Glasgow

Glasgow

University of GlasgowGlasgow is Scotland’s largest city, the fourth largest in the UK and the 27th largest in Europe. More than 600,000 people live in Glasgow today, even though the population was over 1.1 million before the middle of the 20th century. Since then, many people have moved to nearby towns and now in Grater Glasgow region live almost 1.8 million people, about a third of Scotland’s total population.

What to see

The city is well known for its university, founded in 1451. The university has 35,000 students from 140 countries, employs around 9,000 people and is one of the world’s top 100 universities.

There are also a number of other highly ranked universities in Glasgow where young people from many parts of the world come to study.

Although Glasgow has always been an industrial city, especially known for shipbuilding, it also has a very large cultural heritage. There are many museums, art galleries and exhibitions in the city, but the history can be felt simply by walking through its streets.

Popular attractions include the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (free admission), the Riverside Museum, Glasgow Science Centre and George Square in the heart of the city. And of course, the central building of the University of Glasgow is worth a visit; both the exterior of the complex and the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery inside are impressive (it can be visited free of charge).

Traffic

Shopping street in GlasgowThere is an underground transport in Glasgow – subway. It has only one round line and trains run in both directions. Interestingly, subway cars are much smaller than, for example, in London. It feels like miniature railway arrives to the platform.

It is best to get around the city by underground or train if you need to go somewhere more far away from the centre. Of course, buses also run across the city, however I have only used buses a few times in three years when I lived there. I did not like that busses are often be late, slow and also relatively expensive.

The city centre is walkable and has pedestrian-only streets.

Those who want to go to other destinations must remember that Glasgow has two main railway stations and you cannot get to where you want to go from both stations. The stations are about a 10-minute walk away, so trying to find a bus or taxi to get from one to another doesn’t make much sense. Of course, if you have a lot of luggage to handle, you just have to take a taxi.

There is also a bus station in the city centre, with buses to major cities and other destinations in Scotland and England. In general, intercity bus services in Scotland are good.

If you arrive at Glasgow Airport, almost the only cheap choice to get to the city is the bus that stops at the terminal. However, if you arrive after midnight, you may have to take a taxi, which is not cheap at all.

Where to go

Glasgow Partick at night

There are many shops and cafes in the city centre, during the day you can walk through the pedestrian streets, see the central station from the inside and go to the eastern part of the city centre, which is not far away and has its own charm because there used to be city warehouses.

But the city centre is turning very busy in the evening, as many nightclubs are opening up and life is getting different. The most popular, in some ways even legendary, entertainment street is Sauchiehall Street. Life in the area is bustling until three o’clock in the morning, especially on weekends.

Glasgow is a very active city in general, where people relax after a day of work, and especially after a week of work, and it’s so different from many other Scottish cities that are much quieter. So if you are in Scotland, it is worth visiting Glasgow and enjoying its special charm.