ClydesideGlasgow in the Central Belt of Scotland. For the area around the upstream River Clyde, see Clydesdale
Cities, towns and villages
- is the booming heart of this region, a great city in every sense, with lots to see, do, and eat & drink. Don't just rush through on the way to the Highlands - you need several days here to take it all in.
The industrial south & east: a series of small to medium towns, commuter-land for Glasgow, and long past their 19th C heyday. This, bluntly, is the least attractive and least interesting part of Scotland, and you wouldn't come just to see it. If however you found yourself here, there's actually a surprising amount to occupy you. Orbiting Glasgow anti-clockwise:
- is a post-war planned New Town, with all that's wrong with that, yet its main attraction is the Museum of Rural Life.
- has a huge mausoleum and Chatelherault country park.
- has Strathclyde Country Park, a landscaped former mining area, and Scotland's only Theme Park.
- has the Sumerlees Museum of Industrial Life.
- is a drab New Town with little reason to visit.
- is a good base for exploring the Antonine Wall.
- is also near the wall, and with a surprising history of ship-building: the "Clyde Puffers" sailed out along the canal.
- has Mugdock Country Park, and is the start of the West Highland Way to Fort William.
- has a Roman bath house, the best-preserved Roman structure in Scotland.
- , pick of the bunch, is arguably the western terminus of the Silk Road, with its distinctive patterned fabrics.
Downriver: the view improves.
- : pity about the ugly modern town, but castle rock marks the start of the Highlands, and the Firth of Clyde opens up to the west.
- with Alexandria is on the shores of Loch Lomond: loch ferries and cruises run from here.
- is the start of the "Costa Clyde", with a gallery and Fire Service museum.
- is the ferry port for Dunoon on Cowal.
- : a little way south is Wemyss Bay, ferry port for Rothesay on Bute.
Glasgow Airport (GLA), 8 miles west of the city, has direct flights from many European countries as well as North America and Dubai. It has domestic flights to London Heathrow, City, Gatwick, Luton and Southend; to Birmingham, Bristol, Southampton, East Midlands, Belfast, and the larger Hebridean islands plus Orkney and Shetland. Public transport from the airport to the rest of Clydeside usually involves taking the bus to Glasgow city centre then changing, but there's a direct bus to Paisley.
You might also fly in via Edinburgh or Manchester, both with good onward transport. You're unlikely to fly in via Prestwick as this only has flights to Med holiday destinations.
Railway routes converge on Glasgow's two mainline stations. The fastest trains from London Euston, Birmingham and Manchester run via Motherwell to Glasgow Central, as does the Caledonian Sleeper. Trains from London Kings Cross, York, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Edinburgh run to Glasgow Queen Street, as do trains from Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness. Suburban and branch lines fan out from Glasgow to all the main towns of Clydeside.
You can get around very easily using all means of public transport such as buses,trains and taxis.
- Glasgow's top sights include the cathedral and necropolis, Kelvingrove gallery, "People's Palace", and Rennie Mackintosh creations such as the Willow Tea Rooms.
- Roman Scotland: they didn't stay long or build much, but the coast-to-coast Antonine Wall can be seen around Bearsden, Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth.
- Walk, cycle or boat along the Forth & Clyde Canal. It has a good firm towpath and is mostly navigable, although there's a long-standing block at Kirkintillloch - check Scottish Canals for current status of locks and facilities. It starts near Dumbarton, has a spur into central Glasgow, then ascends through Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth. It then descends into West Lothian, where the ingenious Falkirk Wheel lifts boats into the Union Canal to Edinburgh.
The southern and eastern Glasgow suburbs are some of the safest areas in Scotland.