Guide to Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland with a population of about 600,000 and a lot to offer visitors. Glasgow has become one of the most visited cities in the British Isles. Visitors will find a revitalized city centre, the best shopping outside London without a doubt, excellent parks and museums, and convenient access to the Highlands and Edinburgh. If you make your way to this beautiful city, take a look at my guide and recommendations!
How to Get into Glasgow
- Glasgow Prestwick International Airport
We personally traveled via train from Edinburgh, as we had spent 3 days there before heading to Glasgow. We purchased tickets at the train station in Edinburgh and arrived in Glasgow at Central Station within 1 hour. The station was a short 10 minutes walk from our hotel accommodations.
How to Get Around
Glasgow is a very pedestrian-friendly city. Most places are easily accessible by walking. As you move out of the city centre, you will need to rely on public transportation. Glasgow does offer subway and bus options, however we opted to just use Uber. I personally like to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, especially when you have limited time in a city. If you like to utilize public transportation then by all means go ahead, as it is a great way to see the city and discover new spots.
What to Experience
Glasgow Botanic Gardens are located in the West End of Glasgow. The gardens features a round and white Victorian glasshouse , which showcases the plants and flowers according to their geographical region. This is a beautiful place to walk around on a sunny day and admire all the lovely flowers. We visited in May and the flowers were just blooming.
The gardens were established in 1817 by Thomas Hopkirk, a distinguished Glasgow botanist, with the support of a number of local dignitaries and the University of Glasgow. This year it celebrates 200 years of flourishing growth! The gardens are free of entry and I believe a wonderful place to experience during your visit.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland’s most popular free attractions. Opened in 1901, the Kelvingrove Museum holds everything from Scottish history to a painting by Salvador Dali. This Glasgow Victorian landmark holds one of the finest collections in Europe.
Riverside Museum gives you a glimpse into daily Glasgow life in the early to mid 20th Century through a collection of vehicles and models to tell the story of transport by land and sea. The museum was designed by the world-famous architect Zaha Hadid. My favorite part was the historic Glasgow street scene from the early 1900s! Entry is also free to this museum.
During one of our days in Glasgow we decided to take a day tour with Rabbies Tours. We were picked up in a lovely bus and guided North to Stirling. This castle has been used for thousands of years by invading armies. It was the northernmost frontier of the Roman empire. As you approach Stirling, the magnificent castle catches your eye as it sits high on a volcanic rock. Known as the ‘Key to Scotland’, for centuries this was the most important castle in Scotland and the views from the top make it easy to see why.
After exploring Stirling Castle we hopped back on our bus and traveled into the Highlands to an area known as the Trossachs National Park. Often referred to as ‘The Highlands in Miniature’ it marks the point where the Lowlands meet the Highlands and entering this beautifully picturesque area feels like going into a different country. We stopped here for lunch in the heart of the National Park where we were able to enjoy the magnificent nature. Our tour guide then took alittle detour and stopped at Doune Castle, a medieval castle dating back to the 14th century. The castle has been featured on TV and is known as Winterfell in the TV series Game of Thrones as well as Castle Leoch in Outlander. Pretty amazing to see it in person!
After lunch you ‘take the high road’ or back-road to Loch Lomond, at over 22 miles long, five miles wide at its widest point, and with more than 30 islands, it is Scotland’s largest loch, it takes its name from the mountain Ben Lomond on the eastern shore.
Following a walk out along the West Highland Way we traveled onto the picturesque Distillery of Glengoyne, one of the leading ‘Malt Whiskies ‘in Scotland. We had the privilege of drinking whisky at one of Scotland’s oldest whisky distilleries! How cool is that?! I mean, I know whisky isn’t for everyone and it is an acquired taste, but the Glengoyne tour teaches you how to properly identify whisky regions and how to properly taste it. The first sip of whisky can be the most shocking to your taste buds but as you continue to sip your palate becomes more accustomed to the whisky so that you can taste more complex flavors.
I never would have thought that I would enjoy whisky, but when you travel to Scotland, a country that specializes in whisky, you tend to develop a deep appreciation for their historical craft. If you have the opportunity to visit Glengoyne I highly recommend. If you just want to visit the distillery on its own it is located only 30 minutes from the city of Glasgow.
Glasgow’s city chambers is magnificent! I know, it doesn’t seem like going to a city’s chambers would be that interesting, but when it’s built in 1888 in the Italian Renaissance style then it is! Tours of the building are available daily, and visitors can see the magnificent marble staircases, lobbies, the debating chamber and the lavish banqueting hall.
Where to Eat & Drink
The Glasgow food scene is on the rise. If you’re looking for a WOW factor then check out some of these local spots!
After visiting Glasgow I can say I absolutely love it! From the history, to the food, Glasgow is a city you should add to your bucket list. It is a city for locals, but very welcoming of tourists. I am convinced this is one of the many reasons why Glasgow is one of the most visited cities in Scotland!
Would you visit Glasgow?
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