Many people who check out the northern jewel in crown of the British Isles may forego Glasgow or merely use it as the gate to the rest of Scotland (as it is cheaper in most cases to fly into Prestwick and train it to Edinburgh than fly direct), but they would be missing out. As the third most populated city in the UK, Glasgow is home to some interesting sights and sounds of its own and an excellent place to start before heading into the highlands. Just be forewarned – the locals tend to speak a wee bit quickly and their accent can be… interesting!
Like with the rest of Scotland, even during the peak of summer it is not unusual to be wearing a jacket while in Glasgow, which can be quite refreshing for anyone burnt out by the heat of other locales on the European mainland. Add in the rain and you would think it a very bleak place, but instead it only serves to add to the charm of the old buildings by making them glisten. Oh, and if you find yourself caught on the streets during a cloud burst, it only makes pub time all the more enjoyable!
Unlike Edinburgh, Glasgow is home to many festivals throughout the year, making any trip likely to encounter some celebration of local culture. From comedy to film festivals to gay pride and Celtic heritage events, there is sure to be something in Glasgow to meet any travel tastes. Although you may need to rent a car to reach many of the festival grounds and if you do, don’t forget about car insurance. It is just as important as travel insurance!
The Glasgow Cathedral is worth a look as a rugged and imposing example of gothic architecture. Similarly, check out the City Chambers in Glasgow Square as well for a slightly different design, yet still imposing looking building. The landscape surrounding the University of Glasgow is particularly charming – situated in the west end, it is one of the most prestigious centres for higher learning in the UK and over 500 years old.
While you can find almost any type of food in Glasgow – their fantastic curry can’t be missed – many people will be on the look out for the spirits, in particular scotch whiskey. Any number of pubs can provide you with your drink of choice but there are specialty shops that have hundreds of whiskeys on hand for all tastes and budgets – and I do mean all budgets. These pubs are great in themselves for local colour, as the staff and clientele are typically quite knowledgeable in city history and proud of their home.
Glasgow is a great jumping off point for seeing the rest of Scotland, whether you’re heading to Stirling, Edinburgh or just out to wander the highlands. The people are top notch and you’ll leave with a great impression of the finest country in the United Kingdom.