From the culture on offer at the Glasgow School of Art to the picturesque scenery of the Botanic Gardens, Glasgow has its own unique personality and pride.
As well filling your days with quirky museums like the Scottish Football Museum, your nights are also taken care of with a host of pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants to revel it up with Glasgow’s hearty partygoers. The once buzzing rave scene has evolved into a more chilled-out nightlife, for which both parents and police alike seem grateful!
As far as the food goes, it’s on the up and up. You can try deep-fired Mars Bar from the local chippie if you want, but if you prefer to move beyond the Glaswegian clichés, a growing number of international restaurants are dotted around the city. Alternatively, you can’t beat the brilliantly named Ubiquitous Chip (now in its 40th year) to experience true Scottish fare.
The River Clyde boasts attractions from start to finish, so no matter what floats your boat, Glasgow is where you’re likely to find it.
Glasgow’s Top 10
5. Scottish Football Museum Dalglish Dein, Law, Ferguson… all the big names are here.
9. Clydebuilt On the now-empty shores of the Clyde, this is a well-designed museum with a selection of model ships and displays that pays tribute to Glasgow’s glory days as the ship-building capital of the world.
4. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum This Victorian building is home to swords and stuffed animals! And we don’t mean Teddy Bears.
8. Blackness Castle This is a little off the beaten track so don’t go following any tourists and hope to get here. Well worth a look.
3. Glasgow School of Art If the building doesn’t do it for you, the weird and wonderful students will.
7. Museum of Transport Although a little hard to find, the quirky displays and mini-recreations of Glasgow back in the day make it worth seeking out.
2. Botanic Gardens A nice quiet place to escape… well, almost everyone! Explore on your own or lie back under a tree with a lover.
6. Glasgow Science Centre Hundreds of interactive exhibitions to explore. This will keep kids and adults entertained for hours.
1. Glasgow Cathedral A great example of Gothic architecture and definitely not to be missed. Explore inside and out.
- Willow Tearooms – A famous tearoom from the 1800s.
- Fossil Grove – Discovered in 1887 and includes fossils of extinct Lepidodendron trees from more than 350 million years ago.
- Bothwell Castle – A large, medieval castle that is more than 500 years old.
- Glasgow Cathedral – Home of Saint Mungo, patron saint of Glasgow.
- Provand’s Lordship – Oldest home in Glasgow, which was originally built in the 15th century.
Glasgow Art & Culture
- Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery – Located on the University of Glasgow campus.
- Grand Ole Opry – Offers western-themed entertainment, good food and fancy drinks.
- Glasgow Science Center – Features science-themed entertainment for all ages.
- St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art – A collection of art that captures the spirit of many world religions.
- Mitchell Library – Home to the largest public reference library in Europe.
- Glengoyne Distillery – Offers guided tours and whiskey tastings.
- St Enoch Centre – This is the largest shopping centre in Europe and Scotland.
- Argyll Arcade – Built in 1927, this is the oldest covered shopping centre in Britain and contains more than 32 jewellery shops.
- Victorian Village Antiques – This shop has a wide range of jewellery and memorabilia for those who love antiques.
- Barras Market – Outdoor marketplace that sells everything from computer games to electronics to antiques.
Glasgow Gay & Lesbian
- Glasgay! – This is a queer culture festival that began in 1994 and is held in November every year.
- Pride Glasgow – Bi-annual pride parade held on various days during the summer.
- Polo Lounge – A popular, laid-back gay and lesbian club in Merchant City.
- Cafe Latte – Serves coffee during the day and turns into a hip GLBT club at night.
- Glasgow LBGT Centre – Provides information about local GLBT events and hotspots.
- CosyBike – A unique bike tour of the city featuring a route near Kelvingrove, Clyde Waterfront and Glasgow Green.
- Busby Equitation Centre – A place for equestrians to enjoy horseback riding in Glasgow.
- Royal Troon – Those who love golf can play a few rounds at the course that once hosted the British Open.
- The Time Capsule – Outdoor amusement park with water slides and activities for kids.
- Waverly – A paddle steamer that provides cruises from April to September.
- Jelly Club – A place for kids ages 13 and younger to work off excess energy through fun exercises.
- Celtic Park – This is where the Rangers and Celtic play football.
- Firhill Stadium – This is where the Glasgow Warriors play rugby.
- Kelvin Hall Arena – Where the Glasgow Rocks play basketball.
- East End Healthy Living Centre – A sporting complex that features eight areas for football, tennis courts and an eight-lane, 400m running track.
Glasgow LocalCity Centre
If you love to shop and really don’t want to go to London, Glasgow’s shopping district is the place. Centred on Argyle Street and Buchanan Street, it’s got everything from designer stores to high-end chains. But the City Centre is about more than just shopping. With George Square at its heart and serving as a grand reminder of the time when Glasgow was second only to London in importance across the British Empire, the City Centre is also Glasgow’s cultural quarter. The Theatre Royal, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and Gallery of Modern Art can all be found here.Merchant City
To the east of the City Centre is Merchant City. Named for the businessmen who made their fortunes during the Industrial Revolution and settled in the area, it is now filled with trendy youngsters and families mingling happily. But while the area has become quite gentrified the buzz is very now.
Merchant City, like much of Glasgow, is a mix of the old and the new. Royal Exchange Square (best experienced at night) and the Tolbooth Steeple are both examples of the former, while the spectacular Clyde Arc (dubbed ‘Squinty Bridge’ by the locals) is all-new and provides a fantastic backdrop while sipping a glass of wine on the river’s edge.Possilpark
Although Possilpark has a reputation for being a bit rough around the edges, there are some little gems hidden in and around, and the locals are lovely. You’ll find some great people-watching opportunities here, and, to be honest, Glasgow is at its best when viewed through Possilpark’s gritty charm.
This is where you’ll find the main shopping area along Saracen Street, as well as the Millennium Centre. There are a few excellent bars to waste your time in, such as Booly Mardy’s, The Drake and Boudoir Wine Bar. Strike up a conversation with the bartender, and when you find you can understand him, you’ll know you’ve had too many!
Glasgow Eat & Drink
Wee Curry Shop Homemade curries for any time of day or night. Line your stomach with the bargain buy – the two-course lunch. City Centre
Buttery This is elegant fine-dining so don your Sunday best and sit up straight! Scottish and British fare. West of the M8
Brutti Ma Buoni This place is very cool, if only for the descriptive menu items like ‘ugly but good’ pizza and ‘angry or peaceful’ prawns. Brilliant. Settle in for tapas and a beer. City Centre
Where the Monkey Sleeps A little hippy hideout offering panini, great coffee and a few inventive dishes for the daring to sample. City Centre
Cheese Bar and Deli Generous cheeseboards served with walnut bread or poached pears. Fondue rears its old head, which is a pleasant ’70s surprise. City Centre
Ubiquitous Chip: You won’t find better, more authentic Scottish cuisine anywhere. A bit of a French twist brings out the best in the food. City Centre
Firebird A bar and a bistro, that’s what we like to see! Local flavours as well as pizza, pasta and salads. All for a decent price. City Centre
Stravaigin Great, modern cuisine, plus as a two-level bar that’s open till late. The food is creative and interesting. Maryhill
Café Gandolfi This trendy café is the place to be seen having your morning coffee or relaxing over a late lunch. City Centre
West This brewery churns out loads of German and international beers to sample. Also serves up decent plates of bratwurst sausages, sauerkraut and schnitzels. Glasgow Green
January sees the Celtic Connections Festival, when over 1500 artists descend on 14 venues for 300 events. Get involved and learn the moves!
The Glasgow Film Festival takes place every February. Can’t you just smell the popcorn?
In March, Glasgow’s Book Festival takes over the Mitchell Library.
Glasgow Art Fair takes place throughout April and features a diverse range of works from home and abroad.
The Glasgow Mela is worth booking ahead for. Is takes place in Kelvingrove Park each June and showcases the multi-cultural side of Glasgow. Eat a dumpling, listen to bagpipes – everyone wins!
June also sees the Glasgow International Jazz Festival featuring top performers from all around the world. Time to practise your scatting.
July goes off in Glasgow with the Merchant City Festival showcasing the visual arts, comedy, street theatre, as well as live music, food and fashion.
The Glasgow Festival on the Clyde celebrates Glasgow’s past and present is held on the waterfront each July.
Hogmanay in Glasgow doesn’t attract the international hoards who descend on Edinburgh – and is sooo much better for it. Start at George Square and then see where the night – and the crowds – take you.
When To Go
Glasgow is beautiful all year, but really comes alive in June and July with its festivals.
Getting There & Around
With the M8 taking you right to the centre, driving to Glasgow is a piece of the proverbial. But… once there, the strange one-way system can be very confusing. Glasgow is well-served by train, and its public transport system is pretty good, so that may be a better alternative. Taxis are also plentiful, safe and efficient, and the drivers are a great source of local knowledge.
What To Miss
Despite its reputation, the centre of Glasgow is relatively safe (the outer suburbs are a different matter). Regardless, avoid walking alone at night in the red-light district situated around Anderston and Blythswood Square.
Orange Marches are not for visitors. They’re for crazies with a bee in their bonnet. Steer clear.
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