What to do in Glasgow in the summer

Mar 31, 22
What to do in Glasgow in the summer

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After months of being stuck under the clouds, summer is when Glasgow comes to life.

Upon the slightest glimpse of sunshine, locals head outdoors to make the most of the warmer weather by soaking up the rare rays in the city’s beautiful parks, kicking back with drinks in Glasgow’s many inviting beer gardens, or experiencing one of the dozens of festivals in town.

People sitting on the grass in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park
The summer is the best time to join locals for a picnic in Kelvingrove Park © Soopy Sue / Getty Images

Picnic in one of Glasgow’s many magnificent parks

Glasgow is famed for its numerous lush, expansive parks that soon fill up when the sun's out.

Kelvingrove Park (in the west) and Glasgow Green (in the east) tend to be the busiest, but a little further afield you’ll find quieter spots to roll out the picnic blanket or fire up a barbecue. Pollok Country Park, once voted Europe’s best park, is where you can see Highland cows just a short train ride from the city. In Bellahouston Park, you’ll be inspired by favourite Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic House for an Art Lover.

The steamer Waverley sails along the River Clyde
Cruise the Clyde on the 70-year-old Waverley – when it's up and running again © Timothy Kirman / EyeEm / Getty Images

Sail down the Clyde on the world’s last seagoing paddle steamer

Despite the disappointing news that the legendary Waverley will not be sailing for the foreseeable future (the world's last sea-going paddle steamer has cancelled all trips for 2019 as a result of mechanical issues with its boilers), Glaswegians and the city's visitors can still enjoy alternative ways of experiencing the River Clyde.

Also cruising 'doon the watter' – albeit at a much faster pace – Powerboats Glasgow take you out of the city, beyond the iconic Govan shipyards and further west towards the beautifully quaint village of Rhu on Gare Loch. Showing support for the Waverley, the powerboat company will donate a portion of every ticket sale this summer season towards the repair costs for the old ship, in the hope she's back alongside them on the water soon.

Artwork on the walls of the Clutha pub's beer garden
Ponder the art over a pint in the Clutha's beer garden © Gary Armstrong / Lonely Planet

Soak up the (fingers crossed) sun in a Glasgow beer garden

Winter-weary Glaswegians enjoy nothing more than an ice cold pint in the sunshine, and, thankfully, their city is blessed with an abundance of brilliant beer gardens.

One of the the most scenic spots, looking out onto the aforementioned Glasgow Green, is West, situated at the magnificent Templeton building and serving up crisp Bavarian-style beers in its on-site brewery. Backyard at BaAd, complete with barbecue, shipping containers and street art, is another attractive east end alternative, while The Clutha gives Clydeside views and a classically Glaswegian warm welcome.

Out west, Brel combines a fire pit, fairy lights and big Belgian beers to become Ashton Lane’s most popular summer sun trap.

A line of pipers performs at the World Pipe Band Championships
It doesn't get more Scottish than the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow © Carol_Ann_Peacock / Getty Images

Embrace the city’s music scene at a summer festival

While Edinburgh does the comedy, Glasgow looks after the music, particularly in summer, with a series of outdoor and indoor events encompassing a variety of different genres.

TRNSMT’s three-day festival offers chart-topping acts at Glasgow Green, while Summer Sessions draws high-profile performers south to Bellahouston Park. For a more intimate musical affair, Summer Nights plays out in the ambient atmosphere of the historic Kelvingrove Bandstand, while the Glasgow Jazz Festival, which hosts musicians in city halls, clubs and pubs, brings in an eclectic crowd.

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