After amazing Edinburgh, our next stop was glorious Glasgow as a part of our Easter holidays to visit Scotland. It is Scotland’s largest city and considered as one of the top five largest cities in the UK, bubbling with full of energy. Glasgow is a port city and known for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture, a city has a rich legacy due to its flourishing trade and shipbuilding industry in 18th–20th century. Today, Glasgow is a national cultural hub, home to various prestigious institutions including the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland. Also, there are many acclaimed museums including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum, Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Scotland Street School Museum, Burrell Collection etc;
First, let me just share a brief summary about trip for those who may be planning to visit Scotland and could be quite helpful in budgeting your trip.
Currency: British Pound (£)
Capital City of Country: Edinburgh
Expected Weather: 5-14’C (Easter time)
Transportation Used: Train, Ferry, Taxi, Shuttle Bus
Number of Photos Taken: 1725
The most Enjoyed Place: Balloch Loch Lomond
Accommodation: Hostels, Bed and Breakfasts (Airbnb and Hostels.com)
Average Cost of a Night per Person: £20 (hostels), £30-40 (Bed &Breakfast)
Average Cost of a Full Meal: £10-12
The weather can be unpredictable in scotland, in fact its true for the entire UK but so far in the Scotland road trip we didn’t face any issue but as soon as we reached Glasgow, Mrs Rain was waiting for us and it started to pour which spoiled our nightout plan. Therefore, we spend some time in the city centre and head straight to the hostel.
Where to stay in Glasgow?
Remember, it was a last minute plan to visit Scotland, so we didn’t have an advance booking, luckily we found the great accommodation in Edinburgh but we were not lucky in Glasgow. It was Easter holidays and city was full of tourist and visitors so took some time to find the decent accommodation which was far from the city centre and felt like a brothel in the night. None the less, we just needed a place to sleep so we managed. To be honest, I didn’t have much expectation either considering the situation we were in.
Tip: When you are looking for an accommodation to stay in Glasgow, you should try to find it closer to stay in the West End of Glasgow and as close to Byers Road as possible.
Next morning, the question was what to do? find out what are the fun things to do in Glasgow? After discussion and some local help, we decided to divide our plan in four things, Exploring, Eating, Drinking and Shopping as we roam around the city. Our idea was simple, follow the Edinburgh model which is to get into the hope-on-hope-off-tour bus and explore the places one by one. In the evening, we will satisfy our taste buds with some famous Glasgow food and lots of ale.
We are about to get start, so get your drinks and take a sneak peek first:
[Credit to Love GREAT Britain]
First, let’s talk about some of the must things to do and places to explore when you visit Scotland’s most vibrant city.
It is rated amongst Scotland’s most visited places for free. It has 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries displaying extraordinary 8000+ objects, the collections are huge, wide-ranging and internationally-significant. If you are an art lover, It’s could be the highlight of your visit to Glasgow. Many interesting sights and a strikingly beautiful building. I must confess, I am not art guy but It has very nice pieces that even non-art connoisseurs like me can understand and appreciate. So, do visit this amazing place.
Opening hours: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Average time to explore: 2-3 hours
Entry Fee: FREE
Again, this modern museum is a visual treat for the tourist attractions located at Glasgow Harbour owes its striking curved forms to late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. The main attraction is a fascinating series of cars made in Scotland, plus assorted railway locos, trams, bikes (including the world’s first pedal-powered bicycle from 1847) and model Clyde-built ships. Also, there is an atmospheric recreation of a Glasgow shopping street from the early 20th century puts the vintage vehicles into a social context.
Opening hours: Open today · 10AM–5PM
Average time to explore: about 2 hours
Entry Fee: FREE
The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens is a unique museum especially if you have an interest in social history then this place is ideal to spend an hour going through Glasgow’s history. It was opened by the Earl of Rosebery in late 18th century.
Trivia: Did you know that Glasgow pioneered cesarian sections because of rickets in the mothers?
Opening hours: 10AM–5PM
Average time to explore: About 1 hour
Entry Fee: FREE
If you overwhelmed by admiring arts and visiting museum then the botanical garden is the best place to relax and get some fresh air, free from any noises. It is spread over 27 acres and located in the heart of city’s West End by the River Kelvin. It features a couple of Green glasshouses, the most notable of which is the Kibble Palace, designed by John Kibble and houses the national collection of tree ferns. It is a Plant lover’s paradise.
Opening Hours :
Garden : 7 am – dusk (all year)
Glasshouses : 10am – 6pm & 10am – 4.15pm (winter)
Tearooms : 10am – 4.15pm
Average time to explore: About 1 hour
Entry Fee: FREE
Tip: If you are coming from Edinburgh then you must have seen the Royal Botanical Garden, In that case, you may want to skip this place if you are short on time.
George Square is the heart of the city. It is where East meets West and North meets South. It is the city’s principal civic square and got named after King George III. It was opened in 1781. Lovely place just to visit and sit for a while in the heart of Glasgow. There are loads of places to eat and drink available nearby. A lovely environment where you can relax and take in the bit of history.
Opening Hours: 24 hours
There’s a lighthouse in the middle of town on Buchanan St, little difficult to find but it’s filled with art. This Lighthouse is Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, covering 5 floors, each with different exhibits and galleries. In the lighthouse, there is a cafe, gift shop, restrooms and two spots to see the incredible skyline view of Glasgow. There are two ways to go up first, climb a spiral staircase that offers marvellous view but it has restricted opening times, second, if you can’t climb stairs then there is a lift access from the main building which still offers a decent view.
Opening hours: 10:30am – 5pm
Average time to explore: 1-2 hours
Entry Fee: FREE
7) The Barras
If you didn’t find what you were looking for in the west end, then don’t be disappointed, visit The Barras. Also, If you are a shopper with the eye to buy great stuff at peanuts price then you must visit the Barras which is situated in the East End of Glasgow.
Tip: The Barras is a refreshingly different market with prices so cheap it’s almost a steal. From fruit and vegetables to kilts, antiques and books you can find almost anything here.
Trivia: The term “barra” is Glaswegian dialect for “barrow”, relating to the market’s early years, where traders sold their wares from handcarts.
Barrowland is sometimes used to describe the district itself where the market is located, which is actually officially known as Calton.
There are many places to visit but while you are busy exploring Glasgow, don’t forget to try out wonderful and weird food options.
There are tonnes of restaurants and cafés in Glasgow, estimated about 1800, therefore, one can’t go hungry for long. Also, chefs from all over the world are at the pots in Glasgow, so pick your favourite spot for the night and eat away. However, I must share One of the things I tried when we visited Glasgow was, the weirdest Scottish fried mars Bars. You can also try fried pizza too ! sounds crazy huh. I am not going to tell you what was it taste like as I want you to experience that taste but you may like to check it out if you are a food explorer.
Once you’re in Scotland, you will realise that whisky is never far away. Glasgow has a vibrant bar cultural which offers all sorts of excellent whiskies, smooth ales and innovative craft beers. Definitely plan at least one big night out and enjoy some of Scotland’s finest malts. I recommend, The ‘Pot Still’ is one of the best places to try a range of Scottish Whiskies, with literally hundreds of choices in the menu!
Opening Hours: 11AM–12AM
Tip: On the Byers Road, there is a pub called Oran Mor. The interesting bit is, the pub used to be part of an old church, and the ground floor has been converted into a bar. It’s really cool, may like to try it!
Glasgow is Scotland’s music capital and has an incredibly high number of music venues, expecting almost 130 shows per week. No wonder it was named UNESCO City of Music in 2008. It’s a music hub and if you have time then must attend one of the music events, it’s fantastic. Have a look at the updated upcoming music shows list and ticket availability. The SSE Hydro is a multi-purpose indoor arena located within the Scottish Event Campus and considered one of the best venue for Music Concerts in Glasgow, Scotland.
11) Attend one of the amazing festivals
Every year, Glasgow host wide veriety of festivals from queer art to the World Pipe Championships, Glasgow caters to all crowds. Check for local listings while in Glasgow and see some of the best thing Glasgow has to offer. There was a visual art festival happening when we visited but due to ticket availability, we didn’t get the chance to enjoy it but here you should check out the List of festivals in Glasgow.
After exploring the almost entire Glasgow, if you want to be rejuvenated then visit Glasgow’s green zone. There’s beautiful parks, lots of trees and the Kelvin walkway, a lush and quiet oasis that lets you forget you’re still in the city. The Kelvin Walkway extends the West Highland Way south to the centre of Glasgow, from Milngavie to Glasgow Heliport on the north bank of the River Clyde, where it can be linked to the longer Clyde Walkway that continues south from the city. The route follows, as much as possible, the three rivers of the Allander, Kelvin and Clyde, to form a ‘green link’ from the bustling city to the countryside.
Tip: It’s a long Walkway (almost 11 miles) so I would recommend the best-known stretch that is between Inn Deep and the Botanics if you really want to get away from the city’s busyness.
Total Distance : 10.75 miles (17km)
Time requires: 5 – 6 hours depending on your speed.
I would recommend spending at least one day exploring the surroundings of Glasgow. Therefore, After exploring every last corner of the city, head out to the countryside. Especially, If you’re a mountain biker or enjoy hiking, you don’t have to go far, Glasgow is surrounded by mountains and lochs with trails and secret spots just waiting to be explored.
Again, I would recommend, visit Loch Lomond, which sits on the ‘Highland Boundary Fault’ to witness some amazing natural scenery. We decided to visit the Balloch, it’s a small town in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, at the foot of Loch Lomond. Balloch is often referred to as the gateway to the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
Tip: If you are not driving a car then take a bus. It’s about an hour drive from Glasgow. You can get a bus from Buchanan Bus station every half an hour.
Once you are in Balloch, you must take a ferry ride. For quite a reasonable price (£10) you take a couple of hour tour around the part of Loch Lomond where you will see some islands from close by and get nice explanations of the most important buildings/castles on the shores of Loch Lomond. If you are a naturist, then there is a naturist (nudist) island close to Balloch loch Lomond. The blue sky, clean water and wide landscapes are enough to make you feel overwhelmed by the beauty of Loch Lomond.
Tip: There are a few common terminology used that are unique to Scotland that are worth knowing.
- Loch: A natural body of water. A loch can be freshwater, like a lake, or saltwater, like a sea inlet.
- Ben: A mountain peak.
- Glen: A deep valley.
14) Santa Dash
During our conversations with locals, we heard about Santa Dash event.
Tip: If you are visiting the Glasgow during Christmas time then you shouldn’t miss the Santa Dash. It’s a unique charity event.
Each year, visitors and Glaswegians alike have an opportunity to join one of the cities most amazing charity events, ‘Santa Dash’. This event consists of thousands upon thousands of Father Christmas’s running around Glasgow – why not get into the spirit, join in and raise money for charity too.
After spending a couple of days in and around Glasgow, I felt Glasgow is the combination of London and Edinburgh. It is steeped in an ancient and long-living history at the same time it had the cosmopolitan feel to it, sparkling with full of spirit and enthusiasm. The areas of Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh that I mention are only the places that we were able to travel to, but I have heard there are so many more islands and other areas around the highlands that are also awesome. Hence, this is not the final good buy, will see each other again.
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