Hostelworld Guide for Glasgow


Entertaining and welcoming, Glasgow is a great choice for a weekend break or a longer visit. Situated on the River Clyde, it is the biggest city in Scotland and the third biggest in the UK. From a lively social scene to fascinating and free museums to some of the best shopping outside of London, Glasgow has something for everyone. A wide range of restaurants and bars cater to every taste and budget, and there's always an interesting attraction or exhibit to visit. To top it off, it's an easy city to get around and the Glaswegian people are very hospitable.



In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

 The Essentials


Getting There

By plane: Glasgow International Airport is 13km west of the city and 25 minutes from the city centre by bus or taxi. The city is also served by Glasgow Prestwick Airport, 48km south of Glasgow. It's connected to the city by train and the journey takes 50 minutes.

By train: There are two main railway stations in the city: Glasgow Central Station and Queen Street Station. A regular train service connects Glasgow with a large number of UK destinations.

By bus: There are frequent bus services available from the Buchanan Bus Station (Killermont Street), connecting Glasgow with around 1,200 locations across the UK and also 25 countries in Europe.

Getting Around

On foot: A lot of the main shopping streets in Glasgow city centre are pedestrianised, making it easy to stroll around the heart of the city.

By subway: The subway system has two lines, with stations located close to most of the main attractions. After 9.30am you can buy a 'discovery ticket' that costs £3.50, which can be used on as many journeys as you like all day until the last train.

By taxi: Taxis can be hailed down across the city and the prices are quite reasonable.

 Glasgow facts

Location: Glasgow, which is the largest city in Scotland, is located on the River Clyde in the west of the country.

Population: Over 580,000 people live in the city of Glasgow.

Area: Glasgow covers an area of around 175 square kilometres.

Founded: St. Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, founded a settlement in this area back in the 6th century.

Thanks to the shelter provided by groups of hills around the city, Glasgow is somewhat warmer than the rest of Scotland. It has a temperate climate that is also prone to quick changes with milder winters and warm summers. The warmest months are generally June, July and August with January and November being the coldest. May and June are the driest months, while January and October see the most rainfall on average.

climate figs

 Good to know...

Language: English
Currency: British Pound
Electricity: 220/240 Volts AC/50Hz, 3-pin plug
Area Code: +44 (Scotland), 0141 (Glasgow)
Emergency Codes: Ambulance 999, Fire 999, Police 999
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time
Central Post Office: 47 St. Vincent Street
Main Tourist Office: Glasgow Tourist Information Centre, 11 George Square

Consulates / High Commissions

USA: +44 (0)131 556 8315 (C)**
Canada: +44 (0)7702 359 916 (C)**
Australia: +44 (0)131 228 4771 (C)**
South Africa: +44 (0)20 7451 7299 (HC)***
Ireland: +44 (0)131 226 7711 (C)**
Germany: +44 (0)141 131 337 2323 (C)*
Spain: +44 (0)131 220 1843 (C)**
Italy: +44 (0)131 226 3631 (C)**
New Zealand: +44 (0)131 222 8109 (HC)**
France: +44 (0)131 225 3377 (C)**

*Located in Glasgow
**Located in Edinburgh
***Located in London

Hostelworld Guide for Glasgow

 Cheap Eats

 After Dark

Morton's Coffee House, 215 Byres Road This popular café is a great spot to start the day, with breakfast specials on offer from 8am-11am, including meal deals like a bacon roll and tea/coffee. Soups, paninis and sandwiches are also served. Afternoon tea specials are great value with tea/coffee and cake at really low prices. Open Mon-Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 10am-6pm.

 Glasgow's tastiest nachos

Beanscene, 16 Cresswell Lane, Hillhead A popular chain of café-restaurants, Beanscene serves large portions of what are probably the best nachos in the city. Every night from 5pm until closing time, there's a great value 2 for 1 special on a number of delicious pizzas. Open Mon-Sat 7.30am-11pm, Sun 9am-11pm. Free WiFi.

DiMaggio's, 21 Royal Exchange Square Offering a range of dishes from burgers to salads and from pasta to pizza, plus Scottish seafood, this restaurant is really big inside, with a lot of places to sit, friendly and efficient staff and tasty food at reasonable prices. An affordable set menu is available. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12.30pm-10.30pm

Ketchup, 44 Ashton Lane A newish addition to Ashton Lane, Ketchup's quirky interior and welcoming atmosphere make it well worth a visit. From gourmet burgers to milkshakes served in real milk bottles, it offers tasty food at reasonable prices. Open Sun-Thurs 12pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-2am.

The Social, 27 Royal Exchange Square Despite a swanky interior with low tables and lots of mood lighting, the prices here are really reasonable. There are lots of tables outside too. It's a popular spot and tends to be quite busy. Half price pizza and pasta dishes are offered from 5pm-8pm Mon-Thurs. Open Mon-Fri 12am-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-8pm.

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, 272a St. Vincent Street This bar and live venue is really popular and gets very busy, especially on gig nights. The music is loud and predominantly rock or indie. Cocktails and bottles of Tennents are offered at very reasonable prices. For any aspiring musicians, there's a letterbox inside the bar where you can drop in your CD. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 6pm-12am.

Curlers, 256-260 Byres Road Popular with a younger crowd, this bar gets crowded, especially during term time as it's a student favourite. The staff are friendly and say Curlers is the "cheapest bar in the West End". These low prices apply to double spirits and a mixer and to selected pints. There are lots of seats, as well as big screen TVs, a jukebox and a pool table. Open Mon-Thurs 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12am Sun 12.30pm-11pm.

Oran Mór, 731–735 Great Western Road As well as having an intimate live music venue, Oran Mór has a large bar area. Pictures of musicians decorate the walls and, as the building used to be a church, the interior is all stone walls and stained glass. An extremely popular place in the West End. Open Mon-Sat 9am-3am, Sun 12.30pm-3am.

 Gay / Lesbian Glasgow

The gay scene in Glasgow is centred around an area in Merchant City known as the 'Pink Triangle' and consisting of three bars; Revolver (6a John Street), Bennetts (80-90 Glassford Street) and The Polo Lounge (84 Wilson Street). Other popular bars on this small but lively scene include MODA (58 Virginia Street).

Radio, 1st Floor, 46 Ashton Lane Radio is an intimate bar that has lots of comfy stools to sit on and a selection of really good music. It's a busy place, especially on Wednesdays, when all drinks are reduced, and on Mondays when there's a quiz from 9pm. Just upstairs from the bar you'll find the nightclub 'Nude', which serves selected cheap cocktails from Sun to Thurs. Open 7 days, 12pm-12am.

Walkabout, 128 Renfield Street Offering two levels of music and free entry before 10pm, this Australian sports bar and club has lots of tables, and flat screen TVs everywhere you look. Here you can get six shots at a special price, plus reduced spirits and selected pints. Open Mon/Tues 11am-12am, Wed 11am-1am, Thurs 11am-2am, Fri/Sat 11am-3am, Sun 12pm-1am. WiFi available.

 Don't Miss

 Mark Your Calendar

Glasgow Science Centre, 50 Pacific Quay Hundreds of exhibits can be found in the Science Mall and they're not just for kids. Practically every display requires you to participate and it's a lot of fun to get stuck in. The centre also includes an IMAX theatre and a planetarium. Open daily from 10am-5pm. Admission £9.95.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle Street From ancient Egypt to the Wild West, this museum has something for everyone. Spread over a large area, there are a huge number of different exhibitions here including a Dali painting. Admission is free and free guided tours are provided daily at 11am and 2.30pm. Open Mon-Thurs, Sat 10am-5pm; Fri and Sun 11am-5pm.

The Hunterian Museum, Gilbert Scott Building, University of Glasgow First opened in 1807, this is Scotland's oldest public museum. The huge collection includes curiosities from all over the world, as well as fossils and ancient artefacts. Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-5pm; admission free.

Glasgow Cathedral, 2 Castle Street Admission to the Cathedral itself is free, with concerts sometimes held inside. You can check out the impressive stained glass windows and also the lower church, home to the tomb of St. Mungo, patron saint of Glasgow. Open April-Sept Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm Sun 1pm-5pm, Oct-March Mon-Sat 9.30am-4pm Sun 1pm-4pm.

 Castle in the clouds

Stirling Castle, Esplanade, Stirling One of the most important castles in Scotland, Stirling Castle is home to the Great Hall, one of the largest banqueting halls ever built. On a fine day, the ramparts offer a picturesque view of the surrounding countryside. Open April-Sept 9.30am-6pm Oct-March 9.30am-5pm. Tickets £9.00; free guided tour included.

January - Celtic Connections Festival This Celtic, folk and world music festival takes place over 19 days in many venues across the city. It celebrates Scottish musical talent and also features artists from around the world.

February - Glasgow Film Festival Soon entering its fifth year, this event lasts for 11 days and is becoming increasingly well-renowned at an international level.

March - Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival Comedians from around the world take part in this laugh riot. Small and large events are held at various locations throughout the city.

June - Glasgow West End Festival Free public events and a number of ticketed events are held across the city with the centrepiece of the festival being the carnival parade. This annual event started in 1996 and includes outdoor theatre and music.

June-August - Bard in the Botanics The only one of its kind in Scotland, this outdoor Shakespeare festival is held in Glasgow's Botanic Gardens. Running since 2002, it now attracts large numbers to all the various performances.

July - Glasgow River Festival Held over two days, this popular festival is comprised of land and water events from funfair rides to street entertainment to rowing to jet-ski racing.

July - Merchant City Festival A major cultural event that attracts tens of thousands, this festival features art, street theatre, comedy and musical events held indoors and outdoors. It also has a popular short film programme.

August - Piping Live! This week long festival celebrates new talent and established piping acts. Events include concerts, street performances and workshops.

October - Glasgay Established in 1993, this is Glasgow's annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender festival. A variety of different events take place, including theatre, music and film.

November-December - Glasgow Winterfest Over these two months a range of festive events are held as part of the Winterfest. These include Glasgow on Ice in George Square, the Festive Market and the ever popular Glasgow Hogsmany celebration on New Year's Eve.

Hostelworld Guide for Glasgow

 Neighbourhood Watch

 Retail Therapy

Stirling There are many things to see and do in Stirling, from the hugely popular Stirling Castle to the sightseeing tour to the gallery to the Old Town Jail. A great selection of restaurants, cafés and bars can also be found here. A very picturesque place, this city has lots of narrow, cobbled streets and is kept very clean. It's only 25-30 minutes by train from Glasgow to Stirling and the city is well worth the trip.

 Out West End way

West End Glasgow's West End is home to the prestigious Glasgow University, as well as many of the city's main museums and galleries, including the Kelvingrove. The area gets especially busy during term time when the students are in residence. Byres Road and Ashton Lane are home to some of the city's most popular bars and restaurants. As well as that, there are a lot of shops here, from high street names to smaller independent stores.

Merchant City On the east side of the city, but recently expanded west as far as Buchanan Street, Merchant City is home to the famous Tron Theatre. It's a good area for shopping and has lots of popular bars and restaurants, making this a great area get a taste of Glasgow nightlife.

South Side The South Side is home to some of the city's main attractions, such as the Science Centre and the Scotland Street School Museum. Ibrox, the football stadium where Rangers F.C. play their home games, is also located here. There are quite a few parks in this area, including Queen's Park and Pollock County Park.

East End From interesting attractions to great shopping, there's a lot to see and do here. You can check out the Glasgow Cathedral and the interesting exhibits in St. Mungo's Museum. On top of that, the East End is home to the Barras Market, a popular spot with shoppers looking for a bargain.

Sauchiehall Street Almost permanently crowded, this street in the city centre is home to lots of high street shops and is mostly pedestrianised. Some of the stores found here include WH Smith, Primark, HMV, Waterstones and New Look. You can also sit and rest at the various cafés along the street.

The Barras Market, 4-6 Stevenson Street In the East End and only a short walk from the city centre, the Barras Market is a great place to find a bargain on a huge range of items. There are lots of stalls selling everything from clothes to shoes to gifts. You'll also find flowers, plants and household items here. Stalls selling food are also scattered throughout the market. Open Sat-Sun 10am-5pm.

 Shop til you drop

Buchanan Street Buchanan Street is Glasgow's main shopping street. Filled with shoppers on a daily basis, this street is home to big brand names and high street shops like Office and Monsoon, as well as various cafés and coffee shops. It is pedestrianised and is a favourite haunt for street performers, including the ever present pipers.

Princes Square, 38-42 Buchanan Street Filled with upmarket shops and designer names, this mall is situated on Glasgow's main shopping street. Home to over 45 stores, including Karen Millen, Ted Baker and Calvin Klein, its stylish interior and selection of high quality products make it popular with shoppers. Open Mon-Wed, Fri, Sat 9.30am-9pm Thurs 9.30am-8pm Sun 12pm-5pm.

Buchanan Galleries, 220 Buchanan Street Right in the middle of Glasgow city centre, this shopping centre is home to around 90 stores and is seen as one of the UK's best shopping destinations. The many different shops sell everything from clothes to sunglasses to ice-cream. Open Mon-Wed & Fri/Sat, 9am-6pm, Thurs 9am-8pm, Sunday 10am-7pm.

 Budget Tips

 A Day in Glasgow...

Visit the Scotland Street School Museum This school was designed by famous Glaswegian architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The building is now a museum with lots of different exhibits charting Scottish school life throughout the years. Open Mon-Thurs, Sat 10am-5pm, Fri and Sun 11am-5pm; admission free.

Stroll thorough the Botanic Gardens On Great Western Road, this is a popular place where people come to take a wander through the gardens and greenhouses. It also plays host the annual Bard in the Botanics festival. Gardens open 7am-dusk, Glasshouses open 10am-4.45pm (4.15pm in winter); admission free.

Check out the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art The balcony galleries and larger rooms here are full of interesting and thought-provoking exhibits. As well as renowned international artists, this museum in Royal Exchange Square also showcases works of art by Scottish natives. Open Mon-Wed, Sat 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-8pm, Fri & Sun 11am-5pm; admission free.

 Faithfully devoted

See the great exhibits at St. Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art From Mexican dancing skeletons to Buddha statues, this museum highlights religious life. Spread across three floors, the religions covered include Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Open Mon-Thurs, Sat 10am-5pm, Fri & Sun 11am-5pm; admission free.

Wander around the People's Palace and Winter Gardens Located in Glasgow Green, the People's Palace is a museum telling the story of life in Glasgow throughout various periods. The Winter Gardens are an exotic oasis, filled with palm trees and cacti. Open Mon-Thurs, Sat 10am-5pm; Fri & Sun 11am-5pm; admission free.

Start your day in the West End by enjoying a Morton's breakfast special before walking up the hill to Glasgow University. Here you can visit the Hunterian Museum.

A walk through the University grounds will lead you to Kelvingrove Park and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. See Elvis (below) and check out the exhibits.


Walking towards Byres Road, at the heart of the West End, you'll find a wide range of lunch options to choose from, including sandwich places, pizzerias and pub grub.

Take the subway from the West End to the South Side to visit the Glasgow Science Centre. While you're there have a go on the endlessly entertaining stringless harp.

After that, make your way back to the city centre to sample Glasgow's top notch shopping. A wander down Buchanan Street will take you past all the high street stores.

Head to George Square to see the impressive Glasgow City Chambers and then to Royal Exchange Square, where you can visit the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art.

From traditional Scottish food to Italian, there's a great selection of restaurants in and around Royal Exchange Square. These include DiMaggio's and the Social.

Just a short walk away, you'll find King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. This is a great place to catch some live music or to just sit and enjoy a drink in the lively atmosphere.

To finish off the night, make the short trip from there to Walkabout, and enjoy two levels of music and great drinks offers.

Hostelworld Guide for Glasgow