Glasgow springs into life as the summer approaches; surrounded by magical natural landscapes, exhilarating sporting experiences and numerous distilleries, it’s a city that’s perfect for adventure. From its eclectic mix of street food and intimate music venues to its vast outdoor spaces packed with lush greenery, Glasgow has plenty for you to get your teeth into this summer.
Glasgow translates as ‘Dear Green Place’ in Gaelic, and you’ll find an array of beautiful green spaces across the city where you can get stuck in to a delicious picnic, enjoy live music and really make the most of the sunshine. Alexandra Park in the East End of the City is renowned for the spectacular views on offer to the north of Ben Lomond and south to the Tinto Hills, and Glasgow Botanic Gardens has an abundance of peaceful woodlands and exotic tropical places to explore. The 84 acres of Kelvingrove Park are an urban haven for wildlife, while the bandstand hosts the Summer Nights at the Bandstand festival for two weeks across July and August, bringing with it a handful of bands, musicians and premium street food outlets – a delightful combination for when summer is in full-swing.
Summer brings a special buzz to Glasgow, and the city has no shortage of rooftops bars and picturesque establishments where you can grab a drink, soak up the sun and put your feet up. From the quirky surroundings of family-run brasserie Ubiquitous Chip in the West End to the swanky Radisson Red Sky Bar in the heart of the shipyards overlooking the River Clyde, you’ll find something to suit any mood and taste. Sample the extensive cocktail menu amid the exclusive surroundings of the 29 Private Members Club, experience the rooftop cider bar at Malones – complete with its own ‘cider tree’ – or take in spectacular panoramic views of the city from the comfort of the Windows Rooftop Restaurant on the seventh floor of the Carlton George Hotel. Or for something a little different, visit the sunny roof terrace at 1051 GWR, a railway themed restaurant in a former station building with an array of craft beers, whiskys and locally-produced spirits.
If food is more your thing, Glasgow doesn’t disappoint! With a fantastically varied street food offering, the city is home to numerous street food vendors serving up a delightful array of delicious seasonal meals, including those at Platform at Argyle Street Arches, where the dishes on offer are just as incredible as the iconic surroundings. Taco Mazama delivers is own take on Mexican street food at three locations across the city, and there’s an exciting array of pop-ups and small restaurants serving cuisine from all over the globe. Whether it’s tucking into a freshly made oven-baked pizza at Pizzburg, devouring some authentic Chinese food at Dumpling Monkey or scoffing Indian street food at Babu Bombay Street Kitchen, Glasgow has something for every palate during the summer months.
As Britain’s first UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow is home to a thriving and progressive music scene that encompasses everything from urban and hip-hop to indie, electronica, classical and Celtic. Embark on a musical pilgrimage this summer, taking in venues of all shapes and sizes while discovering breathtaking new talent alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Get into the groove at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, an integral part of Glasgow’s thriving grassroots music scene, take in the glitz of the Barrowland Ballroom or enjoy one of the many tribute nights aboard The Ferry, a restored passenger ferry turned restaurant and music venue. Catch big name artists and performers at the multi-purpose SSE Hydro, enjoy an eclectic mix of live music, comedy, theatre and club nights at Òran Mór, or pay a visit to Stereo – a dedicated vegan bar and kitchen by day, with an endless variety of gigs and shows by night. What better way to bring the curtain down on a long summer day?
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that ultimately led to the creation of Pride and the LGBTQ+ movement. To celebrate the occasion, Glasgow’s gay village will host Mardi Gla on the weekend of 20-21 July. Following a spectacular parade from Kelvingrove Park to St George’s Square, Merchant City will be transformed into a sea of colour and rainbow flags for the two-day festival. As well as an array of entertainment, food, sport and leisure, six of the region’s streets will be devoted to six icons associated with the Stonewall 50 and the U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) HIV information campaign, each with a different theme.
The rugged beauty of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park are less than an hour from Glasgow by car – and only slightly longer by train – opening up a treasure-trove of exciting outdoor pursuits. From hiking up Ben Lomond, exploring miles of scenic coastline or taking to the water itself, it’s easy to see why the region has inspired many a poet, artist and musician. You won’t find a bigger loch in Britain than Loch Lomond and its waters are immensely popular; dive in for a swim, set sail, or have a go at paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing or windsurfing – all levels of experience are catered for. Of course if you’d like to stay dry, you could always try your hand at climbing, mountaineering or horse riding. Glasgow is also home to Scotland’s only artificial white-water course at Pinkston Watersports, offering a unique and exciting set of urban water experiences. You could explore Ayr’s charming stretch of coastline with long sandy beaches and the traditional seaside resort of Largs to the west, or escape to the picturesque Isle of Arran, complete with dramatic mountain peaks, exceptional scenery and its very own whisky distillery. However you get your kicks, Glasgow has you covered this summer.