Forget Edinburgh, if you’re looking to try somewhere new for your next getaway you need to spend a weekend in Glasgow. Bursting at the seams with culture, amazing architecture, beautiful food, art and a music scene unlike any other, Scotland’s largest city is an undiscovered gem waiting to be found. Here’s our 48 hour guide for what to do in Glasgow.
One thing’s for sure if you spend a weekend touring this city, you’ll never be bored. Glasgow has tons of attractions both new and old and the best part is most of them can be seen for free. Full of historical remnants of the Victorian era, the city boasts impressive architecture around every corner.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – Argyle Street
Opened in 1901, the gallery is one of Scotland’s most popular attractions. Unmissable due to its rusty red sandstone exterior, the 22 galleries inside feature exhibitions of pretty much anything you could think of such as art, natural history and the beloved works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Displaying over 8,000 objects, tour this attraction for free and afterwards, take advantage of its beautiful surroundings in the heart of the West End.
Glasgow Cathedral – Castle Street
Next, visit Glasgow’s oldest building, Glasgow Cathedral. Also known as St Mungo’s, it is the oldest cathedral on the mainland of Scotland and stands as an excellent display of gothic architecture. Admission is free and well worth adding to your list of what to do in Glasgow for its stained glass windows. Take a one hour guided tour, or wander around at your own pace.
Glasgow Necropolis – Castle Street
A trip to a graveyard may seem like an odd way to spend your Saturday but this is not just any old burial site. The Glasgow Necropolis is a Victorian cemetery spanning across 37 acres. The site is home to many famous memorials that make it a worthwhile attraction. Built to reflect the wealth and brilliance of Glasgow at that time, this historical landmark is free to enter and offers walking tours across the grounds.
Riverside Museum – 100 Pointhouse Road
Head to the docks and visit the award-wining transport museum. With over 8,000 objects on display, this hyper-modern attraction is perfect for everyone with its state-of-the-art interactive displays and abundance of exhibitions.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens – 730 Great Western Road
Located in the city’s vibrant West End, the Botanical Gardens are the perfect way to finish off your weekend in Glasgow. Stroll through the Heritage Trail or one of the many riverside walks and take in the beauty of the several glasshouses in the Gardens. Make sure to find Kibble Palace, home to the national tree fern collection. This stunning structure made from glass panels and white wrought iron was built by John Kibble and definitely deserves to make it onto your list of what to do in Glasgow. Treat yourself to a slice of cake in the Botanic Gardens Tearoom before you leave.
Glasgow Science Centre – 50 Pacific Quay
On the south bank of the River Clyde sits Glasgow’s Science Centre, a fun, quirky attraction for your ‘what to do in Glasgow’ list. With three buildings and over 250 exhibits, this centre will keep you entertained for hours.
If you’re planning on having a jam-packed weekend in Glasgow, you’re going to need that all important coffee fix! Lucky for you, this city is at the top of its coffee culture game and full of aesthetic artisan roasters. We’ve got you covered with a list of the best beans in town:
Tinderbox – 118 Ingram Street
The Good Coffee Cartel – Cornwall Street
Papercup – 603 Great Western Road
For Fika Sake – Keith Street
Luckie Beans Coffee Roasters – Glasgow Queen Street Station
Arguably the best part of any day, dinner is an important meal and good food can make or break a trip. While it sounds dramatic, we all know it’s true. Glasgow’s restaurant scene is thriving, from Michelin star meals to under-the-radar gems, they’ve got something for everyone. with so much choice available we’ve saved you the headache of arguing and compiled a list of top eateries for you to try:
For local dishes: The Ubiquitous Chip – 12 Ashton Lane
For Vietnamese: The Hanoi Bike Shop – 8 Ruthven Lane
For Indian: Tuk Tuk – 426 Sauchiehall
For Italian: La Lanterna – 35 Hope Street
For Steak: The Butchershop Bar & Grill – 1055 Sauchiehall Street
Staying in the city centre is always a good idea. Everything is on your doorstep including Glasgow’s two main train stations. Choose Grand Central Hotel on Gordon Street for ultimate convenience and a comfortable weekend in Glasgow.
The West End
If you’re looking to add a touch of classy elegance to your trip, stay in the West End where an air of old money lingers. Dotted with student hangouts, beautiful buildings, cocktail bars, vintage boutique shopping and Victorian pubs this spot is also home to tourist attraction Kelvingrove and the University of Glasgow. Stay in Kelvin Hotel West End at 15 Buckingham Terrace.
The Alamo Guest House at 46 Gray Street is the ideal place to stay if it’s a hipster scene you’re after. Located in Finnieston, a notoriously alternative gem, this area is great for boutique shops, craft beer and different eateries. With this hotel’s location you’ll be close to Argyle street, the centre of the action, and as it’s right next to the Hydro, it’s the best place to book into if you’re in town for a concert.
As Glasgow is built on a grid system, it’s incredibly easy to get around on foot but if you’d rather public transport, this city’s got lots of it. It’s also very easy to get from the airport to the city centre. Hop on the Glasgow Airport Express and it’ll have you there in 15 minutes. If you plan on using the subway which comes at 5 minute intervals, purchase a STP roundabout ticket for one day unlimited travel by rail and subway. Fancy giving your feet a break but still want to see the sights? Try the City Sightseeing open top hop-on-hop-off tour.
Planning a visit soon? Let us know how you got on with our guide for what to do in Glasgow by tagging us in your photos using the hashtag #ryanairstories.
Flights to Glasgow
- Lucy Norris