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Glasgow musical heritage walking tour

An introduction to Glasgow’s impressive musical heritage, this half-day private walking tour of Merchant City and the East End looks at the area’s renowned venues, legendary pubs and the creative relationship between musicians and the city’s artists and designers. You’ll walk through one of Glasgow’s most attractive and historic districts and hear about the big names who launched their careers here, the intimate venues that thrilled musicians and fans, and the fertile collaborations that emerged from the city over the years. You’ll also learn about the city’s current music scene and how up-and-coming bands have taken over the mantle of their predecessors.

You meet your guide outside The Clutha & Victoria Bar near Glasgow’s Merchant City, a district named after the homes and warehouses of the city’s wealthy Victorian tobacco lords. With its grand buildings and numerous bars and restaurants, it’s one of Glasgow’s most historic, attractive and lively areas.

Glasgow is a UNESCO City of Music, one of the first cities worldwide to receive this accolade and the first in the UK. The designation was based on the city’s cultural history as well as its dedication to encouraging musical creativity in modern times, and your guide will walk you through some of Glasgow’s most hallowed streets for music fans. En route, you’ll see renowned music venues from the past such as the Barrowland Ballroom and the Britannia Panopticon, Britain’s oldest surviving music hall.

You’ll also visit current venues, many beloved by artists from across the globe thanks to their reputation for intimate settings, appreciative crowds and the propensity for launching careers. Your guide will explain the close relationship between Glasgow’s musicians and its numerous art schools, and how this connection has helped shape Glasgow into Scotland’s leading destination for music.

The two-hour walk also covers Glasgow’s festival scene, which includes Celtic Connections (a celebration of folk music) and the World Pipe Band Championships. With details on past events by the biggest names in pop, rock, indie and punk music, entertaining stories about local legends Simple Minds, Franz Ferdinand and the Blue Nile, and an insight into the city’s folk stars, this walk will leave you well prepped for discovering the city’s best venues in your own time.

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These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

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You can enjoy this activity as part of the suggested tour below, or we can weave it into a trip shaped entirely around you.