The city is home to fantastic art galleries, historical National Trust properties, leafy green spaces, amazing street art, and a plethora of live music venues. Glasgow is perhaps not as well-known as Edinburgh to international travelers, but the reward of visiting here is a less crowded city where experiences seem less rushed and more authentic. Glasgow is an easy city to love with its friendly and welcoming residents, dozens of free museums and attractions, burgeoning focus on craft food and drink, thriving live music scene, large number of Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings, and beautiful country homes and parks.
There is something in the city for everyone from those who love art and architecture to those who prefer breweries and music. If you are looking at a map of Scotland, it is the southwestern quadrant of the country. Getting to Glasgow By Plane. There are multiple options for getting to Glasgow. If there is no direct flight, connecting flights from London, Edinburgh, or Dublin are frequent.
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The airport is a short shuttle bus or taxi ride from the city. Glasgow is well-connected by train from locations throughout England and Scotland. You can save money on fares by booking train tickets well in advance.
If you are in the UK and would rather travel by bus, there are daily coach connections to Glasgow from a number of cities which generally take longer but may save you money compared to train fares.
You can check National Express for coach connections and prices. For drivers, Glasgow is about 50 miles from Edinburgh about 1 hour, 10 minutesmiles from Inverness about 3 hoursmiles from Manchester about 3 hours, 30 minutesand miles from London 6 hours, 30 minutes. There are also taxis of course. Driving in and around the city is also fairly easy although finding parking in the central area and around the university can be difficult, and using a bus or walking is recommended for reaching central locations.
Best time of year to visit Glasgow? The best time of year to visit depends a lot on what you want to do, but one of our favorite times of year to travel in Scotland is May and June. The weather is generally decent, the days are long, and the attractions are not too crowded.
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Although note that Glasgow is rarely as crowded as Edinburgh gets in the summer months. However, any time of the year is a a good time to visit Glasgow as most attractions are open year round. Generally it will be warmer in summer and colder in winter, but predicting the weather is impossible as it can be sunny in January or cool and raining in August. How many Days should I Spend in Glasgow?
This depends primarily on how much time do you have and what you want to do. But I would recommend spending at least 2 full days and nights in Glasgow to get a good taste of the city, although you can of course see a few highlights on a day trip or spend a full week in the city and not run out of things to do. The city is well-positioned for some excellent day trips as well and we highlight a few of these at the end of the article. To figure out how many days to spend in Glasgow, I would suggest using this post which lists all the main highlights and things do in Glasgow to create a list of places you want to visit.
I would then figure out how many days it will take you to see all the Glasgow attractions you want e. Where to Stay in Glasgow?
Glasgow has many lodging options, ranging from budget to upscale, and you should not have a problem finding an option that suits your style and budget. We recommend staying in a central location so you are within walking distance or a short bus or tram ride from the city center George Square. You can also take a look at this list of Airbnb alternatives for more apartment rental options.
Discount Passes in Glasgow? Sometimes entry into one attraction may give you a discount into another as for example our City Sightseeing bus ticket came with a discount for the Science Museum. We have listed several National Trust sites in this Glasgow guide i. Where to find more Information? If you are looking for additional information about planning your trip to Glasgow, you can check out the Glasgow tourism website. Things to do in Glasgow: Central Glasgow There are so many things to do in Glasgow and luckily most are located within central Glasgow.
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Use this list to choose the attractions of interest and put together your own personalized Glasgow itinerary. All the spots in this first section are located within a 20 minute public bus ride from George Square although most are within a 10 to 20 minute walk.
George Square George Square is the main city square in central Glasgow. It is a common meeting place in the city. It has served as a government building for the city sincecurrently as the headquarters of the Glasgow City Council. The building is worth seeing from the outside, but you can also take free guided tours of the inside.
Tours are free and are typically given twice a day Monday to Friday, and tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. It has changing exhibitions of modern art from both local and international artists.
The building itself has an interesting history, originally built in for wealthy tobacco merchant William Cunninghame. The art museum is free to visit. This long-running prank shows you a little of the local humor and character of Glaswegians I think. The building was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh —his first public commission—and formerly was the headquarters of The Glasgow Herald.
Mackintosh is probably the most famous Scottish architect and designer of the 20th century and is known for being influential as a creator of the Glasgow Style. There is a Mackintosh exhibition here, temporary art exhibitions and events, a gift shop, information center, and even a viewing gallery with a good view of the city. A guided behind-the-scenes tour of the tour is also offered, you just need to book in advance. Originally a Roman Catholic church hence its name as a cathedralit is now an active Church of Scotland gathering place as well as an important historic building.
Mungowas believed to have founded his church, and he is buried in a crypt underneath the building. There are a number of notable historical, religious, and architectural elements to be found here and it is a beautiful example of Scottish Gothic architecture. Outside, you can cross a footbridge to the necropolis, which a is a large hillside burial ground and great place for a walk on a sunny day. The Cathedral and necropolis are free to visit although donations are appreciated.
Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. It contains a large amount of information and religious artifacts. The museum is free to visit. It was lived in by various Cathedral clergy and is the oldest house in Glasgow. This is one of only a few surviving medieval buildings in Glasgow. The building has been restored and is furnished to depict life between andshowcasing a number of pieces of 17th century Scottish furniture donated by Sir William Burrell.
If you visit, be sure to step outside to see the pretty St Nicholas Garden, a medicinal herb garden located behind the building. We enjoyed our visit, as it was a well-organized and informative tour that ended with a generous beer tasting.
Guided tours are available daily, best to book in advance if you have a preferred tour time. Note that guests must be wearing closed flat shoes suitable for walking around a work environment, be able to climb stairs, and children must be at least 12 and accompanied by an adult. Special access tours for those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility can be arranged if you contact them in advance.
Glasgow Green Glasgow Green is a historic park in the east part of the city that has been a public green space since the 15th century, making it the oldest park in Glasgow. It was initially mainly used as grazing lands and over the centuries has been used for a multitude of purposes. A number of historic political demonstrations, concerts, and other events have been held here.
Glasgow Green is free and open to the public. A visit here is an easy way to spend an hour or two. The Glasgow Police Museum The Glasgow Police Museum is a small museum containing over 2, items related to policing both in Glasgow and around the world.
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The city of Glasgow Police was the first professional police force in Britain, being established by an Act of Parliament in The museum is split into two permanent exhibitions: Admission is free but a donation is greatly appreciated to help keep the museum operating.
University of Glasgow The University of Glasgow was founded inmaking it the fourth oldest university in the UK and the second oldest in Scotland. It has more listed historical buildings than any other university in the UK and the exteriors are easy to explore on a self-guided or guided tour.
The university also has several museums and attractions that are open to the public. All of the sites within the University of Glasgow are within walking distance of each other, including the visitor center, Hunterian Art Gallery, The Mackintosh House, and Hunterian Museum. Parking can be difficult on weekdays as there is limited pay-and-display parking available to visitors, so taking the bus or subway may save you time even if you have a car.
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University Tours If you are interested in touring the university and learning more about the architecture and some of the famous scholars and professors, you can do a self-guided or guided tour of the university.
You can book a guided university tour at the visitor center or in advance online. Although it holds art from artists around the world, it has an especially large collection of art from Scottish artists, including a large number of works by the Scottish Colourists, Glasgow Boys, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Highly recommend for those interested in Scottish art.
The main collection is free to see with admission charges for special exhibits. The Mackintosh House The Mackintosh House is a reconstruction of the home where architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his artist wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh lived together from to The house was not designed by Mackintosh but the original Victorian house was remodelled and redecorated by Mackintosh.
The original interior spaces were faithfully recreated as closely as possible at The Mackintosh House and the majority of the furniture in the house is from the original house. Many of the furniture and design elements were created by the Mackintosh couple, and these were pointed out to us during the tour. This is the best place to get a sense of where and how these two artists actually lived. The house is open to the public via guided tours for a small admission fee.
It holds a large and eclectic collection of scientific instruments, fossils, Egyptian artifacts, coins, anatomical instruments, and geological specimens. It also holds one of the largest exhibits on the Antonine Wall, which was a Roman wall built in the 2nd century AD along central Scotland. Note that there are also additional museum collections located at the university such as zoology and anatomy collections; however, these normally require an advanced appointment to visit as they often do not have set hours for public visits.
There are over 20 themed galleries displaying everything from a spitfire plane to medieval armor to Impressionist paintings. This is one of the largest and best free museums in Scotland and one of the most visited attractions in Glasgow.