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
I was only in Scotland for a couple of days, so I took this tour to see some of the sights outside of Glasgow.
star-4
Good tour.
wing l, Jun 2019
Glasgow (Greenock) Shore Excursion: Stirling, Loch Lomond & The Highlands
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs were not very good attractions for us.
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Mountains, lakes and towns near Glasgow
haroldcarlson, Oct 2018
Oban, Glencoe, Highlands Lochs & Castles Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
Day-long van excursion to visit the countryside and a couple of picturesque towns near Glasgow.
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Great Historic tour!
GoPlaces42656272025, Mar 2019
3-Hour Private Glasgow Essentials Tour
We walked to all the major attractions and she let us take our time per place.
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Glasow
T T, Oct 2019
City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Good way to see the main attractions in Glasgow.
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Hop-on Glasgow
JanG834, Sep 2019
City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Great way to see the highlights of Glasgow.
star-5
Our guide Nicola was so charming and...
Kimberl R, May 2015
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small-Group Day Tour from Glasgow
Our guide Nicola was so charming and she made me fall in love with Scotland and especially Glasgow again.
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The weather was great on our day of...
pug, Jun 2013
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small-Group Day Tour from Glasgow
Great tour to see the highlands for travellers with short stay in Glasgow.
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Camera at the ready..
GrandTour38824302064, Jun 2019
City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
What a brilliant way to see Glasgow.
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Our guide was interesting, friendly...
John P, Jul 2017
Oban, Glencoe, Highlands Lochs & Castles Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
This is a great tour to see a variety of beautiful and scenic locations in the Highlands north of Glasgow.
star-4
The trip was wonderful but with some...
Lei W, Jul 2017
3-Day Isle of Skye and Highlands Tour from Glasgow
No matter how many movies or internet images, it never beats to see with your own eyes.
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Great tour and such a nice day...
Leslie T, Feb 2018
Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond and Whisky Trail Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
Highly recommend getting out of Glasgow to see the countryside.
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We really enjoyed this tour to the...
Johanne G, Jun 2017
3-Day Isle of Skye and Scottish Highlands Small-Group Tour from Glasgow
Ian our driver/guide was very, very knowledgeable of scotland history and of the sites we stopped to visit as well as of those we went through.
star-5
This tour was amazing! Loved all the...
Judy A M, Jul 2017
3-Day Isle of Skye and Highlands Tour from Glasgow
My only negative was that our driver drove incredibly fast through the mountains taking the turns so fast you would fall out of your seat/hit the roof of the bus with your head when you went over any type of bump in the road.
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Great Way to Sightseeing
carabella2, May 2019
City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
The best way to get around and view Glasgow the go round again and hop-on-off to visit places of interest.
star-4
Nice shore excursion. Stirling...
Chas M, Aug 2016
Glasgow (Greenock) Shore Excursion: Stirling, Loch Lomond & The Highlands
Love to see the country side with rolling hills and lakes Loch No problem to find the coach bus outside the gate after we got off the ship.
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I ventured on this tour with my...
Anne H, Sep 2016
Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond and Whisky Trail Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
We then had a brief stop to see some hairy coos which was a nice break up of the drive.

All about Glasgow

When to visit

After the long, dark winter, Glasgow is quick to peel off the layers and head outdoors. Springtime is for foodies, with food and drink festivals almost every weekend, while summer brings a busy roster of music festivals and open-air events, along with Scotland's largest LGBT festival. Whenever you visit, pack an umbrella and coat—showers and cold spells are always a possibility.

A local’s pocket guide to Glasgow

Gabriel Lemos

Gabriel is a Brazilian who lived in Scotland for a while and fell in love with its most populous city, Glasgow.

The first thing you should do in Glasgow is...

take a walk through the city centre. There's lots of places to visit but don’t miss George Square. Pay attention to the various murals in the area, too.

A perfect Saturday in Glasgow...

involves heading to the West End. Spend the day at the park, visit Kelvingrove and the University of Glasgow, then have a beer at one of the many pubs.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Necropolis. A cemetery may seem like a weird place to visit but it’s a beautiful place with so much history and a wonderful view of Glasgow Cathedral.

To discover the "real" Glasgow...

visit the Barras Market. It’s a bit of an unusual place where you can find antiques and chat with Glaswegians.

For the best view of the city...

go to the Lighthouse. At the top of the building there’s a nice vantage point that looks out over the city (although you have to walk up more than 300 steps to get there).

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking that Glasgow doesn’t cater to tourists. It's less well-known than the capital, Edinburgh, but it really does have a lot to offer.

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