The Musical Traveller No.5. Glasgow Music City Walking Tours

Over the course of this summer I’ll be sharing a few tips for the music fan on holiday.

Famous places, record shops, museums and tours to look out for on your travels…
If you want to share a recommendation for a great musical place to visit, drop me a line or get in touch via the London Music Tours Facebook Page

No.5. Glasgow Music City Walking Tours

Things to consider about Glasgow:

Glasgow was the very first city in the UK to be awarded UNESCO City Of Music status. Glasgow loves music.

Glasgow is famed as a city of natural born storytellers. Glasgow loves stories.

So if you’re in the business of leading music-themed walking tours in Glasgow, well… you’d BETTER be good.

Or at least you’d better be gallus – the old Scots word meaning bold and a wee bit audacious.

If you are both good AND gallus, like the guides at Glasgow Music City tours, then you’ll have one of the best walking tours anywhere in the UK.

Crying in the rain? Not in Glasgow. Guide Fiona laughs in the face of drizzle

I joined the Merchant City Past & Present tour on a Saturday morning at 11 o’clock (booking is essential). Fiona was our main guide with Alison backing up.

My fellow walkers, as is almost always the case on music tours, were a knowledgeable bunch, many of them locals. Like all guides who are on top of their subject matter, Fiona’s style was easy and pally. When your guide knows her stuff, it makes for a great experience.

From Woody Guthrie to Paolo Nuttini, via Edwyn Collins, Alex Harvey, Simple Minds and Stan Laurel, ALL music is up for grabs on this tour – very much a reflection of this great Atlantic-facing seaport’s musical heritage.

The tour begins at the famous Clutha Bar with a musical mural…

To Do List: Join The Humblebums. Done ✅

The social history of the location is integral to any great music walking tour, and Glasgow’s multi-cultural and political history provides a great frame for the wide-ranging musical vista of the walk. It was a particular thrill to visit the Britannia Panopticon, the oldest music hall in the world, where Stan Laurel made his stage debut.

We swung by the legendary Barrowland Ballroom – where Fiona employed the absolutely lovely technique of inviting her walkers to share their memories of the old place. And we all loved the Barrowland Park Album Pathway, by artist Jim Lambie…


… a mural beneath our feet that takes the shape of record spines on a shelf, each with band name and the date when they played Barrowands. Each name is a memory and each memory is a story.

Alison told us that Barrowland Park is under threat and a campaign is underway to save the space for the people of Glasgow. Find out more here

This last is very illustrative of what Glasgow Music City Tours is all about. I’m a big heritage nerd and all the history material was absolutely bang on and presented with passion and clarity. But these guides are plugged-in to the living music scene in Glasgow as well and can recommend gigs, bars and venues all over the city - check out their GlasGig Of The Day posts on Facebook

2019 has been a big year of music travelling for me – including Liverpool, New Orleans, Nashville and Memphis. And I must confess to a wee patriotic thrill, here: Glasgow Music City walking tours places the great city of Glasgow at the top table of music tourism attractions without breaking a sweat.

To get to the Glasgow Music City tour I travelled from London to my holiday base in Edinburgh by train – 400 miles. From Edinburgh I drove 50 miles to Glasgow and back.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

A pleasingly musical total of 500 miles.

And like The Proclaimers I would have walked 500 miles just to be the man who joined this tour. Fascinating history and plenty of laughs. I’ll be back to do their other tours soon.

 Next time… There is a LAUNDERETTE In New Orleans…

Book for Glasgow Music City Tours here:


The meeting point for the Merchant City Past & Present tour is here…


I hope you are enjoying my Musical Traveller series. You can catch up with the first four posts in the series here…

For my full schedule of London Music Tours click HERE


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