The most cosmopolitan city in Scotland. Glasgow city is the the New York and Las Vegas of the nineteenth century, the City of Architecture and the City of Music by UNESCO, the European City of Culture, its university, its parks, its museums… Gather all what Glasgow is and it offers in a single post is not an easy task. In this Glasgow Travel Guide, we point out some of the best spots you can find in the city. In case you plan to visit Glasgow and Edinburgh, you will discover two different bites of what to see in Scotland.
A modern city awaits you in all its splendor, whose chapters of history are reflected in the different corners that make it up. The cradle of the Industrial Revolution, witness to the birth of many inventors, architects, engineers, writers and artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. A place where art and culture have also made their own revolution, turning Glasgow from an industrial city in decline to one of the most fashionable places on the European continent. Do you want to know everything it hides? Keep reading! We bring you the Glasgow Travel Guide summary. You will find all the information needed how to get there, what to visit and what to do.
What to see in your Glasgow visit
Get ready to discover a different Scotland than the one you have in mind. You will be conquered by the magnetism of the Glasgow atmosphere: the art that can be breathed even in the small cafes.,the powerful attraction of the River Clyde… Glasgow has a lot to discover. Do not miss it!
Here is one of the most visited museums in Scotland. And is not for less! And it is here that one of the largest collections of civic art in Europe is housed. A total of more than 8,000 works from different parts of the world. The architecture of the building itself will amaze you. The fact that inside it coexists the art of greats of all times, the Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí, works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Botticelli, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Rubens … And not only that! Here you will find archaeological objects from Ancient Egypt, a Spitfire, weapons and armor examples from all ages, fossils, the stuffed body of an elephant and even free organ concerts, among many other surprises. The ticket’s price? Totally free. Without a doubt, a must on your visit to Glasgow.
The University of Glasgow, the Cloisters and the Mackintosh House
One of the oldest universities in the UK is this, the University of Glasgow. But, in addition to the great prestige it enjoys, its bohemian surroundings and its majestic neo-Gothic buildings will make you feel like the protagonist of the Harry Potter saga. And we do not want to spoil, but if you are a fan of the Outlander saga, in the third season you will also find it among the Outlander locations. The Cloisters, the cloisters, also known as The Undercroft, the Hunterian Art Gallery and the Mackintosh House, reconstruction of the house of Charles Rennie Mackintosh are a must in this enclave.
The Scottish Lanes: Ashton Lane
Ashton Lane – Glasgow’s hipster corner welcomes you. Here all kinds of pubs, restaurants and terraces await you in which to enjoy the pints and the best of Scottish cuisine. Dare to enter this and other alleys or lanes in this area, such as Hidden Lane, and marvel at the many bohemian vintage shops that flood everything with color, independent film screenings, music …
St. Mungo’s Cathedral
St. Mungo’s Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Glasgow, dates from the 12th century. It was dedicated precisely to St. Mungo, the patron and founder of the city, whose tomb was a place of pilgrimage in Europe. The magnitude of this Gothic-style construction is surprising, as is the fascinating crypt in which the saint’s tomb is located. Are you looking for curious facts about the cathedral? The stained glass windows inside are actually from the UK’s post-war era. his was the only medieval cathedral that managed to survive the Protestant Reformation almost intact.
The Glasgow Necropolis and Provand’s Lordship
Very close to the cathedral, just behind, the Necropolis awaits you. A Victorian cemetery whose graves are real works of art. Nearby, you’ll find Glasgow’s oldest house. As you enter the walls of this house built in 1471 as part of the Hospital de San Nicolás, you can imagine what it would be like to live in a well-off family at that time. If you visit it, do not leave without seeing its outdoor garden.
The Merchant City
Here is the true center of the city of today where the headquarters of the city of Glasgow is located and where you can visit the Victorian Glasgow City Chambers. In its streets, many street musicians await you who will enliven your steps with their melodies and the curious snack and hot dog shops that in the past functioned as police stations. Notable in this area is the Gallery of Modern Art, the well-known statue of Wellington, which carries a traffic cone on its head, the old Tobacco Lords warehouses, converted into pubs and restaurants, as well as shopping centers, cafes, classicist monuments, murals and multiple works of urban art and culture that will make you want to stay a little longer.
The Lighthouse Mackintosh
Enjoying views of Glasgow from a spectacular vantage point for free is possible from The Lighthouse tower, the Scottish Center for Architecture, Design and the City. This lighthouse, which has never served as such, in addition to offering the possibility of enjoying all the city view, houses an interesting exhibition on Mackintosh’s work and constitutes. In addition, it is a conference center and artistic creation.
Glasgow Science Centre
One place to have a great time with science is, without a doubt, the Glasgow Science Center. It is made up of three main buildings: the IMAX cinema, the Glasgow Tower and the Science Mall. In the first you can enjoy movies in 3D and 2D. It was the first cinema of its kind in Scotland. You will be fascinated by its height of the Glasgow Tower. It keeps a Guinness Record for being the tallest tower in the world capable of rotating 360º. At the Science Mall, science is exhibited in the form of interactive games, shows, a planetarium, educational spaces, interactive exhibits, and even health and healthy living displays.
If you like history in all its aspects, this museum is for you. And the Riverside Museum will not only fascinate you for its surprising architecture. In it, you will witness how people have moved through the city over the centuries. Here you will find all the means of transport you can imagine and many more. Cars, motorcycles from the beginning of the 20th century, trams, subway cars, horse carriages …
People’s Palace and Winter Gardens
If you want to delve into the history of Glasgow, you cannot miss the opportunity to visit the People’s Palace. In the past, this enclave served as a cultural center for the people who resided in that area of Glasgow, at that time, the most disadvantaged in the city. It had a reading and games room on its lower floor, a museum on the first floor and a gallery of paintings on the next. But, in 1940, his role changed. From that moment it became the Glasgow social history museum. In it you can learn about the different historical events that took place in the city from 1750 to the present. Next to the museum, you can enjoy a walk among palm trees and exotic plants and even a delicious coffee in the Winter Gardens.
Lovers of botany and plants will find the Glasgow Botanic Gardens their favorite visit. And it is that here there are multiple greenhouses with surprising species, among which the Kibble Palace stands out, with a magnificent Victorian style, and its Palm House. Of course, spring and summer are the best times to enjoy it in all its magnificence.
Urban Art Route
If you are a fan of Street Art, you cannot miss this route. Multiple murals full of color, realism, originality and creativity fill the streets of Glasgow. If you have time during your visit to Glasgow, discovering all the hidden corners of urban art with the route map in hand can be a great plan.
On your trip to Scotland, you cannot miss a visit to a whiskey distillery. Here you will learn a lot about the manufacturing process of single malt whiskey, as well as the very history of this product so appreciated by the Scots. At the end of your apprenticeship, you can enjoy a tasting of authentic Scotch whiskey. If you wish, even take a bottle home with you. The building of this distillery, is also steeped in history as in the past, it served as a lodging for the port customs.
A walk along the banks of the River Clyde
A pleasant and relaxing plan to do in Glasgow is to take a walk along the third longest river in Scotland, the Clyde. Along the way, you will find unique buildings, such as the BBC headquarters, the Clyde Auditorium, also known as the Armadillo, and the SSE Hydro. The bridges that cross it will not leave you indifferent, highlighting the Tradeston Bridge, the Clyde Arc and the South Portland Street.
Curiosities of the history of Glasgow
The history of this city is exciting. We sum it up for you in this Glasgow Travel Guide. The city is loaded with surprising events, since its inception. Its origin dates back to the 6th century, when Saint Mungo, transporting the body of Saint Fergus in a cart, decided to build a church right at the point where the oxen pulling the cart stopped, calling the enclave Glasgu, « green site ». And the church? You already know it, because in the 12th century it became St. Mungo’s Cathedral.
But the thing Don “t stay there. In Glasgow, in the 16th century, the Clyde played an essential role in the trade of the time, where tobacco and cotton from the colonies and sugar from the Caribbean were major players, as it served as a bridge to Great Britain and Europe. A few centuries later, the city was filled with shipyards, coal mines and metal silhouettes, welcoming the Industrial Revolution and that industrialized image that defines it.
The characteristic gray color of Glasgow came with the crisis, in the 60s, at a time when investment in that industry stopped, Japan and Germany were tough competitions and unemployment and alcohol were noted. Luckily, after the storm calm always comes and, nowadays, Glasgow once again tells us about Victorian architecture, Art Nuveau and Mackintosh, shopping days and nights immersed in music, exhibitions, theater … Art emerges in all the pores of the city, flooding it with galleries, museums, murals …, showing that it reaches where there is life, as in every corner of Glasgow.
What’s the weather like in Glasgow
Yes, we know. Scotland may sound cold. Hence, you are wondering what kind of weather you should expect in Glasgow what to wear. You will be happy to know that this is one of the warmest regions in Scotland. Its temperatures are generally higher than other regions of the country situated at the same elevation. In general, these temperatures are presented:
- Winter, it is not usual for temperatures below 5ºC to occur. There is usually no snowfall.
- Spring, temperatures are usually between 10ºC and 15ºC, reaching as low as 5ºC at night.
- Summer, you can find days with temperatures of up to 20ºC. Even, rises of up to 27ºC, and drops to 10ºC at night.
- Autumn, temperatures are cooler and it rains more frequently. At night, temperatures are usually at least 7ºC.
How to get to Glasgow
Glasgow is very well connected, so you can easily reach the city using different means of transport.
- By bus: you can make your journey with the Megabus or Citylink company. The station where you will have to get off is the Buchanan Bus Station.
- By train: a comfortable and inexpensive option is the train, which will take you directly to the main station, Glasgow Central, or, if you prefer, to a secondary station, Queen Street.
- By car: Another option is to rent a car and drive directly there.
Where to stay in Glasgow
If you are looking for a place to stay in Glasgow, you should know that the best area is the city center, which is located north of the River Clyde. There you will find all kinds of hotels: cheap, family, urban, five-star hotels … and even options from the Victorian era and luxury homes. You also have the option of renting a vacation apartment, guest houses, B & Bs, hostels, hostels … in different areas. The city center offers you the plus of being close to the train and bus stations and of being able to enjoy the restaurants, pubs, cafes and shops that are in the surroundings, but it is not the only area where you can stay. In fact, West End may be another good option if you’re looking for a posh lodging alternative.
Information of interest
Keep this info during your visit. If at any time you need more information or want to get ,bus tickets, accommodation, … you can contact the Glasgow iCentre tourist office.
- Location: 156a/158 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, G1 2LL
- Telephone: +44 0141 566 4083
- E-mail: [email protected]
Here is the tourist map of Glasgow. Always keep in mind the tourist attractions and their locations when planning your trip.
Have you already visited Glasgow? Tell us your favourite spots you have been!