What are the five best things to see and do in Glasgow?

Joseph Reaney

As one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom, Glasgow is naturally home to a diverse range of tourist-friendly attractions. Here are five of the best things to see and do in the city:
 
1. Enjoy the architecture. Glasgow has a huge number of architecturally interesting buildings, ranging from its Gothic cathedral to its Renaissance City Chambers to its style-defying Glasgow School of Art. But perhaps the most interesting of all is the ultra-modern, armadillo-inspired Clyde Auditorium.
 
2. Take in a museum. There are dozens of museums in the city, showcasing everything from religion to science. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ lesser-seen favorite is probably the Glasgow Police Museum, which celebrates the history of one of the oldest police forces in the world.
 
3. Stroll through a park. There is more parkland in Glasgow than in any other British city — so make the most of it. Start with a walk around the Botanic Gardens, followed by a picnic in the historic Glasgow Green.
 
4. Enjoy a concert. Glasgow has a thriving music scene and has played host to popular bands like Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol. For established acts, head to the Barrowland Ballroom; or to discover the next big thing, try Tchai-Ovna.

5. Watch a football match. The Old Firm Derby — the football match between city rivals Glasgow and Celtic — is one of the most famous in the world. But if you’re not around for that, you can catch all the other games in the local pubs.

  • On July 5, 2012
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the five best day trips from Glasgow?

    Glasgow is surrounded by some incredible sights – from high mountains to sparkling lakes to medieval cities. Here are five day trips near Glasgow that are worth taking:
     
    1. Edinburgh. You wouldn’t guess it from how different they are, but Edinburgh is a mere 45 minutes from Glasgow. One of the world’s most beautiful cities, it’s the perfect place to enjoy history, nature and some of the finest festivals on earth.
     
    2. Loch Lomond. A mere 40-minute drive north of the city, Loch Lomond is the largest body of fresh water in Britain — and one of the most tranquil spots in Scotland. At its southern end, the land is flat and the lake is easily accessible; but on the other side, things get distinctly mountainous.
     
    3. Stirling. A historic city 28 miles northeast of Glasgow, Stirling was the spiritual home of national heroes William “Braveheart” Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Today, it’s home to the Sterling Castle — one of the country’s largest castles.
     
    4. Isle of Arran. Buy a combined train and ferry ticket to spend a day on the island aptly described as “Scotland in Miniature.” With so many varied things on offer — a historic castle, lofty mountains, lovely bays, immaculate gardens and ancient standing stones — it’s easy to see how it got its nickname.
     
    5. West Highland Railway. If the journey is more important than the destination, buy yourself a round-trip on the West Highland Railway. One of the most scenic rail rides out there, it takes you all the way to Fort William and back.
  • On July 5, 2012
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What is the best thing to bring home from Glasgow?

    Glasgow is filled with Scottish souvenirs that will help you fondly remember your trip. Here are five that you’ll want to bring home with you:  
     
    1. Knitwear and textiles. Scotland is famous for its knitwear and textiles, so keep an eye out for cashmere sweaters, finely embroidered doilies and hand-stitched tartan kilts.
     
    2. Auchentoshan whisky. There are whisky distilleries all across Scotland, but the most undeniably Glaswegian whisky to take home is the single malt from the Auchentoshan distillery in Clydebank — just 10 minutes from the city center.
     
    3. Celtic jewelry. Nothing says Scotland more than traditional Celtic jewelry. You can find it all over the city, as all jewelers in Glasgow sell bangles, brooches and bracelets with traditional Celtic designs.
     
    4. Football shirt. Celtic and Rangers are two of the most famous and successful football clubs in Europe, so why not pick up one of their iconic shirts as a souvenir? Head to the stadiums for the most merchandise options, or just visit the official stores in the city center and at the airport.
     
    5. Land deeds. Scottish tradition dictates that anyone who owns estate land can be titled Laird, Lord or Lady. So if you want to move up in the world, or wish to give that privilege to someone else, seek out the one-square-meter plots of land being sold by Glaswegian retailers.
  • On July 5, 2012
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the five best Glasgow food experiences?

    Traditional Glaswegian food is best described as hearty, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also delicious. While in Glasgow, here are five culinary highlights that you’ll want to dive into:
     
    1. Fish and chips. Although popular throughout Scotland, Glasgow residents have a particular fervor for battered cod served with chunky fries, mushy peas, and bread and butter. It’s almost universally agreed that the best place to sample them is The Chippy Doon The Lane in the city center.
     
    2. Haggis with neeps and tatties. The most traditional Scottish meal you can get, this dish of neeps (either swede or turnip, or a mix of both), tatties (mashed potatoes) and haggis (you don’t want to know) is also delicious.
     
    3. Full fried breakfast. The Glaswegian take on the fried breakfast is particularly meat-heavy. Expect sausages, bacon, black pudding and haggis to accompany your fried eggs, baked beans, tattie scones and toast.
     
    4. Porridge with salt. There’s nothing more Scottish than porridge, unless it’s porridge with salt. But if you do feel the need for a little sugar — and want to add an extra touch of Scotland in the process — wash your porridge down with an Irn-Bru soft drink.
     
    5. Seafood. Scotland has some of the tastiest seafood in the world, so don’t leave Glasgow without sampling a spot of smoked salmon, kippers, herring or kedgeree. Or get extra local and try an Arbroath smokie, a special kind of haddock from a nearby fishing village.
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  • On July 5, 2012
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    Where is the best nightlife in Glasgow?

    Glasgow is famous for it pub culture, and there are four main parts of the city where you can be sure of a good pint and good company: the West End; Sauchiehall Street and Charing Cross; the South Side; and Merchant City. However, Glasgow is not just about pubs. Once you’ve quenched your thirst, you can move onto one of the city’s famous clubs, such as The Shed, Sub Club and The Arches. Alternatively, why not check out the city’s famous music scene with a trip to a live music joint. Duck into a small club like Tchai-Ovna, Mono or Brel, or join the masses at a mega-venue like King Tut's Wah Wah Hut or Barrowland Ballroom.
  • On July 5, 2012
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What is the best way to see Glasgow in one day?

    It’s perfectly possible to get a good sense of Glasgow in a single day, but only if you manage to complete all of the following three things: check out a Charles Rennie Mackintosh building, walk around one of the city’s wonderful museums and enjoy a cold beer in a proper Glaswegian pub.
     
    The easiest way to manage all three is to hop on one of the open-topped tour buses from outside Glasgow City Chambers. However, we prefer to explore the city by foot. Start your day of walking at Mackintosh’s Art Nouveau masterpiece the Glasgow School of Art, then head a block down to The Willow Tea Rooms (also a Mackintosh building) for an artery-clogging breakfast.
     
    From there, you’ll be taking the long walk to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum — perhaps the best civic art collection in Europe, not to mention the most popular attraction in Scotland. Feel free to stop at some of the interesting sights en route, such as historic buildings and moving memorials — you can even plop down for a picnic in the scenic Kelvingrove Park. Just make sure to leave plenty of time to explore the entire museum from top to bottom.
     
    After completing your long tour of the museum, stick around the West End. You can either spend your evening trudging around the area’s collection of restaurants, pubs and live entertainment clubs; or, if you’ve had enough for one day, you can simply head to the Horseshoe Bar, which offers all that in one place.
  • On July 5, 2012
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    Where is the best shopping in Glasgow?

    From funky fashion to flavorsome food, Glasgow has world-class shopping throughout the large city. High-end designer labels can be found on Buchanan and Argyle streets in the Merchant City, while more casual wear can be found in shopping malls like Buchanan Galleries and Braehead.  
     
    The markets are worth exploring, too. Glasgow’s biggest is The Barras (Glaswegian dialect for “barrow”). It sells everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to antiques and collectibles. Another good market is the Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market. The city is also dotted with flower markets, so be on the lookout for those as well.
  • On July 5, 2012
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the five best things to do with kids in Glasgow?

    Considering it’s Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow has plenty of parks, museums and activities to keep your children entertained. Here are five of the best:
     
    1. Learn about science. Perhaps the finest hands-on museum in Glasgow, the Science Centre lets kids get up close and personal with science. They’ll learn about everything from the biological system to the solar system.
     
    2. Climb some walls. Both kids and adults will like The Glasgow Climbing Centre. Its dedicated Rock Ratz club is tailored to kids between the ages of 7 and 12, giving them some exercise while also helping them develop their coordination, team building and self-discipline.
     
    3. Learn about Vikings. It may be 20 miles from the city, but the Vikingar Museum in Largs is worth the trip. A multimedia experience using live actors, interactive displays, videos and games, it brings the story of the Vikings to life.
     
    4. Take to the water. The James Hamilton Heritage Park, located just outside the city, boasts a 16-acre loch in tranquil surroundings. Some of the kid-friendly activities here include canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and just running around.
     
    5. Check the calendar. Glasgow has kids’ events and activities all year round, from theater festivals to pop concerts to Celtic fairs. Seek out the city’s events calendar before you make your trip.
  • On July 5, 2012
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the five best things to see and do in Glasgow?

    As one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom, Glasgow is naturally home to a diverse range of tourist-friendly attractions. Here are five of the best things to see and do in the city:
     
    1. Enjoy the architecture. Glasgow has a huge number of architecturally interesting buildings, ranging from its Gothic cathedral to its Renaissance City Chambers to its style-defying Glasgow School of Art. But perhaps the most interesting of all is the ultra-modern, armadillo-inspired Clyde Auditorium.
     
    2. Take in a museum. There are dozens of museums in the city, showcasing everything from religion to science. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ lesser-seen favorite is probably the Glasgow Police Museum, which celebrates the history of one of the oldest police forces in the world.
     
    3. Stroll through a park. There is more parkland in Glasgow than in any other British city — so make the most of it. Start with a walk around the Botanic Gardens, followed by a picnic in the historic Glasgow Green.
     
    4. Enjoy a concert. Glasgow has a thriving music scene and has played host to popular bands like Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol. For established acts, head to the Barrowland Ballroom; or to discover the next big thing, try Tchai-Ovna.

    5. Watch a football match. The Old Firm Derby — the football match between city rivals Glasgow and Celtic — is one of the most famous in the world. But if you’re not around for that, you can catch all the other games in the local pubs.
  • On June 11, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the five best places to eat in Glasgow?

    When you think of the world’s gastronomy capitals, Glasgow may not come high on the list. But you’d be surprised how many great restaurants you can find:
     
    1. Ubiquitous Chip. Recently voted the country’s “Restaurant of The Year” by readers of The Good Food Guide, the Ubiquitous Chip serves up the best of seasonal Scottish cuisine. So you can dig into dishes like Perthshire pigeon breast and Aberdeen Angus fillet steak.
     
    2. Gamba. Probably the best fish restaurant in Glasgow, Gamba serves sustainable seafood in a warm and welcoming setting. Our favorite dish is the pan-fried gray mullet with shrimp, almonds and capers.
     
    3. Red Onion. For a taste of modern Scottish cuisine, try the celebrity hot spot Red Onion. Located in the Glasgow city center, Red Onion prides itself on producing new interpretations of classic Scottish cuisine, with its signature dish being (inevitably) fresh fish and chips with mushy peas.
     
    4. Assam’s. In the 21st century, chicken tikka masala is as much a part of the Scottish culinary landscape as blood pudding. So if you fancy something a little spicier during your visit, head to this Indian restaurant, which has one of the best three-course banquets in the city.
     
    5. Celino’s. One of the finest Italian delicatessens in the United Kingdom, the atmospheric Celino’s is famous for its delicious (and affordable) tapas. Our choice, however, would be the vegetarian lasagna.
  • On June 11, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best places to stay in Glasgow?

    Glasgow has more accommodation options than there are nights in the year — although some are obviously better than others. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks:
     
    1. Hotel Du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens. This boutique hotel is set in a Victorian terrace house, but it’s in the heart of the modern and trendy West End. Enjoy the escapist vibe with the four-poster beds, modern bathrooms and service that’s a cut above the rest.
     
    2. 15Glasgow. A converted Victorian terrace house that is within walking distance of the center, this boutique B&B offers stylish and comfortable surroundings and, most importantly, breakfast in bed.
     
    3. Blythswood Square. Located inside a recently restored landmark building, Blythswood Square is an ultra-cool and modern spot in the heart of the city. It comes with chic guest rooms, a spa and its very own screening room.
     
    4. Citizen M. A boutique hotel in the center of the center, Citizen M boasts 198 elegant rooms that are a cornerstone in affordable luxury. It’s got a great restaurant and bar, too.
     
    5. Carlton George Hotel. A popular spot for business travelers (but still comfortable for leisure-seekers), Carlton George Hotel is just steps away from some of the city’s top destinations. Ask for a Club room, where you can enjoy free Wi-Fi, an iPod dock and views of West George Street.