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Forget shipbuilding – trend-setting art, music and fashion are the new wheels of industry
Glasgow’s an ex-industrial powerhouse turned cutting-edge klaxon of culture. C.R. Mackintosh’s landmark School of Art building is its hub. Here, peruse his unique designs and dig the new breed's stylings. Then, head to King Tut's for fresh indie sounds or Subclub for a belter night out.
Buchanan Street measures up for designer shoppers. Browse the House of Fraser for brands like Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. Set across five finely kept Victorian buildings, the store is a Glasgow institution. Opposite it sits a wrought iron, Art Nouveau peacock, which beckons you into Princes Square Mall to seek chic threads by Vivienne Westwood and the like. Suits you, sir!Accommodation near Buchanan Street
To quote poet Robert Burns, this square is full of “Scots wha hae” – in other words, national heroes. Statues of Burns, author Walter Scott and engineer James Watt dominate a site first built for an English king. No wonder independence debates got heated here! On Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), Glaswegians put politics aside and link arms to belt out Burns’ song, “Auld Lang Syne”.Accommodation near George Square
Don’t let the grey façade fool you – the city council’s HQ springs to life inside. Its grand foyer dazzles from all angles, with mosaic floors and gold-leaf ceilings. Join a tour and climb the Italian marble staircase up to the Banqueting Hall. Trace the story of Glasgow in murals and paintings: from the granting of the city charter to the old shipyards on the River Clyde.Accommodation near Glasgow City Chambers
A true survivor. This is the only medieval cathedral to have escaped destruction during the Scottish Reformation. It’s built on the burial site of St Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint. His tomb sits in the dimly lit crypt on the lower floor. Upstairs, the Gothic-arched roof soars above you, and the stained-glass windows bathe the nave in kaleidoscopic light.Accommodation near Glasgow Cathedral
This area became a boomtown in the mid-18th century. Tobacco barons and shipping magnates built grand residences here. Stroll past Ingram Street’s Georgian façades, then duck into the Corinthian Club, whose opulent Victorian setting is spiffing for afternoon tea. Finally, swing by the Italian Centre’s Palazzos to browse flagship stores by Versace and Armani.Accommodation near Merchant City
This museum is a real head turner, from the floating-face sculptures in the foyer to the century-old pipe organ that bellows out lunchtime recitals. In the Glasgow Style gallery, Charles Mackintosh’s “The Wassail” is the star attraction. Admire the gesso panel's blend of Japonism and Art Nouveau styles – subtle reliefs of plaster, glass beads and tin enrich the plain canvas.Accommodation near Kelvingrove Museum and Park
This Victorian graveyard is built on the hill where St Mungo first founded the city. He called it “glaschu” – Scots Gaelic for “dear green place”. It’s a sad yet beautiful spot where grey tombstones and mausolea line the grassy inclines. Scale the hill for glorious Glaswegian sunsets, but don’t stay too long – the “City of the Dead” is rather spooky after dark!Accommodation near Glasgow Necropolis
In 1765, James Watt conceived his world-changing steam engine here on Glasgow Green. Today, it’s the site of a museum that details Glasgow’s boom-and-bust history through photos, films and cultural curios. Delve into 1930s working-class life and 1950s dancehall culture. See the “banana boots” and whiskey-box guitar of Billy Connolly, the local ship welder-turned-star comedian.Accommodation near People's Palace and Winter Gardens
This imposing institution looks like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. It’s seen wizardry of its own – the uni is the alma mater of John Logie Baird, inventor of the telly. It was here that the ultrasound image was born, too. Roam the ghostly, neo-Gothic arcade beneath Bute Hall. Then visit the Hunterian, Scotland’s oldest museum. It covers everything from art to zoology.Accommodation near University of Glasgow
These gardens have attracted plant enthusiasts and picnickers since 1842. Kibble Palace is the largest greenhouse on site – it’s a classic Victorian winter garden of wrought iron and glass. Step inside to see its prize 120-year-old Australian and New Zealand ferns. During fine weather, wander the River Kelvin walkway or lounge with sun-bathing students on the main lawn.Accommodation near Botanic Gardens and Kibble Palace
The historic centre is a medley of architectural styles. Gaze upon the Italianate city hall on George Square, then head to Little Italy to chomp on top-notch pizza. Spot Doric columns and Palladian windows while bar-hopping in the Merchant City area. Then sip on a cuppa at the Art Nouveau Willow Tea Rooms, designed by Charles Mackintosh himself.Accommodation in Glasgow City Centre
Glasgow University lends this area a youthful, bohemian vibe. Fresh-faced whippersnappers wander its illustrious campus, and kooky art lovers browse Kelvingrove Park’s galleries. Stop off in a student bar on Ashton Lane – this quaint, cobbled street is the perfect place to debate the Glasgow School’s contribution to Art Nouveau into the wee hours.Accommodation in North West
The East End’s gritty yet charming. Head to Barras Market for classic Glaswegian shopping. Its independent traders sell everything from antiques to kilts. Pop into the Blue Lagoon chip shop to taste a deep-fried Mars bar (at your own risk!). Wash it down with a pint among raucous Celtic FC fans – their green-and-white pubs line Gallowgate Street.Accommodation in East End
A green belt of possibilities. Among the gardens of Pollok Park lies a gallery with paintings by El Greco and Goya. Then there’s the Burrell Collection – it displays Chinese art in a quiet woodland setting. In Queen’s Park, go “quackers” for duck ponds and nature walks. Or, trace the history of Scottish “fitba” (football) at Hampden Park stadium.Accommodation in South
Emma’s lived in 5 different European cities but loves returning to her fun and friendly hometown.
One of my favourite things about the West End is its quirky shops. Just off Byers Road, Ruthven Lane brims over with vintage wares, while De Courcy’s Arcade packs in cute boutiques. Stop off in one of the area’s many cafés and take a wander up to Glasgow University’s beautiful campus.Accommodation near Wander around the West End’s shops
Jayne grew up in the countryside but can appreciate the bustle of big cities.
Formerly the Glasgow Herald newspaper’s HQ, this gem of a building was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s first public commission. Inside, learn about his life and work in the Mackintosh Interpretation Centre, or take the spiral stairs up to the top floor for skyline views.Accommodation near The Lighthouse, Mitchell Lane
Irish-born Sarah lives in London but finds inner peace by travelling in the countryside.
Take a day trip to Loch Lomond’s famous bonny banks! The scenic Balmaha village is within 50 minutes’ drive. Here, hire a rowing boat in the shadow of the Trossachs hills. Or, catch a train to Balloch and take the ferry over to Luss Pier on the western side of the lake.Accommodation near Loch Lomond day trip
Raised in nearby Greenock, Corina came of age in Glasgow – she lived and studied there for 6 years.
After a night out back home, this is my go-to café for a hearty, cooked breakfast. Its shabby chic, vintage interior is adorable, too. Swing by for a cosy afternoon of tea, sandwiches and homemade cakes!Accommodation near Butterfly and Pig Tearooms
Booking.com asked travellers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Glasgow.
various shopping areas including Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall StreetSee all 96 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Is there more to shopping in Glasgow than main street stores?
YesSee all 76 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What makes the people from Glasgow so friendly? Tell us your story.
There is a conversation waiting to happen around every corner in Glasgow.See all 73 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What was the most entertaining thing you saw in Glasgow?
A violinist playing the violin while walking on a tight rope.See all 43 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Which fine art museums should a first time visitor to Glasgow start with?
Kelvingrove is a must , s o much to see, also Galley of Modern Art easy to find in the City Center, a bit further out is the People's Palace in Glasgow Green . also the Science Centre across the river.See all 42 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?
Di Maggios for ItalianSee all 41 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...How can you get the most authentic cultural experience in Glasgow?
travelling around the city and exploring places from the past history to modern living.See all 26 answers
Booking.com asked travellers...What did you discover about the museums in Glasgow that wasn't in the guidebooks?
A lot of impressionist famous paintingSee all 26 answers
Glasgow Airport is 11 km west of the city. The quickest way to town is by express bus. First Glasgow Shuttle departs every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day. The journey takes 15 minutes and costs GBP 6.50 one way. Free WiFi is included. You can buy a ticket on board or via First’s mTickets mobile app. The airport is easily accessed by car or taxi thanks to the adjoining M8 motorway. Only official taxis are permitted to pick up passengers outside the arrivals hall.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport is 53 km south of Glasgow. It offers a direct train to Glasgow Central that takes under an hour. Single fares usually cost GBP 7.80, but show your official flight confirmation and photo ID to receive a half-price discount. Trains run every 20-30 minutes until 23:00. Stagecoach's X77 direct bus reaches Buchanan Street in 45 minutes and costs GBP 5.80 one way. Buses run until 22:40 Monday-Thursday, 02:40 Friday-Saturday and 20:55 on Sunday.
Glasgow’s two main stations offer access to extensive suburban and regional networks. Queen Street Station is in the north inner city. It operates services to both Edinburgh and northern Scotland. The station also lies adjacent to Buchanan Street metro station. Glasgow Central Station, on Argyle Street, connects Glasgow with southern Scotland and the rest of the UK via the West Coast Main Line. A single ticket in greater Glasgow costs between GBP 1.50 and GBP 3.00.
There are four main bus stations serving Greater Glasgow. Buchanan Bus Station is in the north city centre, opposite the Royal Concert Hall. A single journey costs between GBP 1.20 and GBP 2.00, and tickets are purchased on board – but exact change is required. A one-day ticket is also sold on board and costs between GBP 4.30 and GBP 5.75 – it’s also valid for the 747 service to and from Glasgow Airport. Weekend night buses operate from 12:30-04:30.
Glasgow’s circle-line underground is known locally as “Clockwork Orange”. A loop around its 15 stations takes 24 minutes. St Enoch and Buchanan Street are the central hubs; the latter connects with Queen Street Station's suburban and regional lines. The underground runs from approx. 06:30-23:30 on Monday-Saturday and from 10:00-18:00 on Sunday. A single journey costs GBP 1.40, and all-day tickets are GBP 2.70. Weekly tickets cost GBP 13.00. Under 16s pay half price.
Glasgow's famous black cabs can be hailed on the street if their orange light is on. Official taxi ranks are found outside transport hubs like Glasgow Central, Queen Street and Buchanan Street stations. In the West End, there's a rank on Byres Road, outside Hillhead subway station. Queues can be quite long after midnight on weekends. Fares are metered but often include a surcharge after midnight or if travelling outside certain city boundaries.
If you're not a confident driver, avoid driving in Glasgow city centre: there are many one-way streets, bus lanes and pedestrian zones. Glaswegians are not the most patient of drivers, and they particularly dislike hesitancy. Parking restrictions are strictly enforced, and vehicles parked illegally or in an obstructive manner will be towed away. Fines of up to GBP 150 apply.
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