15 Best Glasgow Attractions to Tick Off Your List

Glasgow Attractions

Planning to visit this iconic British city? Then here’s the 15 best Glasgow attractions you can’t miss!

Because did you know that Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city?

Ashamed to say, but until I was researching this article, I always thought Edinburgh – the country’s capital – was the largest city… shocking!

But it isn’t and it makes sense why.

Buzzing with an authentic atmosphere, Glasgow feels like the working heart of Scotland – a core part of this country’s identity, awash with great museums, galleries and icons.

I loved the 72 hours I spent in this city recently (my second visit in as many years – yup can’t get enough!) and the fact I enjoyed some incredible summer weather there only added to the amazing time I had.

Exploring the city on foot and by bus meant I saw huge swaths of Glasgow, which is actually pretty spread out, so here’s my list of the 15 best attractions in this city…

Scotland, Glasgow, Street Art


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#1 George Square & Merchant City

Scotland, Glasgow, St George's Square

Coming in at number one on this list of the best Glasgow attractions, it’s the living centre of the city and heart of Glasgow – George Square.

The principal civic square was built in 1801, and you can see a number of iconic statues here, including those of Sir Walter Scott, James Watt, Queen Victoria, Robert Burns and Sir Robert Peel.

The Glasgow City Chambers are also housed in the grand building at the edge of this square – I’m lucky enough to have been inside and witnessed the amazing marble work first hand!

You can also pick up the Glasgow Hop On Hop Off bus tour here.

Beyond George Square lies Glasgow’s Merchant City.

With great cafes and super shopping, this is the commercial hub of the city now, but was once a working area filled with warehouses and 18th century buildings.

Cultural venues including City Halls and the Old Fruit Market host music concerts, so check out their programmes and see whose playing during your visit.

And if you want to know more about these legendary music venues and the east end of Glasgow generally, check out this fantastic guided walking tour, delivered by local musicians and journalists.


#2 Glasgow Cathedral

Scotland, Glasgow, Cathedral

The shining light in this Glasgow attraction list, if there’s one icon in this city you can’t miss, it has to be the city’s amazing cathedral.

A huge Medieval structure, this is Scotland’s largest religious building and was built between 1136 and 1484, which makes it pretty freaking old!

In fact, it’s the oldest building in Glasgow.

An ancient pilgrimage site even before the Cathedral was erected here, the external Gothic architecture you will see makes a real mark and the stained glass windows are well worth stepping inside for, especially as entrance to the Cathedral is free.

Just next door, you can also see the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, also housed in a historic building that dates from 1794.

The fascinating, GRI Museum at the front of the hospital (by the Cathedral entrance) is free to visit and has some fascinating exhibitions about the ground breaking work of Joseph Lister, Rebecca Strong, William MacEwen and John MacIntyre – all of whom have close connections to the infirmary.

The nearby St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life is another Glasgow Life run exhibition space in a historic building and is also free to enter!


#3 Glasgow Necropolis

Scotland, Glasgow, Necropolis

And behind the Cathedral lies the Glasgow Necropolis – another top attraction in this city.

Also free to enter, wandering up to this hilltop burial ground is a great excuse to stretch your legs and take in the views of the city from an elevated position.

The resting place of nearly every eminent Glaswegian who died between 1832 and 1867, there are almost 50,000 interred people here with some 3500 headstones marking the most prominent.

If you want some more information about the site and people resting here, then the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis offer informal volunteer-run walking tours of the Glasgow Necropolis, so check their website for more info.


Scotland, Glasgow, City Centre


#4 Tennent Caledonian Breweries

And now for something totally different when it comes to the best things to do in Glasgow – it’s time to taste Scotland’s national beer!

Founded in 1704, this brewer produces Scotland’s popular Tennant lager and you can enjoy walking tours of this iconic site at the weekend, which is located at 161 Duke Street.

Enjoy a tasting session (of course!), a history of the Tennent’s site, as well as a guided tour through the famous brewing process and then finish with an immersive experience at the Tennent’s Story heritage centre, which is housed here.

The heritage centre is full of artefacts and traces the history of Scotland’s oldest brewery which dates back to the 1500s. It’s free to enter.

If you want to book a weekend tour of the brewery process and tasting sessions, you can buy your tickets here.


#5 Glasgow Green & People’s Palace

Scotland, Glasgow, Green Me

Now for something a bit more wholesome!

Yup it’s time to get some fresh air with a fantastic stroll through Glasgow’s oldest park.

At 136 acres, this wonderful public green space is easy to walk to from the city centre and features several prestigious monuments and fountains you can explore as you wander.

Don’t miss the magnificent St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge, the great Free Wheel North initiative and the famous People’s Palace.

The latter is filled with an exhibition that showcases local life in Glasgow and is open 7 days a week.

The café here makes the perfect place to stop and warm up after your walk across the green.


Scotland, Glasgow, People's Palace


#6 Celtic Park

And now to a different sort of park!

Celtic Park is of course home to the famous Celtic Football Club and is located in the Parkhead area of Glasgow.

Seating up to 60,000 spectators, this is the largest stadium in Scotland and was opened in 1888.

This top-rated stadium tour is the perfect way to soak up the history and passion written into the fabric of this iconic football venue with visits to the dressing room, the tunnel and the dugout all included.

And if you want more football fun in this this city, then the Scottish Football Museum, the country’s leading exhibition dedicated to the sport, is located in Hampden Park, where it’s been since moving in 2001.


#7 Gallery of Modern Art & Equestrian Statue

Scotland, Glasgow, Gallery of Modern Art

And now we move on to some of this city’s cultural icons and first up it’s the Gallery of Modern Art – a must-visit destination and top Glasgow attraction.

Located in the city centre at 111 Queen Street, the GOMA (as it’s fondly known) is free to enter 7 days a week between 10am and 5pm Monday to Saturday, and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

It contains four galleries, a library and there’s a lovely shop and café to enjoy too.

It’s actually the most visited modern art gallery in Scotland, so don’t miss it!

Opened in 1996, the impressive Neo-Classical building is also famous for the statue located outside it.

The equestrian statue of Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, was sculpted in 1844 and is a Category A listed monument.

Since the 1980s, a traffic cone on the Duke’s head has been commonplace thanks to local Glaswegian humour that undermines the imperial authority of the statue.

Although the council has tried to remove it many times, the cone remains and has become an integral part of the sculpture itself now.

If you’re still keen for more art after the GOMA, then another top gallery to visit in Glasgow, albeit a short ride from the city centre, is the Burrell Collection.

Set in the heart of Pollok Country Park, this award-winning museum space is also free to enter and well worth heading to for your full cultural fix!


@bigworldsmallpockets Top 5 Free Things to Do in Glasgow 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 1. Visit any of the free museums or galleries – the Riverside Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art are great choices. 2. Find all the great city statues – the Duke with the Cone is a fav! 3. Wander inside the Cathedral & walk up to the Necropolis – perfect on a sunny day. 4. Chill in Glasgow Green and stroll by the river – the bridges here are beautiful. 5. Head to the Botanic Gardens… #v#visitglasgowg#glasgowv#visitscotlandg#glasgowcity ♬ original sound – Big World Small Pockets


#8 The Lighthouse

Scotland, Glasgow, The Lighthouse

And another fab cultural attraction in Glasgow’s that you can’t miss (I told you it was full of them!) is The Lighthouse.

This fantastic art centre is home to Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture and was opened in 1999.

The former offices of the Glasgow Herald newspaper, The Lighthouse features a range of galleries, exhibitions, guided tours, events and workshops.

This is a hub for the creative industries in Glasgow and the distinguishable building complete with its easily recognisable tower was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and built to house an 8000-gallon water tank that was meant to protect the building and all its contents from the risk of fire.

The building is all part of the exhibition here and virtual tours can be enjoyed via The Lighthouse website here.


#9 Horseshoe Bar & Willow Tea Rooms

Scotland, Glasgow, Willow Tea Rooms

But after all that sightseeing, it’s probably time for some refreshments!

And what better place to head for than 2 of Glasgow’s top drinking attractions?

For a low-key drink, head to the Willow Tea Rooms, which was also designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and first opened in 1903.

This makes it one of the oldest cafes in Glasgow and a definite city attraction, it can be found along Sauchiehall Street.

For something a little stronger, why not head to the Horseshoe Bar?

Rumoured to have the longest bar in Europe, this old Victorian boozer can be found on Drury Street.

There’s been a pub of some description in this spot since 1846 and the building is listed.

Famous Scottish band Travis are said to have met and formed here.


#10 Botanic Gardens

Back to the green spaces now, the Glasgow botanic gardens is located north of the city centre.

Open from 7am to dusk, all year round, enjoy the wonderful landscaped gardens, glasshouses and tearooms here.

Admission is free and exploring this Glasgow attraction is the perfect activity for a few hours on a sunny day.

9000 plants species can be found here and the gardens sit right alongside the River Klein.


#11 Clydeside Distillery

Scotland, Glasgow, Distillery

Back to the drinking now, but instead of beer or tea, it’s time to sample some of Scotland’s most famous spirit – whiskey – and take a tour of an iconic distillery here.

Located close to the city centre – about 20 minutes away – my top choice, if you’re short on time, is to head to the Clydeside Distillery, where you can enjoy learning about the whisky-making and a tutored tasting of 3 whiskies.

To top it all off, each whisky is paired with chocolate from an award-winning chocolatier!

This well-reviewed tour is a great affordable option and can be accessed via the #10 bus directly from Glasgow city centre.

There’s also free parking on site if you have a car with you.

Our tour guide, David, was fantastic and really brought the distilling process to life.


#12 Glasgow Science Centre

Scotland, Glasgow, Science Centre

The modern silver, dome building of the Science Museum has become a top Glasgow attraction since it opened in 2001.

A great thing to do in this city for families, and situated along the south bank of the River Clyde,  it’s easy to spend a day exploring this site with so many different exhibitions and experiences on offer.

With the Science Mall, the Glasgow Tower and the IMAX cinema all found here, along with a Planetarium, Bodywork display and Space Zone, this is the perfect day out for all ages and one of Scotland’s most popular attractions.

Tickets can be bought online in advance and under 3’s go free.

The Science Centre is open from 10am to 5pm daily.


#13 Riverside Museum

Scotland, Glasgow, Riverside Museum

And very near the Science Centre and Distillery is the fantastic Riverside Museum – another top Glasgow attraction and the perfect pairing if you’re up for a day of discovery.

Housed in another amazing modern building along the River Clyde, this museum hosts a fantastic collection of historic vehicles along with state-of-the-art interactive technology displays and over 3000 artefacts on display.

Open 7 days a week, entrance to the Riverside Museum is free and you should allow 2-3 hours to explore here.

An award-winning transport museum, here you can walk down an old cobbled Glasgow street with shops dating back to 1890, as well as explore the amazing Tall Ship, which is berthed outside and filled with activities for small children.


#14 Glasgow University & Ashton Lane

Scotland, Glasgow, University

And now from museums to architecture, you really can’t visit Scotland’s second city and not take in some of this city’s stunning historic buildings.

Found in the west end of Glasgow, the University of Glasgow actually boasts some of the city’s most beautiful buildings, so strolling the streets that form the campus here is a must.

And one of the top places to head for has to be Ashton Lane.

A cobbled backstreet, regenerated in the 1970s, this quaint street is famed for its great bars, cafes, restaurants, licensed cinema and artwork!

Enjoying some time here is a great way to get away from the mainstream tourist crowds and soak up an atmospheric slice of Glasgow at its best and most charming.


#15 Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Scotland, Glasgow, Kelvingrove

And last on this list of Glasgow attractions is the beautiful Kelvingrove Park, Art Gallery and Museum.

The grand building of this museum is worth visiting in its own right, but inside you’ll find a range of touring exhibitions celebrating print, photography and film, as well as 22 gallery spaces filled with 8000 anthropological and natural history display items.

There’s even an Dali original here!

Opened in 1901, the Kelvingrove is open 7 days a week and is free to enter.

Another great family day out, heading here is definitely a top Glasgow thing to do!


Best Glasgow Day Trip Attractions

Scotland, Glasgow, Central Station

And if you’re looking for some top Glasgow day trips, once you’ve explored all there is within the city centre, check out these fantastic options, which form the best places to visit around the city in my opinion…


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Mini Travel Guide to Glasgow

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When to Visit?

The best time to visit Glasgow is during the summer months of June, July and August when the best weather comes to this Scottish city.

Midges tend to be a problem in the countryside during the summer, but you don’t need to worry about these in the city.

Visiting during the festive season, when the wintery, atmospheric celebrations are in their full splendour, is also a great time to visit Glasgow.


How to Travel to Glasgow?

Regular trains from London, and other major English cities, arrive into Glasgow Central station and take around 4.5 hours from the capital.

Trains from Edinburgh take around an hour and usually arrive into Glasgow Queen Street station.

Book your train tickets for Glasgow here.

You can also fly direct into Glasgow Airport, which has both international and domestic arrivals, and is easily reached from the city centre (Buchanan Street) by bus.

As always, I use Skyscanner to find the best flight deals.


Where to Stay?

I highly recommend the Radisson Blu Glasgow, which is situated very close to the city centre, in particular Glasgow Central train station, which makes it very handy to access.

Glasgow’s leading business and lifestyle hotel, it boasts 247 rooms and I especially loved the bespoke wallpaper in my boutique-style bedroom, which came from local Glasgow wallpaper and fabric company, Timorous Beasties.


How Long to Spend There?

I loved Glasgow and highly recommend a stay of at least 2 nights here.

Alternatively, you could spend 3-4 nights if you want to enjoy some fab day trips that include castle visits, whisky tastings and hiking excursions.

Here’s my pick of the best Glasgow day trips.


Best Scotland Tours

Check out these amazing Scottish tours if you want to visit this country with an expert guide.


eSIM for the UK

I highly recommend Holafly.

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Travel Insurance

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.


Travel Money in Scotland

Scotland uses the British Pound (GBP) as its currency.

When it comes to getting paying for things here, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card, which is why I always take my Wise Card away with me wherever I travel.

The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, plus no sneaky ATM or transaction fees, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in Scotland.. and it links easily with Google and Apple pay. Get yours here.




And there you have it, my list of the top 15 Glasgow attractions you can’t miss when visiting this fab Scottish city.

Pair with some of my recommended Glasgow day trips and you’ve got yourself another amazing trip to Scotland’s largest city.

Have you visited Glasgow?

What do you enjoy there the most?

Tell me all in the comments box below…


My second trip to Glasgow was sponsored by Visit Glasgow, Glasgow Life and Radisson Blu.

This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.


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