Are thinking about moving to Glasgow? We’ve put together this easy guide full of information about the magnificent city of Glasgow.
Voted one of the friendliest cities in the world, Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and is characterized by music, art, and a hint of Celtic charm.
Glasgow is best known for being a vibrant city packed with nightlife, culture, and art. Located adjacent to the River Clyde, Glasgow is divided into 4 well-known geographical areas: The West End, East End, City Centre, and Southside. These 4 areas while close in proximity, each hold their own unique niche.
Glasgow is Scotland’s most densely populated city and is home to approximately 630,000 people according to the National Records of Scotland in 2019. Glasgow has 5 universities, many colleges and over 130,000 students.
Best areas to live in Glasgow
West End: If you’re looking for a ‘village’ vibe in Glasgow’s largest city look no further than the West-End. The West-End is full of small-businesses, quirky pubs, and greenery. The West-End is packed with world-class restaurants and is known for being the ‘poshest’ area in Glasgow. It is also home to Glasgow’s largest university – The University of Glasgow. While the West-End does come jam packed with some amazing attributes it is also known as one of the most expensive areas to live in Glasgow. Properties in Glasgow’s West-End had an overall average price of £268,634 over the last year (2021). While rent for a 1-bedroom flat would cost between £500 and £675 per month on average. The top neighbourhood to live in: Hillhead.
City Centre:What was formerly an area based solely around industry is now a bustling place of culture, sport, and entertainment. The city centre is packed full of large corporations, skyscrapers, and business people alike. With that being said the city centre does offer much more than purely business. You will find many iconic pubs, shopping (including the renowned Buchanan Street and St. Enoch Centre), and many cultural venues (the Theatre Royale, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the Gallery of Modern Art and more). The average property price in Glasgow’s City Centre comes in at £207,842. Renters can expect to pay between £500 and £650 per month for a 1-bedroom flat on average. Top neighbourhood to live in: Merchant City.
East End: If you’re looking to live in Glasgow on a smaller budget, look no further than the East-End. While only a short walk outside of the city centre Glasgow’s East-End is an epicentre of culture, art, and sport. You will find many iconic landmarks such as The Barrowland Ballroom and The Barras Market. Are you a sports fan? You will also find the famous Celtic Park where you can attend a football match between the Celtics and Rangers – a rivalry embedded in Scottish culture for decades. The East-End is also home to many budget-friendly, yet fantastic restaurants. If you’re feeling Italian Coia’s Café established in 1928 is a must-try. Fancy a burger? Dennistoun Barbecue is another top-rated east end favourite. The average property in Glasgow sells for approximately £155,490. While rent in east-end will cost you between £400 and £500 for a 1-bedroom flat each month. Top neighbourhood to live in: Dennistoun.
Southside: Another underrated hidden gem of Glasgow is the lovely southside. The southside combines a little bit of each of the previously mentioned areas of Glasgow. The southside offers luxurious hipster coffee houses and pubs. With the hustle and bustle of the city centre, and cost-effective pricing similar to the east-end. It’s perfect for young families – this stylish up and coming area was compared to by the Guardian as Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Looking to relax and sunbathe? You have many fabulous parks such as Queen’s park, Linn Park, and King’s park to name a few. The average cost of a property in the Southside of Glasgow is £192,273. While rent in the Southside will cost you between £400 – £550 per month. Top area to live in: Shawlands.
Travelling around Glasgow
Travelling about in Glasgow is extremely cost-effective. You can travel by bus anywhere in Glasgow for £53. While a Zonecard (covering ScotRail, most busses, the subway, and some ferries in the Strathclyde region) runs you just £75 per month for unlimited travel.
Other transportation methods include cycling, Nextbike Glasgow have over 400 bikes for hire in 43 locations in Glasgow. These bikes are available to hire via their app 24/7.
Free things to do in Glasgow
Glasgow is full of free activities to keep you busy. All major museums and galleries are free to enter. Some fan-favourites are Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art.
Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum has 22 galleries and you can discover everything from art to animals, Ancient Egypt to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and so much more. The museum has been open since 1901 and is a firm favourite with local people and visitors. It has stunning architecture which can be admired as you make your way through the museum and has a fantastic family friendly atmosphere. The museum has an ever-changing programme of temporary exhibitions and displays.
Gallery of Modern Art
Take a trip into the Gallery of Modern Art, the magnificent building is in the heart of Glasgow’s city centre, it boasts 4 galleries, a café, shop, and library. It is Scotland’s most visited art gallery and the centre for Glasgow’s extensive modern and contemporary art collection.
Hunterian Art Gallery & Museum
Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery & Museum is The University of Glasgow’s museum dedicated to William Hunter and is the oldest museum in Scotland. It covers the Hunterian Museum, the Hunterian Art Gallery, the Mackintosh House, the Zoology Museum, and the Anatomy Museum. The museum is home to many distinguished public art collections in Scotland. Permanent displays are Rubens and Rembrandt to the Scottish Colourists and Glasgow Boys.
Glasgow Cathedral & Necropolis
Pay a visit to Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis two of Glasgow’s most historical and best loved visitor attractions. And they both just so happen to be two of the most magnificent locations the city can boast. The breathtaking medieval cathedral, also known as the High Kirk, St Kentigern’s or St Mungo’s, is thought to have been built on the site of St Kentigern’s tomb, marking the birthplace of Glasgow. Its also the only structure of its kind which survived the Reformation of 1560 intact, making it the country’s oldest mainland cathedral and the oldest building in the whole of Glasgow.
Street Level Photoworks
Glasgow Street Level Photoworks is a key hub for the creative community. Situated in the cultural quarter of Merchant City, Street Level Photoworks offers the means to be able to create and engage with photography and other lens-based media whilst supporting local artists, the best part is that its completely free.
If history and art doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can take a trip to the west-end to visit the Botanic Gardens, where you’ll find delicious food trucks and fabulous flower displays. The Botanic Gardens feature several glasshouses, the most notable of which is the Kibble Palace, designed by engineer, astronomer, and photographer John Kibble. There is also a children’s play area located within the gardens.
Strathclyde Country Park
If outdoor activities are your style, then a trip to Strathclyde Country Park is highly recommended. The park is often bustling with pedal boats, mountain bikers and dog-walkers alike during the summer months. The country park lies within 400 hectares of countryside in the valley of the River Clyde, set within beautiful surroundings. The park has many amenities and attractions to throughout the year including: international rowing competitions, music festivals, fireworks events, guided nature walks and various club activities.
Pollok Country Park
Pollok Country Park has won numerous awards such as the best park in Britain. With trails for walkers set amongst 146 hectares, take in the beautiful surroundings and wildlife. You’ll have the opportunity to see an array of animals including Highland Cattle. Kids will absolutely love it, there are also dedicated areas specifically for children.
Things to do in Glasgow
Are you wanting to take in the culture of Glasgow but you’re not sure where to begin? Take a look at our top picks.
Music City Tour
If you’re wanting to experience some of Glasgow’s culture take a Music City Tour. Glasgow was one of the first cities UNESCO City of Music, and with so much variety it can be hard to know where to start. So why not take a guided tour of Glasgow’s top music venues, be blown away by these lively and imaginative tours that bring to life the performances that have shaped the city’s music culture. From the world’s oldest surviving music hall to the bars where Scarlett Johansson visited, she was filming in the city and the iconic venue that launched the career of Oasis; the city’s musical heritage will astound you.
Glasgow is popular for its café culture, it’s filled to the brim with independent cafes and coffee shops to meet with friends, or to sit back relax with a book and sip delicious coffee. Visit Gordon’s St Coffee, voted number 1 coffee shop in Glasgow Living. With coffee roasted on sight and freshly prepared food made daily its a hot spot amongst visitors and locals.
Take a trip to the Willow Tearooms and gift shop. The Willow Tea Rooms can be found at two venues – Sauchiehall Street, and the other sits in the famous shopping area of Buchanan Street. The Tea Rooms are inspired by the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and are modelled on Kate Cranston’s Ingram Street Tea Rooms from the early 1900s recreating fabulous interiors in vibrant colours. Sit back and enjoy a spot of brunch or an afternoon tea with a glass of bubbly.
If you’re feeling peckish Glasgow is known for its foodie hot spots and ever evolving food scene.
Depending on what it is you’re looking for you’ll be spoilt for choice, with cool and casual options, to dining in style – Glasgow was also voted one of the UK’s most vegan friendly cities.
Pay a visit to the popular Ubiquitous Chip, possibly one of Glasgow’s most famous restaurants and most well established having opened in 1971. Previously known as ‘The Chip’, Ubiquitous Chip opened in a West End lane just off of Byres Road by Ronnie Clydesdale as a celebration of Scottish produce at a time, when its merits were becoming forgotten the name was changed to the ‘Ubiquitous Chip’. With son Colin now at the helm, it remains an unforgettable place to eat, with beautiful cobblestone floors, fascinating nooks and crannies and a covered courtyard with a small fishpond. The food is no less dazzling, with a seasonal menu showcasing Scotland, from homemade haggis to Orkney smoked salmon and scallops from Islay.
If you’re looking for a bit of timeless Glasgow hospitality, head to the Merchant City’s Café Gandolfi, home of everything great about Scottish produce and simple cooking. With beautiful Oak furniture and stunning stain glass windows you’ll be mesmerised by its charming setting. If you’re lucky, you may even have the irrepressible Seamus McInnes welcoming you in.
Looking for something stronger? Take a trip to the Clydeside Distillery, sample some of Scotland’s finest single malt whisky whilst taking in breathtaking views of the dockside. Book a tour and discover the story behind the whisky and watch craftsmen distil Clydeside New Make spirit.
Don’t worry if whisky’s not your thing, visit the Drygate Brewery a joint venture between craft brewers Williams Brothers and macro-brewers Tennent’s. Located partly in a 1930s former factory beside the Tennent’s brewery on Duke Street in the East End, Drygate is also known as ‘experiential’ micro-brewery, beer hall and restaurant. With big screens for sports and space for music and comedy events; on a sunny day enjoy a drink on the terrace.
Glasgow Film Theatre
Fall in love with film at the Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow is was once one of Britain’s great cinema cities during the 1940s, it boasted a total 114 movie theatres. Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), previously called Cosmo until 1973, opened in 1939 as Scotland’s first arthouse cinema. Today, it effectively remains Glasgow’s last. In 2013 a third screen was added to maximise capacity, particularly during the booming annual Glasgow Film Festival.
The Scottish Football Museum
If you’re a Football fan a visit to The Scottish Football Museum is a must. Based within the National Stadium at Hampden, the museum focuses on Scotland’s rich footballing heritage. It has an extensive range of memorabilia. Tour the 52,000-capacity National Stadium and polish up on your victory dance in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
Sport in the city
Sport is truly at the heart of Glasgow and is a great city for fitness fanatics and a proud host of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Join the Glasgow Club have up to 30 sports and fitness centres in Glasgow at your disposal, with 25 gyms, 12 pools and 750 fitness classes all within easy reach of the city centre. Football is extremely popular in Glasgow and you can watch several teams, including Celtic, Rangers, Partick Thistle, or the female team, Glasgow City Ladies F.C. If you also want to play the game, Glasgow Sport lists several football pitches. In addition to this there are 5-a-side pitches available at Powerleague and Soccer World. There is also training available for all levels at the Glasgow Football Academy.
Scotland is the home of golf and Glasgow has a number of opportunities for you to enjoy the sport. Glasgow Sport offers six affordable courses to play on, in addition to this there are a number of private courses with visitor fees. Rugby is also very popular in Glasgow the home of Scotland’s national rugby team is at Murrayfield, Glasgow has its own team, the mighty Glasgow Warriors. There are also many smaller teams that you can watch and take part in. Are you looking to shoot some hoops? Glasgow has two outdoor Basketball courts for public use – it also has its very own Pro Basketball team. There’s a great range of other sports to watch or even partake in, for more information visit the Discover Glasgow website.
If you love to shop Glasgow is the perfect place to shop till you drop. Head to Buchanan Street, it forms the central stretch of the city’s shopping district, linking you to an array of shops in each direction. It hosts a mixture of well known and loved high street brands as well as independently own shops. You’ll also find luxury brands in-store boutiques for Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Mui Mui and Anya Hindmarsh.
Feel the need for speed? Visit Glasgow Tigers Speedway, the only professional speedway team in the west of Scotland. You’ll have a fun filled, well fuelled day, sitting on the edge of your seats.
Glasgow Riverboat Casino
Cast your bets on the Glasgow Riverboat Casino. Nestled on the banks of the River Clyde enjoy the beautiful views, especially as the sun is setting down the river. Dine in at their a la Carte Louisiana style restaurant with a late-night bar. The casino is home to roulette tables, blackjack, poker tables and popular slot machines. You can sit down and enjoy a lovely meal or take your chance in the hand of fate.
Glasgow Science Centre
Take a trip to the Science Centre, this is an absolute must for families with young children. The space-age structure houses a planetarium, IMAX cinema, galleries with hands-on activities, two cafés and a gift shop. With activities for all ages you’ll be occupied for hours. The Science Show Theatre is the place for live science shows full of whizzes, bangs, pops, and flashes.
Glasgow truly is an amazing city with a vast history and culture. It has so much to offer and there really is something for everyone.
We hope you enjoyed our easy guide to Glasgow, for more information and advice get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org