72 hours in Glasgow

Posted on 15. Oct, 2014 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, Press Trips, United Kingdom

Glasgow was always an elusive one to me. I have been all over Scotland in the past couple of years over half a dozen of trips, , from the Isle of Skye to Edinburgh — and yet, I had never managed to make it west to Glasgow. Was I not destined to go, I wondered? It wasn’t for lack of trying. But for some reason, my plans always fell through.

Until last month.

And even then - I was supposed to visit Glasgow back in the spring, but yet again, destiny had other plans. I almost couldn’t believe I was actually going to visit until I was comfortably seated on the plane on my way to Scotland’s up and coming city. You can imagine my excitement when I finally tightened my scarf - this is Scotland after all, I knew what to expect weather-wise - and put on my walking shoes, ready to explore this thriving city.

What used to be called the “second city of the British Empire”, because of its flourishing chemicals, textiles and engineering industries, definitely surprised me.

How to spend 72 hours in Glasgow

Architecture walking tour

72 hours in Glasgow

Glasgow City Chambers

This is definitely a must. Glasgow boasts an incredibly architectural heritage, with a distinct turn-of-the-century industrial style that holds more than meets the eye.  From Victorian influences to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s innovative design, the tour offered by the Glasgow School of Art is led by passionate students who are more than happy to share their knowledge of the city and point out intricately ornate buildings or fun trivia whenever they can.

Shop ’til you drop

72 hours in Glasgow

Part of the Style Mile

With one of the city most sought-after attractions being named the “Style Mile”, it’s no wonder Glasgow is such an ideal shopping destination. Think all of London’s high street fashion, minus the insufferable crowds. Buchanan Street is where its at, from one end to another. But those looking for a more affordable and quirky experience should not fret, as Glasgow’s West End is pretty much the thrift shopping capital of the world. There are dozens of charity and second-hand shops in the neighborhood, for a budget-friendly day out in the city.

Eating your way through the West End

72 hours in Glasgow

Ox and Finch

72 hours in Glasgow

Kember and Jones Café

Speaking of the West End, few other districts in the city offer such gourmet yet diversified options. This really was one of my favorite past-times while I was in Glasgow, hopping from one café to another. Often referred to as the bohemian side of Glasgow, the West End deserves at least a full day of exploration. Here are my favorite eateries in the area:

Cycle around

72 hours in Glasgow

Cycling in Kelvingrove Park

Not unlike so many other cities in the world including my hometown of Montreal, Glasgow has a fun, easy to use bike sharing scheme. With stations in both the West End, the Style Mile and South Side and more, it’s actually an enjoyable mode of transportation on a sunny day. And let’s be honest, it’s it’s sunny in Scotland then you better make the most of it and stay outdoors! I rented a bike to cycle from the Riverside Museum all the way to Glasgow University and it was such a hoot!

Hit the museums

72 hours in Glasgow

The view from the Lighthouse

72 hours in Glasgow

Riverside Museum

Glasgow definitely doesn’t have to envy London as far as museums go! I personally visited three, the first one being, of course, the Kelvingrove Museum. It is the most famous of all, and with reason; this Glasgow Victorian landmark hosts one of the finest civic collections in Europe. I mean, the museum itself in an attraction in its own right!

I also enjoyed the brand new Riverside Museum, which boasts an excellent collection of vehicles and models to tell the story of transport by land and sea, with a unique Glasgow flavor. I particularly enjoyed the tallship and the hugely popular historic Glasgow street scene from the early 1900s - complete with a subway carriage!

Lastly, those with a good set of legs should definitely climb up the 162 steps (I counted!!!) up the Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, for an amazing view over the city.

Walk in the park

72 hours in Glasgow

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Glasgow boasts amazing green spaces from one end to another of the city. I personally loved, loved, loved the Botanic Gardens, which were a bucolic sight for sore eyes after a long day of walking around the West End. The Victorian greenhouse and the colorful gardens are just too photogenic not to share! Closeby is the popular Kelvingrove Park, which has long been Glaswegians’ favorite place to jog, chill or have a picnic. Being just next to Glasgow University it is understandably full of hard-working (or not!) students, giving the park a very lively feel.

Go back to school

Glasgow architecture

University of Glasgow

While I am perfectly aware that Glasgow has nothing to do with Harry Potter, I couldn’t help but feel like I had walked right into Hogwarts when I entered the University’s campus. It is the fourth oldest Uni in the English-speaking world (established 1451), and also one of the country’s most prestigious. Accio wand and striped scarf, please?

Practical Info:

  • Glasgow’s main center is a very walkable, but it is a bit of a stretch to get to other areas from there, including the West End. I recommend using the subway, which is super tiny, super cute, super cheap and super easy to use.
  • If all else fails, black cabs are also extremely affordable - nothing like London’s!
  • And because the city is so spread out, I recommend using the Hop On Hop Off service to get to far off attractions like the Kelvingrove Museum, the Riverside Museum and the Botanic Gardens, which are all worth a visit.
  • If you’ve got a bit of time on your hands you can even go on a day trip to the Scottish Highlands and pretend to be Mel Gibson for a day. Without the tragic ending, of course.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Glasgow Tourism Board for this trip. As always, I’m keeping it real and my opinions are my own. This city rocks.


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16 Responses to “72 hours in Glasgow”

  1. Andrew

    16. Oct, 2014

    Wow, that greenhouse shot is splendid. I live just south of the border, maybe I should consider a weekend getaway soon.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Brianna

    16. Oct, 2014

    I love, love the West End. One of my favorite places in the UK, and I’m from London!!!

    Reply to this comment

    24. Oct, 2014

    This is a pretty perfect snapshot of Glasgow and the huge variety of things to see and do. You’ve ticked pretty much every box for things I tell visitors to do. Thanks so much for sharing your experience of our beautiful city - you can see why Glaswegians are so proud of it.

    Reply to this comment
  4. ruth thomson

    24. Oct, 2014

    Glasgow is defo no mean city its people its architecture frm the tobacco lords to mackintosh is truly amazing …the pubs an music ….great wee snapshot of a friendly city thats smiles better

    Reply to this comment
  5. Raymond

    29. Oct, 2014

    What a gorgeous city this is. Nothing like I remembered it to be back in the 1980s.

    Reply to this comment
  6. vinnie

    10. Jan, 2015

    Love Glasgow and all the spots you mentioned. Another great area for eating is Merchant City!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Stuart

    14. Jan, 2015

    iv just came across your website, searching online for what to do in my 3 spare hours in Geneva tomorrow! then I came across this fantastic piece on Glasgow, my hometown! lving in barcelona now so it seems like a millon miles away but i always look forward to getting home for a few days and enjoying the buzzy atmosphere in the city centre!!! :) great read! glad you enjoyed!

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