The Glasgow Scottish Event Campus Centre: Complete Visitor Guide

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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.

The SECC has three main buildings – the Armadillo, the Hydro, and the SEC Centre. Discover the SECC with this complete guide.

Glasgow SECC

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.

Glasgow SECC

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.

Glasgow SECC

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.

Glasgow SECC

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.

Glasgow SECC

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.

Discover more places to visit in Glasgow with: The Best Places to Visit in Glasgow – Ultimate Visitor Guide.

The highlights

  • 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.

Visiting tips

  • 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).

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Directions to the SECC

The Scottish Event Campus Centre is located just outside Glasgow city centre in the west-end. The campus is accessible by numerous transport options including bus and subway. The Riversider 100 bus service runs from George Square direct to the SECC.

G3 8YW

Click map for directions

Google Map of glasgow secc scotland

Explore this area with a detailed paper map from Ordnance Survey:

Glasgow – 342 Explorer.

Glasgow – 64 Landranger.

OS Explorer Maps: Best for walking, mountain biking, and finding footpaths. 1:25,000 scale (4cm = 1km in real world). Buy OS Explorer Maps direct from Ordnance Survey.

OS Landranger Maps: Best for road cycling, touring by car, and finding attractions. 1:50 000 scale (2 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.

Streetview of the SECC

Scotland 360 Photo Tour
Click image to view 360 photos

Video of the SECC

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.

Accommodation near the SECC

  • Crowne Plaza Glasgow. 0.1 miles.
  • Radisson RED Hotel. 0.2 miles.
  • Hilton Inn Glasgow City Centre. 0.2 miles.
  • Village Hotel Glasgow. 0.3 miles.
  • Devoncove Hotel Glasgow. 0.4 miles.

FAQ’s about the SECC

How do I get to the SECC?

Address: Glasgow, Scotland, G3 8YW

Directions map: Google Maps

How much does it cost to visit the SECC?

There is no fee to visit the SECC. Event prices vary by event. Visit the tickets page for the latest prices.

What are the SECC opening times?

The exterior of the SECC is open all day, 365 days a year. Visit the What’s on page for the current event times.

What visitor facilities are there at the SECC?

Visit the facilities page for updated information on available facilities.

More places to visit in Glasgow

  • 360° Virtual Tours of Attractions in Glasgow
    There’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.
  • 30 Interesting Facts About Glasgow
    From the attractions on the River Clyde to the exciting buzz of the city centre you’re guaranteed to find something to do in Glasgow. Discover a collection of fascinating facts about the city in this article that covers everything from its history to its tourist attractions.
  • The Glasgow Science Centre: Complete Visitor Guide
    The 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.
  • The Best Places to Visit in Glasgow – Ultimate Visitor Guide
    What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Glasgow? The River Clyde perhaps, or maybe shipbuilding, Billy Connolly and summer festivals. Learn everything you need to know about this amazing city in the guide to the absolute BEST places to visit in Glasgow.
Glasgow SECC

By Craig Neil

Scotland travel writer and specialist 360° photographer. Founder of the Out About Scotland travel website and Vartour virtual tours.