Ahhhh Glasgow. It’s one of the most fun cities you can visit – the people are wonderful, the live music is hopping, the culture is mighty, the Tennents flows like Irn Bru, and the accent is damn near indecipherable at times.
It’s the perfect city for a weekend break, and best of all, it’s easy to visit Glasgow on a budget. For a little inspiration, here are ten great things to do in Glasgow on a budget...
We’re firm believers in a good breakfast to keep you fuelled up for a day exploring somewhere new, and in Glasgow, the breakfast we’d have is the one you’ll eat at Stravaigin. Their full breakfast is simple and delicious with a veggie option available (both under £7), and they are perfect tourist-fuel for a day’s wandering.
For breakfast connoisseurs though, the champion breakfasts here are the French Toast with local bacon (£6.45), and the ridiculously good Nasi Goreng; bacon and prawn fried rice topped with a poached egg (£9.45). The place is just gorgeous, and if you’re in the city it would be a crime not to eat there.
Visiting a cemetery doesn’t sound like everyone’s idea of a great time, and that’s understandable. But don’t rule it out – it’s far more peaceful than it is creepy, and the headstones and monuments are quite beautiful.
It’s an atmospheric and tranquil place, but its biggest draw is the views of the city you’ll find here. If you want a slightly different perspective on the city, this is the place to get it. And it’s totally free to visit. Do your very best to be there as the sun sets.
The Duke of Wellington Statue, occupying pride of place in Royal Exchange Square, is one of Glasgow’s most popular attractions, but it’s less to do with the man himself and more to do with the traffic cone on his head.
What started as a drunken prank has been a ‘thing’ for over 30 years now; that on Sunday morning the Duke would face the world behatted with an orange traffic cone. Sometimes, his trusty steed’s ears would be similarly adorned.
Authorities have long since given up on removing the cone only for it to reappear within a night, and so the cone is there almost all the time now. It’s daft, but it’s a lovely reflection of the humour of the people of Glasgow. Get a selfie with him, it won’t cost you a penny. It’s just… Glasgow.
Go to the People’s Palace for a truly fascinating look at Glasgow and its inhabitants, from the 18th Century right up to this one.
The building itself is beautiful, and you’ll see loads of really interesting stuff – old images of Glaswegians, a reconstruction of a 1930s one-roomed house where an entire family would have lived, and most importantly, the actual banana boots that Edmund Smith designed for Billy Connolly, which he first wore onstage in 1975.
That’s some serious Glasgow history, right there. It’s totally and completely free too, and the perfect way to spend a few hours if you’re in Glasgow on a budget.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was an architect, designer and artist who hailed from Townhead in Glasgow.
He designed a few of Glasgow’s most famous buildings and you can go to see them all if you like, but if you’re as nosey as we are, you’ll really want a look inside the Mackintosh house, where the man himself lived with Margaret McDonald Mackintosh for eight years in the early 1900s.
A meticulous reassembly of the house and its interiors at the Hunterian Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow means that you can get a sense of just how forward thinking and modern his style was. It’s fascinating and best of all, the 30 minute tours are totally free.
The Sharmanka Kinetic Gallery and Theatre is very cool, as so many labours of love can be. The gallery was opened in 1996 by Eduard Bersudsky, a Russian sculptor and mechanic.
The gallery is a bizarre and wonderful collection of motorised sculptures that have been built from scrap metal, and are brought to life through their movement, as well as some wonderfully eerie music and lighting.
It’s a feast for the senses; it’s perfectly, brilliantly weird; and it only costs £6 to see a 45 minute show that you won’t forget in a hurry. Don’t miss it, it's one of the great things to do in Glasgow on a budget.
Tennent Caledonian is one of the UK’s oldest breweries, and have been busy at Wellpark Brewery bringing ‘Scotland’s favourite pint’ to the people since 1885 (and brewing other beers for almost 400 years before that).
A tour of the brewery costs £7.50, which gives you a genuinely interesting overview of the history of the brewery and Tennent’s lager in particular.
You get a pint at the end of the tour too, and a few little samples of some of the other drinks made here too. Well worth the money.
…and leave a few hours free so that you can get completely absorbed in the fabulous art collection at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
The permanent collection is really impressive; 22 themed galleries contain some 8,000 different pieces from all over the world into one incredible.
From the Egyptian art and the beautifully preserved old World War II Spitfire airplane to lovely Sir Roger the Asian Elephant, the wonderful exhibitions at the gallery and museum will keep kids, adults, and everyone in between thoroughly entertained for a morning or afternoon.
And guess how much it costs? Nothing. It’s completely free. Spend your tenner on a cup of coffee and some cake in the gallery cafe if you like!
Sloans, Glasgow’s oldest bar and restaurant, has been serving up booze and food since 1797. We’re not sure how long mac & cheese has been on the menu, all we know is that we’re thankful it’s on there now.
For £7.95 you can get a big bowl of their famous hot, steamy, rich, cheesy, carby macaroni loveliness, served with skinny fries. We also highly recommend taking the whole thing to the next level by ordering extra bacon and brie on top for another £1.50.
It’s the ultimate comfort food, it’s legendary in the city, and it’ll definitely fill you up, which is exactly what you want if you’re in Glasgow on a budget.
And not just because it has the best name ever (but a little bit because it has the best name ever). King Tut’s is one of the best and deservedly renowned venues for live music in Glasgow, and that’s quite a feat in a city that’s famous for its live music.
Located on Vincent Street, it’s a fairly small venue with an incredible music line up all year round. Generally you can get in for under a tenner, and it’s worth every penny. Check the gig schedule before you go and book yourself some tickets.
If our list of great things to do in Glasgow on a budget has peaked your interest, search for flights to Glasgow.
- Dee Murray