Glasgow (Gaelic: Glaschu, Scots: Glesga) is the largest city in Scotland and the fourth-largest in the UK; with a population of about 600,000 in the city itself and over 2,000,000 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 centre has been challenged by decades of socio-economic and political change alongside various regeneration efforts. Despite this, Glasgow remains one of the nation's key economic centres outside of London.
Glasgow was 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 centre for commerce, tourism, and culture. It 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 revitalised city centre, the best shopping outside London without a doubt, excellent parks and museums (the majority 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, much of the city's shopping and entertainment, 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 along Gallowgate and London Road. The South Side contains the neighbourhoods 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 has many new and impressive structures, such as the Clyde Auditorium, the Science Centre and the Riverside Museum.
phone: +44 845 859 1006address: 10 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3GF
The eastern side of the City Centre is a sub-district known as Merchant City, which contains Glasgow's original medieval core, centred on 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 centred on Blythswood Square. Running parallel to Sauchiehall Street, Bath Street is the main route into the neighbourhood 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, a former 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 EndTo the west of the City Centre, the West End boundary is not defined, 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.
- "Wee" - small
- "Aye" - yes
- "Bam" or "bampot" or "bamstick" - an impolite term for a silly or annoying person
- "Eejit" - an impolite term for a person who has done an incredibly stupid thing- an idiot
- "Tumshie" - a silly and/or fat person
- "Pure (brilliant)" - Very
- "Minging" - bad smelling or bad tasting; similarly a "minger" refers to an ugly person. Can also be used to denote drunkenness; "Ah wis well mingin' on Friday."
- "Midden" - an old Scots word for a waste dump, but commonly used to described anything that is untidy or unkempt.
- "Haw" - roughly equivalent to "Hey" and used to attract someone's attention
- "(to give) pelters" - to humiliate someone
- "Ned" - Nicely described by popular backronym "non-educated delinquent". Typically teenage youths who can be spotted sporting tracksuits, drinking cheap alcohol and wearing "bling" jewellery, as well as bright white trainers (sneakers), soccer socks (kneesocks) scrunched down, and a baseball cap, usually from the brand Burberry. Many neds are aggressive. You'll do well to avoid them.
- "Buckie" - Real name is Buckfast, a "tonic wine" (this indicates its fortified alcohol content and not any medicinal value.) It is relatively cheap and purple in colour.
- "Glaikit" - Means someone is dim or have a blank expression on their face. "When I asked him what 13 divided by 11,212.189 was he looked pure glaikit."
- "Teuchter" - Slang word for a Highlander, or anyone from the North of Scotland - often used in a derogatory context. Pronounced like chookter.
- "Gallus" - Means someone is cocky, cheeky or self-confident
- "Bolt" - go away, as in "leave me alone" - kind of means "run" so tends to be used in a slightly aggressive context
- "Besom" - a cheeky or 'bold' woman. Sometime pronounced like "bism"
- "Manky" - unclean, filthy
- "Baltic" - Really cold as in 'The Baltic Sea'
- "Mental" - Pretty much a synonym for crazy.
- "Pished" - drunk or intoxicated.
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 centre street corner with a map in the daytime is usually a cue for passing Glaswegians to offer help in finding your way.
DialectAs 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?"
By planeGlasgow is served by two main airports close to the city: Glasgow (International) Airport and Glasgow Prestwick Airport. Edinburgh Airport is approximately east of Glasgow.
Glasgow (International) Airport
Glasgow AirportThis is the city's principal airport, and the main direct long haul and transatlantic entry airport into Scotland. There are regular scheduled UK and European destinations, holiday charters, and the airport is the hub for the Scottish island network operated by Loganair. United Airlines operate a daily service from New York (Newark), while Emirates operate two daily flights to Dubai. If you are entering the United Kingdom via London, British Airways operates frequent shuttle flights to Glasgow Airport throughout the day from both Heathrow and Gatwick airports. British Airways also operates a regular business shuttle from London City airport, although it can be considerably more expensive than flying from Heathrow or Gatwick. Cheap fares are sometimes available if you book via a price comparison site, rather than going to BA direct. KLM flies regularly to Glasgow from Amsterdam-Schiphol which connects with a wide range of international destinations. EasyJet flies from Luton, Stansted, Gatwick and Berlin Schönefeld.
The Glasgow Shuttle service 500 departs frequent from outside the terminal building at stance 1 to the city centre, dropping off near both main railway stations Glasgow Queen Street and Glasgow Central) and the bus terminal Buchanan St Bus Station. The service runs 24 hours a day and up to every ten minutes. Tickets cost £8 single, £12 open return (within 28 days) and can be paid in cash (change is given), by card or booked online in advance. Single tickets include an onward transfer to any other First Glasgow bus at the city centre - return tickets don't, however. Group discounts (2 or more) are possible. Wi-Fi is available.
The First Glasgow service 77 links the airport with the city centre via the West End every 30 minutes during the day, dropping to hourly after 6PM. Although it takes roughly an hour to Buchanan St Bus Station, it can be convenient for passengers to the West End, avoiding the need for a bus transfer. Tickets are also cheaper than the 500, at £5 single, exact fare only.
The local McGill's bus 66 or 757 are the slowest, but cheapest option, going as regularly as every 10 min to Paisley Gilmour Street railway station, where regular trains run to Glasgow Central in as little as 10 minutes. It leaves from stance 7. Travelling to the airport you can buy an inclusive train and bus ticket from any train station: ask for Glasgow Airport and show the bus driver your train ticket. Travelling from the airport buy a coupon for £1.50 from the SPT Travel Information counter beside domestic arrivals, show it to the driver and then and use it for £1.50 of credit towards onward train travel from Paisley Gilmour Street station. A single from Glasgow Central to/from the airport costs £3.50.
Glasgow International Airport has 2 terminals. All passengers arrive at the first terminal arrivals hall. The first terminal is used for Thomson, Emirates, Jet2.com, Iberia and many more. Terminal 2 is only used for check-in for: Aer Lingus, Canadian Affair and Virgin. Glasgow Airport also has two prayer rooms; one in the second set of departure gates and the other in the arrivals hall.
There are 3 customs "channels." The blue channel is for those arriving directly from EEA countries (EU, plus Norway, Luxembourg, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein) and Switzerland. If you're coming from any other country (including the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Canary Islands), you should choose either the green channel or, if you are not sure or have something to declare, the red channel. The airport's not usually too crowded but there can sometimes be a crowd crush at check-in and security.
A number of hotels serve Glasgow International Airport. The closest is Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport, which is directly across from the terminals. There are other hotels close by, but require shuttles to and from the terminal, or a further walk.
Airparks Glasgowaddress: Burnbrae Drive, Linwood, PaisleySafety measures: high-fencing, floodlights, 24-hour CCTV and security patrols. Trailers are permitted within this car park at Glasgow but an extra space will be charged.
Glasgow Long Stayaddress: Arran Avenue, Glasgow Airport, Paisley10 min from the airport. There are parking bays for Blue Badge holders near the bus stops. The courtesy coaches are wheelchair accessible and DDA compliant. Safety measures: 24 hours a day, has 24-hour CCTV, and is fully fenced and floodlit.
It is possible to ride your bicycle to the airport.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport
Glasgow Prestwick AirportIt is famous for being fog-free and having a long runway. Ryanair operates 16 scheduled routes, flying into Prestwick predominantly from: Ireland, Italy and Spain with some useful routes from various destinations in Eastern Europe. Ryanair also run various seasonal services to Mediterranean resorts. Some holiday charter flights fly into Prestwick rather than Glasgow's main airport.
The airport has its own railway station (PRA), with three (M-Sa) or two (Su) trains per hour to Glasgow Central (show your flight paperwork to get a £3.55 half-price ticket; the journey takes around 50 min). All trains to Ayr and Stranraer call at the airport. There are also a few direct trains to Edinburgh (via Glasgow Central) which take about 2 hr 15 min. If you show your flight confirmation and ID when purchasing a train ticket to/from the airport within Scotland, you only pay 50% of the standard fare.
The Stagecoach West bus X77 also runs from Buchanan St Bus Station to the airport throughout the day, and covers the crucial times (early morning and late evening) when the trains are not running. Travellers wishing to use the X77 bus must book their ticket online via the Prestwick Airport website at least 12 hours prior to departure, in order to guarantee a place on the bus. The bus journey takes about 50 min.
The A77/M77 roads run directly from Prestwick into the centre of Glasgow if you intend to drive.
Edinburgh AirportEdinburgh Airport (EDI) is easily accessible from Glasgow since it is on the western edge of Edinburgh, approximately away and about an hour's drive via the M8 motorway or by train.
phone: +44 871 266 3333 (premium rate from mobiles & many landlines)Non-stop express coach service from Glasgow Buchanan Street Bus Station to Edinburgh Airport with journey times of about 60 min.
Useful as Ryanair and EasyJet have a number of European routes that are not available from either Glasgow International or the rapidly declining Prestwick.
This airport can also easily be reached from Edinburgh Haymarket railway station (all trains from Glasgow call there) via tram or dedicated bus - see the Edinburgh article for more details.
Glasgow has two main railway stations. Trains from the south of Scotland, the city's southern districts and all long-distance trains from England arrive at (Glasgow Central), while shuttle trains from Edinburgh and anywhere north of Glasgow arrive at . Central and Queen Street stations have left luggage lockers. The stations are an easy 10-min walk apart and the route is well signposted, or there's a frequent shuttle bus between them, which is free if you are holding a through railway ticket otherwise a fare of 50p is charged if you don't.
Most trains within Scotland are run by ScotRail.
From EdinburghConfusingly, there are four rail routes between the capital and Glasgow's two main line terminals. An off-peak return is £12.70, regardless which route you use, a peak return is £23.80. In summary, the four routes are as follows - all depart from both Edinburgh Waverley and Edinburgh Haymarket stations:
- Fastest: The ScotRail Shuttle via Falkirk High into Queen Street (High Level) - every 15 min on weekdays until 18:30, half-hourly outside these times. Journey time 50 min.
- Faster: CrossCountry or LNER trains via Motherwell into Central (High Level) - trains originating from Penzance, Plymouth, Bristol, Birmingham or London King's Cross make the journey at sporadic intervals throughout the day - journey time approx 1 hour. CrossCountry services have the cheapest walk-up one way fare between the two cities, of £8.80 for an Anytime single. Some services via Shotts run limited stop every hour with journey times of approx 65 min.
- Slow: Via Bathgate and Airdrie into Queen Street (Low Level) en route to Milngavie or Helensburgh Central - every half hour, journey time 80 min.
- Very Slow: Via Shotts or Carstairs into Central (High Level) - every hour, journey time up to 90 min.
If you're planning to visit Glasgow from Edinburgh (or vice versa) for longer than a day, it's cheaper to buy a return ticket between Glasgow and Eskbank (£17.60 off-peak), rather than two singles between Glasgow and Edinburgh (£12.70x2=£25.40 off-peak). This is because Glasgow-Edinburgh is less than the magic 50 miles (80 km) at which national rail start selling period returns, but extending the journey to Eskbank just tips it over. Since a flexible ticket allows you to break your journey anywhere en route, this ticket is valid between Glasgow Central or Queen Street and Edinburgh.
From London and the SouthGlasgow can be reached from London by either the West Coast or East Coast main lines. The quality and reliability of the rail services has improved a lot over the years, and it can be cheaper and almost as fast as flying once the time spent travelling to airports with their associated security hassles is taken into account.
- Faster: Virgin Trains run thirteen trains a day from London Euston via the West Coast route. Journey time is 4½ hr, with one northbound express completing the 400-mile (640 km) journey in just over 4 hr. Single one-way fares £17.50 is booked up to 12 weeks in advance, rising to £59. Open off-peak return £110. Virgin also operate a two-hourly service from Birmingham.
- Slower: LNER run one direct train a day from London King's Cross via the East Coast route (taking in York and Newcastle also), with a roughly hourly service to Edinburgh throughout the day, which connects with the Shuttle (see above). Journey time 5¾-6½ hr (if connecting at Edinburgh). Single one-way fares start at £12.50 one way if booked online and up to 12 weeks in advance. Open off-peak returns are the same as for Virgin Trains.
- Overnight: The Caledonian Lowland Sleeper runs Su-F from London Euston, departing around 23:00 to arrive at Glasgow Central by 07:30 and you can stay aboard to 08:00. (Another portion runs to Edinburgh; they divide / join at Carstairs.) The southbound train leaves around 23:30 to reach Euston at 07:00, again you can stay aboard until 08:00. No trains on Saturday night, and the Highland Sleeper doesn't run via Glasgow. New rolling stock was introduced on all the sleeper routes in 2019. Compartments have two berths and are sold like hotel rooms: you pay extra for single occupancy, and you won't be sharing with a stranger. Tickets can be booked at any UK mainline railway station or online: a single sleeper fare is around £160 for one or £200 for two people. You can also just use the sitting saloon, single £45. If you have an existing ticket or rail pass for a daytime train you need to buy a sleeper supplement. Pricing is dynamic - weekends cost more, if indeed there are berths available. Booking is nominally open 12 months ahead, but (as of Oct 2019) the website hasn't grasped this. If you buy online, you need to print out your e-ticket to present on boarding.
Within ScotlandApart from the Edinburgh shuttles, the key inter-city rail routes to Glasgow from elsewhere in Scotland are as follows:
- Aberdeen and Dundee (via Perth): Hourly into Queen Street (High Level) throughout the day.
- Inverness (via Perth): Every two hours into Queen Street (High Level) throughout the day
- Stirling - Half Hourly (approximately) into Queen Street (High Level) throughout the day.
- Fort William, Oban and Mallaig: Three trains per day into Queen Street (High Level). In addition, the overnight sleeper train to London Euston calls at Westerton in the late evening where it is possible to change to a service into either Central or Queen Street Low Level.
- Stranraer: Four trains per day into Central (High Level)
- Ayr (via Prestwick Airport and Troon): Half hourly into Central (High Level)
Other rail servicesAll national inter-city routes operate into Central (High Level).
- Virgin Trains operate direct services to/from Birmingham New Street.
- First Transpennine Express operate a direct service to Glasgow from Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly.
- CrossCountry operate a handful of early morning and late evening trains to/from the South West of England via Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Sheffield, Birmingham New Street and Bristol.
By carThe main approaches to Glasgow are the following:
- from England on the M74 motorway; Glasgow is about 150 km north of the border
- from Edinburgh (east) or Glasgow Airport (west) on the M8 motorway
- from Stirling and all points north and east on the M80 motorway
- from the West Highlands on the A82 dual carriageway
All routes converge on the M8, which carves through the city centre. Glasgow has no credible park-and-ride system, but some of the railway stations do have small car parks. There is also the Shields Road Park and Ride site, which serves the city centre. A bus park-and-ride is due to open shortly near Hampden Park which allows easy access from junction 1A of the M74.
ParkingOn-street parking in the City Centre and West End is limited and expensive, metered bays are available at the side of the road and you pay at an adjacent machine and display a ticket in your windscreen or dashboard. The prices are typically 30-40p (depending on location) for every 12 minutes. In general, parking charges are levied Monday to Saturday (this includes public holidays) and free after 18:30 and all-day on Sundays. But always check what the controlled hours are - these are shown on the ticket machines themselves and on adjacent signs. If attempting to park on the free periods - get there as early as possible before the locals do. Some parking areas are for residents only: don't be tempted to use them as you run the risk of having your car towed away!
There are many multi-storey car parks in the city centre; they are clearly signposted into "East", "West", "North" and "South" zones on all the approaches into the central area with an electronic display showing how many spaces are left in each. They don't, however, differentiate between the expensive NCP ones and the cheaper ones inside shopping centres or run by the council.
There is cheaper parking at railway and Subway stations on the outskirts of the city (Shields Road Subway station has the largest car park - 800 spaces). £5 buys you all-day parking and a return journey into the city centre.
In general, driving in the centre of Glasgow should be avoided if you are not a confident driver, as there are one-way systems, bus lanes and pedestrian precincts. Glaswegians are not the most patient drivers in the world, and they particularly dislike hesitancy (taxi drivers being the worst culprits). Parking restrictions are strictly enforced, and vehicles parked illegally or in an obstructive manner may be towed away and the owner of the vehicle would be liable for a £150 release charge to recover it.
The city has licence plate recognition cameras and extra manned patrols on the bus lanes within the city centre, getting caught will incur a £30 fixed penalty!
If, however, you are confident enough to hire a car or require it to save money on your travel, all the major rental companies and some lesser ones are at the airport. You should book your car rental in advance to avoid disappointment and can do so from price comparison companies such as Glasgow Airport Car Hire. Car rental companies will allocate you a manual transmission car by default, unless you specifically ask for an automatic one.
By busInter-city bus services arrive at in the city centre, just north of Queen Street railway station off Killermont Street. Buchanan is ranged around four sides of a square: west has a small mall with toilets, ticket office, news shop and luggage store. (No cafe or retail, head out into the street.) The long distance bus stands (48-57) are down this side, eg Scottish Citylink to Belfast, Oban, Skye, Inverness, Edinburgh city and airport, and Aberdeen. Here too are National Express and Megabus for London. The Glasgow Airport bus departs from stand 47 on the southwest corner, but (in mid-2019) there is construction here that may disrupt things. Buses from the north and south stands are medium-distance, e.g. Kilmarnock and Fife, and the west stands are only for tour buses. City buses don't come into the station, look for these out on the street. The main taxi stand is north side.
By boatFrom Ireland, car and foot passengers have a number of convenient ports close to Glasgow. For those travelling with a car, the nearest ferry ports are Troon and Cairnryan for multiple daily P&O Irish Sea ferries from Larne in Northern Ireland. Alternatively, Stena Line operate ferries and the faster Stena HSS several times a day between the Port of Belfast and Stranraer.
Through train tickets are available from any railway station in the UK to any railway station in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland via Stranraer, where the train station is adjacent to the ferry terminal. Fares start at £30 one way (£18.90 with a railcard) for Belfast to Glasgow (available on the day of travel from most railway stations) taking about five hours. Similarly, Scottish Citylink sell inclusive coach and ferry tickets between Belfast and Glasgow and Edinburgh.
There is DFDS Seaways ferry from Holland to Newcastle and drive. This takes three hours from Newcastle to Glasgow city centre.
By canal: you can get here from Edinburgh, Linlithgow and Falkirk by canoe, with four portages where the canal is blocked. Obviously that rules out arrival by barge, but it's a pleasant bike or cycle route, see "Parks" below.
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) is the local agency which operates the Subway, a few specialist bus services and co-ordinates public transport in the Greater Glasgow area. Glasgow's public transport system is one of the most extensive in the UK outside of London.
On footThe centre of Glasgow is very pedestrian-friendly with major shopping streets given over to foot traffic. As you move out of the city centre, 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 centre 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.
The infamous Bridge to Nowhere over the 9-lane M8 Motorway is now a bridge to somewhere after having been boarded up for more than 40 years. Built in the 1970s to link Anderston with a shopping centre 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 on-line with the walkit.com walking route planner.
By SubwayGlasgow's Subway runs in a double circle around the Glasgow city centre 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 centre 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 Central station through a short walk on street level.
The system operates approximately 06:30-23:15 (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 clockwise, the Inner Circle runs anti-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, or £3 if bought at the station for immediate use. They can be topped up with an arbitrary amount (although credit/debit card topups under £5 incur a charge). Your first journey of the day is £1.45, the second is £1.35 and subsequent journeys are free, meaning you pay £2.80 for unlimited travel. 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 at £1.65 for a single, £3.10 return, and £4 for unlimited rides that day. 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 trainSuburban 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 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. 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.
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 centre 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 centre, 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. A single ticket costs £2.20, an all-day ticket that can be used on any First bus costs £4.30, a weekly ticket £15.50 (£13 for students). Some other bus operators, however, give change.
Glasgow SimpliCity, operated by First Group, offers frequent bus service in the city centre 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 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 centre 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 a political hot potato among locals.
FaresSPT offers a number of different daily combined bus/rail travel tickets aimed at the visitor.
- The Mackintosh Trail Ticket gives you, for £16, 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, and costs £3.50 (adult). If you have a car, a park-and-ride version (around £7) 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, for £5.60 after 09:30 Monday to Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday.
- 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. Two versions are available for 1 adult and up to 2 children (£10.20) or 2 adults and up to 4 children (£18.20). You can buy it only from a staffed rail station or an SPT Travel Centre.
- If you are in town for a week or more, SPT's ZoneCard might be useful. It can be used on suburban trains, buses, and the underground and is valid all day, even in the morning. Prices vary depending on how long you want it for (1 week to 1 year) and how many zones that you want it to cover.
By taxiLike 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 (). There are taxi ranks outside Central and Queen Street railway stations, adjacent to George Square and along the southern end of Queen Street. There is also a taxi rank at Buchanan Bus Station. For a journey from say the centre of town to the West End expect to pay around £5-6, from the city centre out to the suburbs around £10-£2. 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 unlicenced 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 licencing plate attached to the rear bumper of the vehicle if unsure.
Glasgow Private Hirephone: +44 141 774-3000one of the biggest taxi fleets in Europe and has thousands of cars, which service all areas of the city.
Hampden Cabsphone: +44 141 649-5050Services most of the city and surrounding area
By boatThere 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 centre and the Xscape leisure complex.
Glasgow was 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:
phone: +44 141 552-6891address: Cathedral Square, Castle StreetA 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”.
phone: +44 141 287-2000address: George SquareThis 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 centre, is populated by several statues of civic leaders and famous figures from history and is often used for outdoor events.
Glasgow Crossaddress: At the junction of Trongate, Saltmarket, High Street, Gallowgate and London RoadThis intersection marks the original medieval centre 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 Stationaddress: St Enoch Square, Argyle and Buchanan StreetsThe original Subway station, a quaint overground building now used as a chain coffee shop, sits in the middle of St Enoch Square.
phone: +44 345 711-4141 (General station enquiries)address: Gordon StreetThe 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 £13 entry fee goes into a pot earmarked for preserving the station's history and improving the tour.
phone: +44 141 332-0521address: 217 Sauchiehall StDuring 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 .
phone: +44 141 353-4526address: 167 Renfrew StThe Glasgow School of Art is Scotland's only independent art school offering university level programmes and research in architecture, fine art and design. If you want to create your own art, enrol for evening classes or the summer school. 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 art works. In June 2018, another devastating fire hit the school, leaving the building's future uncertain. 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. The tour lasts 1 hour.
phone: +44 141 287-2999address: North StOne 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 the Mitchell's extensive collection is housed in the rather ugly 1970s extension attached to the rear. You can easily lose a day in here!
- There are a number of interesting bridges over the River Clyde in the City Centre:
Tradeston Pedestrian BridgeThe bridge crosses the river west of the M8 motorway and is nicknamed the "Squiggly Bridge" by locals because of its distinctive S-shape.
Kingston BridgeThis 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 ArcA 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.
Park CircusAn area of Georgian townhouses laid out in a radial pattern similar to the English city of Bath. This neighbourhood has made the transition from originally being an upmarket residential area to a prestigious office district for mainly legal and consultancy firms, although there have been moves to encourage the companies back into the city centre 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.
phone: +44 141 287-0500address: 225 Scotland StCharles Rennie Mackintosh's last major building - thoughtfully designed, with an excellent museum covering both Mackintosh and the changing faces of schools.
phone: +44 141 353-4770address: Bellahouston ParkBuilt in the 1990s to Mackintosh's 1901 entry for a design competition.
phone: +44 844 493-2204address: 61-63 Netherlee RdNow run by the National Trust, and being renovated, Holmwood House is one of the best examples of the work of Glasgow's other great architect: Alexander 'Greek' Thomson.
address: 870 Garscube RoadThe only church designed by Mackintosh (in 1896), in a simple style for its use as a free church, it became a Church of Scotland church until 1976. It is now the headquarters of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, with a small shop.
Museums and art galleries
The majority of museums are free with boxes for you to give a donation (most have a recommended donation of £3). This is entirely voluntary though, so don't be put off if you can't afford this!
phone: +44 141 287-2550address: 2060 Pollokshaws Rd, Pollok Country ParkThis 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.
phone: +44 141 287-3050address: Royal Exchange SquareThis 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. The equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington in front of the museum is famous for the traffic cone he usually wears on his head; it's put there by pranksters. The Glasgow Council doesn't find this as amusing as most tourists and residents do, and periodically removes it - if it's missing, and you want a photo, just come back the next day and it will likely be back.
phone: +44 141 552-1818address: 30 Bell StThe 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.
phone: +44 141 420-5000address: 50 Pacific QuayHas 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.
phone: +44 141 330-4221address: University Avenue, University Of GlasgowThe 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.
phone: +44 141 276-9599address: Argyle Street, West EndThe 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.
phone: +44 141 276-0788address: Glasgow GreenThe 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.
phone: +44 141 276-1625address: 3 Castle StreetGlasgow's oldest remaining house, built in 1471, has been renovated to give visitors and idea what the inside of a Glasgow house was like circa 1700.
phone: +44 141 287-2720address: 100 Pointhouse PlaceOffers an excellent collection of vehicles and models to tell the story of transport by land and sea, with a unique Glasgow flavour. 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.
phone: +44 141 357-3699address: Pointhouse QuayThe 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.
phone: +44 141 552-7080address: Trongate 103A kinetic gallery and 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 adds to a really unique and amazing experience. The full show takes 1hr 10min, the short one 45 min.
phone: +44 141 276-1625address: 2 Castle StreetThis 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 practised locally and worldwide.
phone: +44 141 552-2151address: Trongate 103An alternative art gallery/installation space.
phone: +44 844 493 2197address: 145 Buccleuch StreetA National Trust for Scotland site, a middle class Glasgow tenement house preserved in pretty much the way it was in the early 20th century.
phone: +44 141 552-7141address: 28 King StreetA 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.
phone: +44 141 276-5365address: 11 Mitchell LaneThis 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.
The Museum of Pipingaddress: National Piping Centre, 30-34 McPhater Street, G4 0HWThe home of the bagpipes is in the former Cowcaddens Free Church. The museum shows 300 years of piping history, mainly showing Scottish bagpipes, but also showing Northumbrian pipes and some from Poland, Hungary, Italy and Spain. The piping centre also has a restaurant (diner from £16), an 8 room hotel and teaches piping.
For a large city, Glasgow has a surprising number of parks and green spaces; there is more parkland here than in many other British cities.
Glasgow GreenThe 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. The council will tow away illegally parked vehicles and charge you up to £250 to get them back!
address: West EndThis 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 skate park.
phone: +44 141 276-1614address: 730 Great Western Road, West EndA 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.
address: Victoria Park Drive North, West EndConsidered to be the prettiest park in Glasgow.
phone: +44 141 276-1695address: Victoria Park Drive NorthThe remains of an ancient forest, around 330 million years old. This is the only example of a preserved forest from this period on Earth.
- runs all the way from Edinburgh via Linlithgow, Falkirk and Kirkintilloch into the north of Glasgow. The main canal continues west to join the Clyde near Dumbarton, while a spur branches south for two miles to Port Dundas near city centre. Reach it by walking north up Cowcaddens Rd onto Garscube Rd under the M8, and join the well-signed cycleway. The towpath is a good paved track on the west bank of the spur, lined with restored 18th- and 19th-century warehouses before becoming a woodland linear park. There are no gradients on this section, but "stop-locks" were fitted in wartime in case bombing broke the banks and caused flooding of the factories below. Out east, the main canal is culverted in four places, easily portaged by canoe / kayak but a barrier to longboat navigation.
address: Flenders RoadOwned 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.
phone: +44 141 952-3771address: Cart StreetA fully preserved 100-year-old crane as used in the Glasgow shipbuilders John Brown Engineering. Great views of Glasgow from the top of the crane: guided tours available.
MusicGlasgow'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, and rock-orientated venues:
address: 421 Sauchiehall StreetA great student institution known locally as "Sleazy's" it's a favourite 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 18s only (both bar and gigs).
address: 244 Gallowgate, G4 OTSThe 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.
address: 272a St Vincent Street, G2 5RLWhere both Oasis and local favourites Glasvegas were discovered.
address: 50-60 King Street, G1 5QT
phone: +44 141 548-1350address: 60 The Trongate, G1 5EPPub and restaurant with a lively programme of up and coming bands.
address: 15 Union St
The Riverside Clubaddress: 33 Fox StreetGlasgow's top ceilidh (Scottish country dancing) venue on Friday and Saturday nights.
address: 22-28 Renfield Ln, G2 6PHCity Centre venue with regular indie gigs downstairs, bar and cafe upstairs.
address: 121 Eglinton Street
address: 22 Jamaica StreetRated one of the best clubs in the world from house to techno to whatever takes your fancy. Founded in 1987.
address: at University Gardens
address: 18 Jamaica StreetA former adult cinema now re-purposed as an alternative music venue. Serves the rock/metal/punk/alternative scene 4 nights a week with drinks as low as £1.
phone: +44 844 395 4000 (tickets)address: G3 8YWThe 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 neighbouring Clyde Auditorium (the armadillo-shaped building). SECC Tickets sells tickets for these.
Arts and theatrical venues
phone: +44 141 353-8000address: 2 Sauchiehall StreetThis 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.
address: 100 Renfrew StreetPrimarily 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.
address: 282 Hope StreetFirst opened in 1867, it puts on mainly 'serious' theatre, opera and ballet.
phone: +44 141 552-4267address: 63 TrongateSpecialises in contemporary works.
address: 1 St Andrew's SquareA restored 18th-century church turned arts venue that puts on classical music and folk.
phone: +44 141 429-0022address: 119 Gorbals StreetOne of the most famous theatres in the world, and has launched the careers of many international movie and theatre stars. It specialises in contemporary and avant-garde work.
address: 297 Bath StreetGlasgow's major 'traditional' theatre. It is over 100 years old, and in the midst of a major refurbishment.
address: 121 Renfield StreetThe 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.
phone: +44 141 352-4900address: 350 Sauchiehall StreetShows films, though it's primarily an art gallery. It's also a concert venue.
phone: +44 141 553-0840address: 113-117 Trongate, G1 5HDThe 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 Buchnanan 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 favour 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 re-cycled 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.
address: 731 Great Western RoadRestaurant, 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.
phone: +44 141 212-3389address: 333 Woodlands Road (West End)
Although other pubs and clubs frequently hold comedy events: see the listings magazine The List for details.
CinemaThe most interesting films in Glasgow are shown at:
phone: +44 141 332-8128address: 12 Rose StExcellent choice of classics, and art and foreign-language movies.
address: 24 Ashton Lane, Hillhead
address: 7 Renfrew StreetThe tallest cinema building (62 metres) in the world offers 18 screens to see mainstream films.
BFI Mediathequeaddress: Bridgeton Library, 14 Orr St.Watch historic films on demand in this old cinema, built as the Olympia Theatre in 1910.
Soccer: 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 colours (blue/red/white or orange for Rangers, green/white for Celtic) after the match, as you could be at risk of physical harm from opposing fans.
Hampden ParkScotland'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. The UEFA Champions 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 Parkaddress: Kerrydale Street, ParkheadHome of the Celtic Football Club, the stadium has a capacity of 60,832, making it the biggest "club" stadium in Scotland and the third largest in the UK, behind only Manchester United's Old Trafford and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London. 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. Adults £8.50, Concessions £5.50 Family Ticket £20 (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children) Under 5’s are admitted free.
Ibrox StadiumThis is the home of the Rangers Football Club, capacity 51,082. Ibrox tours run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (non-match days only!) and are priced at £5.50 for kids, £8 for adults and £24.50 for a family group (2 adults and 2 children). 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 centre at the stadium and club outlets at JJB Sports Stores in Glasgow city centre. Club merchandise is available from the JJB Rangers Megastore 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 Kensignton Bar to name but a few.
FirhillHome of the Partick Thistle Football Club, also known as "the Jags" (and not in the suburb of Partick - the club is 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.
Rugby Union: The city's professional club Glasgow Warriors play in the Pro14, the Celtic super-league of mostly Irish and Welsh clubs. Their home ground is Scotstoun, five miles northwest of city centre; this occasionally hosts internationals but these are usually at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. Glasgow Hawks play in the Premiership, the top tier of domestic competition. Their home ground is Balgray Stadium in Kelvinside two miles north of the centre.
Distillery & Brewery Tours
phone: +44 1389 878561address: Great Western Road, Clydebank, G81 4SJA fully functioning Scottish whisky distillery, with guided tours and a visiting centre. The basic (classic) tour takes 60 min and includes one whisky. Other tours are available.
phone: +44 141 550-0135address: Templeton Building, Glasgow Green, G40 1AWA 45-min tour through the microbrewery with tasting session. It is best to book in advance.
phone: +44 141 212-8815address: 85 Drygate, G4 0UTThe brewery tour takes 45 min and includes a tasting of three 1/3-pints of their beer.
phone: +44 141 649-0184address: 1153-1155 Cathcart Road, G42 6HBA brewpub that offers tours for up to 5 people with 3 tasting beers.
address: Wellpark Brewery, Duke St.Tour the large brewery (biggest in Scotland), which brews Tennent's lager and a wide range of other beers, including some supermarket own brands. Closed toe shoes are required for the tour.
- Glasgow Film Festival is in Feb / March. The next is 26 Feb - 8 March 2020.
- Glasgow International Comedy Festival is in March. The next is 12-29 March 2020.
- Glasgow International is a festival for contemporary art held in alternate years. The next is 24 April-10 May 2020.
- Glasgow Jazz Festival is mid-June. The next is probably 17-21 June 2020 but tbc.
- The West End Festival is held throughout June. The 2020 event is tbc.
- Merchant City Festival is an arts and music festival in late July. The next is probably 23-26 July 2020 but tbc.
- The World Pipe Band Championships are held on Glasgow Green in mid-August. The next are probably 14-16 Aug 2020 but tbc.
- University of Glasgow, in the west end of the city, has served Glasgow since 1451. It is the fourth oldest in the United Kingdom, and is one of the country's most prestigious.
- University of Strathclyde, in the north-east of the city centre, was founded in 1796 as Anderson's University, and later became the Royal College of Science and Technology (affectionately nicknamed "The Tech" by Glaswegians) before gaining full university status in 1964. In 1993 it absorbed the Jordanhill College of Education, and gained that institution's campus in the West End.
- Glasgow Caledonian University, to the north of the city centre, is Glasgow's newest university. It was formed by the merger of Glasgow College of Technology and Queens' College in 1992. It is a couple of minutes away from Buchanan Bus Station.
Jobs in Glasgow can be found through the government-run JobCentres. You must have a National Insurance number and, if you are not a citizen of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, the correct type of work visa to work legally in the UK. Your employer should require this to ensure you pay the correct rates of income tax. However if you ask around you'll find a lot of bars and nightclubs offer work cash-in-hand. Some of the many temp agencies in the city centre aren't too fussy about immigration niceties either. With the city's growing financial services industry, there are quite a lot of opportunities for office temps, though this has changed with the global economic downturn of the last few years.
The nucleus of Glasgow shopping is the so-called "Golden Z", made up of the continuous pedestrianised 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 specialised 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 pedestrianised 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.
BarrasBarras 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 GalleriesA large shopping mall in the heart of the city centre which has all the usual British high street stores, its anchor tenant is the John Lewis partnership, regularly voted best store in Britain and with unusually knowledgeable and conscientious sales staff.
St Enoch CentreEurope'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 SquareAn upmarket mall specialising in designer clothes shops, jewellery and audio equipment. Grande Dame of British fashion, Vivienne Westwood has a store and a separate jewellery concession in Princes Square.
Argyle ArcadeThe city's jewellery quarter housing Scotland's largest collection of jewellery shops. The L-shaped arcade connects Argyle Street and Buchanan Street. Shops here vary considerably - there are a selection of cheaper jewellery shops and a selection of luxury prestigious jewellers. Very commonly used as a short cut for shoppers between Buchanan Street and Argyle Street.
address: Cresswell LaneAn unusual little shopping arcade by yer maws with lots of second hand music and book shops and independent gift shops.
phone: +44 141 357-4548address: 398 Byres Road, G12 8ARRelaxed homeware and interior accessories.
address: 12 Ashton Lane, West EndOf all Ashton Lane's establishments, "The Chip" as it is popularly known by locals is certainly its most celebrated and most famous. Established by the late great Ronnie Clydesdale - a local legend - this local restaurant has been serving up top quality food using Scottish produce since the early 1970s and is frequently lauded as one of Scotland's finest restaurants. On the expensive side, but well worth it. Booking absolutely essential.
address: 247 West Campbell StreetPerched high up on Blythswood Hill, this locally owned restaurant uses local produce within international dishes produced by recognised chef John Quigley.
address: 11 Exchange PlaceLegendary seafood restaurant just off Buchanan Street, and Glasgow oldest eatery - surviving since the 1930s with most of its original Art Deco interior still intact. Rogano is a Glasgow institution, but beware, especially if you get tempted by their vintage wine list, this place can be extremely expensive.
address: 29 Royal Exchange SquareJust along from Roganos, this classy establishment has made a name for itself under the leadership of chef David Friel. Quite pricey but worth it.
address: 176 West Regent StreetOwner and head chef Brian Maule is a former business partner of local hero Gordon Ramsay. When Ramsay began his TV career as a celebrity chef, Maule took the chance to branch out on his own and is now a very highly regarded local institution. The result is Chardon D'Or, opened in 2001 and widely recognised as one of the very best quality restaurants in Glasgow. Owner Brian Maule is also well known for strong links with musicians and entertainers, and his restaurant often offers deals combining concerts or shows with fine dining for one fixed price. A popular choice with local businessmen.
address: 64 Albion StreetA real Glasgow institution, serving fine locally sourced food in a relaxed atmosphere. Great food and great service.
phone: +44 141 225 6650address: 84 Buchanan St, McCormick LaneQuality, upmarket fish and chips as well as other Scottish traditional fare. Offers the ubiquitous and tasty haddock, as well as other options such as cod, sea bass, and even lemon sole.
Takeaways, fish & chips
Glasgow has taken many different cultural foods and combined them into a unique dining experience. Most takeaways offer Indian dishes (pakora), pizzas and kebabs as well as the more traditional fish and chips or burgers. This has resulted in some takeaways offering a blend of dishes like chips with curry sauce, the donner kebab pizza, the battered and deep fried pizza.
Fish & chips (aka "Fish Supper") is a perennial favourite, and there are a healthy number of fish and chip shops around the city. As mentioned above, many will also offer Asian or Italian dishes alongside the traditional chip shop fayre. Given the Glaswegian's famous fondness for anything deep fried - "bad" establishments don't usually last long. In the centre of town, four of the best "chippies" are:
The Coronationaddress: GallowgateA Glasgow institution sitting at the gateway into the Barrowlands area - the usual friendly Glaswegian reception and competitively priced.
Da Vinci'saddress: Queen Street, City Centre24-hour dining in this handily positioned sit-down takeaway near many of the city's nightclubs.
On a side note, the now infamous deep fried Mars Bar - served up in many Glasgow chip shops - did not originate in the city, contrary to popular belief. It was in fact invented in Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire.
address: 311-313 Hope St
phone: +44 141 331-1655address: 50 West Regent St
address: 12 Renfield St
address: 665 Pollokshaws Rd
Lucky Cottagephone: +44 141 945 3398address: 96 Queen Margaret Drive G20 8NZChinese takeaway, does home deliveries.
phone: +44 141 342-4966address: Ashton LaneWell known for its Belgian fare, particularly their moules (Mussel) Pots in a variety of flavours. This Bar/Restaurant is set over 3 levels and sells a range of Belgian beers, including Banana and Raspberry, along with a few of the local Scottish favourites. During the warmer weather there is a large Beer Garden at the rear. There is often free live entertainment. Food Happy Hour M-Su 17:00-19:00
phone: +44 141 334-2665address: 28 Gibson StEstablished by Ronnie Clydesdale (of Ubiquitous Chip fame), this award winning gastro-pub offers a wide selection of European and World cuisine made from Scottish ingredients. Also renowned for its creative cocktails.
address: Argyle ArcadeBoasts to be 'the oldest bar and restaurant in Glasgow'. You can sit outside if you wish, or try the bistro or other menus. They offer other activities, such as a cinema-EAT experience, ceilidh dancing and various music nights in the upstairs ballroom.
IndianGlasgow may have the finest Indian food in the United Kingdom, and indeed many Glaswegians now joke that the Indian curry is their "national dish". Historically, the city's finest Indian restaurants have been clustered together in the Charing Cross area, just beyond the "main" section of Sauchiehall Street, but the Merchant City has seen a boom in new establishments. Take your pick from Panjea, The Wee Curry Shop, Mother India's Cafe and more. Glasgow's top Indian restaurants include:
Ashoka RestaurantsCheck out the Ashoka West End (1284 Argyle Street, near Kelvingrove), the Ashoka at Ashton Lane or Kama Sutra (Sauchiehall Street) - all of which are owned by the local Ashoka chain.
address: 66 Woodlands RdArguably one of the finest Indian takeaway in the West End with a proud record and loyal following. Home delivery daily until midnight (Sa Su 04:00). Order on-line to save.
address: 149 Elderslie St, Charing CrossThe flagship branch of the Ashoka/Harlequin chain and is notable for its waiting staff who wear kilts. Booking is advisable Thursday-Sunday evenings.
address: 66-68 Park Road, West EndAffectionately known simply as "The Shish" by its regulars, this family run establishment has been here for over 50 years.
address: 44 CandleriggsAuthentic North Indian restaurant in the Merchant City. It has has won numerous awards.
address: 89 CandleriggsSister restaurant to The Dhabba, about 50 yards further north on the same street, but this time specialising in South Indian cuisine it has some great pre-theatre deals and is lauded as much as its sibling.
phone: +44 141 552-5115address: 29 Albion StreetThe original Cafe India in Charing Cross was a Glasgow institution before it was burned down in 2006. Now reborn in the Merchant City area, it has re-established itself as one of the city's top curry spots.
phone: +44 141 946-5412address: 2022 Maryhill RoadUpmarket Indian restaurant on the main route out to the affluent northwestern suburbs of the city. Set in a clubhouse setting, it has won numerous awards and accolades.
address: 176-182 Woodlands RdIn a fantastic location just outside the city centre, but not quite in to the west end. Offers a unique way to sample many Indian dishes with a tapas style menu.
There are also hundreds of takeaway Indian restaurants around the city on nearly every main street, although the quality of these can be very variable. Some are excellent - comparable with anything you'd find in the city centre, whilst others can be rather poor. To be on the safe side, only go on local recommendation.
phone: +44 141 333-1122address: 2 Nelson Mandela PlaceStylish restaurant with excellent menu.
Di Maggio'sOn Royal Exchange Square, Merchant City and on West Nile Street, City Centre. Locally owned chain of family-friendly Italian restaurants with several outlets in the city and outlying towns. Good value and usually no need to book.
phone: +44 141 553-0880address: 27 Chisholm StreetGood and inexpensive but often busy.
phone: +62 141 648-9999address: 152 Park Road G4 9HBItalian deli and restaurant. Deli has prepared panini, salads, patisserie. Convenient for picnics in the park on a sunny day.
address: 48 Buchanan StreetRegarded as one of the most established, hospitable and fashionable Italian restaurants in Glasgow (within 2 minutes walking distance from Glasgow Central Station).
address: 205 Byres RdMore of a café than a restaurant, the pizzas, coffee and hot chocolate are phenomenal. Authentic Italian feel to it. A great place for lunch or an informal dinner, or a pizza after a night out in Ashton Lane. A must if you are in the west end of Glasgow.
FishAs befits a port town, Glasgow excels at seafood and fish.
address: 225a West George StreetWinner of The List's (local listing magazine) 'Best Restaurant in Glasgow' award, 2003 and 2004. Two AA rosettes.
address: 157 Hope StreetGood quality fish restaurant. Has a sister restaurant in Edinburgh.
Vegetarian and veganGlasgow was named the UK's most vegan-friendly city by PETA in 2013.
phone: +44 141 553-1638address: 50-60 King StreetMusic venue, art gallery and vegetarian/vegan cafe.
phone: +44 141 553-2400address: 12 Kings CourtVegan café and bar with live music. Their turkish-style lamachan pizza is to be recommended!
address: 22-28 Renfield LaneVegan pub. Has some interesting dishes, like burritos with spicy haggis.
phone: +44 141 576-5018address: 10-14 Kelvinhaugh StreetOrganic/vegan pub & restaurant. Try their burger and nachos! Live music on Thursdays.
phone: +44 141 357-4524address: 42 Otago LaneTea house with veggie food.
InternationalGlasgow is a city of immigrants and has a thriving international food scene.
phone: +44 141 553-0733address: 10 King St65-seat restaurant that opened in 1998 and specialising in dishes from all over the former Soviet Union such as the vegetarian dish of Moldavia Gouvetch, a colourful and winter warming casserole of sweet peppers, potatoes, ginger, peas, aubergines, leek, chilli and garlic served with grilled lavash. Carnivorous Georgians will not go hungry either! Walls are hung with changing exhibitions of oil paintings, pastels, watercolours, prints, ceramics and crafts by artists from around the world.
Also try Alla Locanta (Med / Turkish), Ichiban (Japanese) and the numerous Thai, and Malaysian and Chinese restaurants, including the Thai Siam, the Rumours and others.
Pubs are 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 pedestrianised 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.
Dress codes, particularly in some of the more upmarket establishments in the city centre and West End: sportswear and trainers (sneakers) are often banned, and some door staff are 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 favourite 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 15 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 neighbourhoods and pub cultures of the city.
Chain and theme pubs
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 Houseaddress: George SquareFormerly a flagship branch of the Bank of Scotland, you can drink here in the splendour 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 Palaceaddress: Jamaica StreetAnother Wetherspoons establishment, good for evening football; and 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'Connorsaddress: West George StreetVaguely 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 be obvious for the passing tourist. Here are some good starting points:
address: 154 Hope StreetAt a few blocks north of Central Station. It stocks over 300 single malt whiskeys (and 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.
phone: +44 141 357-6200address: Byres RoadThe 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.
address: 1147 Argyle St
address: 153 North StreetHas over 230 whiskies. Also offers real ales.
Beers & real ale
address: 9 Gordon StreetQuirky 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 deals, and its recently introduced £5 all-you-can-eat buffet midweek (the main branch on Gordon St will service weekends, but not the sister branches!) While the beers can be quite expensive, you'll be hard pushed to find better quality food for the price in the city centre. A must-visit.
address: CandleriggsWide range of local and imported beers both in bottles and draught form.
phone: +44 141 552-5924address: 36 Bell StreetGreat range of local and other beers and ales in bottles and on tap, sometimes does live music.
phone: +44 141 337-3055address: Partick CrossLovely West End establishment with a continually changing board of ales from all over the UK on tap and 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.
phone: +44 141 550-0135address: Glasgow GreenA restaurant and micro brewery serving traditional food and German style lager and hefeweizen beers.
phone: +44 141 564-8100address: 15 Waterloo StreetThis 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.
phone: +44 141 649-0184address: 1153-1155 Cathcart Road
address: 148-148a Holland StreetA good ale venue and a cosy proper pub if you're sick of trendy bars.
The city’s large student population means there are no shortage of student bars, with large concentrations around the Merchant City area (for nearby Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian universities, as well as several nearby colleges), and of course Byres Road and Ashton Lane in the West End for Glasgow University. There is another cluster (near Glasgow School of Art) along the western reaches of Sauchiehall Street, just beyond the pedestrianised section. Some of the most popular student bars are:
address: North Frederick StreetCatering for Strathclyde and Caledonian universities. Has a big beer garden.
address: 457 Sauchiehall StreetCatering for Glasgow School of Art. Part of the Stonegate chain of student pubs with their famous "Yellow Card" promotions. Entry may be restricted to NUS cardholders only during peak times.
address: 90 John StreetNotable for once being Scotland’s largest pub with 6 bars spread over 10 levels.
Glasgow University UnionThe “establishment” GUU - one of the University of Glasgow's two student unions. Open to matriculating students from any one of the city's three universities.
Queen Margaret UnionThe more quirky and laid back QM - the other student union of thr University of Glasgow. Also open to matriculating students from any one of the city's three universities.
- Nice'N'Sleazy (see Do).
Bath Street has a constantly shifting array of "style bars", which become more numerous as you walk up towards the financial district on Blythswood Hill. The quality varies wildly depending on your taste and tolerance. Some of the best are:
address: 408 Sauchiehall StreetThe original branch on St. Vincent Street is now closed - and mourned by its fans for being far more atmospheric than its successor, but still a quirky style bar with bags of character.
address: 191 Ingram StreetWickedly pretentious bar/restaurant converted from an old bank in the centre of Glasgow’s designer shop district with beautifully restored interior fittings. Food served is of a high standard, although drinks can be expensive. Note that a dress code (smart/casual - no sports footwear) is strictly enforced after 6PM.
address: 186 Bath StreetBar/club/restaurant with extremely stylish, avant-garde decor and 4 floors.
phone: +44 141 229-1427address: 193-199 Bath StreetPopular bar with office workers from the nearby financial area, and a good base to start a night out from.
address: 158-166 Bath StreetMediterranean basement theme bar, restaurant and nightclub. Close to King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. Student friendly.
Apart from Stravaigin and Brel in the West End (see the Restaurant section above), there are a few gems in and around the city centre.
address: 45 Queen StreetAward winning gastropub split over two levels. Well known for its cocktail bar.
address: 16-18 Blackfriars StreetNotable 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
address: 19 Hope StreetRock and metal music.
address: 207 Hope StreetRock and metal music. Also offers good and affordable pub food.
Traditional and localAs the city centre and West End's bars become ever more sanitised, 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!
address: 17-19 Drury StreetPossessing 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.
address: 209 GallowgateNicknamed 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.
phone: +44 141 248-4989address: 79 St Vincent StreetIndependent 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.
phone: +44 141 552-8681address: 112 Stockwell StreetOne of Glasgow's oldest bars (established 1792). Famous for its folk music and 'traditional' ambiance.
The Alpen Lodgeaddress: 25 Hope StreetGreat little bar with classic fast service and local banter.
phone: +44 141 564-1450address: 142 Renfield Street18yr+, dogs allowed. Two distinct areas: kitchen bar with quirky décor, board games and books has a microwave which you can use if you bring in your own food to eat & then there's a big, no frills dance area, with old film footage on big projection screens. Toilets have poetry and art sprawling over the walls.
Gay and lesbianGlasgow has a lively scene which centres around the Merchant City area (the so-called "Pink Triangle" formed by Revolver, Bennets and the Polo Lounge). The city is gay-friendly, which is shown in the annual "Glasgay" celebrations in October.
phone: +44 141 552-5761address: 80-90 Glassford StOver two levels with all you could want from a gay club.
phone: +44 141 553-1221address: 84 Wilson StThe upstairs bar is tastefully decorated in a Victorian style and is a great place to relax with friends. Downstairs boasts two dance areas, one playing all your pop favourites, the other chart and dance tunes. The crowd here is very mixed.
phone: +44 141 553-2456address: 6a John StreetMixed and relaxed crowd. Small and friendly bar with drag bingo on a Saturday afternoon.
phone: +44 141 334-6688address: Ashton LaneMixed and relaxed crowd. Small and friendly bar with a great theme nights.
address: 17 John StreetIn the very trendy Italian Centre of the Merchant City.
phone: +44 141 779-4159address: Clay House Road, Stepps, G33 6AFProbably the nearest camp site.
phone: +44 141 339-8257address: 411 North Woodside Road, KelvinbridgeAt the heart of Glasgow's West End, offers family run friendly guest accommodation and breakfast, in bright, clean and airy rooms. Wifi available at a small charge.
phone: +44 141 548-5000address: 122 Stockwell StreetIn the heart of Glasgow, a modern hotel with 128 air-conditioned guest rooms, licensed bar, free hot breakfast and WiFi.
phone: +44 141 332-3004address: 8 Park Terrace150 beds split into dorms and family/private rooms (all en-suite).
address: 89 Buccleuch Street, G3 6QTFrom late June to the late August the SYHA run this Glasgow School of Art student residence as a hostel with single rooms (some ensuite).
phone: +44 141 222-2828address: 318 Clyde StRight in the centre of town. Has dorm beds, private rooms, doubles and twins.
phone: +44 141 221 1710address: 65 Berkeley St G3 7DXHostel with dorm accommodation, guests must be 18-35. They need to improve on the previous management, when the place was often dirty.
phone: +44 141 338-6666address: 50 Bentinck StreetOverlooks the Kelvingrove Park in Central Glasgow, just 50 yards from Sauchiehall Street. Full central heating and a friendly atmosphere. All rooms are double with en-suite facilities, tea/coffee making facilities and colour TVs with Sky Satellite.
phone: +44 141 553-4148address: 50 Richmond StreetThese budget ensuite or standard (shared bathroom and toilet) rooms are provided by the university. These rooms are extremely popular for budget travellers. The rooms are basically for university students but are open to the public during vacations. The location is excellent and next to Glasgow Cathedral. The nearest train station is Glasgow High street, and therefore links to Glasgow Central and Exhibition Centre stations. Very handy for conference participants. Local supermarkets and restaurants are within 1/4-mile walk. The rooms don't provide internet access, and you may have go to either internet cafes, local pubs or chained restaurants to get access to internet.
phone: +44 141 332-0129address: 212 Renfrew StSmall hotel.
phone: +44 141 332-4796address: 264-276 Renfrew StGuest house.
phone: +44 141 842-1100address: St Andrews Drive, Glasgow AirportModern hotel, 2 minutes from Glasgow Airport, providing comfortable air conditioned guest rooms, free breakfast and WiFi.
phone: +44 141 619-9000address: 220 West Regent Street G2 4DQ2-star Glasgow branch of this popular French chain.
- Ibis also have "Styles" branches at 116 Waterloo St and Miller St, and a "Budget" at Springfield Quay off Paisley Road.
phone: +44 141 314-4800address: 80 Jamaica StreetPopular chain hotel near Central Station and Argyle Street.
phone: +44 141 334-4000address: 931 Sauchiehall StA non-too-modern hotel at the further end of the street from the city centre. Clean and comfortable, as one would expect for that price, but don't expect 5-star treatment! Buses to the city centre for £1.10.
phone: +44 141 427-3146address: 517 Paisley Road WestOffers restaurant and leisure facilities.
phone: +44 141 240-1002address: Finnieston QuayA central boutique hotel offers a restaurant, bar, meeting venue and events.
phone: +44 845 122 0405address: 53 Cochrane StreetServiced apartment.
phone: +44 141 221-1211address: 139 & 141 West George St91 guest bedrooms and free Wi-Fi in the Victorian city centre but moderate prices are usually only obtained by booking 21 days in advance.
phone: +44 7804 431691address: Congress Road, Finnieston4-star hotel on the riverbank and next door to the SECC complex.
phone: +44 141 240-3700address: 99 Gordon StreetThis grandiose olde worlde railway hotel - once one of the city's most prestigious hotels - has been refurbished and restored to its former glory.
phone: +44 141 226-5577address: 500 Argyle Street4-star hotel in the financial district, with good access to the city centre and West End.
phone: +44 141 204-3333address: 301 Argyle St5-star hotel on the edge of the financial district and literally next door to Central railway station - noted for its distinctive copper façade.
phone: +44 141 353-6373address: 44 West George Street4-star boutique hotel in the heart of the city - on George Square and near Buchanan Street and the City Chambers.
phone: +44 141 204-5555address: 1 William Street5-star luxury hotel in the centre of the financial district, with easy access to the M8 motorway and Glasgow Airport.
phone: +44 141 339-8811address: 1-9 Grosvenor TerraceHilton's other Glasgow branch in the heart of the West End with easy access to centre and local attractions.
phone: +44 141 339-2001address: 1 Devonshire Gardens (Great Western Road)One of Scotland's most exclusive hotels - popular with celebrities.
phone: +44 141 572-1000address: 278 West George StreetModern boutique hotel in a former Episcopal Church.
phone: +44 141 208-2458address: 11 Blythswood Square5-star boutique hotel and spa converted from the old Royal Scottish Automobile Club headquarters in Blythswood Square.
Crime in the city centre is usually limited to drunken and rowdy behaviour 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 on matchdays and in the evenings. Most bars and clubs in the centre of the city universally ban all football colours, 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 customers driving or walking around obviously looking for sex workers) are both illegal, so avoid driving or walking around 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.
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.
If you should fall ill or have an accident, then the two closest hospitals to the centre of the city with an Accident & Emergency (A&E) department are as follows:
phone: +44 141 211-4000address: 84 Castle Street
phone: +44 141 201 1100address: 1345 Govan Road, Govan, G51 4TF1,677-bed acute hospital. The Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow is next door.
Glasgow's area code (for landline numbers) is 0141. When calling from outside the UK, drop the leading 0 and use the UK international dial code +44.
There is a free public wifi service in the main city centre shopping streets including Buchanan Street and Sauchihall Street. Connect to "GlasgowCC Wifi".
There are also several places that offer web and other internet access if you are travelling without a laptop. These include:
phone: +44 141 332-6543address: 48 West George Street
phone: +44 141 339-3333address: 250 Woodlands Road
phone: +44 141 332-8299address: 8 Park Terrace2 Internet terminals available in the basement cafe of Glasgow Youth Hostel, non-residents welcome.
address: Gibson StreetOffers free wireless access and has good coffee. There is also an art gallery in the basement.
Consulates and Deputy High CommissionsA few countries run consulates in Glasgow (Commonwealth countries call these Deputy High Commissions). The services offered in Glasgow vary greatly and it would be best to phone the consulate (or embassy in London) before visiting. There are also several consulates in Edinburgh.
- address: Eadie House, 74 Kirkintilloch Road, Bishopbriggs, G64 2AH
Norwayphone: +44 141 333-0618address: 18 Woodside Cres, G3 7UL
- address: 45 Maxwell Drive, G41 5JF
- address: 4 Woodside Place
Tunisiaaddress: 38 Braehead Road, Thorntonhall, G74 5AQ
- Loch Lomond — Visit the area and climb the nearby Ben Lomond (the most southerly Munro) for great views. It's a 40-minute drive on the A82 road from the West End. Trains to Balloch (on the southern shore of the loch) leave Queen Street (Low Level) every half hour while Ardlui on the northern tip of the loch is accessible via the West Highland Line from Queen Street (High Level).
- Edinburgh — Scotland's capital city, is to the east of Glasgow and is reached easily by train or bus.
- Stirling — This historic city lies to the north east of Glasgow - best known as the spiritual home of Scottish national heroes William “Braveheart” Wallace and Robert the Bruce. A natural gateway to the Central Highlands, the city’s famous castle is well worth a visit. Trains leave every half hour from Queen Street (high level) railway station, and is easily reached by car or bus via the M80 motorway.
- Ayrshire coast towns — Largs, Saltcoats, Troon, Prestwick and Ayr are typically old fashioned holiday seaside resorts. Whilst most Glaswegians themselves have long abandoned them in favour of package holidays to the Mediterranean, they all have an individual charm of their own. South Ayrshire is the spiritual home to Scotland's literary hero and national "bard", Robert Burns. All are easily reachable via regular train services from Central Station.
- Isle of Arran — Take a day-trip to the island. It is possible to obtain train/ferry combo tickets to reach this destination. Just ask for a train ticket to Brodick and get the train from Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Harbour. The Isle of Arran is known as "Scotland in Miniature" due to the fact it contains many features of mainland Scotland in microcosm. Brodick Castle is home to beautiful gardens and has a path connecting to path up Goatfell, the highest point on Arran which offers stunning views of Brodick bay during the summer (the castle is at the north end of Brodick, student discount available). The island is also littered with sites of archaeological and historical interest including many circles of ancient standing stones. Take one of the circle island buses to see it all, watch your time though - know the last bus and ferry of the day. There is a beautiful bay with a castle in the middle on the Northeast in a village called Lochranza.
- Isle of Bute — Take a day trip to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute on the paddle steamer Waverley. You can catch the Waverley at the Broomielaw on the banks of the River Clyde, a short walk from the city centre. Alternatively, regular scheduled ferry services leave from Weymss Bay, served by an hourly rail service from Central Station.
- Houston — A 30-40 min bus journey west-bound down the M8 towards Houston is a good day out. Houston is a traditional Scottish village steeped in history (and is nearby to traditional leather tanning town Bridge-Of-Weir and upmarket Kilmacolm, home to many local celebrities), but its main draw is the Fox & Hounds Pub, home to Houston Brewing Company. You'd be amazed how many Glaswegians have made this same short journey to sample the ale and traditional Scottish beers of Houston! Several brews are available all year round, with seasonal specialities on tap depending on the month. Tours of the small but well respected brewing operation are available. This is one of Central Scotland's most well regarded brewing communities, and well worth a trip. Houston is well served by two bus companies, but the last service back into Glasgow ends around 23:00.
- Ride the West Highland Railway, perhaps the most scenic rail journey in the world.
- Walk the West Highland Way from Milngavie (an upmarket suburb of Glasgow) all the way to Fort William. The scenery on the latter half of the walk is absolutely breathtaking and takes you through the heart of Glen Coe, generally regarded as one of the most beautiful areas of Scotland. Reachable via train from Queen Street (Low Level)
- Take a boat trip outside the city, either on a powerboat or on the Waverley (the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world). Both go to many destinations throughout Scotland.
- Take a seaplane trip to Loch Lomond, or even further afield