GLASGOW TRAVEL GUIDE

GLASGOW - WHERE I LOST MY HEART TO SCOTLAND.

 Glasgow is my favourite city in Scotland and where I first lost my heart to this beautiful country and no matter how many times I return that doesn't change. I've heard it said that Edinburgh is the tourist Scotland and Glasgow is the real Scotland and I think that is probably right. While Edinburgh is known for its amazing gothic architecture, Glasgow is known for its people, and it's one of the reasons I love it so much. Plus there is some amazing architecture in Glasgow too and more diverse than Edinburgh Glasgow's slogan is "PEOPLE MAKE GLASGOW' and it's true.

My first trip to Scotland was in 2015 and was only 3 days as part of a whirlwind Europe and UK tour and of all the places we visited Scotland stole my heart. I just loved it and knew I needed to return. Since then I have been several times and plan to go back many more as I just can't get enough. My love of Outlander just seals the deal.

My hope is that this website will help more people discover the beauty and charm of this wondrous place.

CONTENTS

  • Glasgow -Overview
  • Travel Costs
  • Accommodation
  • Food and Drink
  • Shopping
  • Glasgow Transport and Getting Around
  • Historic Scotland Membership.
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GLASGOW OVERVIEW

  • Glasgow’s Gaelic name is Glaschu which means Green Glen.
  • The locals are called Glaswegians. Locals from Paisley are called Buddies.
  • Metro population: 1,861,315
  • Area: 175 km²
  • Crime: Glasgow has a very low crime rate
  • Official language - English
  • Claim to Fame: The Longest Bar in Europe
  • Currency: Pound Sterling or Great Britain Pound - £, GBP

Glasgow is Scotland's largest city and the fourth-largest city in the Uk. It is situated on the banks of the River Clyde in Scotland's western Lowlands.

It's famed for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture, a rich legacy of the city's 18th–20th-century prosperity due to trade and shipbuilding.

It's full of parks and peaceful places dotted amongst the buzz of the city.

Glasgow also has a huge retail sector, is a center of film and television production, and is an important global financial and business services hub.

Today it's a bustling cultural melting pot that adds to the diversity that can be found there in the restaurants, music, and culture.  Its the national cultural hub, home to institutions including the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and National Theatre of Scotland, as well as acclaimed museums like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, The Burrell Collection all of which enjoy international reputations.

There is also a thriving music scene and there are a lot of Scottish musicians, singers, and bands with an international reputation.

Glasgow is home to the tallest freestanding structure in Scotland the Glasgow Tower which is part of the Glasgow Science Centre. The tower is 140 meters high and is the only structure of its height in the world that revolves 360 degrees from its base.

The University of Glasgow which was founded in 1451 houses Scotland's first public museum, the Hunterian which was established in 1807.

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GLASGOW TRAVEL COSTS

If you are on a budget, Glasgow like most UK cities can be expensive but its not as expensive as Edinburgh. It’s a good idea to keep in mind the exchange rate. Coming from Australia the GBP is about half of an Australia Dollar so I have to double it in my head to get the real cost based on my budget. In saying that I found most meals were about £15 to £20 which is similar to if I was eating out back home.

Pubs are cheaper like anywhere and Weatherspoon’s are one of the best value places to eat anywhere in the UK.

There are a lot of free activities in the city so you can have a great time for very little funds.

The West End tends to have the cheaper eating options  and has a great variety to choose from just check the menus either online or out the front of the restaurant before you enter to be sure as there are some up market ones. 

Scottish food is fantastic and the servings are very generous in most places. A full Scottish breakfast is huge. I always have the hotel breakfast and grab a piece of fruit and a couple of other bits to take with me if I am going out for the day and I carry a bottle of water at all times.

I also go to the Pound store and buy tea or coffee and some snacks so I have them on hand in the hotel room. If I want to save some money or time I will grab something from Tesco's, Sainsbury's or the Co-Op  to eat.

If you are in self contained accommodation you can cook meals yourself and buy alcohol from the shop rather than the club.

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ACCOMMODATION

There are all types of accommodation available in Glasgow from hostel, hostels, B&B’s Air BnB.

  • Avg 3 star   £75 – £15.00
  • 5 star $160+

See my blog on Glasgow Accommodation I've stayed at and would recommend.

 

FOOD AND DRINK

The food choice in Glasgow is plentiful and I can honestly say I haven't had a bad meal there yet. Even the coffee is good (which I didn't find in Edinburgh) 

  • Budget restaurants or cafes approx  £8.00 – £15.00
  • More upmarket  £15.00 – £25.00
  • Swanky £30+
  • A takeout coffee £2.00 – £3.00

See my blog on Glasgow Food and Drink

 

SHOPPING

There are several shopping centers in Glasgow -Princes Square Shopping Centre, Buchanan Galleries, St Enoch Centre, Buchanan Quarter, Ecco, Parched Shopping Centre, The Savoy Centre, Springburn Shopping Centre, Govan Cross Shopping Centre, Crown Street Retail Park, Light Luxe Store, The Forge Shopping Centre, East Kilbride. There is everything from budget to high end.

PRIMARK - 56 to 58  Street Glasgow - St Enoch's Square Glasgow and  171 Sauchiehall Street Glasgow.

Open Monday to Fri 8 am to 8 pm, Sat 8 am to 7 pm and Sun 9 am to 7 pm.

Department store with sells almost everything. If you just want to replace something you forgot or grab so budget but reasonable quality clothing etc Primark is one of the best places to shop

THE BARRAS MARKET

244 Gallowgate, G4 0TT Glasgow, UK.

The iconic Barras market is a major street and indoor weekend market in the East End of Glasgow. I’ve never managed to have any free time when it was on but have always wanted to go. The term “barra” is a Glaswegian dialect for “barrow’, relating to the market's early years, where traders sold their wares from handcarts. The markets are 100 years old as it dates back to the 1920s and is a Glasgow institution, there is something there for everyone so sounds like a fun way to spend some time.

OPEN The Market is open Saturday and Sunday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm.

PRINCES SQUARE

The fashion hub from designer boutiques to high street favorites.

VINTAGE SHOPS

Glasgow is filled with vintage stores, some are now showcased as upmarket retro shops whereas others are just 2nd hand or charity shops. These are just a few:

  • Starry Starry Night, 19 Dowanside Ln,  +44 141 337 1837
  • Mr. Ben Retro Clothing, Kings Court, 101 King St,  +44 141 553 1936
  • Glad Rags, 1006 Pollokshaws Road, 
  • Glorious, 496 Great Western Rd,   +44 141 357 5662
  • The Glasgow Vintage Company, 453 Great Western Rd,  +44 141 338 6633
  • The City Retro Vintage Fashion, 41 King St,  +44 141 237 4649
  • Hillhead Bookclub, 17 Vinicombe St,  +44 141 576 1700

If you just want to replace something you forgot or grab so budget but reasonable quality clothing etc Primark is one of the best places to shop and the pound shops are good for bits and pieces like toiletries, tissues, etc

THE GOOD SPIRITS CO  23 Bath Street Glasgow

They have a great range of whisky, wine, and other spirits.

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MERCHANT SQUARE - Merchant City

A whole range of shops, bars, and restaurants

GLICKNAMS SWEETIE SHOP  157 London Road Glasgow

A huge range of sweet treats.

HOUSE OF  CASHMERE -34 Gordon Street Glasgow

A lovely shop with cashmere and tartan items, gifts, and souvenirs

KILTS & CASHMERE OF SCOTLAND  36 Gordon Street Glasgow

Another lovely shop next door with cashmere and tartan items, gifts, and souvenirs

HOUSE OF FRASER -45 Buchanan Street

I had to check this one out of course lol. A large department store with high-end merchandise, cafe, and restaurants

VOLTAIRE & ROUSSEAU - 12 -14 Otago Lane Glasgow

A charming 2nd hand bookshop tucked away in a back lane.

YOUNGS INTERESTING BOOKS -18 Skirving Street Glasgow

STARTER CULTURE  1052 Pollokshaws Road Shawlands Glasgow G41 3EB

An indie artisan, wine, and deli store in Shawlands offering charcuterie, baked goods, craft beers, spirits, hampers, and more from specialty producers located across Scotland and beyond. Open 7 days a week. Wed to Sat 10 am to 6 pm, Sun 11 am to 5 pm

They also sell specialty grilled cheese sandwiches which I will be checking out next trip.

 

ZERO WASTE MARKET 17 Hillfoot Street Glasgow G31 2LD

Locally sourced fruit and veg Bread, and natural products. I love their tartan sandwich packs.

 

 

THE BRAW WEE EMPORIUM - 200 Gallowgate Creative East End Glasgow G1 5DR

An online Scottish gift and music shop stocking a selection of greeting cards, gifts, and homewares including Harris Tweed lampshades, Iron brew soap and bath salts, gin and or prosecco bellini soap, prosecco lip balm, Highland lavender, or Scottish rose Epsom salts, highland toffee or whisky lip balm just to name a few

HIDDEN LANE AND THE HIVE 1103 Argyle Street, plus 1079, 1083, and 1069 Argyle Street.

Pop down the lane off Argyle street and find the Hidden Lane and the Hive is a community of over 100 studios hidden behind Argyle Street where artists, designers, craftspeople, musicians, music producers & engineers, jewelers, guitar makers, upholsterers, printers,  an art gallery, pottery store, fur fabric designers and more.

 

TRANSPORT AND GETTING AROUND GLASGOW.

GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Paisley PA3 2ST, United Kingdom

The airport is located in Paisley, Renfrewshire not far from Glasgow City Centre.

There is a Glasgow Airport Express Bus service 500 which stops outside the main terminal building. It's approximately a 15-minute journey to or from the city centre. From the city you can catch the bus from Buchanan Bus Station, stance 46, the buses operate every 30 minutes from 04.15 to 22.30. From the airport, they operate from 04.45 to 23.00  or use this link to plan your journey. Tickets from £8.50 per adult on the app.

You can also buy a ticket onboard using contactless, cash or credit and debit cards tickets are £9 per adult or online here

you can plan your journey here 

This is the airport website link  

This is the link for the App

UBER

I find uber one of the best ways to get around but you need the app on your phone. All the drivers I have had have been really friendly, polite and helpful and the cars are always clean and modern. You get told upfront what your trip will cost, the driver's name and profile, what car and number plate and they don’t get paid until you reach your destination so there is no fear of overcharging or taking the long route. You can also choose the size of the car you want.  Uber have a share ride option too, I've never used it apart from when I am travelling with friends but it would be a way to reduce the fare if you are travelling solo. Its the same  Uber App everywhere you travel

This is the Uber App through Apple

BLABLACAR

Your pick of rides at low prices. You just fill out the details, leaving from, going to, the date and the number of passengers and they connect you with other people taking the same route and you share the ride. You have the option to check reviews, profiles and IDs so you know who you are travelling with. It's basically carpooling. I’ve not tried it but apparently, it's pretty cheap. You can book on the app or the website. You can also offer a ride. This is the link for the website - 

This is the link for the app 

GLASGOW TAXIS

Glasgow has plenty of taxis so it's pretty easy to find one or call 0141 429 7070, book online or download the app.  If you want a cab to meet you at the airport you will pay £15 on top of your normal fare and you need to book 24 hours in advance. I find taxis to be the most expensive mode of transport and rarely use them. They also don't like short trips.

Another taxi company is GETT TAXIS           I think they are much of a muchness.

This is the link for the Gett App -

UNDERGROUND (OR SUBWAY)

Glasgow has a metro system with 15 stations. Tickets start at £1.55. Day tickets cost £3 and a 7-day pass is £14. The subway operates from 6.30 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday and then 10 am to 10 pm on Sundays. It runs in a circular loop just over 10 km long. The stations are Kelvinbridge, Hillhead, Kelvinhall, Partick, Merkland Street, Glasgow Central, Govan, Ibrox Cessnock, St George’s Cross, Cowcaddens, Glasgow Queen Street, Buchanan Street, Argyle Street, St Enoch, Bridge Street, West Street, Shields Road, Kinning Park.

Bridge Street, Shields Road and Kelvinbridge are all Park-and-ride stations.

There is a Facebook page for the underground, you can find the link here. 

TRAIN

CENTRAL STATION

Gordon St, Glasgow G1 3SL, United Kingdom

One of two principal mainline railway terminals in Glasgow is the northern terminus of the West Coast Main Line and for the inter-city services between Glasgow and England. It's actually worth checking it out for the stunning Queen Anne style architecture. There are 17 platforms. There are also quite a few shops in the station and it backs onto the Grand Central Hotel.

 

 

 

 

QUEEN STREET STATION

N Hanover St, Glasgow G1 2AF, United Kingdom

This is Scotland's third busiest railway station providing rail connections to and from the city to the wider Glasgow area as well as throughout the country. There is a mobile coffee van at this station no other shops.

ARGYLE STATION

8DL, 35 Argyle St, Glasgow G2 8DL,

Situated in the City Centre of Glasgow on the Argyle line which connects the North Clyde Lines at Patrick with Rutherglen in the south-east of the city.

The station is located below the thoroughfare whose name it bears. It has a narrow and often crowded island platform

BUS

There are plenty of buses in Glasgow but you need to have the exact change. You can download the First Glasgow Bus App and buy your tickets online and store them on your phone. You can use a bank card, Apple Pay or Google Pay and there is a buy again option.  Greater Glasgow tickets start at £1.70 a Day passes cost £4.60 but they are not transferable to the metro system or an unlimited 7-day pass is £17.00 or Flexi 10 ( 10 single journeys  £21.00.

This is the link for the App

If you prefer to pay for a paper ticket there are over 800 Waypoint agents in the Greater Glasgow area or you can pay on the bus with contactless payments using Apple Pay or Google Pay or have exact cash.

There is the option for a Tripper card which gives you unlimited travel on thousands of buses in and around the city from just over £3 per day. This is the link for the day-tripper

CAR

With Glasgow being a major city, free parking can be few and far between, but you'll be pleased to know there are free parking spots within walking distance of the city centre without restrictions.

These are the cheapest places to park in the city centre, according to Parkopedia. Among the cheaper options are Buchanan Galleries - £3.80 for two hours/2000 spaces - and the St Enoch shopping centre - £3.80 for two hours/900 spaces - with both offering lots of spaces

Most parking is free after 6 pm but there are zones where it's not so always check.

You can pre-pay for a parking spot using this link  

ON FOOT

Glasgow is reasonably flat so it's much easier to walk around than Edinburgh which is on a hill. I’ve never had an issue, if I,m unsure of where I am going I look at google maps or ask someone, usually in a shop.

Glasgow like Edinburgh is a safe city to get around, I never feel threatened there but like anywhere you still need to be sensible. I have walked around the streets of both at night but never on my own after dark. It’s probably fine but better to be safe. In the busy streets, it's fine though. It can be a bit rowdy at night in the city, especially after a football match, but it's usually harmless fun, I would just never argue about football teams, the locals can be pretty passionate about their sport.

I make sure I always have travel insurance wherever you go overseas just to be on the safe side.

HISTORIC SCOTLAND MEMBERSHIPS

A great way to save money if you place on visiting a lot of the sites they have on offer. See my Edinburgh Blog for more details

See my Edinburgh Travel Guide for  Historic Scotland information    

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