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Glasgow, Scotland

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Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow (Gaelic: Glaschu) is the biggest city in Scotland, with a population of about 600,000 in the city itself and over 2 million if the surrounding towns of the Clydeside conurbation are taken into account. Located at the west end of Scotland's Central Belt on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow's historical importance as Scotland's main industrial center has been challenged by decades of change and various regeneration efforts. Today the third largest city in the entire United Kingdom by population, it remains one of the nation's key economic centers outside London.
In recent years, Glasgow has been awarded the European titles of City of Culture (1990), City of Architecture and Design (1999) and Capital of Sport (2003). In 2008, Glasgow became the second Scottish city to join the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative when it was named as a UNESCO City of Music. In preparing its bid,... Read more

Glasgow, Scotland


Glasgow (Gaelic: Glaschu) is the biggest city in Scotland, with a population of about 600,000 in the city itself and over 2 million if the surrounding towns of the Clydeside conurbation are taken into account. Located at the west end of Scotland's Central Belt on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow's historical importance as Scotland's main industrial center has been challenged by decades of change and various regeneration efforts. Today the third largest city in the entire United Kingdom by population, it remains one of the nation's key economic centers outside London.
In recent years, Glasgow has been awarded the European titles of City of Culture (1990), City of Architecture and Design (1999) and Capital of Sport (2003). In 2008, Glasgow became the second Scottish city to join the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative when it was named as a UNESCO City of Music. In preparing its bid, Glasgow counted an average of 130 music events a week ranging from pop and rock to Celtic music and opera. The city has transformed itself from being the once mighty industrial powerhouse of Britain to a center for commerce, tourism, and culture. Glasgow was the host city for the successful Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Glasgow has become one of the most visited cities in the British Isles, and visitors will find a revitalized city center, the best shopping outside London without a doubt, excellent parks and museums (most of which are free), and easy access to the Scottish Highlands and Islands.


For the visitor, central Glasgow can be divided into two main areas, the City Centre, which contains the majority of tourist sights and much of the city's shopping and entertainment, as well as its commercial heart, and the West End, the bohemian area of cafés, restaurants and bars surrounding the University of Glasgow and

Kelvingrove Museum

. The best way to get good vistas of the city is to climb the many "drumlins" (hills) upon which the central area is built.
Outside of central Glasgow, the East End lies east of the City Centre centered along Gallowgate and London Road. The South Side contains the neighborhoods that lie to the south of the River Clyde, while the North Side is the area north of central Glasgow. Along the banks of the River Clyde west of the City Centre is an old industrial area which is in the process of regeneration and contains many new and impressive structures, such as the

Clyde Auditorium

, the Science Centre and the

Riverside Museum

  •   Visit Scotland Tourist Information, 10 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3GF, ☎ +44 845 859 1006. Mon-Sat 09:00-18:00, Sun 10:00-17:00.

City Centre

The City Centre (known as "town" or "the toon" to locals) is bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, High Street to the east, and the River Clyde to the south. This is the area where most visitors will start, and the most notable elements are the grid plan of streets and the lavish Victorian and Edwardian buildings and civic squares which give the area much of its character. The main arteries of the City Centre are Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street which both run on an east-west axis. They are linked by Buchanan Street which runs north-south. Together, these three streets form the main shopping thoroughfares.
The eastern side of the City Centre is a sub-district known as Merchant City, which contains Glasgow's original medieval core, centered around the Glasgow Cross (the junction of Trongate, Saltmarket, High Street, Gallowgate and London Road). Merchant City extends up to George Square, with many ornate buildings that date back to Glasgow's emergence as an industrial city. High Street north of the Glasgow Cross is the main artery of Old Glasgow and leads uphill to the Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis cemetery.
The western area of the City Centre contains the city's core commercial and business district and is dominated by Blythswood Hill, which is centered around Blythswood Square. Running parallel to Sauchiehall Street, Bath Street is the main route into the neighborhood and has a rich mix of independent shops and bars, as well as distinctive Georgian town house style architecture. South of Blythswood Hill is the city's financial district, with many modern glass and steel office buildings which stand alongside their classical counterparts. Further south, on the north bank of the River Clyde, is the district of Anderston, formerly a dockland area, badly scarred by the city's industrial decline and the urban regeneration schemes of the 1960s but now being redeveloped as a residential and commercial area.

West End

To the west of the City Centre, no official definition of where the West End boundary line exists, but it can roughly be defined as being bounded by the M8 motorway to the east, Great Western Road to the north, the River Clyde to the South and Crow Road to the west. The nucleus of the area is undoubtedly the neo-Gothic University of Glasgow, which acts as the anchor for this bohemian district, with its lovely architecture, tree-lined streets and quaint shopping areas.
The primary east-west artery is Argyle Street/Dumbarton Road, while Byres Road is the main north-south artery and contains a number of independent shops, bars, and restaurants. Ashton Lane connects Byres Road to the University campus and is a cobbled backstreet with distinctive whitewashed buildings, holding an eclectic mix of bars and eateries that make it a tourist hotspot (be careful as the Lane can be a bit of a tourist trap during the summer months when the students of the university are not there to keep the bar prices reasonable). To the east of the university campus and just downhill is Kelvingrove Park, with the tree-lined Kelvin Way as the main avenue through the park, which connects with Argyle Street near the Kelvingrove Museum.

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Glasgow, Scotland: Port Information

Cruise travelers can visit Glasgow on a cruise excursion. Your ship will dock at the port of Greenock. From there, you can easily get to Glasgow on a train. Besides, you can take a taxi or an organized tour. It’ll take you just about 35 minutes by road or rail.

Get around Glasgow, Scotland

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) is the local agency which operates the subway, a few specialist bus services and allegedly co-ordinates public transport in the Greater Glasgow area. However, for three successive years now it has been unable to produce a local public transport map showing the routes of the many different operators. Look on the bright side: you'll have to ask the helpful locals how to get somewhere and, in the city center, which stance to catch your bus from - the stances (bus stops) keep changing!
In June 2013, the largest local bus operator, FirstGlasgow, printed a "Glasgow Bus map and guide" which also showed the routes and numbers of some other bus operators besides their own. The bad news is that by July 2013 they had become as rare as hen's teeth; however, even this rarity still does not show the positions of all the various bus companies' different stances in the city center.
Nevertheless, Glasgow's public transport system is one of the most extensive in the UK outside of London.

On foot

The center of Glasgow is very pedestrian-friendly with major shopping streets given over to foot traffic. As you move out of the city center, all areas have proper pavements, and most major junctions have pedestrian crossings. The River Clyde also has several foot bridge crossings. The main difficulty with walking out of the center of town is finding where the crossings over/under the M8 are. As you head west, some roads appear to go over Charing Cross only for the pavement to disappear. As you head north, the underpasses at Cowcaddens can sometimes feel unwelcoming.
On 7 Jul 2013, the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" over the 9 lane M8 Motorway became a bridge to somewhere after being boarded up for more than 40 years. Built in the 1970s to link Anderston with a shopping center that was never built, this pedestrian and cycle bridge now links Central Station (via Argyle St) with the Forth and Clyde Canals (via Kelvingrove Park) or the new developments at Pacific Quay (via Bell's Bridge).
The climate in Glasgow means the road network is plagued by potholes. As such, during heavy rain walkers should be aware and careful of road potholes filled with rainwater which passing traffic (especially buses!) can and will travel through, soaking unwary nearby walkers.
Glasgow walking directions can be planned online with the walking route planner.

By subway

Glasgow's subway runs in a double circle around the Glasgow city center and some inner suburbs. It's the third oldest subway system in the world after the London Underground and the Budapest Metro and is in the midst of a major facelift. Locals will never refer to the subway as "the clockwork orange" and will likely wince if you do so.
The Subway runs from the city center through to the West End (around Glasgow University), then runs south of the Clyde through Ibrox Stadium and back into the city. Direct interchanges with surface trains are at Buchanan Street and Partick stations; Argyle Street interchanges with the Central station through a short walk on street level.
The system operates approximately 6:30-23:15 (first and last train) on all days, except Sunday when it operates approximately 10:00-17:50 (first and last train). Trains generally run every 4-8 minutes. The Outer Circle runs clock-wise, the Inner Circle runs counter-clockwise. One complete circle takes 24 minutes.
The system uses smart card ticketing. Smartcards are free if you order them in advance to a UK address. Otherwise, you can buy them at the station for immediate use. They can be topped up with an arbitrary amount. No bikes are allowed. The system was built in the 19th Century, so no stations are easily accessible to wheelchairs or pushchairs, but staff assistance is available at all stations.
Paper tickets are also available at all stations, but the tariff for these is more expensive. Tickets are issued per ride, rather than by distance, so single and return fares are the same no matter how many stations you wish to travel through. You need the ticket to exit the stations.
The PLUSBUS rail ticket add-on does not include the subway system.

By train

Suburban trains radiate from Central and Queen Street stations to the suburbs and surrounding towns. The network is the largest in the UK outside of London, although there are only two trains per hour on some routes; others are much more frequent. Central serves the dense suburban network which sprawls throughout the southern suburbs of the city, as well as outer suburban services to the Inverclyde and Ayrshire coasts. The underground lower level platforms of both Central and Queen Street stations are hubs for the east-west electric network north of the river which provide useful links to the West End (thus complementing the Subway) and further west to the northern Clyde coast towns of Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Balloch, the gateway to Loch Lomond and the Southern Highlands. More recently, the Low Level line from Queen Street has been extended eastwards to the West Lothian towns of Bathgate and Livingston and to Edinburgh.
Bikes go free, but many trains have no bike spaces. The SPT Day Tripper ticket (explained below) gives you complete freedom of the network, and the Roundabout ticket (also explained below) gives off-peak freedom of the suburban train network within the city boundary only as well as the Subway.

By bus

Unlike the situation in Edinburgh, Glasgow buses delight in racing past bus stops unless you clearly signal them to stop.
Buses go everywhere. First Glasgow is the main operator within the city boundary. There is a bus at least every 10 min on main routes during the day, making it easy to get into the center of town, though getting out to a specific destination less easy. However, services on many routes are much less frequent in the evening. In the city center, buses do not always stop at every stop on their route, so check the sign at the stop. Stops are clearly marked with the services that stop there.
First buses do not give change as the driver has no access to cash: you put your money in a slot that checks the amount and deposits it in a storage box. Some other bus operators, however, give change.
Glasgow SimpliCITY, operated by First Group, offers frequent bus service in the city center and to some cities in the metropolitan area.
Other bus operators within the city are McGill and Stagecoach West Scotland which operate services out to the outlying towns in Renfrewshire and Ayrshire respectively: the day/weekly passes bought on First buses will not be valid on these, with the exception of SPT Day Tripper and ZoneCards (explained below).
One of the current scourges of Glasgow, however (in the opinion of locals, at least), is the myriad of private bus operators that supposedly "complement" the core services operated by First and McGill's. In reality, many merely duplicate the routes that already exist: the net result has been the city center being clogged up with empty (and often badly maintained) buses, and for the visitor, the key thing to remember is that some of these operators do not accept any of the SPT day passes. On the flip side, they keep the somewhat extortionate prices of First Glasgow in check. The situation is currently a political hot potato among locals.


SPT offers a number of different daily combined bus/rail travel tickets aimed at the visitor.

  • The Mackintosh Trail Ticket gives you unlimited travel on the SPT Subway and First's bus services in Greater Glasgow after 09:30 Monday to Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday. It also includes entry to all participating Mackintosh attractions in and around Glasgow.
  • The Discovery ticket allows unlimited travel on the subway only at off-peak times during the week or all day on weekends. If you have a car, a park-and-ride version is available which also includes a whole day's parking at any of the subway car parks.
  • The Roundabout ticket gives complete freedom of the subway and the suburban rail network within the Greater Glasgow area, which includes the city boundary and most of the surrounding towns.
  • Alternatively. the Day Tripper ticket covers the entire Strathclyde rail network, which extends as far south as Girvan in Ayrshire, some 55 mi south of Glasgow, and Ardlui at the northern tip of Loch Lomond some 40 mi north. It has the added advantage of being accepted by most bus operators in the Strathclyde region and on the Kilcreggan and Renfrew ferries. You can buy it only from a staffed rail station or an SPT Travel Centre.

By taxi

Like most major British cities, you have two options. Your first option is the traditional London-style black cabs which can be hailed from the side of the road (look out for the yellow "Taxi" sign being illuminated). The fleet is operated by Glasgow Taxis, and can also be ordered by telephone (+44 141 429-7070). There are taxi ranks outside Central and Queen Street railway stations, adjacent to George Square and along the southern end of Queen Street itself. There is also a taxi rank located at Buchanan Bus Station. Be aware that some drivers will refuse to take you outside the city boundary, but some will if you offer a good price to them.
Your second option is by private hire or minicab. Unlike the black cabs, these cannot be hailed, and you must book by telephone. There is a myriad of private hire operators which are cheaper than black cabs: their phone numbers are clearly displayed on the back of the vehicles. Never use unlicensed private taxis, which can sometimes be seen touting for business outside nightclubs near closing time and near legitimate taxi ranks. Always look for the yellow Glasgow City Council licensing plate attached to the rear bumper of the vehicle if unsure. Glasgow Private Hire is one of the biggest taxi fleets in Europe and has thousands of cars, which service all areas of the city. They can be reached on a variety of different numbers (including +44 141 774-3000). Another popular alternative is Hampden Cabs, which services most of the city and surrounding area. Hampden Cabs can be contacted on +44 141 649-5050.

By boat

There is a ferry from Yoker on the north bank of the River Clyde to the town of Renfrew on the opposite bank which is within walking distance of Braehead shopping center and the Xscape leisure complex.


What to see in Glasgow, Scotland


As befits a city that was at its richest through the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th, the center of Glasgow has a fine legacy of Victorian and Edwardian buildings with their lavish interiors and spectacular carved stonework. Outside of the central area, the main streets are lined with the legendary tenements - the city's trademark 2 or 3 story residential buildings built from red or blonde sandstone which positively glow during the summer. The decline of Glasgow's economy during the mid to late 20th Century led to the mass construction of high-rise tower blocks and concrete housing estates during the 1960s and 1970s. The dramatic and striking Red Road Flats form the tallest residential property in Europe. Many 1970s office buildings in the center have been cleared away by state-of-the-art glass structures as Glasgow's burgeoning financial services industry continues to grow. For more information on Glasgow's architecture, try and get hold of a copy of Central Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide, by Charles McKean and others.
Glasgow was also the home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of the "Glasgow Four," a group of leading proponents of art nouveau architecture. Indeed, during his lifetime, Mackintosh was probably better regarded abroad than he was in his native Glasgow, even apparently inspiring Frank Lloyd Wright. However, he was recently resurrected as one of the cities most beloved sons. You will notice, along with quite a few of his buildings to see in the city, including his magnum opus, the Glasgow School of Art, many other knock-offs and impersonations exist. However, despite the 'cult' of Mackintosh, Glasgow produced many other fine architects, the best known of whom is probably Alexander 'Greek' Thomson.

The following list is a selection of significant buildings in Glasgow, roughly arranged starting in the City Centre and moving west and south:

  • Glasgow Cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Mungo), Cathedral Square, Castle Street, ☎ +44 141 552-6891. Summer (Apr-Sep): M-Sa 09:30-17:30, Su 13:00-17:00; Winter (Oct-Mar): 09:30-16:30, Su 13:00-16:30. A fine example of Gothic architecture dating from medieval times and built on a site first consecrated in 397AD. Behind the cathedral atop a steep hill is the Necropolis cemetery – dominated by the statue of John Knox and described by Victorians as a literal “City of The Dead”. Free.
  • City Chambers, George Square (train: Glasgow Queen Street), ☎ +44 141 287-2000. Guided tours M-F at 10:30 and 14:30. For individuals, pre-booking is not necessary. A larger group needs to make a reservation: +44 141 287-4018. This imposing structure in George Square was built in 1888 in the Italian Renaissance style and is the headquarters of Glasgow City Council. Tours of the building are available daily, and visitors can see the magnificent marble staircases, lobbies, see the debating chamber and the lavish banqueting hall. Tours take about 45 min. In front the building, George Square, the city's notional center, is populated by several statues of civic leaders and famous figures from history and is often used for outdoor events. Free.
  • Glasgow Cross, At the junction of Trongate, Saltmarket, High Street, Gallowgate and London Road. This intersection marks the original medieval center of the city and is dominated by the clock tower of the original City Chambers (destroyed by fire in 1926), and the small hexagonal building known as the Tolbooth. Just to the west on Trongate is the Tron Theatre, a former church that was turned into a prominent theatre.
  • St Enoch Subway Station, St Enoch Square, Argyle and Buchanan Streets (subway: St Enoch). Always visible. The original subway station, a quaint overground building now used as a chain coffee shop, sits in the middle of St Enoch Square. Free.
  • Glasgow Central Station, Gordon Street (between Union and Hope Streets, train: Glasgow Central), ☎ +44 345 711-4141 M-Sa 04:00-00:30, Su 07:00-00:30. The city's principal railway terminus, which is worth entering for its grand interior, which you can access from Gordon Street on the north side of the building. On the exterior, a feature of note is the massive glass walled bridge (known as the Hielanman's Umbrella) which spans Argyle Street and holds up the tracks and platforms. You can go on a tour of the station, which is highly recommended, but booking in advance is essential and places sell quickly. Don't be put off because you aren't interested in trains - the tour is mostly about the history and architecture of the station. The guides are really enthusiastic about railway history and have countless stories to share of the station's place in Glasgow's history: through the industrial revolution, through the war, and to the present. You also get to visit an abandoned underground platform! The entry fee goes into a pot earmarked for preserving the station's history and improving the tour.
  • Willow Tearooms, 217 Sauchiehall St, ☎ +44 141 332-0521. Mon-Sat 9:00-17:30, Sun 10:30-17:30 (last orders 1 hour before closing time). During the temperance movement, the idea of "tearooms," places where you could relax and enjoy non-alcoholic refreshments in differently themed rooms, became popular in Glasgow. This one, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904, was the most popular of its time and has been lovingly restored. Make sure to have a look at the Room de Luxe on the second floor (access through the cafe on the first floor). You do not have to purchase anything if you just want to have a look around and ask nicely.
  • Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew St (subway: Cowcaddens), ☎ +44 141 353-4526. The Glasgow School of Art is Scotland's only independent art school offering university-level programmes and research in architecture, fine art and design. The original building on the campus was seen as one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's finest buildings, housing one of Britain's pre-eminent schools of art, design, and architecture. In May 2014, the Mackintosh building was closed for the foreseeable future due to a major fire which damaged the west wing of the building (that had been added 1907-09), destroying the library. Efforts are ongoing to salvage damaged artworks. Due to the closure the original building tour no longer takes place. However, a new external tour (Mackintosh at the GSA Tour) is available and tells about Mackintosh's role at the Glasgow School of Art.
  • Mitchell Library, North St (train: Charing Cross), ☎ +44 141 287-2999. M-Th 09:00-20:00, F-Sa 09:00-17:00, closed Su. One of Glasgow's best public buildings, it is the largest municipal public reference library in Europe. The imposing structure houses a spectacular reading room, although it has to be said much of Mitchell's extensive collection is housed in the rather ugly 1970s extension attached to the rear. You can easily lose a day in here! Free.
  • There are a number of interesting bridges over the River Clyde in the City Centre:
    •   Tradeston Pedestrian Bridge. The bridge crosses the river west of the M8 motorway and is nicknamed the "Squiggly Bridge" by locals because of its distinctive S-shape.
    •   Kingston Bridge (Nearby the Tradeston Pedestrian Bridge). This bridge carries the M8 motorway across the Clyde. Built in 1969, the bridge is far more spectacular to stand beneath than drive over, with an almost cathedral-like vista and a strange aura of calmness that betrays the likely traffic chaos that is going unseen directly above your head.
    •   Clyde Arc (Further west). A relatively new and prominent bridge over the River Clyde that has an elegant curved design and is unique for how it crosses the river at an angle.
  • Clyde Auditorium, Exhibition Way (train: Exhibition Centre), ☎ +44 141 248-3000 (General), +44 844 395 4000 (Tickets). Box office: Mon-Sat 9:00-18:00, Sun closed. Affectionately known by Glaswegians as the Armadillo, this building is a concert hall which forms part of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre complex. Designed by Lord Norman Foster, and contrary to popular belief, not inspired by the Sydney Opera House, it is in fact supposed to represent ship's hulls. The auditorium has now garnered some world fame for being the place where the Susan Boyle audition - one of the most downloaded YouTube video clips in history - was filmed.
  • Glasgow University, University Avenue, West End (subway: Hillhead), ☎ +44 141 330-5511. Exterior and campus always visible; Visitor center M-Sa 09:30-17:00. Founded as an institution in 1451, the University itself is the fourth oldest in the entire United Kingdom, and one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country. Contains the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery including a reconstruction of Mackintosh's house. The exterior of the main building is fine in its own right; the current main University building is neo-Gothic and dates from 1870, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (the man who also designed London's St Pancras railway station). The main building has an interesting visitor's center (open all year round) which is free and sits atop a drumlin with commanding views over Kelvingrove Park and the western fringes of the city. Free.
  • Park Circus (atop a steep hill across Kelvingrove Park from the university). An area of Georgian town houses laid out in a radial pattern similar to the English city of Bath. This neighborhood has made the transition from originally being an upmarket residential area to a prestigious office district for mainly legal and consultancy firms, although in recent years there have been moves to encourage the companies back into the city center and return the buildings to residential use. If you make the effort to walk through Kelvingrove Park, go up to this area as it is worth descending down the grand Granite Staircase, on the south side of the hill facing the river.
  • Scotland Street School, 225 Scotland St (subway: Shields Road), ☎ +44 141 287-0500. Tu-Th & Sa 10:00-17:00, F & Su 11:00-17:00, closed M. Charles Rennie Mackintosh's last major building - thoughtfully designed, with an excellent museum covering both Mackintosh and the changing faces of schools. Free.
  • House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park (train: Dumbreck or subway: Ibrox), ☎ +44 141 353-4770. Opening times vary. Shop and Cafe are open daily 10:00-17:00. Built in the 1990s to Mackintosh's original 1901 entry for a design competition.
  • Holmwood House, 61-63 Netherlee Rd (in Cathcart, in the South Side of the city, 4 miles from the city center), ☎ +44 844 493-2204. Summer months only, Th-M 12:00-17:00. Now run by the National Trust, and currently, in the process of being renovated, Holmwood House is one of the best examples of the work of Glasgow's other great architect: Alexander 'Greek' Thomson.

Museums and art galleries

The Victorians also left Glasgow with a wonderful legacy of museums and art galleries, which the city has dutifully built upon. The following list is only a selection. The city council alone runs several museums and galleries. Visitors should be aware that most of the galleries appear to be closed on Sundays, and that - to the understandable annoyance of many visitors to Glasgow - most of the museums shut their doors at 5 PM. The majority of museums are free with boxes for you to give a donation. This is entirely voluntary though, so don't be put off if you can't afford this!

  • Burrell Collection, 2060 Pollokshaws Rd, Pollok Country Park (train: Pollokshaws West, then walk through Pollok Park), ☎ +44 141 287-2550. M-Th, Sa 10:00-17:00; F, Su 11:00-17:00. This is a collection of over 9,000 artworks gifted to the city of Glasgow by Sir William Burrell and housed in a purpose-built museum in the Pollok Estate in the south of the city. Free.
  • Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square (on Queen Street in the City Centre), ☎ +44 141 287-3050. M-W, Sa 10:00–17:00, Th 10:00–20:00, F and Su 11:00–17:00. This gallery houses a terrific collection of recent paintings and sculptures, with space for new exhibitions. In the basement is one of Glasgow's many public libraries, with free internet access and cafe. Free.
  • Glasgow Police Museum, 30 Bell St, ☎ +44 141 552-1818. Summer (Apr-Oct): M-Sa 10:30-16:30, Su 12:00-16:30; Winter (Nov-Mar): Tu 10:00-16:30, Su 12:00-16:30, closed M and W-Sa. The Glasgow police force was the first in the world, dating back to 1779. It's dealt with a number of famous cases and many of the paraphernalia relating to some of these are in this museum. There's also a section dealing with the history of police forces throughout the world. Free.
  • Glasgow Science Centre, 50 Pacific Quay (train: Exhibition Centre or subway: Cessnock), ☎ +44 141 420-5000. Summer: daily 10AM-5PM; Winter: W-F 10AM-3PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM, closed M-Tu. Glasgow Tower is closed in winter. Has hundreds of interactive science exhibits for children, an IMAX cinema, and the 125-meter Glasgow Tower, the only tower in the world which can rotate 360 degrees from its base.
  • Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University Avenue, University Of Glasgow, ☎ +44 141 330-4221. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 11:00-16:00, closed M. The art gallery contains a world famous Whistler collection and various temporary exhibitions. It also contains The Mackintosh House, a reconstruction of the principal interiors from the Glasgow home of the Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928). The separate museum is the oldest public museum in Scotland and has a variety of exhibits, including a display on the Romans in Scotland (featuring items found in the Roman Fort in Bearsden), one on the various dinosaur discoveries found on the Isle of Skye, and various temporary exhibitions. Free in general.
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle Street, West End (subway: Kelvinhall), ☎ +44 141 276-9599. M-Th, Sa 10:00-17:00; F, Su 11:00-17:00. The city's grandest public museum, with one of the finest civic collections in Europe, housed within this Glasgow Victorian landmark. The collection is quite varied, with artworks, biological displays, and anthropological artifacts. The museum as a whole is well-geared towards children and families, with "discovery center" rooms of interactive exhibits and all the displays labeled with easy-to-understand descriptions. The "Life" wing holds fossils, wildlife displays, artifacts from ancient Egypt, exhibits on the Scottish people, a hall of arms and armor, and even a Submarine Spitfire hanging in the main hall of the wing. The "Expression" wing holds a fantastic collection of fine and decorative arts, including Salvador Dalí's celebrated "Crucifixion of St. John of the Cross" painting and select works by renowned artists like Van Gogh, Monet, and Rembrandt, as well as a hall of period Glasgow furnishings by Mackintosh. The main hall has a functioning organ, and daily recitals are played in the afternoon. Free.
  • People's Palace and Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green, ☎ +44 141 276-0788. People's Palace Tu-Th, Sa 10:00–17:00, F, Su 11:00–17:00, closed M; Winter Gardens Daily 10:00-17:00. The People's Palace is a great folk museum, telling the history of Glasgow and its people, from various perspectives, displaying details of Glasgow life (including one of Billy Connolly's banana boots). The Winter Gardens, adjacent, is a pleasant greenhouse with a reasonable cafe. Free.
  • Provand's Lordship, 3 Castle Street (opposite Glasgow Cathedral), ☎ +44 141 276-1625. Tu-Th, Sa 10:00-17:00; F, Su 11:00-17:00, closed M. Glasgow's oldest remaining house, built in 1471, has been renovated to give visitors an idea what the inside of a Glasgow house was like circa 1700. Free.
  • Riverside Museum, 100 Pointhouse Place (West End, subway: Kelvinhall), ☎ +44 141 287-2720. M-Th and Sa 10:00-17:00, F and Su 11:00-17:00. Offers an excellent collection of vehicles and models to tell the story of transport by land and sea, with a unique Glasgow flavor. Besides the usual rail locomotives, buses, trams, cars and planes, the museum also includes a recreated subway station and a street scene of old Glasgow. The museum was designed by Zaha Hadid and completed in 2011. Free.
  • Tall Ship (Glenlee), Pointhouse Quay (alongside the Riverside Museum, West End, subway: Kelvinhall), ☎ +44 141 357-3699. Summer (Feb-Oct): 10:00-17:00; Winter (Nov-Jan): 10:00-16:00. Last admission: 30min before closing time. The Glenlee was built in 1896 and is one of only five Clydebuilt sailing ships that remain afloat in the world today, now restored and open to the public. Free for individuals.
  • Sharmanka, Trongate 103, ☎ +44 141 552-7080. Full show: Thu & Sun 19:00; short show: Wed-Sun: 15:00, Sat 16:15; or by individual appointment. A kinetic gallery/theatre. It consists of a number of strange machines created by the Russian artists Eduard Bersudsky. The machines perform stories and the light and sound during the performance add to a really unique and amazing experience. The full show takes 1h10min, the short one 45min.
  • St. Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art, 2 Castle Street (next to the Glasgow Cathedral), ☎ +44 141 276-1625. Tu-Th, Sa 10 AM-5 PM, F, Su 11 AM-5 PM, closed M. This museum features exhibits relating not only to Glasgow's patron saint and the growth of Christianity in the city but numerous exhibits pertaining to many faiths practiced locally and worldwide. Free.
  • Street Level Photoworks, Trongate 103, ☎ +44 141 552-2151. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 12:00-17:00, first Thu each month 18:00-20:00, closed M. An alternative art gallery/installation space. Free.
  • Tenement House, 145 Buccleuch Street, ☎ +44 844 493 2197. Summer months only, Daily 1 PM-5 PM. A National Trust for Scotland site, a middle-class Glasgow tenement house preserved in pretty much the way it was in the early 20th century.
  • Transmission Gallery, 28 King Street, ☎ +44 141 552-7141. Tu-W, F-Sa 11:00-17:00, Th 11:00-20:00. A gallery set up in 1983 by ex-students of the Glasgow School of Art as a hub for the local art community and to provide exhibition space. Free.
  • The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane (A small side street off Buchanan Street (pedestrian zone)), ☎ +44 141 276-5365. Mon-Sat 10:30-17:00, Sun 12:00-17:00. This is the former Glasgow Herald building completed by Mackintosh. It houses the Centre for Design & Architecture, which show changing exhibitions and host events. From there you also have access to the Mackintosh Tower, which offers great views over Glasgow. Free.


For a large city, Glasgow has a surprising number of parks and green spaces; there is more parkland here than in any other British city.

  • Glasgow Green (train: Bridgeton or Argyle Street, then walk or take the bus along London Road). Park open at all times. The most famous of the Glasgow parks, Glasgow Green was founded by Royal grant in 1450 and has slowly been enclosed by the city and evolved from grazing land into a modern public park. "The Green" as its known to the locals is one of the major venues for concerts and open air events in Glasgow. Among the highlights are the People's Palace and Winter Gardens (covered above), Nelson's Memorial, an obelisk or needle: built to commemorate Nelson's victory at the battle of Trafalgar, the Templeton Carpet Factory, with its ornate brick work (now a business centre), and the Doulton Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world. There is limited official parking in or around the green and the area is notorious for car crime. Be aware the council will tow away illegally parked vehicles!
  • Kelvingrove Park, West End. Open at all times. This is also a very popular park, particularly with the students from the nearby University. The most prominent landmark here is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (covered above) on the banks of the River Kelvin which runs through the park. It also contains a recently constructed skate park.
  • Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Road, West End, ☎ +44 141 276-1614. Gardens: 7:00 to dusk; glasshouses: 10:00-18:00 in summer (16:15 in winter). A major park in the West End (the most popular aside from Kelvingrove), the Botanic Gardens contains extensive tropical and temperate plant collections from around the world. Free.
  • Victoria Park, Victoria Park Drive North, West End. 7:00 till dusk. Considered to be the prettiest park in Glasgow.
  • Fossil Grove, Victoria Park Drive North (Located in Victoria Park), ☎ +44 141 276-1695. Summer months only; Daily 10:00-16:00. The remains of an ancient forest, around 330 million years old. This is the only example of a preserved forest from this period on Earth.
  • Bellahouston Park (3 miles south west of Glasgow).
  • Mugdock Country Park, Craigallian Road, Nr Milngavie (north-west of Glasgow).
  • Queen's Park (near Mount Florida or Queens Park stations (4 miles south of the city center)).
  • Strathclyde Country Park, 366 Hamilton Road, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire (Southeast of Glasgow).
  • Greenbank House and Gardens, Flenders Road (It's a 30 min walk from Clarkston railway station (catch the train from Central Station (high level))). closes at sunset. Owned by the National Trust for Scotland, make for a pleasant day out in one of Glasgow's leafier suburbs. The gardens have proven to be an inspiration to gardeners throughout the world.

What to do in Glasgow, Scotland

There are many nightclubs, concerts, and festivals in Glasgow.

Glasgow's been famous for its music scenes for at least 20 years, with some top acts literally queuing to play at venues such as the Barrowlands or King Tut's. There's plenty of venues where you're likely to see a good band (and lots of bad bands too); on any day of the week, there should be at least several shows to choose from throughout the city, with the number increasing to an even greater variety on Thursday, Friday & Saturday. In no particular order, here follows some pop/indie/rock-orientated venues:
  • Nice'N'Sleazy, 421 Sauchiehall Street (nearest railway: Charing Cross). A great student institution known locally as "Sleazy's" it's a favorite among Glasgow School of Art students, it’s a cross between a bar and a nightclub, and even a coffee shop by day - one of Glasgow’s best-established student venues. Live music in the evenings, and just across the road from the seminal Garage nightclub. Open until 03:00 every night of the week, with bands on practically every night also. Gigs are downstairs and bar upstairs plays a variety of alternative/rock/punk. Over 18's only (both bar and gigs). 
  • The Barrowland Ballroom, 244 Gallowgate, G4 OTS (0.5km from Glasgow Cross). The Barrowlands, as it is commonly known, is arguably the city's most famous and most respected live venue - famous for its sprung floor and excellent acoustics. 
  • King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, 272a St Vincent Street, G2 5RL. Where both Oasis and local favorites Glasvegas were discovered. 
  • O2 ABC, 300 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3JA. 
  • 13th Note, 50-60 King Street, G1 5QT (just off Argyle Street/Trongate). 
  • Maggie May's, 60 The Trongate, G1 5EP (Merchant City, on the corner of Trongate and Albion Street), ☎ +44 141 548-1350. Pub/restaurant with a lively programme of up and coming bands.
  • The Cathouse, Union St (close to the junction with Argyle Street).
  • The Riverside Club, 33 Fox Street (behind St Enoch Square). Glasgow's top ceilidh (Scottish country dancing) venue on Friday and Saturday nights. 
  • Stereo. City Centre venue with regular indie gigs downstairs, bar and cafe upstairs. 
  • Glasgow O2 Academy, 121 Eglinton Street (nearest Subway: Bridge Street). 
  • The Arches, 253 Argyle Street (underneath the "Hielanman's Umbrella" of Central Station). Running one of the UK's best techno nights; Pressure. It is also a theatrical and arts venue, a pub and restaurant.
  • Sub Club, 22 Jamaica Street (nearest rail: Central Station). Rated one of the best clubs in the world from house to techno to whatever takes your fancy. Founded in 1987.
  • The Tunnel, Mitchell Street. With the Sub Club and the Arches one of Glasgow's premier dance clubs: frequently hosts top DJ's from around the world, although doesn't quite have The Arches' or the Sub Club's 'underground' reputation.
  • The Soundhaus, 47 Hydepark Street. Underground techno and house. 
  • The Vale, Dundas St (adjacent to Buchanan Street subway/Queen Street railway station). 
  • QMU, at University Gardens (West End; nearest Subway: Hillhead).
  • The Classic Grand, 18 Jamaica Street (adjacent to Central Station). A former adult cinema now re-purposed as an alternative music venue. Serves the rock/metal/punk/alternative scene 4 nights a week.
  • Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre (SECC), G3 8YW (rail: Exhibition Centre), ☎ +44 844 395 4000 (Tickets). The city's premier music venue for major headline acts, even if the acoustics of the halls have always been questionable. More intimate gigs are held in the neighboring Clyde Auditorium (the armadillo-shaped building). SECC Tickets sells tickets for these. 

Arts and theatrical venues
  • Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 2 Sauchiehall Street (nearest Subway: Buchanan Street), ☎ +44 141 353-8000. This is the home of The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, one of Europe's leading symphony orchestras. It also produces the world famous Celtic Connections Festival every January. 
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), 100 Renfrew Street. Primarily a teaching college but is also Glasgow's busiest performing arts venue, hosting over 500 events a year. Primarily classical and contemporary music, ballet and dance, musical theatre, and contemporary drama.
  • The Theatre Royal, 282 Hope Street. First opened in 1867, it puts on mainly 'serious' theatre, opera and ballet. 
  • The Tron Theatre, 63 Trongate, ☎ +44 141 552-4267. Specializes in contemporary works.
  • St Andrew's in the Square, 1 St Andrew's Square. A restored 18th-century church turned arts venue that puts on classical music and folk.
  • Citizens Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, ☎ +44 141 429-0022. One of the most famous theatres in the world, and has launched the careers of many international movie and theatre stars. It specializes in contemporary and avant-garde work. 
  • The King's Theatre, 297 Bath Street. Glasgow's major 'traditional' theatre. It is over 100 years old and in the midst of a major refurbishment.
  • The Pavilion Theatre, 121 Renfield Street. The only privately run theatre in Scotland. It was founded in 1904 and has seen many of the greatest stars of music hall perform there: most famously Charlie Chaplin. Nowadays it features mainly 'popular' theatre, musicals and comedy.
  • Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), 350 Sauchiehall Street, ☎ +44 141 352-4900. Shows films, though it's primarily an art gallery. It's also a concert venue. 
  • Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, 113-117 Trongate, G1 5HD (entrance to most shows is via the New Wynd, the small lane between T.J.Hughes and Mitchell's Amusement Arcade off Argyle Street), ☎ +44 141 553-0840. until 02 Nov: Th-Sa 12:00-16:00. The oldest surviving music hall in the world, having opened in 1857, in response to the entertainment needs of a growing working class population with pennies in their pockets. It most famously held the début performance of Stan Laurel (of silent movies, slapstick comedy duo Laurel and Hardy fame in 1906), but also hosted Jack Buchanan and Sir Harry Lauder and a zoo! Acts needed some intestinal fortitude before they trod its boards since Glasgow audiences were notorious for leaving no turn un-stoned - toilets only arrived in 1893 and young boys used to favor the front of the balcony because from there they could urinate on the heads of the performers on the apron! Electricity and moving pictures arrived in 1896 but by 1938, the Panopticon could no longer compete with more modern Cinemas and less vulgar Variety Theatres and was recycled into a tailors shop and factory. It now shows mainly music hall orientated shows: e.g. magic, burlesque, and comedy, but also occasionally puts on classical and world music. There's no heating, so dress accordingly. No wheelchair/disabled access. Free admission but donations to support refurbishment are most welcome.
  • Oran Mor, 731 Great Western Road. Restaurant, pub, nightclub, theatrical and music venue. Due to its late opening hours, this venue now lies at the heart of the West End social scene. 

  • The Stand, 333 Woodlands Road (West End), ☎ +44 141 212-3389.
Although other pubs and clubs frequently hold comedy events.

The most interesting films in Glasgow are shown at:
  • Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), 12 Rose St, ☎ +44 141 332-8128. Excellent choice of classics, and art and foreign-language movies. 
  • The Grosvenor Cinema, 24 Ashton Lane, Hillhead (Just off Byres Road in the West End).
  • Cineworld, 7 Renfrew Street. The tallest cinema building (62 meters) in the world offers 18 screens to see mainstream films. 

Glasgow has the 3 biggest football stadia in Scotland. The major events in the football season are the clashes between the two Premier League clubs; Celtic and Rangers. Known as the "Old Firm", with their sectarian undertones (Celtic is traditionally supported by Catholics and Rangers by Protestants), these 90-minute matches produce a profound effect on the city, occasionally, but less frequently in recent times; resulting in violent clashes during or after the game. The Old Firm Derby is generally considered to be one of the best derby matches in the world, in terms of passion and atmosphere generated by both sets of fans, and is considered by many neutrals to be the most intense rivalry in all of Britain. The match itself is always highly anticipated and much talked about before and after. Cup (non-league) ties between these two giants are quite frequent, raising the tensions further. Getting tickets for "Old Firm" games can be difficult and cup ties near impossible. If you do go to one of these matches it is advised that you do not wear team colors (blue/red/white or orange for Rangers, green/white for Celtic) after the match.
  • Hampden Park (nearest Rail: Mount Florida - depart from Glasgow Central). Scotland's national stadium, capacity 52,063, hosts many large sporting events and concerts and also houses the Scottish Football Museum. The Scottish national football team plays its home games here. Is also home to Queen's Park Football Club. It is probably most famous for hosting the 1960 European Cup Final between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt. In more recent times, the UEFA Champion's League Final was held in 2002 between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen and the UEFA Cup Final in 2007 between Seville and Espanyol. It is possible for visitors to have a tour of the stadium and the Scottish Football Museum.
  • Celtic Park, Kerrydale Street, Parkhead (First Bus 40/61/62/240/262 go past the stadium). Home of the Celtic Football Club, the stadium has a capacity of 60,832, making it the biggest "club" stadium in Scotland and the second largest in the UK, behind only Manchester United's Old Trafford ground. Celtic was also the first British football club to become European champions when they won the European Cup in 1967, beating out England's Manchester United by a year. By visiting the Celtic Visitors' Centre, you can take a guided tour of the stadium as well as learn about the history of the club through various informative and impressive exhibitions and an auditorium. The guided tours are available daily at 11:00, 12:00, 13:45 and 14:30 (except home matchdays). Saturday matchday tours are available at 09:30, 10:00, 10:30 and 11:00.
  • Ibrox Stadium (Subway: Ibrox). This is the home of the Rangers Football Club, capacity 51,082. Ibrox tours run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (non-match days only!). On the Ibrox tour, you get access to the home dressing room and hear a recorded message from Walter Smith and Ally McCoist before climbing the marble staircase, visit the illustrious trophy room, the blue room, and the manager's office. Tickets, except for matches against Celtic, are available online from the club's website, ticket center at the stadium and club outlets at JJB Sports Stores in Glasgow city center. Club merchandise is available from the JJB Rangers Megastore located at the stadium and JJB Sports stores in Glasgow, with unofficial merchandise readily available in the environs of the stadium on matchdays. Food is available at the stadium in the Argyll House restaurant and the various burger stands in and around the stadium concourses. The Sportsmans Chip Shop on Copland Road adjacent to the stadium is also popular with the supporters. There are various bars beside the stadium, with the Louden Tavern on Copland Road being the closest. Along Paisley Road West are numerous bars sympathetic to the Rangers cause, such as the Louden Tavern, the Grapes Bar, District Bar and the Kensington Bar to name but a few. 
  • Firhill. Home of the Partick Thistle Football Club, also known as "the Jags" (and not actually in the suburb of Partick - the club is actually located in Maryhill). The stadium has a capacity of 10,887. Partick Thistle matches are a good way to see the Glaswegian passion for 'fitba' (football) without the unpleasantness of the Old Firm rivalry, or the high prices for their games.

Annual events
  • Glasgow Film Festival. Held every year in February/March.
  • Glasgow International Comedy Festival. Held yearly throughout March/April. 
  • Glasgow International Jazz Festival. Held every year in June. 
  • The West End Festival. Arts and music festival held annually in June. 
  • Merchant City Festival. Arts and music festival held annually in late July/early August. Free events. 

What to eat and drink in Glasgow, Scotland


The city has won the title "Curry Capital of Britain" two years running and has a huge and dynamic range of restaurants, Indian or otherwise. Despite Glasgow being the home town of culinary hero Gordon Ramsay, there are no Michelin-starred fine dining establishments in the city (Glasgow's sole Michelin starred restaurant, Amaryllis - owned by Ramsay himself - embarrassingly folded in 2004), nevertheless there are scores of highly regarded eateries in the city.


Pubs are arguably the meeting rooms of Scotland’s largest city, and many a lively discussion can be heard in a Glasgow bar. There is nothing Glaswegians love more than "putting the world right" over a pint (or three), whether it’s the Old Firm, religion, weather, politics or how this year’s holidays went. You are guaranteed a warm welcome from the locals, who will soon strike up a conversation.
There are three (or arguably, four) basic drinking areas: these are also good for restaurants. First, there is the West End (the area around Byres Road and Ashton Lane), second, there is the stretch of Sauchiehall Street between the end of the pedestrianized area (near Queen Street Station) and Charing Cross (and the various streets off this area). Thirdly, there is the Merchant City, which is near Strathclyde University's campus. This is the most 'upmarket' area to drink and eat in, although it still has numerous student dives: start at the University of Strathclyde and wander down towards the Trongate (the West part of this part of town is the gay area). Finally, and up and coming, is the South Side (i.e. South of the Clyde). This used to be very much 'behind the times' socially speaking, but the relocation of the BBC to the South Side and the whole area generally moving 'upmarket' has improved things greatly. Try the area round Shawlands Cross for restaurants, bars, and The Shed nightclub. There are also several hidden gems in and around the Blythswood Square area and the streets between Hope Street and Charing Cross: this being the city's business district however it can feel quite deserted on evenings and weekends.
Be warned though about dress codes, particularly in some of the more upmarket establishments in the city center and West End: sportswear and trainers (sneakers) are often banned, and some door staff Nearest notoriously "selective" about who is allowed. If confronted with this, go elsewhere. The general "boozer" type pubs have no dress codes, but football shirts are almost universally banned in all: particularly on weekends. One rule to be aware of is that some clubs and upmarket pubs enforce an unwritten policy of not allowing all-male groups of more than about four people. For this reason, it may be advisable to split into groups of two or three. Some pubs in Glasgow are also exclusively the haunt of Old Firm football fans: again, these will be very crowded on football days, can get very rowdy, and should be avoided. Fortunately they are easy to spot; for example, a large cluster of Celtic-oriented pubs exist in the Barrowlands area, while one or two bars on or near Paisley Road West are favorite haunts of Rangers fans.
The following is merely a selection of the many bars, pubs, wine bars, and clubs throughout the city.
An increasingly popular pastime in the city is the 'Subcrawl', a pub crawl round Glasgow's underground system, getting off at each of the fifteen stops to go to the nearest pub for a drink. It is advisable to go with a local especially since in some parts on the south side the nearest pub to the underground station is not immediately obvious, but it is a good way to see the different neighborhoods and pub cultures of the city.


Like any major British city, the central area of Glasgow has its fair share of chain and theme pubs, with establishments from the likes of Whitbread, Yates and of course the ubiquitous JD Wetherspoon:

  • The Counting House, George Square (near Queen Street station). Formerly a flagship branch of the Bank of Scotland, you can drink here in the splendor of this old Victorian banking hall. Converted into an open plan bar by the Wetherspoon chain, it’s popular with tourists and locals alike, with quirky features such as the bank vault now being used as a wine cellar.
  • The Crystal Palace, Jamaica Street (near Central Station and the Jamaica Bridge). Another Wetherspoons establishment, good for evening football; and a good place to meet up if you are heading across to the O2 Academy or the Citizen’s Theatre on the other side of the river.
  • Waxy O'Connors, West George Street (within the Carlton George Hotel, next to George Square/Queen Street station). Vaguely Irish themed bar with its curious 'Lord of the Rings'-like setting. Spread over six bars, nine rooms, and three floors. The premises is a fun place, with steps and stairs running up and down through the maze of rooms and bars, and a rather eclectic mix of "tree trunk" and church gothic interior décor.


Glasgow has many options for whisky, though many may not be immediately obvious for the passing tourist. Here are some good starting points:

  • The Pot Still, 154 Hope Street (City Centre). At a few blocks north of Central Station. It stocks over 300 single malt whiskeys (as well as other drinks, of course), and the staff really know their stuff. It's also an excellent example of a traditional British pub, with a great atmosphere.
  • Oran Mor Whisky Bar, Byres Road (On the corner with Great Western Road), ☎ +44 141 357-6200. The bar has a large selection of whiskies. It's a great starting point for the beginner. if you make yourself known to the staff as something of a newbie, then somebody in here will certainly be able to guide you through the different regions and tastes.
  • The Ben Nevis, 1147 Argyle St (towards the West End).
  • Bon Accord, 153 North Street (near the Mitchell Library at Charing Cross). Has over 230 whiskies. Also offers real ales.

Beers & Real Ale

  • Republic Bier Halle, 9 Gordon Street (off Buchanan Street, 2 mins from Central Station). Quirky beer pub (as the name suggests), where beers from all over the world are served to you after ordering from a menu. This chain is quickly becoming famous for its 2-for-1 stonebaked pizza deal. While the beers can be quite expensive, you'll be hard pushed to find better quality food for the price in the city center. A must-visit.
  • Beer Cafe, Candleriggs (Merchant City, inside the Merchant Square complex). Wide range of local and imported beers both in bottles and draught form.
  • Blackfriars, 36 Bell Street (Merchant City, on the corner of Bell Street/Albion Street), ☎ +44 141 552-5924. Great range of local and other beers/ales both in bottles and draught form, sometimes does live music.
  • The Three Judges, Partick Cross (West End, on the intersection of Byres and Dumbarton Roads, nearest subway: Kelvinhall), ☎ +44 141 337-3055. Lovely West End establishment with a continually changing board of ales from all over the UK on tap as well as a cider. They also have a fantastic selection of imported bottled beers in the fridge and Frambozen on tap. Has won the CAMRA award (Campaign For Real Ale) most years for the past 2 decades. Managed by Maclay Inns & Pubs.
  • West Brewery Bar, Glasgow Green (East End, in the Templeton Building), ☎ +44 141 550-0135. Bar open Sun-Thu 11:00-23:00; Fri-Sat: 11:00-24:00. Food daily 11:30-21:00. A restaurant and micro brewery serving traditional food and German-style lager and hefeweizen beers.
  • Pivo Pivo, 15 Waterloo Street, ☎ +44 141 564-8100. This bar has a very good selection of beers both on tap and bottled. It is also popular for live music as well. Just round the corner for hope street and they proudly don't sell Tennent's.
  • Clockwork BeerCo, 1153-1155 Cathcart Road (near Hampden Park), ☎ +44 141 649-0184.
  • The State, 148-148a Holland Street (off Sauchiehall Street). A good ale venue and a cozy proper pub if you're sick of trendy bars.


Apart from Stravaigin and Brel in the West End (see the Restaurant section above), there are a few gems in and around the city center.

  • Strata, 45 Queen Street (at the southern end of Queen Street, near Argyle Street). Award winning gastropub split over two levels. Well known for its cocktail bar.
  • Babbity Bowsters, 16-18 Blackfriars Street (Merchant City, nearest railway: High Street). Notable for its fine range of imported lagers, the bar meals are excellent. You can even sit outside in the quaint little beer garden (when it is not raining).

Culture and music

  • The Solid Rock Cafe, 19 Hope Street (at the bottom of Hope Street). Rock and metal music.
  • Rufus T. Firefly, 207 Hope Street (near the top of Hope Street). Rock and metal music.


As the city center and West End's bars become ever more sanitized, off-the-peg and tourist-oriented, finding a traditional “boozer” in Glasgow is getting harder. For the visitor who wants to make the effort, they can be great places to discover what many would call the “real” Glasgow, the Glasgow where Glaswegians hang out. The other advantage is that the cost of a drink is often a lot cheaper. Common sense should tell you which ones to try out, and which to avoid!

  • The Horseshoe Bar, 17-19 Drury Street (short walk from Central Station). Possessing the longest continuous bar in the UK, the rock band Travis used to rehearse upstairs before hitting the big time; as a token of thanks, one of their Brit Awards is displayed behind the bar. Billy Joel has been another famous customer of this establishment when playing in the city.
  • The Saracen Head, 209 Gallowgate (near Glasgow Cross). Nicknamed the “Sarry Heid” by locals, this old school pub (began in 1755, although in a different building) lies at the gateway to the Barrowlands area and the East End. Like all pubs in the area, it becomes an exclusive haunt of Celtic fans on match days and gets very rowdy.
  • Failte, 79 St Vincent Street (nearest railway: Glasgow Central), ☎ +44 141 248-4989. Independent Irish themed pub and a good place to have a banter with the locals. Like most Irish themed pubs in the city, it gets impossibly crowded on Celtic match days.
  • The Scotia Bar, 112 Stockwell Street, ☎ +44 141 552-8681. One of Glasgow's oldest bars (established 1792). Famous for its folk music and 'traditional' ambiance.
  • The Alpen Lodge, 25 Hope Street. Great little bar with classic fast service and local banter.

Shopping in Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow can be a surprisingly upmarket retail destination. The shopping is some of the best in Scotland and generally accepted as the number two shopping experience in Britain after London. Buchanan Street is the seventh most expensive place for retail space in the world, which means that there's an increasing number of designer clothes shops in areas like the Merchant City. Alongside this, the City Council is putting pressure on more traditional shopping centers like the Barras Market where you can get remarkably similar-looking clothes for a more sensible price.
The nucleus of Glasgow shopping is the so-called "Golden Z", made up of the continuous pedestrianized thoroughfares of Argyle Street, Buchanan Street, and Sauchiehall Street. Here, virtually all of the major British big name retailers are represented. Buchanan Street is the most upmarket of the three, with prestigious names such as House of Fraser, Apple Store and Zara and other specialized designer stores. Ingram Street in the Merchant City has seen a boom in recent years and attracts exclusive, premium brands like Bose, Bang and Olufsen, Ralph Lauren and so on.
Bath Street and Hope Street run parallel to the main pedestrianized streets, and if you want to get away from "chain store hell", they have a fine selection of more quirky, local independent retailers selling everything from fine art, Scottish clothing, antiques, and specialist hi-fi.
There are larger shopping malls on the city outskirts at Braehead, Silverburn and Glasgow Fort.
  • Barras (in the East End). Open 10:00-17:00 every weekend; weekday opening in the weeks immediately before Christmas. Barras is the essential Glasgow shopping experience. Hundreds of market stalls selling everything you could possibly want and a load of other stuff too. Free entertainment available from time to time when the Police raid the place for counterfeit goods. The market is notorious for counterfeit goods: especially DVDs and clothing. Pirated DVDs should be avoided at all costs, as the quality is often very poor.
  • Buchanan Galleries (at the Northern end of Buchanan Street). A large shopping mall in the heart of the city center which has all the usual British high street stores, its anchor tenant is the John Lewis partnership, regularly voted the best store in Britain and with unusually knowledgeable and conscientious sales staff.
  • St Enoch Centre. Europe's largest glass roofed building - this huge mall is on St Enoch Square between Argyle Street and Buchanan Street, and a major extension and refurbishment programme was completed in 2010.
  • Princes Square (off Buchanan Street in the city center). An upmarket mall specializing in designer clothes shops, jewelry and audio equipment. Grande Dame of British fashion, Vivienne Westwood has a store as well as a separate jewelry concession in Princes Square.
  • Argyle Arcade. The city's jewelry quarter housing Scotland's largest collection of jewelry shops. The L-shaped arcade connects Argyle Street and Buchanan Street. Shops here vary considerably - there is a selection of cheaper jewelry shops and a selection of luxury prestigious jewelers. Very commonly used as a shortcut for shoppers between Buchanan Street and Argyle Street.
  • De Courcy's Arcade, Cresswell Lane (Located just off Byres Road in the West End. Subway: Hillhead). An unusual little shopping arcade by yer maws with lots of second-hand music and book shops and independent gift shops.
  • Byres Road. Check out the chichi shops and vintage stores in the West End

Safety in Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow is like any other big city: it has safe areas and less safe areas, and the basic common sense rules apply. The center of Glasgow is safe and you should not encounter any problems. All of the city center and tourist areas are well policed. During the day, the City Centre also has many 'information officers' in red hats and jackets who should be able to assist you if needed. Despite what its local reputation may be, being a Western European city, Glasgow ranks among one of the safest cities in the world. Glasgow does indeed have some very dangerous areas - particularly in some northern and eastern suburbs - where drug-related crime, for instance, is rife, but these are well away from the center and you would be unlikely to venture into them unless you were making a conscious effort to do so.
Crime in the city center is usually limited to drunken and rowdy behavior late in the evenings - hotspots include the southern end of Hope Street next to Central Station, and under the 'Heilanman's Umbrella', the railway bridge over Argyle St adjacent to Central Station; and the western end of Sauchiehall St which have large concentrations of bars and nightclubs. There is usually a heavy police presence anyway in these areas on Friday and Saturday nights to defuse any problems. The West End fares better, but be aware that the back streets off Byres Road and around the University can quickly disorientate a stranger unfamiliar with the area in the hours of darkness.
Although you'll see it being worn everywhere by the locals if you buy any piece of Celtic or Rangers-related clothing as a souvenir, be wary of wearing it in public as it can lead to confrontation - particularly in the evenings. Most bars and clubs in the center of the city universally ban all football colors, regardless of team.
Whereas prostitution and other sex work is legal in Scotland, 'soliciting' (i.e. prostitutes soliciting for business in the street), 'kerb crawling' (that is 'punters' driving or walking around obviously looking for sex workers) are both illegal, so avoid driving or walking around the obvious red light district. The main trouble spots in the city have historically been the Blythswood Hill and Anderston areas close to the M8 motorway - a busy office district by day, but usually otherwise deserted in the evenings and on weekends. 'Running a brothel' is also illegal, so 'massage parlours' and brothels can be and are 'busted' by the police. If you are in a brothel/'massage parlour' which is raided by the police you may be taken into custody and asked questions you don't want to answer.
For a list of police stations check the official webpage. In order to contact a local police station, call 101. Police Scotland, the new Scotland-wide police force, has a "Travel Safe" guide.

In a medical emergency, dial 999 or 112. These numbers are free of charge from any telephone. Scotland's National Health Service (NHS) will provide emergency treatment for anyone in Scotland, irrespective of whether they reside in Scotland or not.
For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the 24 hour NHS 24 service on 111 free of charge from landlines or mobiles.

Language spoken in Glasgow, Scotland

The speed of the conversation tends to be quite quick in Glasgow. If necessary, ask people to repeat (even slowly!) what they are saying, Glaswegians are generally very friendly and able to communicate in far more formal English than that which is commonly used if it is required. Standing on a city center street corner with a map in the daytime is usually a cue for passing Glaswegians to offer help in finding your way.

As with all areas of Scotland, regional dialects are present in Glasgow. The Glaswegian dialect of Scots or "the patter" as it is known, has evolved over the history of the city. As each wave of migration takes place, new words and phrases are added. There is a slight Celtic language connection due to the influences of Highland Gaelic and Irish Gaelic. Glasgow slang is also peppered with various more or less meaningless phrases such as 'by the way', 'man' or 'dead' (very, as an adjective) that can give the answers to simple questions an almost baroque complexity. So "Did you enjoy the concert last night?" might be answered "Aye it was pure dead brilliant man" which means, essentially, "Yes, it was good". One common misunderstanding between Scots and foreigners is that when the question "How are you?" is asked, you should not answer by telling them if you are not fine, and then go on to elaborate by describing what has happened to make you unhappy. This will annoy the average Scot, whose tolerance level for this will be quite low. The usual and accepted response is "Fine, you?"


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