Central Glasgow tours

Best tours in Glasgow

Glasgow has a lot to offer. From exploring the Mackintosh House to wandering around the university grounds, you have plenty of options for exciting Glasgow tours.

  1. Take a tour of the Mackintosh House
  2. Take a tour of the shopping areas in Glasgow
  3. See the splendid City Chambers
  4. Have a look at Glasgow University
  5. Take a bus tour through the city of Glasgow

Scotland’s second city, Glasgow, has plenty of charm and appeal. With plenty of history throughout, there is always something to see. And if you’re looking for an alternative way to see the city, hop on one of the tour buses, and let them do the showing around for you!

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Take a tour of the Mackintosh House

A side gallery off the Hunterian Art Gallery leads to the Mackintosh House, a re- creation of the interior of the now-demolished Glasgow home of Margaret MacDonald and her husband Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Its exquisitely cool interior contains more than sixty pieces of Mackintosh furniture on three floors. The first room is the dining room, complete with three-dimensional fireplace and a half a dozen chairs considered so futuristic that they have been used in episodes of Babylon 5 and Dr Who. The studio drawing room - a startlingly modern design for that period - contains Mackintosh’s ebony writing desk, while the standout items in the white-painted oak bedroom are a pair of stunning dove wardrobes and a slimming mirror. There are plenty of contributions from MacDonald.

Best for: Glasgow art

Top tip: Guided tours last about 30 minutes.

2. Take a tour of the shopping areas in Glasgow

If you’re a keen shopper, take yourself on a walking tour of the shopping areas in Glasgow. The main area for spending money in the city centre is the mostly pedestrianised circuit of Argyle, Buchanan and Sauchiehall streets. Along the way you’ll find Princes Square, a stylish and imaginative shopping centre hollowed out of a sandstone building. The interior, all rare Art Deco and ornate ironwork, holds lots of pricey, fashionable shops. Otherwise, make for the West End or the Merchant City, which have more eccentric and individual offerings. The latter is the place for quirky vintage and one-off fashion stores on the lanes off Byres Road. If you're looking for Glasgow holidays in the summer, make sure to book your accommodation in advance as it can get busy at this time.

Best for: Shoppers

Top tip: St Enoch is a great shopping mall to explore.

3. See the splendid City Chambers

The magnificent City Chambers opened in 1888 by Queen Victoria. The area epitomises the optimism of late-Victorian city elders. The only way to see the sprawling interior is with a guided tour. On the tour you can see the ground floor which presents towering domed mosaic ceilings. There are also a set of two majestic Italian-marble stairwells to marvel at. The council chamber can also be explored. With Spanish dark mahogany and embossed leather throughout, it’s quite an interesting place to see.

Best for: One of the top sights in Glasgow

Top tip: Note that the tour is around 45 minutes.

4. Have a look at Glasgow University

Glasgow University is home to a turreted tower which dominates the skyline of the West End. Sir George Gilbert Scott was the mastermind of the building in the mid-nineteenth century. The area looks down over the glades which edge the River Kelvin. There are guided tours which are led by university students. You don’t actually enter any of the buildings on the campus, but the tour primarily focuses on the history of the university.

Best for: Exploring the history of the university

Top tip: The grounds, grand statues and huge tombstones are explored as part of the tour too.

5. Take a bus tour through the city of Glasgow

When you feel like being taken around in Glasgow, hop onto one of the many bus tours on offer. City Sightseeing offers a jump on, jump off like service. Their tours can take you to see the Gallery of Modern Art, the Glasgow Science Centre and even the IMAX Cinema at Pacific Quay. Hop off the bus and explore the former fruit market found at Merchant Square or you can take a stroll around the Peoples Palace & Winter Gardens. Or you can simply enjoy the splendid view of the city en route!

Best for: Tired legs

Top tip: Note that there is an audio guide on the buses with plenty of languages available from French to Polish.

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