When is the Best Time to Go to Glasgow?
As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is often at the top of many Scottish itineraries. While it delivers on scenery, history and food, you should not overlook other cities. For example, Glasgow is proving to be a tourism force to be reckoned with lately. In 2021, National Geographic described Glasgow as the “most exciting city” in Scotland now. Most recently, Glasgow was also voted as the fourth best city in the world by lifestyle magazine TimeOut, only beaten by Edinburgh, Chicago, and Medellin.
The country’s largest city has rapidly broadened its gourmet scene despite the recent pandemic. It also flexes some serious cultural muscle having been named the 1990 European City of Culture and a UNESCO City of Music. In recent years, it has developed a progressive subculture which you can witness in stunning murals, cottage craft industries and numerous eco-friendly efforts.
There’s no doubt that Glasgow has a trove of tourist treasures and activities waiting for you to discover. So, when should you plan your visit to this Scottish city?
When Is the Best Time to Visit Glasgow?
Now, before you start planning your holiday, you must pin down a schedule. Do you want to frolic under the warm sun or would you rather snuggle up with your significant other in the colder winter months? Do you fancy the cool breeze of spring or the scenic gusts of autumn?
Pinning down which season you prefer can help you score the best deals and check out which events are happening in the city.
Here’s a quick guide to the ins and outs of Glasgow per season.
Summer in Glasgow
Soak in the sights
The warmer summer air will make sightseeing so much fun and convenient. The beauty of summer in Glasgow is that the temperature is warm enough to wear light clothing yet cool enough to ensure you feel comfortable.
For a more alternative tour, sign up for the Great Game Treasure Hunt Glasgow. It’s an unconventional course that will get you around the city. With only a map and a compass, you will travel through the significant landmarks and secret hideaways until you get to the treasure – a genuine pub experience.
Marvel at the view of the city
Make the most of the sunny weather by booking a rooftop bar or restaurant. Not only do you get to enjoy some genuine Scottish fare, but you also get a breathtaking view of the city. Try October and Corinthian.
Do a castle and folklore circuit
Checking out Scotland’s castles should be a must on any itinerary, and Glasgow in particular has some impressive ones. Summer is the best time to do some castle rounds. Tick off Bothwell, Dumbarton, Crookston and more – as well as their rich histories.
You can also book a tour that takes you through the must-see attractions of Glasgow and beyond. This daylong Get Your Guide Tour takes you around Loch Lomond National Park, Glenn Coe and even Loch Ness – where you just might get a glimpse of the famous monster.
Other summer activities to check out in Glasgow:
- Baltic Street Adventure Playground Summer Holiday Programme (until August 13)
- Bridgeton Cross Retail Market (until December)
- Charlie Hammond: Workaround at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery (until October 16)
- Codonas Summer Funfair and Giant Sand Pit at the Riverside Museum (until August 14)
- Cranside Summer Gardens at Glasgow West End (until August 31)
- Festival Village: Merchant City at Glasgow City Centre (until September)
It seems that we can never run out of things to do in the summer! If you need more suggestions, you can also check out our Top 5 Things To Do in Glasgow This Summer blog!
Autumn in Glasgow
Park yourself in the parks
No matter where you go, autumn will always be a picturesque experience. Glasgow is no exception. If you want to marvel at the beauty of fall, tuck yourself away in one of the city’s marvellous parks. Relish the fiery reds and oranges at Pollokshields, Kelvingrove Park or Glasgow Green.
Enjoy a Sunday roast
Autumn means roast season, so it’s a tasty period for any meat lover. Think of Sunday afternoons with meat crackling over a fire. You get a nice, juicy cut of beef, pork or lamb with rich gravy and delicious trimmings. For an unforgettable roast experience, visit The Butchershop Bar & Grill, Finnieston, Dram! and Waxy O’Connor’s Glasgow.
Go fruit-picking in nearby areas
This activity is a blast when you have little ones. Visiting fruit orchards is a fun family-friendly activity that lets you not only enjoy beautiful Scottish greeneries but also help support local businesses. Plus, who doesn’t love enjoying fresh fruit? You may have to drive from Glasgow a bit, but the experience will be fun and unforgettable.
Hop onto a rental vehicle and drive to Cairnie Fruit Farm (which has a café, play area, and maze), Broadslap Fruit Farm (which has a play barn), or Briarlands Farm (which offers archery and has a small petting zoo).
Other autumn activities to check out in Glasgow:
- Guy Fawkes Night at Glasgow Green
- Holmwood Séance Experience at Glasgow Southside (October 31)
- Loch Lomond Faerie Trail (until September)
- Glasgow Cocktail Week (September 23 to October 2)
- OktoberWEST at Glasgow East End (September 24)
Winter in Glasgow
Enjoy Glasgow’s Christmas market
Festive markets have become just as associated with the holidays as Santa Claus and Christmas trees. For the occasion, Enoch Square is dressed up as a Christmas village serving as a centre for international fare, wares and more. It’s the ideal place to get one-of-a-kind holiday gifts or just to enjoy some mini-reunions with friends. The Christmas market usually opens in November and ends just before Christmas day.
Marvel at an illuminated Glasgow
While the season may feel dreary thanks to the weather, there’s something about holiday decorations that light up the spirits. Contributing to this effect is the city’s Glasgow Illuminated effort. Iconic buildings (City Chambers, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Buchanan Galleries and The Buck’s Head Building) are encased in breathtaking lights.
Discover the wonders of Elfingrove
From December 2nd until January 4th, Kelvingrove Park will be the setting for Scotland’s biggest open-air, fully-roofed skating rink so you can skate under the stars and against a backdrop of stunning Christmas lights. More than an ice rink, Elfingrove is a winter wonderland, complete with themed concessionaires such as The Candy Bar and Mallow Café, as well as an adult- and elf-friendly Silent Snow Disco.
Other winter activities to check out in Glasgow:
- Crimbo-crafternoon at Glasgow South Side (December 4)
- The Unicorn Christmas Disco Ball at Glasgow City Centre (December 10)
- Scottish Ballet – The Snow Queen at Glasgow City Centre (December 14 to January 8)
Spring in Glasgow
Explore the city via subway
There’s no one best way to see a city, so you should have fun trying different options. Subway tours by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport are not only a novel manner to get around the city, but it’s convenient and kid-friendly too. They have four Explorer Trails (Active, Art, Museum, Science & Nature) that lets you go around by theme, and you can easily just hop on and off the trail to visit the sights. It even comes with an audio guide.
Fancy the flowers.
Springtime means flowers! And while florals are not groundbreaking, they are breathtaking. Take this season to enjoy the outdoors and tour Glasgow’s numerous open spaces and parks. Make sure to make the rounds through Rouken Glen, Botanic Gardens, Finlaystone, Scottish Poetry Rose Garden, the Hidden Gardens and more.
Get wet and wild.
Glasgow is primarily a family-friendly city and it does have numerous offerings such as water play areas and splash parks that could release some of your children’s pent-up energy after spending a day with you at the museum. You can visit the Lagoon Leisure Centre or the Glasgow Club. If you’re adventurers, you can also try Pinkston Watersports or Glasgow Wake Park.
Peak Tourist Times in Glasgow and Budgeting
If you’re weather-conscious, then the best time to visit Glasgow would be in early spring to summer (March to August). However, this period means it’s peak season so tickets and accommodation may be more expensive than usual. Because of the numerous holiday events lined up in the area, Christmas can also cost a pretty penny for Glasgow tourists.
Where to stay in Glasgow
Regardless of when you want to visit this great city, you’ll find a home in Maldron’s hotel in Glasgow City.
This four-star hotel is strategically located in the heart of the area making sure you get easy access to the best Scotland has to offer. Built for families, the rooms are large, making everyone feel comfortable after a long day of sightseeing and adventuring.
It also has a bar and restaurant with an international menu to appeal to all guests. Check out our hotel rooms in Glasgow today!