The Glasgow SECC is Scotland’s largest exhibition arena. It is located close to the banks of the River Clyde in the centre of Glasgow and is easily reached via the city’s subway stations and bus stops.
Buy tour tickets
Review of The Glasgow SECC
The Glasgow Scottish Event Campus Centre is Scotland’s largest exhibition arena and is home to some of the biggest artistic events in the entire Scottish calendar.
Everything from classical music, dance shows, pop music extravaganzas to sports events are hosted in the exhibition halls, and any trip to Glasgow should include a visit to the site if only for the photo opportunities.
Although the SECC is a relatively new addition to the Glasgow cityscape having opened in 1985, it has become one of the city’s most photographed attractions, and also one of its most-visited.
The campus is made up of three separate buildings – the Armadillo, the Hydro and the SEC Centre – but it’s the first two that are the most impressive (and the most photogenic).
These buildings are unlike anything elsewhere in the UK and they’re a real head-turner, especially when viewed from the bank of the River Clyde at night when they’re lit up.
While the SECC isn’t really a tourist attraction as such I think it’s absolutely worth visiting if you’re ever in Glasgow and it makes an interesting sightseeing alternative to all the museums and galleries in the city.
Out About Scotland recommends...
Things to do at The Glasgow SECC
Arguably the most famous building on the campus is also the most striking, having gained the affectionate name of ‘the Armadillo’ due to its multi-layered rooftop.
This building was constructed in 1997 with the design coming from the imagination of British architect Sir Norman Foster, and today the 3,000 capacity building is considered one of the architectural highlights of the city.
To my mind it looks like a mini version of the Sydney Opera House, and let’s be honest, that’s not a bad thing to be compared to by any means.
But there’s more to the event campus than the Armadillo. The SECC occupies over 64 acres of prime land on the north bank of the River Clyde, with the SEC Centre and SSE Hydro also taking up prime real-estate in this recently regenerated part of Glasgow.
Access to the site has been made a top priority for the city council and not only are there frequent buses and taxis, but the SECC even has its own railway station as part of the Argyle Line railway network.
The SSE Hydro will be known to many Scots as the principal concert arena in the country, and this 12,500 seat venue is regarded as one of the top arenas in the world, ranking third in the Pollstar Top 100 global arenas and number 1 in the Billboard arena charts.
Over a million visitors pour through its doors each year to view upwards of 70 concerts, which makes a visit to the £50 million building quite an experience.
The Hydro has also been showered with awards for its design, including the Chairman’s Award for Architecture at the Scottish Design Awards and the Architectural Excellence Award at the Scottish Property Awards.
Next door to the Hydro is the SEC Centre which quickly gained the nickname of ‘the big red shed’ when it opened in 1985 due to the rather strange decision to paint it like a giant red warehouse. Thankfully, it has since been painted a rather less gaudy grey.
The SEC Centre has received over 1.5 million visitors since opening and it has planted itself in history as officially being Scotland’s most-visited venue.
If you’re after a bite to eat you’ll find the Clydebuilt Bar and Kitchen at the east entrance of the SEC Centre which is open whenever there’s a conference, exhibition or concert happening but there are vending machines on the main concourse if the Clydebuilt bar is closed.
Today the SECC is just one of many must-see attractions if you head towards the River Clyde during your visit to Scotland’s largest city, with the Science Centre, The Tall Ship, and Riverside Museum (amongst others), all within easy walking distance.
Find more attractions in the city with my Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Glasgow.
- It’s an impressive collection of architecture in the heart of the city. If you’re a photographer visit at night when the Armadillo and the Hydro are lit up.
- The SECC is close to lots of other Glasgow attractions so you may as well pop down to the River Clyde to see it while you’re on a tour of the city.
- This is the main events campus in Scotland so you’ll inevitably end up visiting it at some point if you like attending concerts, but visiting it when there aren’t any events happening is a great way to experience these amazing buildings.
- The best way to get to the SECC is via the Exhibition Centre railway station on the Argyll Line, or walk from the St. Enoch SPT subway station.
- Although the SECC isn’t a tourist attraction as such, visiting it is a great way to explore a part of Glasgow you might otherwise miss. Another good way to see the city is to follow the Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail.
- The Glasgow Science Centre is across the river and half a mile west. The best route is to head west and cross the Millenium Bridge (just follow the signs from the SECC).
The SECC Glasgow Scottish Event Campus Centre is located just outside Glasgow city centre in the west-end. The campus is accessible by numerous transport options.
Scottish Event Campus,
Photo gallery and video
Things to do near the Glasgow SECC
- Glasgow Science Centre. 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow G51 1EA. 13-minute walk. Science and technology museum featuring interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and IMAX theatre and cafés.
- The Riverside Museum of Transport. 100 Pointhouse Rd, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS. 25-minute walk. A modern museum that explores the history of transport with interactive displays and one of the largest collections of rare cars, trains and motorbikes in Scotland. Entry is free.
- The Tall Ship. 150 Pointhouse Rd, Stobcross Rd, Govan, Glasgow G3 8RS. 26-minute walk. Located next to the Transport Museum on the bank of the River Clyde. The Tall Ship is a fully restored Victorian sailing ship that allows visitors to explore the historic vessel from bow to stern. There is a café and gift shop inside. Entry is free.
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG. 10-minute walk. One of Scotland’s most-visited museums, Kelvingrove offers a diverse range of exhibits from across the globe. The museum is situated near the west end of the 84-acre Kelvingrove Park. Entry is free.
- Kelvingrove Park. 6 Professors’ Square, Glasgow G3 6BY. 23-minute walk. One of Glasgow’s oldest and largest public parks. The park is situated behind Kelvingrove museum. There are numerous paths through the park along with children’s play areas and sports fields.
More places to visit in Glasgow
- 360° Virtual Tours of Attractions in GlasgowThere’s a lot to like about Glasgow. Not only is it Scotland’s largest city but it’s also the country’s cultural hub, with a dizzying number of world-class art galleries, museums, theatres and music venues. Discover the best places to visit in Glasgow in this article which includes an overview of the top attractions alongside high-definition 360° photographs.
- The Glasgow Science Centre: Complete Visitor GuideThe Glasgow Science Centre is located in the heart of the city on the banks of the River Clyde – more or less opposite the SECC – and it’s widely regarded as one of the top visitor attractions in Scotland.
- Glasgow Green – Glasgow: Complete Visitor GuideGlasgow is well known for the number of inner-city green spaces it has compared to other British cities and in fact it’s second only to Edinburgh for its parks, gardens and other outdoor areas that allow its residents to enjoy the great outdoors.
- The Hunterian Museum – Glasgow: Complete Visitor GuideWhen you hear the words ‘Museum’ and ‘Glasgow’ I bet the first place that pops into your head is the fantastic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Kelvingrove Park (click the links to read my guides to both attractions).