Top things to do in Glasgow holiday cottages

Top things to do in Glasgow

Jemima Kirkwood 16 May 2024

Glasgow is Scotland’s biggest city and a vibrant one at that. Anyone visiting Glasgow will love its bustling city centre, the gorgeous green parks and its rich culture. The heart of the city is a cosmopolitan maze of high-street shops, luxurious boutiques and wonderful eateries. From the quirky West End to the industrial River Clyde, there are all sorts of things to see and do in Glasgow. 

Museums, galleries, historic architecture, live music, you name it – Glasgow has it. Admire fine art in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, or soak up the masterpieces in the Gallery of Modern Art. Marvel over the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the Glasgow School of Art, or seek out impressive yachts along the river. Experience the colourful nightlife, unwind in the many pretty parks, and let Fido discover dog-friendly Scotland too!

There is a whole host of things to do in Glasgow and this guide will share some of the most popular haunts and some hidden gems. To give yourself time to see it all, why not book a few nights in one of our self-catering cottages around Glasgow? Click the button below to explore our collection.

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Glasgow FAQs

The Glasgow city skyline and greenery on a clear, sunny day

What is Glasgow known for?

Glasgow is known for many amazing things, but it’s the city’s vibrant art scene, Victorian architecture and alternative lifestyle that have put it on the map, especially the fantastic live music scene which has granted Glasgow a UNESCO City of Music status.

It is also known to be the friendliest city in Scotland and the home of Scottish football, and let’s not forget the deep-fried Mars Bar – the city’s finest snack!

Can you get around Glasgow without a car?

It is very easy to get around Glasgow without a car. Walking couldn’t be easier with the grid layout of its central streets – just be aware of the steeper sections that are well worth the climb to take in the impressive city views. 

Avoid the chaotic traffic and hop on the small but efficient subway – the third oldest underground network in Europe. It has two circuits that cover the breadth of the city and can help you get around major attractions with ease. The bus and taxi services are great too.

What is unique about Glasgow?

Some might say that the people of Glasgow are what make it unique. Their fast-paced manner of talking and friendly nature make them an unforgettable community. With the famous comedians Billy Connelly and Ford Kiernan to its name, you could say that the people of Glasgow are ‘pure dead brilliant'.

Fun things to do in Glasgow

No matter what kind of holiday you are planning, having fun is surely at the top of your list. There are so many fun things to do in Glasgow throughout the year, and below are three of our favourite activities that are sure to help create wonderful memories.

Plan a day of retail therapy in Glasgow

A lady walking past the shops on Glasgow’s high street with crowds of people ahead

People travel far and wide to experience shopping in Glasgow, with the main high streets of Sauchiehall Street and Queen Street being the major hot spots for high-street brands. Whether you are in the market for new clothes, souvenirs, books or shoes, there is an endless line of shops to browse.

As well as this, there are three central shopping centres: St Enoch’s, Princes Square, and The Savoy Centre – the city’s oldest shopping centre. All offer an array of shops, eateries, cafes and boutiques.

Our favourites

Experience a spooky tour in Glasgow

Edwardian period terraced houses on the outskirts of Glasgow

There is nothing quite like a spooky tour to inject some excitement into your trip. This type of educational and thrilling narration is the perfect way to sample the rich history of the city. Plan a late-night tour where you will be taken around the old town, learning all about local figures that once caused havoc – maybe you will see an apparition or two!

Join a Gothic Glasgow walking tour to immerse yourself in urban stories of murder, betrayal, ghosts and Dracula on this performance-enhanced route. Find out all about the city’s dark past and don’t be surprised if you can’t sleep after! 

Ghosts of Glasgow’s 'Haunting Stories' city walk invites visitors on an adventure of clue-solving as you discover some of Glasgow’s most historic and haunted locations such as The Lighthouse, George Square, and The Merchant City.

A private Glasgow Dark Side walking tour shines a light on the city’s darker history of murders and Glaswegian gangs. If you’re not a fan of joining a larger group, then this private tour is the option for you.

Our favourites

Explore the city with a treasure hunt

Fountains and old city buildings on a cloudy day in Glasgow city centre

Who would have thought that you could explore the best of Glasgow whilst enjoying a treasure hunt at the same time? The Glasgow Fun Puzzle Treasure Hunt is perfect for all those who not only want to visit Glasgow’s famous landmarks but also discover the lesser-known corners and secret spots hidden throughout the city. 

If you love puzzles, map-reading, riddles, cracking codes, and orienteering, then this Glasgow fun puzzle treasure hunt is the one for you! If you just have the morning or afternoon free, then you've enough time to see all the sights. If you have the whole day, then walk at a relaxing pace, stop for lunch and take time to enjoy the city. 

Good to know

  • Location: Glasgow Central Station, Gordon Street, Glasgow, G1 3SL
  • Opening times: Treasure hunts run daily between 10am–11pm 
  • Entry fee: Prices range from £19.99–£69.99 for two people depending on the tour

Things to do in Glasgow with kids

Although exploring the city’s streets can be interesting for adults, sometimes the kids need a little more excitement. For fun-seeking youngsters, Glasgow has some lovely parks that are great for burning energy – Victoria Park and Queens Park in particular both have lovely playgrounds. Below are some of our favourite things to do in Glasgow with kids for all those seeking interactive entertainment that will have little ones begging to return.

Challenge kids to a puzzling escape room

An old key and lock challenging guests to escape

Get the children’s brains whirring and take them to an escape room in Glasgow. These interactive challenges are designed to make you solve puzzles, crack codes and follow clues to help you escape from a locked room within a set time – usually an hour. They are great fun and the perfect way to get everyone working as a team, just make sure everyone gets out!

From witchcraft and wizardry to spooky trunks and haunted barber shops, you have plenty of rooms to pick from at Escape Glasgow. Make sure you are ready to put your thinking caps on so you can be freed within the 60-minute time limit!

Providing five hand-crafted experiences which involve a lot of brain power and problem-solving skills, Escape Room Glasglow requires real teamwork to get out. Check out the Magical Adventure escape game which is more suited to families with younger children.

With seven unique rooms, Riddle Rooms Glasgow boasts the largest escape room in the city. All designed and built in-house, each room has a different theme and mystery to unfold.

Our favourites

Spend an afternoon in Level-X Glasgow

A boy plays with a virtual reality headset in a modern, LED-lit arcade

With everything from bowling, virtual reality games, crazy golf, and next-level arcades to crash go-karting, Level-X in Glasgow offers one of the best things to do in Glasgow with kids, and somewhere where you can easily pass an afternoon or evening.

Standing out from other arcades, every game has a special twist, whether it’s impressive light shows or life-size hungry hippos! The perfect activity for a rainy day or to fill an empty afternoon; you can also stop for food and drinks in this LED-lit, buzzing venue. 

Good to know

  • Location: 55 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4BW
  • Opening times: Open daily 10am–12am
  • Entry fee: Bowling from £8.50 per person, LED Golf from £10.50 per person, Karaoke from £25 per person

Have an educational day at Glasgow Science Centre

A mother and two children play an interactive game in a science museum

Science is fun for all ages, so a trip to the Glasgow Science Centre should definitely be on your list of family-friendly things to do in Glasgow. You can learn about everything from physics and electricity to genetics and outer space. 

Enjoy interactive displays and themed sections such as 'Technology' and ‘The Body’, or enter another universe in the Space Zone. This is a great day out for everyone, and you are bound to have lots to talk about over dinner, and hopefully, many lessons learned! 

Good to know

  • Location: 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow, G51 1EA
  • Opening times: 10am–5pm every day in summer, 10am–5pm Wednesday–Sunday in autumn and winter
  • Entry fee: Adults £14.75, children (3–15 years) £11.50, concessions (60+ years and students) £13.15

Things to do in Glasgow for couples

Glasgow offers all the ingredients for a romantic retreat, so what better way to plan your city break than exploring some of the best things to do in Glasgow for couples? From the city’s vibrant entertainment venues to its wonderful dining scene, you’ll find plenty of things for you to enjoy as a pair.

Spend a night at Arta – Glasgow’s Mediterranean entertainment venue

A person playing guitar on stage with blurry stage lights ahead

Set in the heart of The Merchant City, the Mediterranean-inspired Arta offers an array of different and exciting events from burlesque shows and comedy nights to tribute bands and drag shows. 

Doubling up as a Mediterranean restaurant and bar also, this is a wonderful place to spend a lively, immersive evening in the city centre. Find a cute table for two in the tapas restaurant, order a unique drinks package for the night, and sit back to enjoy the live entertainment. 

Good to know

  • Location: 62 Albion Street, Glasgow, G1 1PA
  • Opening times: Thursday 5pm–12am, Friday 5pm–3am, Saturday 12pm–3am
  • Entry fee: Prices vary depending on the show – see their events calendar for more details

Relive your childhood together at Fayre Play Glasgow

Vibrant lighting at a traditional fair ground buzzing with games

Fayre Play Glasgow is Scotland’s first funfair for adults and it’s an experience you won’t forget. Enjoy a night of exciting food, drinks, and silliness as you take on the nine nostalgic funfair games that will make you feel like a child again. Think hotdogs, milkshakes and fishing for plastic ducks together!

Good to know

  • Location: 124 Portman Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow, G41 1EJ
  • Opening times: Thursday 5pm–10pm, Friday 4pm–11pm, Saturday 12pm–12am, Sunday 12pm–10pm
  • Entry fee: Game tickets from £14.95 per person (food and drink packages available – see website for more details)

Enjoy a romantic meal out in Glasgow

A restaurant table laid for a romantic meal with chandeliers hanging above

Having a night off from cooking is always a treat and a great way to maximise your time away together. If you’re looking for places to eat in Glasgow, then be prepared to be spoiled with a wide range of local delights. 

The Winged Ox Bar and Kitchen is an award-winning restaurant for both music and food – this is an edgy alternative to your classic, romantic spot. Offering everything from burgers and sandwiches to pizzas and curries, there is an array of dishes to please every taste. If the evening still feels young, then stick around in this delightful venue for a taste of the city’s live music.

La Lalanterna Glasgow is a stylish, award-winning Italian restaurant with a sophisticated menu. Established in 1970, this is Glasgow’s oldest, family-run Italian eatery and the 2022 winner of Scotland’s Best Italian Restaurant in the West. With Mediterranean-style art hanging from the walls and the smell of authentic Italian fare flowing from the kitchen, this is an immersive restaurant to enjoy all things bellissimo!

Stylish, chic and centrally located, Glaschu Restaurant and Bar is one the best places in Glasgow to taste traditional Scottish food with a modern, multi-cultural twist. Celebrating producers from around the country, Glaschu’s special dishes include grilled loin of venison, pan-seared halibut, and dry-aged beef fillet.

Our favourites

Free things to do in Glasgow

One of the real perks of a city break is the wealth of free things to do and places to discover. Including all things local landmarks, exclusive galleries, and boutique-mooching, below are just some of our favourite free things to do in Glasgow.

Take a trip to the Riverside Museum

The Riverside Museum in Glasgow with an old tall ship moored outside on the river

Marvel at Glasgow’s amazing transport and technology collection of over 3,000 objects in the quirky and unique Riverside Museum, set on the junction of the Kelvin and Clyde rivers. Designed by the internationally renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid, the building is wonderful to look at, and even more fascinating inside where interactive exhibits and special events await.

It's open at zero cost to anyone who has an interest, and the free entry fee means you can save your pennies to spend in the on-site restaurant or the gift shop! 

Good to know

  • Location: 100 Pointhouse Road, Govan, Glasgow, G3 8RS
  • Opening times: Monday–Thursday 10am–5pm, Friday 11am–5pm, Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 11am–5pm 
  • Entry fee: Free entry

Get inspired at The Burrell Collection

A lady painting a canvas with bold shades of blue and red

The Burrell Collection is one of Europe’s largest and most beautiful museums exhibiting a wealth of artworks ranging from medieval treasures and armour to ancient stained glass and over 200 tapestries. 

There are over 9,000 objects to marvel at, which combined with one of the UK’s most significant collections of Chinese art, means you have more than enough here to keep you busy for the day, or a very busy afternoon!

Good to know

  • Location: Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Bellahouston, Glasgow, G43 1AT
  • Opening times: Monday–Thursday 10am–5pm, Friday 11am–5pm, Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 11am–5pm 
  • Entry fee: Free entry

Explore the renowned Ashton lane

Glasgow’s city skyline on an evening with lights reflecting off the river

Located in Glasgow’s colourful West End, the vibrant Ashton Lane is dotted with boutiques, bars, restaurants, and pubs – a real cultural hub in Glasgow. It’s a picture-perfect city lane with its cobbled streets and pretty fairy lights adorning the shop fronts – creating a lovely atmosphere for evening walks and a hot spot for night owls and foodies!

Above the modern-day shop fronts, take a moment to appreciate the old, Glaswegian architecture and soak up the traditional Scottish vibes. If you want to leave Glasgow with an authentic, free experience under your belt, then Ashton Lane is the place for you.

Good to know

  • Location: Ashton Lane, Glasgow West End, Glasgow, G12 8SJ
  • Opening times: Times vary between venues – visit venues' websites for more details 
  • Entry fee: Free entry 

Dog-friendly things to do in Glasgow

Isn’t it great to know that you can take your furry friend to the biggest city in Scotland and be spoiled with pooch-friendly things to do? From the city’s parks to poochy pubs and restaurants, below are some of our favourite dog-friendly things to do in Glasgow.

Play fetch in Glasgow’s dog-friendly parks

Dog-friendly Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow, looking out to Glasgow University

Fido mustn’t miss out on his daily walkies, and Glasgow is not short of a lovely park or two. This is a great way for the whole gang to get out and stretch their legs, and your dog will be sure to make friends along the way too. 

Including Pollok Country Park, Rouken Glen Park, and Tollcross Park, you can enjoy a wide choice of greenery to discover with your dog. Like most parks across Scotland, it is asked that you clear up after your dogs and keep them on a lead when prompted.

Our favourites

Smell the flowers at Glasgow Botanical Gardens

The grand building and surrounding greenery at Glasgow Botanical Gardens

There is nothing quite like visiting a botanical garden and seeing a whole host of plants and shrubs beautifully displayed. It can be very calming to take a break from the urban adventure, and Fido is sure to love all the new sights and smells around him. 

Glasgow Botanical Gardens not only welcomes you in to peruse their delightful, floral collections, but they offer guided tours and exclusive events throughout the year. Whilst doggies aren’t allowed in the glass houses, they are more than welcome to sniff out the displays whilst on the leash around the outdoor gardens.

Good to know

  • Location: 730 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 0UE
  • Opening times: Open daily 10am–4pm
  • Entry fee: Free entry

Grab a bite in a dog-friendly pub

A small dog sitting on its owner’s lap in a dog-friendly pub

What better way to hit pause during a busy day of city adventure than a traditional, dog-friendly pub? Celebrating local cuisine and Scottish producers, Glasgow boasts a wide range of watering holes serving delicious dishes. 

Set in the heart of Glasgow's vibrant West End, The Curler's Rest offers all you need for a mid-day pause – hearty Scottish fare and a warm welcome for humans and hounds alike. To drink, you'll find a wide choice of refreshing beers, ciders, wines and soft drinks. If stomachs are rumbling, then you'll love the range of dishes on offer – comforting meals like haggis or neeps and tatties await. 

Just steps away from Kelvingrove Park, The Drake invites both people and pooches for a local bite and bowl of water in Glasgow's centre. Be greeted by a stylish interior and even better food; with nibbles and sides available for the less-hungry, and towering burgers and main courses awaiting hungry diners.

Perhaps the best-known pub in our selection thanks to the brand's nationwide reputation for stylish venues and even more impressive fare, BrewDog Glasgow (Merchant City) always offers a memorable experience. Surround yourselves with rustic decor as you choose from the vibrant, modern menu of chicken wings, burgers and plenty more dishes that Fido will be begging for a taste of! 

Our favourites

Stay at a self-catering holiday cottage in Glasgow

Whether you're visiting for a romantic weekend, as a family, or for a group getaway with friends, Glasgow's wealth of attractions and venues is sure to keep you busy for any length of stay. To see the very best of the city and complete your to-do list, why not book a night or two in one of our self-catering cottages? 

With intimate apartments for two, dog-friendly cottages, and properties for large group stays, there's something for everyone in our collection. Just click the button below to start exploring. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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