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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

Cairngorms National Park

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A wild landscape of granite mountains, heather-covered moors and gentle glens covering 1,500 square miles of the Scottish Highlands, Cairngorms National Park was named one of the world’s “Last Great Places” by National Geographic. Formed 40 million years before the last ice age, the Cairngorms are especially popular among mountain bikers, snowboarders, sea kayakers and hikers. They’re also a hit with the Scottish Queen: she spends every summer there at Balmoral Castle and Estate. More than 50 of the Cairngorms’ mountains reach over 2,953 feet, and the national park boasts five of the United Kingdom’s six highest mountain summits. Those looking for a challenge can hike up the summit of Cairngorm’s namesake mountain, while the more leisurely crowd can take the much-used mountain railway to the top. Once up there, remember that it’s a Scottish tradition to take a “wee nip” of whisky. Cheers!More
#2

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

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Glasgow’s grand Victorian cathedral to high culture, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum boasts an excellent collection of Scottish and European art. Displays are spread over two floors of this impressively grand red sandstone building, whose marble, mosaics and Spanish baroque details have recently been restored. Traveling exhibitions are also hosted, along with the permanent collection of treasures. Take a tour of the gallery highlights, including the famously surreal Crucifixion by Salvador Dali.More
#3

Glasgow Cathedral

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There are many reasons why Glasgow’s Gothic Cathedral is an important building. It’s the only Scottish cathedral on the mainland to have survived the Reformation relatively unscathed. Dating back to the 15th century, the building stands on a historic site blessed by St Ninian in 397. Another reason to visit the cathedral is found in the lower church, where the tomb of St. Mungo lies amid a forest of Gothic stone pillars. Also admire the carved stone choir screen, the lofty nave, the traditional and modern stained glass, and the medieval wooden beams of the cathedral’s roof.More
#4

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.More
#5

Glengoyne Distillery

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Get a taste of Highland whisky without leaving the lowlands with a visit to the Glengoyne Distillery, located right on border of the Highlands, just half an hour’s drive from Glasgow. The historic distillery dates back to 1833 and is renowned for its award-winning malt whiskies, famously distilled at a third of the usual rate and matured in sherry oak casks. Along with its fine whisky, Glengoyne is celebrated for its scenic location, hidden away amid the wooded valleys of the Campsie Hills, with its own wetlands, beehives and renewable energy source. Visitors to the distillery can choose from a number of guided tours and tastings, including the chance to peek into the legendary Warehouse No.1, take a Malt Master tour or indulge in a comprehensive whisky tasting masterclass.More
#7

Buchanan Street

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Sweeping through the heart of the Style Mile in Glasgow city center, Buchanan Street hosts some of Scotland’s best shopping, bars, restaurants and cafes. A hodgepodge of high street and designer names tucked inside some of Glasgow’s grandest Victorian buildings, Buchanan Street is especially busy on Saturdays, when the young and glamorous hunt out new fashions and street performers entertain the crowds. At the north end is the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Buchanan Galleries shopping mall, which hosts more than 90 brand-name stores. Toward the southern end, the refined Art Nouveau atmosphere and designer goods of Princes Square draw ladies who lunch. One of the most upmarket retail streets in the United Kingdom, Buchanan Street is also home to the flagship House of Fraser department store, which boasts Scotland’s largest beauty hall and is conveniently located right across the street from Princes Square.More
#8

Merchant City

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Glasgow’s Merchant City buzzes with cool bars, hip restaurants, boutique hotels and designer stores. Stretching from Merchant Square to Royal Exchange Square, the whole area is perfect for a stroll and popular for its high-end shopping centered on Ingram Street and the Italian Centre, the home of the UK’s first Versace. With its piazzas, arches and pavement cafes, the city center district has a decidedly continental feel - a surprise in the heart of Scotland’s biggest city. Remember to look up at all of the Victorian facades and lovingly restored 18th-century warehouses. From Glasgow Cathedral in all its Gothic glory to the looming necropolis known as the Victorian City of the Dead, there is plenty to interest architecture aficionados. Make sure to look out for Provand’s Lordship, too; it’s the only medieval house in the city.More
#9

Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)

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A multimedia mixed bag of paintings, ceramics, furniture and sculpture come together at the Gallery of Modern Art, one of Britain’s most popular contemporary art museums. Temporary exhibits mix with the fine permanent collection of works by the likes of Hockney and Warhol. GoMA is housed in a straitlaced neoclassical building complete with pedimented and pillared facade, the perfect foil for the challenging, fun and inspiring artworks that lie within.More
#10

People's Palace & Winter Gardens

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Glasgow’s oldest city park, the People's Palace and Winter Gardens, was built in 1898 as a cultural center. Now a museum telling the story of Glasgow’s social history over the centuries, it’s a fascinating place to while away a few hours. Paintings and photographs trace the city’s story, and reconstructions of tenement life bring the tale to life. The Winter Gardens surrounding the museum feature a Victorian conservatory filled with tropical plants. The Doulton fountain in front of the museum is the largest terracotta fountain in the world.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

Half-Day Private Glasgow Must-Sees Tour

Half-Day Private Glasgow Must-Sees Tour

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USD264.08
per group
3-Hour Private Glasgow Essentials Tour

3-Hour Private Glasgow Essentials Tour

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USD225.67
per group
Outlander Tour

Outlander Tour

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USD426.76
per group

Frequently Asked Questions

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