21 Things to do in Glasgow
Glasgow has SO much to offer to both tourists and locals. The city is primarily split into two sections – the city centre and the west end – that involves most restaurants, tourist attractions, pubs and fun activities. I’ve condensed the list down to just 21 (I have 100 more that I will probably spread out into different posts!) so that you don’t get bored half way through reading. Be sure to let me know if you do any of these!Here goes:
1. Visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery
Kelvingrove Art Gallery boast itself as one of Europe’s greatest art collections, and features a wide variety of free exhibitions, attractions and digital resources. The gallery covers a wide range of topics, from art, history, culture and global movements.
2. Eat Fish & Chips
Now if you go a few mile down the road to England, they will tell you that you need to eat your fish and chips down by the sea. Hell, no. Us Glaswegians, we don’t have a beach. We have The Chippy Doon the Lane. This little gem of a place is located (you guessed it!) down a lane just off of Buchanan Street in the City Centre. If you’re walking down Buchanan Street towards Argyll Street then the chippy is down a lane on your left. Ps a “Supper” just means that it comes with chips and sometime they will serve your meal in the traditional paper/card!
Cost: Haddock Supper costs £8.95 (as of 2016)
3. Grab a Drink on the Cobbles of Ashton Lane
Another Glasgow venture that everyone has to experience at LEAST once in their life is Ashton Lane. The Lane is a magical little cobbled street lined edge to edge with quirky bars, restaurants, burger places and even a cinema (I’ll get to that later). It’s pretty much the focus for everything social in the West End. This place is even packed during week nights, being close to Glasgow University after all.
4. Laugh at The Stand Comedy Club
Another staple for Glasgwegians, or anyone wanting a good laugh that won’t burn a hole in your purse. The Stand is on Woodlands Road in the West End of the city. Almost every night there are brilliant comedians hitting up the stage to entertain sold out crowd every week. The best night to go is a Tuesday, it’s £3 and you will see new comedians getting some experience in front of a glaring audience, or maybe even an A-lister testing out new material. You never know.
Cost: Varies, from £3
5. Visit the Duke of Wellington Statue
You might not know it by it’s real name, but I’m sure if you’ve googled “Glasgow” this iconic image will show up in your search. The statue sits on the edge of Royal Exchange Square and Queen Street in the city centre, and has become a homage to Glasgow’s quirky sense of humour. It was even part of the Commonwealth Games! Both the Council and Police have tried to deter people from putting the cone of the statue’s head by making the act a criminal offence and even laying plans to make the base of the statue even taller. However, gladly, none of these attempts were successful and you can still visit Mr Wellesley, his horse and his funny hat.
6. Go to a Ceilidh (Sloans)
Every Friday night, Sloans hold a weekly ceilidh session from 8.30pm til late upstairs in their ballroom. A Ceilidh is a traditional Scottish event with a lot of Gaelic folk music, dancing and laughing. If you don’t know the steps, don’t worry, the band always walk you through them first and more experienced dancers will guide you. The night is a great mix of Scottish and foreigners and tourists, so don’t be shy, give it a try. Ps wear flat shoes and bring a bottle of water, you will get very very warm!
Cost: £10 a ticket
7. Visit the Oldest House & Cathedral in Glasgow
The oldest house in Glasgow, also known as the Provand’s Lordship, is located in the east side of the city centre right next to Glasgow Cathedral (oldest building in Glasgow!). It’s very unassuming with modern buses and taxis driving past outside. The oldest house was built in 1471 and now details the living quarters of those in medieval times, including Scottish furniture, household tools and equipment. Another fascinating insight into the Scot’s history.
8. Eat a Deep Fried Mars Bar
Despite popular belief, eating a deep fried mars bar isn’t a staple Glaswegian diet. I would only advise one in your lifetime as they are widely-known to be artery-clogging with a rumoured 1,200 calories per snack! Most takeaway chip shops don’t have them on their menu however, if you ask nicely they will happily deep fry one for you on request. I’ve tried it personally, and could only eat one bite. It sort of tastes savoury and sweet at the same time. I’m not a massive mars bar fan anyway, but it’s one of those things that are strongly associated with Scotland for some reason.
9. Go a Tour of Glasgow Central Station
This unique tour gives you a guided walk around all aspects of the famous Glasgow Central Train Station. The tour lasts around 1 hour and you will get to see parts of the station that regular visitors never get to see. This is something that is suitable for not only tourists, but also regular everyday Glasgwegians. I’ve never been on the tour but it is something I think would be really interesting to see, behind the scenes of station I go into at least 5 days a week.
10. Grab a Bargain from a Charity Shop
The majority of the bargains lie in the city’s West End, we will leave the City Centre to promote the high street shops and designers. Down streets like Byres Road, Great Western Road and Dumbarton Road, you will find a vast array of charity shops all selling used but very good items for an absolute steal (from clothes and handbags to books and dvds). Some of the shops worth looking in are Oxfam, Salvation Army, Barnardos and Sense Scotland.
11. See a Movie at the Grosvenor or Blythswood Hotel
The Cineworld Cinema on Renfrew Street holds the Guiness World Record for being the tallest cinema in the world. However, if you are looking for something less commercial and more intimate, both the Grosvenor on Ashton Lane and the Blythswood Hotel in the City Centre allow you to rent out their private cinema room for you and your friends.
12. Dine & Drink inside the Old Templeton Factory/WEST Brewery
If you’ve done a bit of research on Glasgow, the image of the old Templeton Factory has probably cropped up a few times. With it’s bright orange colour, sheer scale, architectural uniqueness and intricate details, I am still blown away by it to this day. It’s located on the outskirts of Glasgow Green, and if you venture inside you can taste some of it’s home-brewed WEST Beer, as well as some top notch German and traditional food.
13. Follow the Mural Trail
The Glasgow City Council have set up a trail of murals and art throughout the city, helping to tell their own unique story. Even if you don’t want to walk the entire route and discover them all, chances are if you are wandering around the city centre you will see at least one great piece of street art. The art on Strathclyde University in the Merchant City and the ones on Tennent’s Brewery are some of my favourite. Remember to take plenty of photos and show me on twitter if you spy anything! (@lifeofgibbers)
14. Take a Walk Down the Clydeside
Now you can see the Clyde from a variety of different spots throughout the city, after all it runs right through it. But walking down to the waterfront, you can take in the SSE Hydro, the Armadillo, SECC and even the famous Finnieston Crane. A lot of these sights are usually plastered across postcards, so it’s great to get up close and see the sheer scale of the structures. Plus you get a great view of the River Clyde along the way.
Cost: Free (but prices to get into the buildings vary)
15. Visit the Riverside Museum (inc. Transport Museum)
Ah! The Riverside Museum is one of my all-time favourite museums to visit in Glasgow. Quite like the People’s Palace in Glasgow Green, the riverside showcases the city’s rich history, from the shipbuilding days to the modern 20th century living. The museum also merged with the old transport museum a few years ago so inside you can also see Glasgow’s close relationship with a variety of vehicles, including trams, buses, cars and bikes. This is a must-see!
Cost: Free (and is on the route of the hop-on hop-off buses.
16. Take a Stroll Through One of Glasgow’s Many Parks
Glasgow has so many parks to offer, I even wrote a full post on them here. You can’t beat strolling through the park with an ice cream or lying on the grass catching some rays during the summer months. If you’d rather be up and active, the majority of parks offer a number of different activities, from petting zoos to bowling greens and scenic walkways. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, there is something for everyone in Glasgow’s parks!
17. Shop on Buchanan Street (or Argyll Street!)
Shopping isn’t really my type of thing, but I know locals and tourists flock to these streets to shop til they drop! We have all your major high street stores like H&M, New Look, Topshop/Topman but also accomodate for those with designer taste like Reiss, House of Fraser, Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss etc. Also, if you take a wander into the Argyll Arcade you will find plenty of beautiful jewellery and watches.
18. Step Back in History with a walk around the Necropolis
Who would’ve thought a graveyard would be so interesting? Oh but this isn’t just any old graveyard, this is a Victorian cemetery incorporating a variety of huge statues, monuments and tombs commemorating Glasgow’s past citizens dating back hundreds of years. Not only this, but they cemetery offers a spectacular views over the Cathedral across the bridge and even the whole south east side of the city.
19. Grab a Gin at Gin71
Widely known now as Glasgow first dedicated Gin bar, Gin71 offers a relaxing and ambient atmosphere for you to chat over your favourite gin. Whatever your tipple, I’m sure they have it here. They also offer amazing gin-inspired cocktails as well if you don’t want to jump on the gin bandwagon like everyone else.
20. Attend a Football Match
Glasgow is famous for its historic (and still ever present) divide in football. In the South West side of the city you have Rangers in royal blue, and in the East End you have Celtic in green and white hoops. It’s very difficult to get a ticket to a game between the two, but I still recommend going any other league game! Here’s my comprehensive guide.
21. Be a Tourist and go on a Sightseeing Tour
The Sightseeing Bus is like your regular touristy thing to do. But I high recommend it as it allows you to see all the sites in one smooth journey – Glasgow’s public transport isn’t the most convenient for tourists! Not to mention that the sites are peppered across the city, making it difficult to do in one day without the bus.
Cost: From £13 (One Day)
Remember to let me know if you manage to do any of these touristy and non-touristy activities! I’m on Twitter: @lifeofgibbers If you liked this post, why not share it on Pinterest: