Welcome to Glasgow...
As Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow is home to a host of interesting contrasts. Modern bars are set in striking Victorian buildings, while Michelin-starred eateries stand on streets steeped in history. This mix of its super-cool urbanity and historic bloodline makes Glasgow a truly intriguing place to discover.
The legendary hospitable locals give Glasgow an infectious energy that visitors can enjoy while touring the city sights. It oozes a charm that is irresistibly contagious and there’s a whole host of activities to enjoy, from shopping and museum-hopping to catching performances from live bands. Plus, it’s the perfect base to connect to nearby islands and lochs, as well as the famous Scottish Highlands.
Let’s delve into some of the treasures that Glasgow offers to help you to plan a trip to this fascinating city.
Sightsee the craggy castles & cathedrals
Scotland is synonymous with historical landmarks, with lots of its buildings architecture spanning a range of dramatic styles from gothic to medieval.
Bothwell Castle: These 13th century courtyard castle ruins are perfect for history buffs looking for a grand historic location to explore. The impressive former fortress was once the site of a well-known siege led by the English and is found just a few miles south-east of the centre of Glasgow.
Crookston Castle: Located on a low-laying hill, Crookston Castle is free to the public and you can enjoy some breath-taking views from what remains of the roof of the tower house.
Newark Castle: This historic treasure is a must-see for any history buff visiting Glasgow. See the Jacobean details in the architecture, enjoy the views across the Firth of Clyde and take tour around the old servant’s quarters under the old castle.
Glasgow Cathedral: This magnificent medieval cathedral houses some of the most impressive post-war stained-glass windows in the UK. There is also a crypt with a tomb of St Kentigern that was built in the 1200s to explore, an effigy of Bishop Wishart and you can spend hours simply admiring the building’s features, including a beautifully-carved pulpitum stone screen.
There are numerous old castles and tower houses to see in and around the city, including Staneley which is located in the middle of a flooded reservoir and is completely inaccessible. Others are closed to the public like Barr and Mearns, while there are also castles that are nothing more than stone footings but they have expansive grounds worth exploring including Cathcart and Kirkintilloch.
Indulge your inner culture vulture
From Billy Connolly’s hilarious Banana Boots to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his art nouveau brilliance, the city of culture won’t disappoint eagle-eyed culture vultures.
Below are a few must-see venues for anyone looking to sample the city’s cultural features:
· Clydebank Heritage Centre
· People’s Palace
· St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Art
· Gallery of Modern Art
· Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
· Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery
· Riverside Museum
· Burrell Collection
From natural history displays and pieces of art from a range of movements, there’s plenty of cultural attractions to soak up in the city. You can even take the kids to see a real Spitfire, marvel at a real-life Monet painting and wander through Britain’s first Zen garden.
Shop ‘til you drop!
If you are cultured-out and you want to shop ‘til you drop, Glasgow has lots in store!
We all know, when the going gets tough the tough go shopping and a little retail therapy is perfect in a shopping Mecca like Glasgow. Whether you want to bag a second-hand bargain or indulge in an Italian designer frock, the city’s shopping choices are a mixed bag.
For the boys...
Head to Ingram Street to bag yourself some trendy casualwear from GANT or Timberland, or treat yourself to some designer garb from Hugo Boss. Got a cool fashion sense? Funky streetwear fanatics can treat themselves to some new rags on Queen Street where a huge Fat Buddha store awaits. Why not look like a local and buy some tartan and tweed at MacGregor & MacDuff? Or pop to Royal Bank Place where you can strip the racks of stylish shirts and workwear in Thomas Pink.
And the girls…
Classic garments are in abundance in high street favourites Hobbs, Coast and Monsoon. Budget shoppers will enjoy taking a stroll around the Cath Kidston shop, which is home to a huge selection of kitsch accessories. If you want to preen and prime yourself, go to The White Company or Molton Brown. Buy a colourful bath bomb in Lush or go to L’Occitane where a range of indulgent products are available.
Shopping aficionados can spend a day in the Style Mile, which is located in the heart of the city. It boasts everything from designer names and independent boutique stores to factory outlets and specialty shops, and here you can splash the cash or shop on a budget.
Explore the vast lochs
Scotland is famed for its natural beauty and its lochs and a major draw for many of Glasgow’s visitors. Intrepid travellers can use the city as a base to visit the nearby lochs on day trips and these can be enjoyed as part of an organised tour group or on your own travel itinerary.
The infamous Loch Ness is only a 3.5-hour drive from Glasgow and no trip to Scotland is complete without a Nessie-spotting tour!
Book your Glasgow hotel in advance online, whatever your budget. You can choose to stay in the heart of the city or on the outskirts and you can also pre-book other parts of your trip, such as a rental car and any organised tours you want to take.
Take a tour of the whisky distilleries
It’s no secret that Glaswegians love their Scotch and it’s their passion for the water of life that means there’s a surplus of great whisky distilleries to sample.
We highly recommend going on an organised tour. Not least because this means you can taste as much as you want without worrying about how you will get back to your hotel, and, of course, you can also learn the secrets of the distillation process from the experts.
Check out some of the best distilleries in and around Glasgow:
With a pretty location on the banks of the River Teith and just 40 minutes from the centre of Glasgow, this young distillery was established in 1967 but quickly gained a solid reputation for producing fine whisky. The building itself is an old cotton mill, which gives the distillery a mysterious historic feel and the best thing about a tour here is sampling their award-winning 12-year-old elixir.
Found just over the county border but only a 10-minute drive from Glasgow, this popular distillery is hugely popular with all types of visitors. From die-hard whisky aficionados to casual getting-into-the-spirit-of-Glasgow tasters, there are different types of tours on offer to suit your palate.
Looking to have some fun while learning about whisky? Head to the beautiful Glengoyne distillery just a 30-minute drive away where you can enjoy a multitude of taste testing. From the indulgent masterclass experience to the yummy whisky and chocolate tour, this distillery is the perfect place to delve deeper into the complexity of fine spirit making.
And if you would rather just stick to Glasgow itself, why not paint the town red and go on your own tour around the city’s best bars and pubs.
Get wild in the Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands aren’t a place for the faint hearted, so if you’re feeling adventurous lace up your hiking boots and head into the Highlands for any of the following:Hiking Ben Nevis
Highland Titles Nature Reserve