Whenever I speak to travellers and tell them I’m from Scotland, I always get the same thing. Oh my god, I love Edinburgh, it’s so gorgeous! And it is- Edinburgh is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world but hey, what’s wrong with Glasgow?
I’ve met travellers before who’ve been all over Scotland- up to John O’Bloody Groats and back again. But, they decided to skip Glasgow! I’m biased as I grew up with Glasgow on my doorstep and went to university there but, honestly, if you’re going to come to Scotland, at least spend a couple of days in our biggest city…. Can you really say you know a country if you don’t spend some time seeing where the people, not sheep, are! (And, no The Royal Mile in Edinburgh doesn’t count!)
Admittedly, Glasgow is lacking the sights other European cities have- we don’t have an Eiffel Tower or a Collusseum, but we have other cool things. Our culture and nightlife are some of the best in The UK!
I understand that travelling to Glasgow might be daunting so I’ve made a short itinerary for 2 days in Glasgow that will show you the best of the city. This is pretty much the route I would follow if I was showing someone around on a sunny day. If you’re not blessed with good weather, (you probably won’t be) just drink your beer inside rather than out in the beer garden!
Day 1 of your 2 Days in Glasgow
Glasgow’s West End is the part of the city that surprises people the most. After years of struggling with a less than desirable reputation, a lot of people visit Glasgow for the first time, get off the subway at Hillhead and realise that, shock horror, Glasgow is actually a nice place!
My 2-day itinerary is going to start on Byre’s Road. Glasgow is a pretty simple city to get around as our underground is literally a circle. If you get on at the wrong side, you’ll get where you need to be eventually! There are some places on the outskirts that you’ll need buses to get to but this itinerary can be done using just the underground and your own two feet!
After getting off the subway, stroll around the top end of Byre’s Road. There are some great vintage shops here and, even better, since most of the rich locals live around here, the charity shops are a cheap place to pick up some treasure. It’s not unheard of to find Burberry coats and Chanel bags lurking around these parts.
The Botanic Gardens
At the top of Byre’s Road, you’ll find the Botanic Gardens. No matter what the weather is like, they’re well worth a visit. If it’s raining and cold, thaw out your bones in the greenhouse. If it’s above 12 degrees, join the rest of Glasgow and go taps aff on the grass!
From here, you’re going to take a walk along one of Glasgow’s longest roads: Great Western Road. Great Western Road also has some interesting shops to browse through but since it’s such a busy road with loads of traffic, it’s not as pleasant a place to take a stroll as Byre’s Road.
When you get to Kelvinbridge, it’ll probably be about time to have your first beer for the day. Inn Deep is a great place by the River Kelvin to grab a pint of William’s Brothers and sample some food. Plus, if it’s sunny (wishful thinking), the beer garden is one of the city’s best.
The City Centre
Now that you’ve had your little mini introduction to the West End, it’s time to jump on an underground and see the city centre. Glasgow City Centre is a buzzing place- you’ll see street performers busking with some drunk guy dancing along and thousands of people out shopping! If you come on the weekend you’ll see for yourself how much Glaswegians love to shop. (I worked in retail for about 7 years so I can attest to this!)
You’ll get off the underground at Buchanan Street- which Glasgow City Council once dubbed “The Style Mile.” You can decide for yourself if you think the name fits! Down a side street off Glasgow’s busiest street, you’ll find a little art gallery called “The Lighthouse.” This art gallery is filled with exhibitions about Charles Rennie MacIntosh: aka Glasgow’s architectural pride and joy. It’s an interesting wee place to look around but the main attraction of the art gallery is the look-out point upstairs.
After walking up a winding staircase, you can see out to the whole of Glasgow from the top floor. Best of all, this view is completely free since all of Scotland’s council-owned museums are free to the public!
The Duke of Wellington
Next, it will be time to see Glasgow’s most well-known sight, The Duke of Wellington. While London has Big Ben, Glasgow has a statue with a cone on its head. After years of drunk people rolling out nightclubs and sticking a cone on the auld Duke’s head, he’s now the city’s biggest icon. You can buy pop art, posters and even bags with him on it. To be honest, I’m not even really sure who the Duke of Wellington was or why he has a statue in Glasgow, but I know he was destined to live a life with a cone on his head, on a postcard beside a Tunnock’s Teacake.
If you’re coming to Glasgow, you can’t leave without getting a pic of this iconic sight!
And, now that you’ve seen him, you’ve got two options for yourself. Head for another beer garden (because, in an ideal world, it’s going to be beer garden weather when you’re in Glasgow) or have a bit more culture and then go for a beer.
Gallery of Modern Art
GOMA, Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art is another great free museum to walk around which often has some really cool exhibitions. It’s right behind the Duke of Wellington, too, so you may as well go and soak up a bit of culture after getting your selfie.
And then, it’s time to grab that beer. Glasgow has a lot of great beer gardens that are packed full when the weather hits double digits! However, West Brewery is blessed with the best beer garden in the city: Glasgow Green!
Day 2 of your 2 Days in Glasgow
The Riverside Museum
On the second day of your Glasgow Tour, you’re going to see another side of the West End. First, you’ll take the underground to Partick for a trip to the Riverside Museum. Almost everyone in Glasgow will tell you that it’s the city’s best museum. Most locals love it because they visited it in its old location back when we were weans and it was called the Transport Museum.
The Riverside is filled with old trains and cars and even has a replica street of Glasgow in the olden days. Plus, it’s right on the Clydeside with amazing views over the river. Loads of Glasgow’s most modern and iconic buildings are here. You can see the Science Centre, The Glasgow Tower (which no, you can’t go up because it sunk the minute they built it) and The BBC Scotland HQ which, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see a good protest outside of. This is also where the famous Tall Ship is. Plus, The Waverley, the world’s last paddle steamer, is sometimes here too.
Byre’s Road & Ashton Lane
If you’re feeling fit and the weather gods are being good to you, take a stroll up to Byre’s Road. You can walk via Dumbarton Road in Partick- the quick way, or head up Crow Road and through Hyndland which is the more picturesque way! Alternatively, it’s just 2 stops on the underground from Partick. When you get to Byre’s Road, it’s time to see Glasgow’s quaintest alleyway: Ashton Lane. This little lane is filled with cute pubs, cobbled stones and yup, beer gardens. It’s just as lovely as it sounds!
For lunch, Brel has a great menu with Belgian style beers, mussels and chips. This is probably the best suntrap on the lane as well. If you’re on the market for a liquid lunch, Vodka Wodka has some yummy cocktails and cheap drink specials through the week.
Next, you’re going to see Scottish Hogwarts, aka Glasgow Uni! This is actually where I studied (for free, thank you Scotland) and even I get impressed whenever I see the main building. The cloisters are a great place to snap some pics!
Students at Glasgow Uni are pretty spoiled to be in such an awesome location. On one side you can bunk your lectures to get drunk on Ashton Lane and, on the other side you can chill out in Kelvingrove Park. If you remember the Royal Wedding, you might remember a huge rave in Glasgow that turned into a complete riot. That was at Kelvingrove Park but it’s usually much more chilled out than that.
Kelvingrove Park & Museum
I recommend strolling through the park until you get to Kelvingrove Museum. This museum was made famous by the fact that the designer built it back to front and jumped off the roof after he realised. His hard work wasn’t for nothing though because these days you can see fighter jets, a huge dinosaur and some work by Salvador Dali inside it. And, once again, this museum is completely free so it’s perfect for budget travellers.
I’ve strategically ended your tour in Finnieston and it’s up to you where you decide to go. A few year’s ago, Finnieston was dubbed Glasgow’s “up and coming” area- aka it used to be rough and now it’s full of great bars and restaurants. It lived up to the predictions and you’ll find great places to eat around here. These are some of the best:
- The Gannet
- Mother India’s Café
- Brew Dog
- The Hidden Lane Tearooms
New places seem to crop up all the time and since I don’t live in Glasgow any more, I’m a bit slow on the uptake! But, these are old favourites that always seem to be popular.
Spending more than 2 Days in Glasgow?
If you have a few more days to spend in Glasgow, you definitely won’t get bored! Some other cool places to visit would be:
- The Necropolis
- Glasgow Cathedral
- House for an Art Lover
Nightlife in Glasgow
Glasgow also has some amazing nightlife and there are clubs to suit every taste. My favourites that I always return to are The Sub Club and The Berkeley Suite. If you love techno, deep house or disco music like I do, check out who’s playing while you’re in town! If that’s not your thing, there are loads of other clubs to go to instead. Some are more mainstream and some are a bit more specialist.
Where to Stay in Glasgow
Glasgow has a lot of great boutique accommodation as well as choices for budget travellers. As the city is small, you can get almost anywhere in a taxi for less than a tenner. However, I recommend staying in the City Centre or the West End for the most convenience.
Citizen M is in the heart of the city centre. People love this hotel- I’ve even known of people from Glasgow booking rooms here. Apparently, the breakfast and hotel bar are both great!
easyHotel (yes, you read that right) is supposed to be a great budget option for anyone looking for a private room on a budget. It’s owned by Mr Easyjet and has the same colour scheme as the planes but if you’re just staying for a night and want somewhere cheap and quiet, you can’t go wrong.
Euro Hostel is fine for solo travellers looking to stay in the city centre and meet people.
Glasgow Youth Hostel is set in an old Victorian House in the super fancy West End.
One Devonshire Gardens is the place to stay if you want to flash the cash! Most celebrities stay here when they come to Glasgow. Oh, hiya Beyonce!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my 2-day Glasgow itinerary and that it’s encouraged you to visit Glasgow. I’ve purposefully made this itinerary to be easy to do on foot with limited public transport as I think that’s the best way to enjoy the city. And, of course, I’ve also thrown in plenty of pub stops because what good is a city break without a few pints!
Honestly, I wish that I could show you about myself as Glasgow is an amazing city that not enough travellers take the time to enjoy. But, for now, this will have to do!
If you are going to Scotland, you’ll probably be visiting our capital, too! Here are my tips for travelling in Edinburgh!
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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links but all opinions are my own. P.s, thanks to Veeran for all his pics he took on our trip and letting me steal them!