24 Hours in Glasgow
Living in Edinburgh, it’s easy and very convenient to get to Glasgow, which has a lot to offer. As well as being one of the best places in Scotland for shopping, Glasgow has an effortlessly cool vibe about it and is full of quirky hidden spots. Take a walk around the wonderful West End taking in the classic architecture, stopping to browse in the independent coffee shops and boutique stores.
Getting to Glasgow from Edinburgh
As Glasgow and Edinburgh are key commuter locations, there are very regular trains running all throughout the week to and from. Avoid rush hour with commuters trying to get to work, and instead opt for a slower start going after rush hour off-peak. Buying an off-peak return day ticket will allow you to travel at any convenient time off-peak, after 10am and 6pm. A standard off-peak day return from Glasgow should cost you around £20 or less. There are several station options, with Glasgow Central being the most convenient for getting to almost all locations as a starting point. Another option would be to take the Citylink service 900 bus from Edinburgh to Glasgow, but this will take considerably longer at around two hours. You can expect the train to Glasgow to take anywhere between one and one and a half hours.
Galleries and Museums
For art lovers head to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and park for a couple of hours of wander exploring everything on display, which you’ll also find in the West End. Due to also being the prime location for students at Glasgow University, which you are free to take a quiet look around, the west end has a very relaxed and urban vibe. Here you’ll also find Mackintosh House, which costs £5 to enter. Although only small, the house is very interesting to visit for art lovers, allowing you to see the recreation of his home with tour guides.
The Botanical Gardens
In the West End you’ll also find the Botanical Gardens and Kibble Palace. With the plants changing throughout the seasons, it’s great to visit at all times of year. The glasshouses are a highlight, with plants from around the world, there are still the traditional standing Victorian glass-houses. Splendour in the architecture around the Botanics and the West End, whilst enjoying a quiet sit down on the vast lawn here surrounded by the flowers.
Enjoy a lazy afternoon at Pollock park; where you can enjoy the grounds behind Pollock house and even see the Clydesdale horses in the stables there. The Maxwell family bequeathed the grounds of Pollock Park to he City of Glasgow. Learn about their history, and get an insight into the grandeur of old-fashioned wealth and living. For something a little more sinister, yet still very beautiful – head to the Necropolis on the hill. The climb isn’t as bad as it looks from the distance as the paths slope gently and wind across the land. At the top you’ll get a great view across the city, as well as admiring the engravings on the gravestones and decorative monuments.
Glasgow’s West End
One of my favourite locations in Glasgow is the West End. It’s here you’ll also find the botanical gardens, and a host of vintage and boutique shops and cafes. One of my favourites I enjoyed lunch at was the Cup & Saucer Tea Rooms, which you can read more on below.
Head down Ashton Lane for the best unique shops and independent cinema; you’ll also find lots of great food options in this local area. Ashton Lane is a well-known local secret, and hard to spot if you’re not familiar. Keep an eye out for it just down the side of the Hillend subway station.
Shopping in Glasgow
It goes to say that Buchanan street is arguably one of the most popular, and favourable streets in Glasgow for shopping. Here you’ll find the likes of most major retailers. Don’t forget to also check out the West End for something a little more original and boutique at independent and vintage sellers. On Buchanan street you’ll find everything imaginable, with interesting arcades along the way. Take a stop at the Willows Tearoom for a tea and coffee break whilst enjoying a traditional scone. You can easily get to Buchanan street from Queens Street Station.
The Cathedral & City Chambers
For traditional Gothic architecture, check out the cathedral and City Chambers. Glasgow Cathedral is the heart, centre and a focal point for many of the most important historical events after the city was formed out of the old town of Govan. Being one of the oldest churches in Glasgow which escaped destructions during the war. The City Chambers is a wonderful example of Victorian architecture and civic pride. Free tours are also held here most days in the morning and afternoon. Ring ahead or email to see which are available for your visit.
For Beer Lovers
For the beer lover, head to one of Scotlands most famous breweries, Tennents Wellpark. Here you can be taken around by a guide, learning about the history of Tennents, it’s world culture and advertising throughout the ages. It’s slightly out of the city centre, but easy enough to get to if you’ve got some extra time in Glasgow. The tour is great value for money at only £7.50 and a great way to escape the rain.
One of the most iconic buildings in Glasgow is of course the university itself. Take a short walk from Kelvingrove gallery through the campus park towards the main university building. They welcome visitors to freely look around campus, and also offer guided tours. The university also has a small museum you can take a look around inside.
Best Places to Dine
I’m a huge foodie, and at home in Edinburgh there are loads of great restaurants and independent cafes and coffee shops. So Glasgow was going to have to work hard to match such high expectations.
Whilst taking a walk around Glasgow’s West End I came across the Cup & Saucer Vintage Tea Rooms. A tiny café that transports you back in time with wonderful nostalgia to the 1940s. In what I can only describe as feeling like I was back in my grandmother’s house, it has a wonderful home-like vibe to it, with sounds of yesterday playing through the air.
Surrounded by vintage memorabilia, and fellow diners enjoying a spot of afternoon tea, I set about what to decide to have for lunch. I ordered the homemade soup of the day, and a cream tea for dessert. What arrived was a giant scone with raspberry jam and cream with a pot of breakfast tea for one, perfect. The café itself is very reasonably priced and in total my entire meal came to less than £10. A total bargain Glasgow!
For a pre-theatre dinner we headed to Paesano’s Pizza, a place that had been recommended to me by a Glasgow resident and foodie blogger on Twitter. We weren’t disappointed, again the food was very reasonable and I even left with a little goodie bbag box of pizza to save for the train home.
Glasgow Theatres & Shows
Although you might first think of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival when it comes to associations with live theatre and shows; Glasgow itself is a great hub for entertainment. I recently received some complementary tickets for the Glasgow Comedy Festival on behalf of Scotrail, and decided to see what it was all about. With my friend Gillian, we headed to the Glasgow Comedy Festival to see Sue Perkins, best known from the Great British Bake Off. Also check out the Glasgow Film Festival, International Festival of Visual Art and the International Jazz Festival. You’ll never be lost for something to join in on!
Have you been to Glasgow? What are your favourite local places to visit?