By Briana Seftel
Officially the world’s friendliest city, Glasgow welcomes visitors with open arms. Famous for its Victorian architecture, Scotland’s largest city bursts with modern flair. Fall in love with Glasgow with this helpful guide.
What to Know
A port city on the River Clyde, Glasgow has reinvented itself as one of the coolest cities in the UK. Known for its rich architectural heritage, you can see medieval, Victorian and Art Nouveau wonders on practically every corner of this compact city. Glasgow is also a cultural hub, with the best museums in Scotland like Kelvingrove and the Riverside Museum. Named a UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow is one of the best places in the world to see live music. With so much to see and do, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t made it to Glasgow sooner.
When to Go
Like Edinburgh to the east, Glasgow sees most of its visitors during the summer months of June to September, when the weather is warm and daylight can last for up to 16 hours. Spring can also be a rewarding time to visit, with mild temperatures and the city’s parks and gardens in full bloom. Winter is a much quieter time to visit, with average temperatures of 39°F and occasional snow.
How to Get Around
Built on a grid system, Glasgow is an easy city to navigate on foot or by public transportation. If you fancy a stroll, download the Glasgow Walking App to help you get around with ease. Glasgow’s subway (the third oldest in the world) is also a great choice for getting around, with trains running every five minutes on two lines. Those who wish to see travel by two wheels can rent a bike from Nextbike Glasgow with stations across the city.
Where to Eat
Dining in Glasgow is far from bland. You’ll find everything from traditional haggis to Japanese ramen at affordable restaurants across town. Visitors with a penchant for great food should make a beeline to Finnieston, considered the city’s “foodie quarter” and the always bustling Ashton Lane. Of course, no visit to Glasgow is complete without a wee dram of scotch. Luckily, plenty of authentic pubs offer just that. Below are some of our favorite places to eat and drink in the city.
- Ubiquitous Chip 12 Ashton Ln, Glasgow Phone: +44 141 334 5007
- The Ben Nevis 1147 Argyle St, Glasgow Phone: +44 141 576 5204
- Bilson 11 10 Annfield Pl, Glasgow Phone: +44 141 554 6259
- The Finnieston 1125 Argyle St, Glasgow Phone: +44 141 222 2884
- Ramen Dayo 25 Queen St, Glasgow Phone: +44 141 221 0573
- The Lismore Bar 206 Dumbarton Rd, Glasgow Phone: +44 141 576 0102
- The Gannet 1155 Argyle St, Glasgow Phone: +44 141 204 2081
- The Pot Still 154 Hope St, Glasgow Phone: +44 141 333 0980
What to See
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
One of Glasgow’s top attractions, Kelvingrove is a stunning place to visit both inside and out. The museum is home to 22 state-of-the-art galleries displaying an astonishing 8000 objects, ranging from armor to a Dali masterpiece. With free admission, there’s no reason not to come here on your visit.
Originally dating back to 1136, Glasgow Cathedral is one of the few buildings to survive the Reformation of 1560. The medieval cathedral is thought to be built on the burial site of St. Kentigern (aka Mungo), the city’s patron saint. Admire the architecture from outside or pop into a service. Nearby is the Necropolis, a hauntingly beautiful Victorian garden cemetery.
University of Glasgow
Much like Trinity College in Dublin, the University of Glasgow is an integral part of the city, not just for its student population but its historic architecture. The fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world, the university is a magnificent example of Gothic revival architecture and is rumored to be the inspiration for Harry Potter's Hogwarts. One of the most Instagram-worthy sites on campus is the Cloisters, a series of elegant archways that connect the East and West quadrangles.
Pollok Country Park
Glasgow’s largest park at 140 acres, Pollok Country Park provides a sanctuary for residents, visitors and wildlife. Discover the park’s rich rural history at Pollok House, the ancestral home to the Maxwell Family, and take photos with the herd of Highland cows!
One of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Glasgow, the Lighthouse was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and was the former Glasgow Herald Building. Today, the Lighthouse is Scotland's Centre for Design and Architecture, which is a visitor center, exhibition space and events venue.
Tips and Tricks
The Glaswegian accent is much thicker than the accent found in Edinburgh. Learn a bit of the local lingo to help you on your trip!
If you’d like to do some shopping, head to Buchanan Street, the city’s main pedestrianized shopping street.
Just a 30-minute drive from Glasgow is Finnich Glen, also known as the Devil’s Pulpit. You might recognize this beautiful moss-covered glen from Starz’s Outlander.
Take plenty of photos of City Chambers, one of the Glasgow's most important and prestigious buildings.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
If you’re looking for an escape from city life, head just 14 miles from Glasgow to Loch Lomond, the biggest loch (lake) in the UK. All year long, the lake brims with activity from water sports to fishing. Surrounding Loch Lomond is The Trossachs, Scotland’s first national park. You’ll want to spend an entire day exploring the charming villages, rolling countryside, craggy mountain peaks and sparkling waters of this area.
Just 30 minutes from Glasgow by car or train is the historic town of Stirling, site of the famous Battle of Bannockburn. Get your bearings at Stirling Castle where Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned in 1542, and the 246-step Wallace Monument with panoramic views of the beautiful Scottish countryside. In town, stroll down the cobbled streets of Old Town, lined with shops and restaurants.
Whisky is Scotland’s national drink and an integral part of Scottish culture. If you’re interested in how whisky is produced, visit to a distillery! There are more than 100 distilleries in Scotland across five whisky producing regions - Lowland, Highland, Islay, Campbeltown and Speyside - which are all easily accessible from Glasgow. One of the most well-known distilleries is Glengoyne in the Highlands, often described as Scotland’s most beautiful distillery.