72 Hours In Glasgow

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 the tragic Highlands — 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

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

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 it’s 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 neighbourhood, for a budget-friendly day out in the city.

Eat your way through the West End

72 hours in Glasgow

 

Speaking of the West End, few other districts in the city offer such gourmet yet diversified options. This really was one of my favourite 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 favourite eateries in the area:

Cycle around

72 hours in Glasgow

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

72 hours in Glasgow

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 flavour. I particularly enjoyed the tall ship 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 72 hours in Glasgow

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 colourful gardens are just too photogenic not to share! Close by is the popular Kelvingrove Park, which has long been Glaswegians’ favourite place to jog, chill or 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

72 hours in Glasgow 72 hours in 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?

72 hours in Glasgow: Practical Info

  • Glasgow’s main centre 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.

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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33 Comments on 72 Hours In Glasgow

  1. Andrew
    October 16, 2014 at 9:19 am (4 years ago)

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

    Reply
    • LORRAINE HAMILTON
      October 25, 2014 at 8:13 am (4 years ago)

      It’s the Kibble Palace – if you go to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens Website you can do a Virtual Tour of the interior of this magnificent glasshouse. :) And yes, Glasgow is BRILLIANT, do come for a visit! :)

      Reply
      • Marie-Eve Vallieres
        October 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm (4 years ago)

        I did enjoy myself immensely in Glasgow, especially at the Kibble Palace! :)

  2. Brianna
    October 16, 2014 at 9:39 am (4 years ago)

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

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      October 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm (4 years ago)

      That’s saying a lot I guess! I really did enjoy myself in the West End.

      Reply
  3. DENISE COWLE
    October 24, 2014 at 12:02 pm (4 years ago)

    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
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      October 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm (4 years ago)

      Definitely – if I were a Glaswegian I would also be immensely proud of my city. I had a blast!

      Reply
  4. ruth thomson
    October 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm (4 years ago)

    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
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      October 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm (4 years ago)

      I love how you say that Glasgow is the city that smiles better! People were indeed so, so friendly.

      Reply
  5. Raymond
    October 29, 2014 at 9:59 am (4 years ago)

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

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      November 2, 2014 at 9:34 pm (4 years ago)

      I hear it changed quite a bit since then – wasn’t around then to confirm but it sure is lovely today.

      Reply
    • Dede
      January 23, 2018 at 2:23 pm (1 year ago)

      Yes, totally different. I was there first in the 1970s, avoided it like the plague for decades and then rediscovered it around 2013. The city has a great feel to it, and you can’t really tell the tourists from the natives. Everyone blends in. It’s a great place to walk, too. Distances east,south and center are short. The subway is a good way of getting from the Westend to the center except late at night and on Sundays. For some reasons it starts running late and stops very early on Sundays.

      Reply
      • Marie-Eve
        February 19, 2018 at 10:34 pm (1 year ago)

        Glasgow has changed so much. It’s a lot more fun now!

  6. vinnie
    January 10, 2015 at 11:24 am (4 years ago)

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

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      January 12, 2015 at 6:06 pm (4 years ago)

      Yes totally! I loved the many al fresco restaurants there. And the shopping!

      Reply
    • Anya
      January 29, 2017 at 5:49 am (2 years ago)

      Was at University in Glasgow in the 80’s fab-u-lous

      Reply
  7. Stuart
    January 14, 2015 at 9:11 pm (4 years ago)

    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!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      January 16, 2015 at 4:22 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks for popping by Stuart! Glad you enjoyed my Glasgow piece and I hope you like Geneva better than I did!

      Reply
  8. Erin
    September 29, 2015 at 6:44 pm (3 years ago)

    So glad that i stumbled across this post from Pinteres,even if it is a year or two later. I’m from Glasgow and it’s nice to see a visitors perspective on the city! So glad you enjoyed your trip.Happy I found your blog x

    Erin

    http://www.acertainlovelyblog.blogspot.co.uk

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      September 30, 2015 at 10:20 am (3 years ago)

      Yes I loooved Glasgow. Great city you have :-)

      Reply
  9. A Lady in London
    April 24, 2016 at 3:11 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m heading to Glasgow next weekend, so this post was really good to read! I’m excited to visit the museums, and glad to hear that you recommend the botanical gardens. I’m looking forward to the trip!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      April 25, 2016 at 12:40 pm (3 years ago)

      Fingers crossed for good weather! The city is lovely when it’s sunny outside.

      Reply
      • Anya
        January 29, 2017 at 5:50 am (2 years ago)

        And stunning in the rain, such wonderful colours and dramatic skies

  10. Magaly
    September 16, 2016 at 7:42 pm (3 years ago)

    How did you get the tour offered by the Glasgow School of Art? The link does not work :(

    Reply
  11. Leah
    September 30, 2016 at 3:55 pm (2 years ago)

    Im going to Scotland next September, I have never been to Europe before and was excited to have stumbled onto your website! I booked a hostel for 3 extra days in Glasgow when my tour ends and am so excited to explore! Do you have any packing advice for going that late in the year? I cant express my excitement!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      October 6, 2016 at 12:16 pm (2 years ago)

      LAYERS! I call it the onion technique. Britain gets very humid and very cold, so you’ll need good layers to keep you warm if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors. It might even be worth investing in a thermal layer to keep close to your body, especially if you’re going hiking in the Highlands nearby.

      Reply
  12. Stephanie
    November 28, 2016 at 6:17 am (2 years ago)

    I loved Glasgow it’s a great place even though some people told me it wasn’t worth it. I disagree: it’s totally worth a visit!!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      December 1, 2016 at 10:41 am (2 years ago)

      I think so too! SO massively underrated.

      Reply
  13. Jumana
    March 24, 2017 at 12:22 pm (2 years ago)

    Pollock country park is bigger and have a variety of landscape, you should go back. But first you need to take me too!!!

    Reply
  14. Julie
    July 7, 2018 at 8:39 am (9 months ago)

    My cousin and I reserved three days of our upcoming October trip to Scotland for Glasgow. A couple friends have said, why Glasgow? Looks like we made a good decision. Thanks for your insight and tips!

    Reply

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