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Glasgow

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For other places with the same name, see Glasgow (disambiguation).

Glasgow [1] is the largest city in Scotland with a population of about 600,000 in the city itself, or over 2 million if the surrounding towns of the Clydeside conurbation are taken into account. Located at the west end of Scotland's Central Belt on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow's historical importance as Scotland's main industrial centre has challenged by decades of change and various regeneration efforts. The third largest city in the entire United Kingdom (by population), it remains one of the nation's key economic centres outside London.

In recent years, however, Glasgow has been awarded the European titles of City of Culture (1990), City of Architecture and Design (1999) and Capital of Sport (2003). In 2008, Glasgow became the 2nd Scottish city to join the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative when it was named as a UNESCO City of Music (joining Bologna and Seville). In preparing its bid, Glasgow counted an average of 130 music events a week ranging from pop and rock to Celtic music and opera. The city has transformed itself from being the once mighty powerhouse of industrial Britain to a centre for commerce, tourism, and culture. Glasgow will be the host city for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Glasgow has become one of the most visited cities in the British Isles, and visitors will find a revitalised city centre, the best shopping outside London without a doubt, excellent parks and museums (most of which are free), and easy access to the Highlands and Islands.

Understand

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 6 7 9 12 16 18 20 19 16 13 9 7
Nightly lows (°C) 2 2 3 4 7 10 12 12 9 7 4 2
Precipitation (cm) 14.2 9.9 11.0 6.0 6.3 6.3 6.8 8.4 11.6 13.2 13.1 13.8

See the 5 day forecast for Glasgow at the Met Office

The speed of the conversation tends to be quite quick in Glasgow. If necessary, ask people to repeat (even slowly!) what they are saying, Glaswegians are generally very friendly and able to communicate in far more formal English than that which is commonly used if it is required. Standing on a city centre street corner with a map in the daytime is usually a cue for passing Glaswegians to offer help in finding your way.

Dialect

As with all areas of Scotland, regional dialects are present in Glasgow. Glasgow Patter (the Glaswegian dialect of Scots) or "banter", as it's known, has evolved over the history of the city. As each wave of migration takes place, new words and phrases are added to the dialect. There is a strong Celtic language connection due to the Lowland Scots, Highland Gaelic and Irish Gaelic influences.

Some phrases

Glasgow slang is also peppered with various more or less meaningless phrases such as 'by the way', 'man' or 'dead' (very, as an adjective) that can give the answers to simple questions an almost baroque complexity. So "Did you enjoy the concert last night?" might be answered "Aye it was pure dead brilliant man" which means, essentially, "Yes, it was good".

Get in

By plane

Glasgow is served by two main airports close to the city which are Glasgow International Airport and Glasgow Prestwick International Airport.

Glasgow International Airport

(IATA: GLA), [2]. Located 14km west of the centre of Glasgow near the towns of Paisley and Renfrew, this is the city's principal airport. There are regular scheduled UK and European destinations, holiday charters, and the airport is the hub for the Scottish island network operated by Loganair. Continental Airlines [3] operate a daily service from New York (Newark), while Emirates [4] operate a daily flight to Dubai. Both British Airways [5] and British Midland BMI [6] operate frequent shuttle flights to Glasgow Airport throughout the day to and from London Heathrow. If you are flying into the UK via Heathrow, you will usually connect into Glasgow via one of these airlines. British Airways also operates shuttles from both Gatwick and London City airports. Alternatively, KLM [7] flies regularly to Glasgow from Amsterdam-Schiphol which connects with a wide range of international destinations. EasyJet flies from Luton, Stansted and Gatwick.

There's a frequent shuttle bus Arriva 500 [8] from outside the terminal building to the city centre, dropping off near both main railway stations (£4.20 single, £6.50 return; the journey takes about 20 minutes). Slower, less frequent, but cheaper is the First 747 [9] (£4 single, £5 return). A particular benefit of this service is that First run most of the bus services in the City and many in the surroundings, and the £5 return acts as an all-day ticket that will give you unlimited travel anywhere in Glasgow on the day you arrive. Do check which bus route into Glasgow passes closest to where you are staying: the 500, 600 or 747 could leave you very close to or very far from your final destination.

The slowest, but cheapest, option is to use local bus 66, operated by Arriva as often as every 10 minutes to Paisley Gilmour Street train station, where regular trains run to Glasgow Central in as little as ten minutes. Travelling to the airport you can buy an inclusive train and bus ticket from any train station: just ask for Glasgow Airport and show the bus driver your train ticket. Travelling from the airport buy a coupon for £1.50 from the SPT Travel Information counter beside domestic arrivals, show it to the driver and then and use it for £1.50 of credit towards onward train travel from Paisley Gilmour Street station. If the SPT counter in the airport is closed, a "rail exchange" ticket costs £1.80 on the bus, and is similarly valid towards £1.50 of rail travel. A single from Glasgow Central to/from the airport costs £2.75, or £1.80 with a National Rail railcard.

Car parks serving Glasgow Airport
Address On/Off Airport Distance / Transfer Time Security Park Mark®
[10] Award
Additional Information
Airparks Glasgow
Burnbrae Drive, Linwood, Paisley, PA3 3BJ.
Off
-
High-fencing, floodlights, 24-hour CCTV and security patrols
Yes
Trailers are permitted within this car park at Glasgow but an extra space will be charged
Glasgow Long Stay
Glasgow Long Stay Supersaver, Arran Avenue, Glasgow Airport, Paisley, PA3 2AY.
On
10 minutes
24 hours a day, has 24-hour CCTV, and is fully fenced and floodlit
Yes
There are parking bays for Blue Badge holders near the bus stops. The courtesy coaches are wheelchair accessible and DDA compliant

Glasgow Prestwick International Airport

(IATA: PIK), [11]. This is about 50 km south west of Glasgow on the Ayrshire coast, is the city's secondary airport and a major hub for Ryanair (see Discount airlines in Europe) and several other low cost carriers. Ryanair fly into Prestwick predominantly from Ireland (Dublin and Shannon), London (Stansted), Paris (Beauvais), Frankfurt (Hahn), and with some useful routes from various destinations in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Ryanair also run various seasonal services to Mediterranean resorts. Note also, that some holiday charter flights fly into Prestwick rather than Glasgow's main airport.

The airport has its own railway station, with two trains per hour to Glasgow Central (show your flight paperwork to get a £3.20 half price ticket; the journey takes around 45 minutes). All trains to Ayr and Stranraer call at the airport. The A77/M77 roads run directly from Prestwick into the centre of Glasgow if you intend to drive.

The X77 bus also runs from Buchanan Bus Station to the airport throughout the day, and crucially covers the times (early morning and late evening) when the trains are not running.

By train

Glasgow has two main line railway stations. Trains from the south of Scotland, the city's southern suburbs and all long distance trains from England arrive at Central Station (officially known as Glasgow Central), while shuttle trains from Edinburgh and anywhere north of Glasgow arrive at Queen Street Station. Both Central and Queen Street stations have left luggage lockers. The stations are an easy ten minute walk apart and the route is well signposted, or there's a frequent shuttle bus between them, which is free if you are holding a through railway ticket otherwise a fare of 50p is charged if you don't.

Most trains within Scotland and the sleeper services from London are run by First ScotRail [12].

From Edinburgh

Confusingly for the visitor, there are three rail routes between Edinburgh's Waverley station and Glasgow (with a fourth currently due to open towards the end of 2010). Most visitors however will use the Shuttle which runs into Queen Street (High Level) station via Falkirk High. Trains run every 15 minutes during the daytime Monday-Friday, dropping to a half hourly frequency after 1830 and on weekends. A cheap day return is around £9.50, but note that these off-peak tickets cannot be used around the morning and evening peak. Other services from Edinburgh run into Central station via south Lanarkshire, but these make many stops at rural towns and villages and are a lot slower than using the Shuttle and don't cost any less.

Certain East Coast express trains originating from London King's Cross or Newcastle also continue to Central - these are only slightly slower than the Shuttle but can be less crowded. Advance tickets can be booked on these services, but they will restrict you to a specific train time and the cost advantage over a cheap day return isn't really worth it.

From London & The South

Daytime direct services to Glasgow from London are operated by Virgin Trains [13] (to/from London Euston) and East Coast [14] (to/from London King's Cross). Travelling by train from London and the South can be more cost effective than flying - if tickets are booked in advance - and not all that longer in time terms once the time spent travelling to airports is taken into account.

Virgin operate thirteen direct services on the West Coast route from London's Euston station; the average journey time is 4 hours 32 minutes, with one northbound express completing the 400 mile journey in just over 4 hours. East Coast operate 6 direct services a day on the East Coast route from London King's Cross via Edinburgh (also taking in York and Newcastle), but at a much slower time of 5 hours 45 minutes. Rail fares from London to Glasgow vary enormously - the best prices are obtained by booking an advance purchase ticket online at the train operator's website, and can run as low as £14 one way, rising to £107 for an off-peak return. Full fare tickets bought on the day of travel are very expensive, and can run to over £200 return if travelling at the peak periods.

The Caledonian Sleeper is an overnight sleeper train that runs every night except Saturday to/from London Euston The journey takes approximately 8 hours, although is deliberately scheduled for a late departure and a reasonable arrival time. Tickets can be booked in the usual manner at any main line railway station in Britain or online from Scotrail [15]: the cost of a return journey to Glasgow from London varies from around £100 for two one-way "Advance" tickets rising to the full open return fare of £165 (being the basic fare plus the cost of the sleeping berth in a compartment with either one or two beds). Note that solo travellers may have to share the sleeping compartment with a stranger of the same gender. You can also travel in a seated carriage for around £23 one-way or £95 return (full fare). Certain BritRail passes can be used to buy tickets on the Sleeper trains, but supplements are payable for the berth: check before leaving your home country.

The best value fares on the sleeper are inclusive (travel and berth) one-way tickets known as "Bargain Berths". These are only available online from ScotRail [16] and are sold in limited numbers for £19, £29, £39 or £49 depending on how far in advance you book. If no fares are available to/from Glasgow Central, an alternative is Westerton, a station on Glasgow's suburban network north-west of the city. It is a calling point of the sleeper to/from Fort William which otherwise does not call in Glasgow. It is occasionally possible to find "Bargain Berths" to/from here after they have sold out to/from Glasgow Central.

Within Scotland

Apart from the Edinburgh shuttles; the key inter-city rail routes to Glasgow from elsewhere in Scotland are as follows:


Other Rail Services

All national inter-city routes operate into Central (High Level).

Virgin Trains [17] operate direct services to/from Birmingham New Street.

First Transpennine Express [18] operate a direct service to Glasgow from Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly.

CrossCountry [19] operate a handful of early morning and late evening trains to/from the South West of England via Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Sheffield, Birmingham New Street and Bristol.

By car

The main approaches to Glasgow are:

All routes converge on the M8, which carves through the city centre. Glasgow has no credible park-and-ride system, but some of the subway and suburban railway stations do have small car parks. There are several expensive multi-storey car parks near the motorway in the city centre. The NCP ones are the most expensive, while those run by the city council are a lot cheaper. Those run by the city council are Concert Square (near the Royal Concert Hall), Cambridge Street (just off the pedestrianised area of Sauchiehall Street) and Charing Cross.

There is also the Shields Road Park and Ride site [20], which services the city centre.

In general, driving in Glasgow's central area should be avoided if you are not a confident driver, as there are one way systems, bus lanes and pedestrian precincts. Glaswegians are not the most patient drivers in the world, and they particularly dislike hesitancy (taxi drivers being the worst culprits). Parking restrictions are strictly enforced, and vehicles parked illegally or in an obstructive manner will be towed away and the owner of the vehicle will be liable for a £150 release charge to recover it. If however you are confident enough to hire a car or require it to save money on your travel, all the major rental companies and some lesser ones are at the airport. You should book your car rental in advance to avoid disappointment and can do so from price comparison companies such as Glasgow Airport Car Hire [21]. Visitors from the United States and Canada should note that car rental companies will allocate you a manual transmission car by default, unless you specifically ask for an automatic.

By bus

Long-distance bus services [22] arrive at Buchanan Bus Station (in the city centre, close to Buchanan Street Underground /Queen Street train stations). The main operator is Scottish Citylink [23], but Stagecoach also runs a budget inter-city bus service called Megabus [24]. Somewhat confusingly, however, the two operators often combine and merge services, so don't be surprised if you are put on a Citylink bus when you hold a Megabus reservation and vice versa. There are even buses to Poland, setting off from Glasgow around midnight every Monday, Friday and Sunday.

By boat

From Ireland car and foot passengers have a number of convenient ports close to Glasgow. For those travelling with a car, the nearest ferry ports are Troon and Cairnryan for multiple daily P&O Irish Sea[25] ferries from Larne in Northern Ireland. Alternatively, Stena Line [26] operate ferries and the faster Stena HSS several times a day between the Port of Belfast and Stranraer.

Through train tickets are available from any railway station in the UK to any railway station in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland via Stranraer, where the train station is adjacent to the ferry terminal. Fares start at £25 one way (£16.50 with a railcard) for Belfast to Glasgow (available on the day of travel from most railway stations) taking about five hours [27]. Similarly Scottish Citylink [28] sell inclusive coach and ferry tickets between Belfast and Glasgow and Edinburgh.

From Belgium Scotland's only ferry connection to mainland Europe[29] is from Zeebrugge which serves Rosyth (near Edinburgh) , about an hour's drive from Glasgow.

Get around

Although Greater Glasgow sprawls out for nearly 80 square miles, the central area of the city is compact and can be easily negotiated by foot. For the visitor, Central Glasgow can be divided into two main areas - the City Centre, which makes up the majority and contains much of the city’s shopping and entertainment district, as well as its commercial heart, and the West End – the bohemian area of cafés, restaurants and bars surrounding the University of Glasgow and Kelvingrove Museum. The best way to get good vistas of the city is to climb the many “drumlins” (hills) upon which the central area is built.

City Centre

The City Centre (known as "Town" or "the toon" to locals) is bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, High Street to the east, and the River Clyde to the south. This is the area where most visitors will start, and the most notable elements are the American-style grid plan of streets and the lavish Victorian and Edwardian buildings and civic squares which give the city's central area much of its character.

The main arteries of the City Centre are Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street which both run on an east-west axis. They are linked by Buchanan Street which runs north-south. Together, these three streets form the main shopping thoroughfare. Argyle Street is effectively divided in two by the glass walled bridge (known as Hielanman's Umbrella) of Central Station – the city’s principal railway terminus. Exiting the station, and heading eastwards along Gordon Street and arriving onto Buchanan Street, turn left towards the north, you encounter St Vincent Street which intersects the south side of George Square. Heading in the other direction will lead you back to Argyle Street and St Enoch Square – now dominated by the huge St Enoch Centre shopping mall, although its most famous landmark is the quaint St Enoch Subway Station – now used as a coffee shop. If you continue east along Argyle Street, and walk beyond the pedestrianised area you will have arrived on Trongate, and the beginning of the Merchant City.

Merchant City

The Merchant City is a sub-district of the City Centre which contains Glasgow’s original medieval core, and charts its beginnings as an industrial city. The Victorian tobacco lairds and merchants of the 19th Century used their wealth from international trade to build the network of streets which formed the basis of the modern city as we see it today. Most of their ornate churches, houses and office buildings have survived to the present day. Trongate is the site of the Tron Theatre (itself a former church), just before the junction of the Trongate, A8 Saltmarket (north/south), Gallowgate and London Road (east/west). This junction is known as Glasgow Cross and marks the original medieval centre of the city. It is dominated by the clock tower of the original City Chambers (destroyed by fire in 1926), and the small hexagonal building known as the Tolbooth. High Street runs directly north from Glasgow Cross and is the main artery of Old Glasgow, leading up to the Cathedral of Saint Mungo (or Glasgow Cathedral), and the Necropolis cemetery – dominated by the statue of John Knox and described by Victorians as a literal “City of The Dead”.

Heading northward along Queen Street you will enter George Square – the city’s notional centre, which is dominated by the city's spectacular City Chambers, the headquarters of Glasgow City Council – the city’s local government. On the north side of the square is Queen Street Railway Station, on the east side is the start of the Strathclyde University Campus. The Square itself is populated by several statues of civic leaders and famous figures from history, and is often used for outdoor events. Continuing south from George Square, you will find yourself on Ingram Street, which in recent years has become a haven for upmarket designer shops. Heading west along Ingram Street is the magnificent Royal Exchange Square – dominated by the Doric-style Gallery of Modern Art, and the square itself is lined with cafes, restaurants and bars. Beyond the gallery, you will pass Borders bookstore to arrive back on Buchanan Street.

Blythswood Hill & Anderston

Just after Buchanan Street Subway station you will cross Bath Street. Running parallel to Sauchiehall Street, this is the main route to the western area of the city centre, containing the city’s core commercial and business district. As you walk westward up Bath Street, past its rich mix of quirky independent shops and ‘style bars’ you will gradually notice the distinctive Georgian town house style architecture – most of the buildings have now been converted to offices. Blythswood Square, as you reach the top of the drumlin you have just climbed is the area’s centrepiece, and is dominated on its eastern side by the old Royal Scottish Automobile Club – now an upmarket hotel. From the Square and heading south down Blythswood Street (a very steep hill!), the new meets the old as state of the art modern glass and steel office buildings stand alongside their classical counterparts. This is the heart of Glasgow’s financial district, known irreverently as “Wall Street on Clyde”. At the foot of the hill, you will be back on Argyle Street. Continue south onto the Broomielaw, which sits on the north bank of the River Clyde. You will now be in the district of Anderston, formerly a dockland area, but now being redeveloped as a residential and commercial area. The Tradeston Pedestrian Bridge crosses the river and is nicknamed the “Squinty Bridge” by locals owing to its distinctive S-shape. Staying on the north bank the remaining curiosity of the area is the Renfrew Ferry – a decommissioned pedestrian ferry which is now permanently moored on the riverbank and is used as a nightclub.

West End

To the west of the city centre is the ever popular and dynamic Glasgow West End. No official definition of where the West End boundary lies exists, but it can roughly be defined as being bounded by the M8 motorway to the east, Great Western Road to the north, Argyle Street/Dumbarton Road to the South and Crow Road to the west. The nucleus of the area is undoubtedly the neo-Gothic University of Glasgow, which acts as the anchor for this bohemian district with its amazing architecture, tree lined streets and quaint shopping areas this part of Glasgow thrives all year round. The University itself is the fourth oldest in the entire United Kingdom, and one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country.

The University's presence of course means the area has a high population of students in the area, which does much to give it its unique character.

Byres Road / Ashton Lane

Most visitors will start here - Byres Road is the West End's main artery, and is reachable via the Subway (get off the train at Hillhead station, which lies midway along Byres Road). The road itself is a treasure trove of independent shops, bars and restuarants. Upon leaving Hillhead station turn left then an immediate left and you will be in Ashton Lane, a cobbled and quaint backstreet. One of the West End's definate 'must sees' its distinctive whitewashed buildings and ecclectic mix of bars and eateries - including the almost world famous Ubiquitous Chip restaurant - are a tourist hotspot. Be careful - the Lane can be a bit of a tourist trap during the summer months when the students of the university aren't there to keep the bar prices reasonable! Ashton Lane leads into University Gardens a semi-circular street lined with Georgian terraced houses which now house academic departments of the university.

University of Glasgow

University Gardens will eventually lead into University Avenue - the main thoroughfare which bisects the university campus. In front of you will be the University's spectacular Main Building, designed in Gothic Revival style by Sir George Gilbert Scott (the man who also designed London's St Pancras railway station). The building has an interesting visitor's centre (open all year round) which is free. The main building sits atop a drumlin from which it is possible to get a fantastic view of the city - worth making the effort.

In Search of Raintown...

Fans of the Glasgow band Deacon Blue have often made the pilgrimage to the top of the Granite Staircase to recreate the cover photograph of their famous 1987 album Raintown. Sadly, neither of the two cover photos from the album are now possible to reconstruct. Two decades have seen Kelvingrove Park's trees grow to obscure the view of the Clyde and the Finnieston Crane from the top of the Granite Staircase. Equally, the rear cover shot of the M8 motorway approach onto the Kingston Bridge (adjacent to the Mitchell Library) was taken from a disused bridge upon which an office building has now been constructed.

Walking down from the university main building you will arrive into Kelvingrove Park, and the magnificent Kelvin Way - a tree lined avenue, almost Parisian in its gaiety which marks the western boundary of the park. Walking down Kelvin Way, and looking up to your left you will see the buildings of Park Circus atop a steep hill. The pavements (sidewalks) on Kelvin Way are very uneven due to the tree roots underneath, so difficult for anyone with mobility problems.

This area of Georgian townhouses (laid out in a radial pattern similar to the English city of Bath) has made the transition from originally being an upmarket residential area to a prestigious office district for mainly legal and consultancy firms. In recent years there have been moves to encourage the companies back into the city centre and return the buildings to residential use. If you make the effort to walk through Kelvingrove Park go up to this area it's worth descending down the grand Granite Staircase which will bring you down on to the western reaches of Sauchiehall Street.

Kelvingrove Museum

At the southern end of Kelvin Way you will have arrived back onto Sauchiehall Street. On your left will be the massive Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - the city's grandest public museum. The museum has one of the finest public collections in the United Kingdom outside London including Salvador Dali's celebrated "Crucifixion of St. John of the Cross" painting. Opposite the museum is the Kelvin Hall - an athletics venue, but currently the home of the Glasgow Museum of Transport (prior to its move to a new riverside location in 2010). Continuing along Dumbarton Road you will arrive on the southern end of Byres Road to complete the circle.

This West End is also the gateway to the amazing West of Scotland, since Great Western Road continues as the A82 to the Clyde estuary town of Dumbarton, then turning north toward the West Highlands to Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, Fort William, Loch Ness and finally Inverness.

East End

Further east from the Cross along the Gallowgate and London Road is the famous Barras market area and Barrowland Ballroom, leading to the areas of Calton, Bridgeton, Dalmarnock and Parkhead (home of Celtic Football Club). Turning south onto the A8 Saltmarket leads to the City Mortuary, High Court and the eastern entrance of Glasgow Green park before crossing the Crown Street bridge into the Gorbals.

Public Transport

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport [30] (SPT) is the agency responsible for the local public transport network, which it describes as one of the most integrated and developed in the UK - however they mean by British standards, not European standards. Nevertheless, Glasgow's public transport system is one of the most extensive in the UK outside of London.

By subway

By train

Suburban trains [32] radiate from Central and Queen Street stations to the suburbs and surrounding towns. The network is the largest in the UK outside of London, although there are only two trains per hour on some routes; others are much more frequent. Central serves the dense suburban network which sprawls throughout the southern suburbs of the city, as well as outer suburban services to the Inverclyde and Ayrshire coasts. The underground lower level platforms of both Central and Queen Street stations are hubs for the east-west electric network north of the river which provide useful links to the West End (thus complimenting the Subway) and further west to the northern Clyde coast towns of Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Balloch - the gateway to Loch Lomond and the Southern Highlands.

Bikes go free, although many trains have no bike spaces. The SPT Day Tripper ticket (explained below) gives you complete freedom of the network, whilst the Roundabout ticket (also explained below) gives off-peak freedom of the suburban train network within the city boundary only as well as the Subway.

By bus

Buses go everywhere. First Glasgow [33] is the main operator within the city boundary. There's a bus at least every ten minutes on main routes during the day, making it easy to get into the centre of town, though getting out to a specific destination less easy. However, services on many routes are much less frequent in the evening. In the city centre, buses won't necessarily stop at every stop on their route, so check the sign at the stop. Stops are clearly marked with the services that stop there.

First buses do not give change, as for safety reasons the driver has no access to cash: you put your money in a slot that checks the amount and deposits it in a storage box. An all-day ticket that can be used on any First bus costs £3.50, a weekly ticket £14.50 (£12.50 for students). Some other bus operators, however, give change.

Other bus operators within the city are Arriva [34] and Stagecoach West Scotland [35] which operate services out to the outlying towns in Renfrewshire and Ayrshire respectively: note that the day/weekly passes bought on the First buses will not be vaild on these, with the exception of SPT Day Tripper and ZoneCards (explained below).

One of current scourges of Glasgow, however (in the opinion of locals, at least), is the myriad of private bus operators that supposedly "compliment" the core services operated by First, Arriva and Stagecoach. In reality however, many merely duplicate the routes that already exist: the net result has been the city centre being clogged up with empty (and often badly maintained) buses, and for the visitor the key thing to remember is that some of these operators do not accept any of the SPT day passes. On the flipside, they keep the somewhat extortionate prices of First Glasgow in check. The situation is currently a political hot potato among locals, and a resolution has yet to be sought.

By taxi

Like most major British cities, you have two options - firstly the traditional London-style black cabs which can be hailed from the side of the road - look out for the yellow "Taxi" sign being illuminated. The fleet is operated by Glasgow Taxis [36], and can also be ordered by telephone (+44 141 429 7070). There are taxi ranks outside Central and Queen Street railway stations, adjacent to George Square and along the southern end of Queen Street itself. There is also a texi rank located at Buchanan Bus Station. For a journey from say the centre of town to the West End expect to pay around £5-£6, from the city centre out to the suburbs around £10-£12. Be aware that some drivers will refuse to take you outside the city boundary - although some will on negotiation.

Your second option is by private hire or minicab. Unlike the black cabs these cannot be hailed - you must book by telephone. There is a myriad of private hire operators which are cheaper than black cabs - their phone numbers are clearly displayed on the back of the vehicles. Never be tempted to use unlicenced private taxis - who can sometimes be seen touting for business outside nightclubs near closing time and near legitimate taxi ranks. Always look for the yellow Glasgow City Council licencing plate attached to the rear bumper of the vehicle if unsure. Glasgow Private Hire is one of the biggest taxi fleets in Europe and has thousands of cars, which service all areas of the city. They can be reached on a variety of different numbers (including +44 141 774 3000). Another popular alternative is Hampden Cabs, which services most of the city and surrounding area. Hampden Cabs can be contacted on +44 141 649 5050.

By boat

There is now a River Bus service [37] (began April 2010) which picks up tourists from central Glasgow (Broomielaw Pontoon) and takes them to, amongst other sites of interest, the Glasgow Science Centre, and the Clydebuilt (Maritime) Museum.

On foot

The centre of Glasgow is very pedestrian friendly with major shopping streets given over to foot traffic. As you move out of the city centre all areas have proper pavements, and most major junctions have pedestrian crossings. The River Clyde also has several foot bridge crossings. The main difficulty with walking out of the centre of town is finding where the crossings over / under the M8 are. Heading west, some roads appear to go over Charing X only for the pavement to disappear. Heading North, the underpasses at Cowcaddens can sometimes feel unwelcoming.

Glasgow walking directions [38] can be planned online with the walkit.com [39] walking route planner.

Ticketing and Fares

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) [40] is the local agency which operates the Subway and co-ordinates public transport in the Greater Glasgow area. SPT offers a number of different daily combined bus/rail travel tickets aimed at the visitor, both usable after 9AM on weekdays and all day on weekends. Tickets are available from all manned railway stations, Subway stations, and certain newsagent shops in the city centre (they will display a prominent SPT logo on their window somewhere). There is also a dedicated SPT Travel Desk in the domestic arrivals hall in Glasgow Airport.

"PlanaJourney" [41] is a free integrated public transport journey planner that includes Glasgow and covers much of the Scottish, Northern Ireland and UK public transport network. It includes bus, rail, Glasgow underground, Scottish ferries and flights. It can assist with planning journeys into and out of Glasgow from anywhere in the Glasgow area or more widely from anywhere in the UK. Outside of Scotland and Northern Ireland, the bus information is limited.

See

Architecture

As befits a city that was at its richest through the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th, the centre of Glasgow has a fine legacy of Victorian and Edwardian buildings with their lavish interiors and spectacular carved stonework. Outside of the central area the main streets are lined with the legendary tenements - the city's trademark 2 or 3 story residential buildings built from red or blonde sandstone which positively glow during the summer. The decline of Glasgow's economy during the mid to late 20th Century led to the mass construction of high-rise tower blocks and concrete housing estates during the 1960's and 1970s. The dramatic and striking Red Road Flats form the tallest residential property in Europe. Many 1970s office buildings in the centre have been cleared away by state-of-the-art glass structures as Glasgow's burgeoning financial services industry continues to grow.

Glasgow was also the home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of the "Glasgow Four," a group of leading proponents of art nouveau architecture. Indeed, during his lifetime, Mackintosh was probably better regarded abroad than he was in his native Glasgow, even apparently inspiring Frank Lloyd Wright. However, he was recently resurrected as one of the cities most beloved sons. You will notice, along with quite a few of his buildings to see in the city, including his magnum opus, the Glasgow School of Art, many other knock-offs and impersonations exist. However, despite the 'cult' of Mackintosh, Glasgow produced many other fine architects, the best known of whom is probably Alexander 'Greek' Thomson.

The following list is a selection of significant buildings in Glasgow.

If this just whets your appetite for information on Glasgow's architecture, try and get hold of a copy of Central Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide, by Charles McKean and others. There are various editions (ISBN:1873190220, ISBN:1851582002, ISBN:1851582010).

Museums and art galleries

The Victorians also left Glasgow with a wonderful legacy of museums and art galleries, which the city has dutifully built upon. The following list is only a selection. The city council alone runs 13 museums and galleries. Visitors should be aware that most of the galleries appear to be closed on Sundays, and that - to the understandable annoyance of many visitors to Glasgow - most of the museums shut their doors at 5:00 PM.

Do

There are many nightclubs, concerts and festivals in Glasgow.

Music

Glasgow's been famous for its music scene(s) for at least 20 years, with venues such as the legendary Barrowland Ballroom and King Tut's Wah Wah Hut now garnering world acclaim. There's plenty of venues where you're likely to see a good band (and lots of bad bands too); on any day of the week there should be at least several shows to choose from throughout the city, with the number increasing to a even greater variety on Thursday, Friday & Saturday. In no particular order, here follows some pop/indie/rock-orientated venues:

The Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre [84] is the city's premier music venue for major headline acts, even if the acoustics of the halls have always been questionable. More intimate gigs are held in the neighbouring Clyde Auditorium (or Armadillo). SECC Tickets [85] sells tickets for these.

Arts and Theatrical Venues

The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sauchiehall Street (nearest Subway: Buchanan Street)[86]. This is the home of The Royal Scottish National Orchestra [87], one of Europe's leading symphony orchestras. It also produces the world famous Celtic Connections Festival [88] every January.

The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance (RSAMD), [89] 100 Renfrew Street, is primarily a teaching college but also puts on theatrical and musical performances. It puts on mainly contemporary music, modern dance and jazz.

The Theatre Royal, 282 Hope Street, [90], was first opened in 1867. It puts on mainly 'serious' theatre, opera and ballet.

The Tron, 63 Trongate, [91], specialises in contemporary works.

St Andrews in the Square, St Andrew's Square, [92], a restored 18th century church turned Arts venue. It puts on classical music and folk.

The Citizens Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, [93] is one of the most famous theatres in the world, and has launched the careers of many international movie and theatre stars. It specialises in contemporary and avant-garde work.

The King's Theatre, 297 Bath Street, [94] is Glasgow's major 'traditional' theatre. It is over 100 years old, and in the midst of a major refurbishment.

The Pavilion, 121 Renfield Street, [95] is the only privately run theatre in Scotland. It was founded in 1904 and has seen many of the greatest stars of music hall perform there: most famously Charlie Chaplin. Nowadays it features mainly 'popular' theatre, musicals and comedy.

The Panopticon Music Hall [96], off Argyle Street, Trongate, is the oldest surviving music hall in the world (it opened in 1857). It most famously held the debut performance of Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy fame) in 1906. It now shows mainly music hall orientated shows: e.g. magic, burlesque and comedy, but also occasionally puts on classical and world music.

Oran Mor [97] 731 Great Western Road. Restaurant, pub, nightclub, theatrical and music venue. Due to its late opening hours, this venue now lies at the heart of the West End social scene.

The Glasgow International Jazz Festival [98] is held every year in June. Other arts or music festivals of note include The West End Festival, the Merchant City Festival and numerous others. As always, consult the listings magazine The List for further details.

Comedy

There are two main venues for stand-up comedy in Glasgow.

Although other pubs and clubs frequently hold comedy events: see the listings magazine The List for details.

CF also the Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival held yearly thoroughout March/April.

Cinema

The most interesting films in Glasgow are shown at:

Mainstream films can be seen at the Cineworld on Renfrew St, which is the tallest cinema in the world [102]

Football

Glasgow also has the 3 biggest football stadia in Scotland. The major events in the football season are the clashes between the two Premier League clubs; Celtic and Rangers. Known as the "Old Firm", with their sectarian undertones, these 90 minute matches produce a profound effect on the city, occasionally, but less frequently in recent times; resulting in violent clashes during or after the game. The Old Firm Derby is generally considered to be one of the best derby matches in the world, in terms of passion and atmosphere generated by both sets of fans, and is considered by many neutrals to be the most intense rivalry in all of Britain. The match itself is always highly anticipated and much talked about before and after. Cup (non-league) ties between these two giants are quite frequent, raising the tensions further. Be aware that getting tickets for "Old Firm" games can be difficult and cup ties near impossible. If you do go to one of these matches it is advised that you do not wear team colours (blue/red/white for Rangers, green/white for Celtic) after the match.

Parks

For a large city, Glasgow has a surprising number of parks and green spaces; there is more parkland here than in any other British city. The most famous of these is Glasgow Green. [107] Founded by Royal grant in 1450, Glasgow Green has slowly been enclosed by the city and evolved from grazing land into a modern public park. The highlights are:

If you should fall in

Glasgow Green is the home of the Glasgow Humane Society. The Society was founded in 1790 and is the world's oldest practical life-saving body. Until June 2005 the society volunteers were responsible for rescuing those unfortunate to fall into the River Clyde. Unfortunately modern heath and safety regulations require two life boat men on duty and a lack of volunteers has forced the sole lifeboat man, George Parsonage, to stand down the service after 215 years. The rescue service is now performed by the Strathclyde Fire Brigade.

"The Green" as its known to the locals is also one of the major venues for concerts and open air events in Glasgow. The best way to get there is on foot from either Bridgeton or Argyle Street railway stations or from the bus routes along London Road. There is limited official parking in or around the green and the area is notorious for car crime. Be aware the council will tow away illegally parked vehicles and charge you up to £250 pounds to get them back!

Kelvingrove Park [109] in the city's West End is also a very popular park, particularly with the students from the nearby University. The most prominent landmark here is the Art Gallery and Museum [110] on the banks of the River Kelvin which runs through the park. It also contains a recently constructed skate park. The other major park in the West End is the park area surrounding the Botanic Gardens [111] which contains extensive tropical and temperate plant collections from around the world. Other parks of note include Queen's Park [112], Strathclyde Country Park [113] and Mugdock Park [114], but there are numerous others.

Gay & Lesbian

Glasgow has a lively scene which centres around the Merchant City area (the so called "Pink Triangle" formed by Revolver, Bennets and the Polo Lounge). Prejudice is more marked in Glasgow than in Edinburgh, and the city's gay venues are consequently not as publicly visible as in Scotland's capital, or deliberately flaunted as a tourist attraction as is the case in London and Manchester. Nevertheless, the city is still gay-friendly, which is shown in the annual "Glasgay" celebrations in October [115].

Out & About

Health & Support

Strathclyde Gay & Lesbian Switchboard '''Gay & Lesbian Line''' - Tel. +44 (0)141 847 0447, M-Su 7PM-10PM. '''Lesbian Line''' - Tel. +44 (0)141 847 0647, Wed 7.30PM-10PM (''Staffed only by women''). '''Homophobic Crime Reporting Line''' - Tel. +44 (0)141 847 0647 http://www.sgls.co.uk/ M-Su 7PM-10PM Free and Confidential Telephone Counselling in the West of Scotland.

The Glasgow LGBT Centre 84 Bell Street, Glasgow +44 (0)141 221 7203 http://www.gmh.org.uk/ M-Su 11AM-MIDNIGHT Support, Advocacy, Welfare and Learning. The centre is fully wheelchair accessible with a chairlift.

Glasgow Women's Library 81 Parnie Street (2nd Floor), Glasgow G1 5RH +44 (0)141 552 8345 http://www.womenslibrary.org.uk/ Reading, Writing, Groups and Events. The library is fully wheelchair accessible (contact the Library in advance).

The Sandyford Centre The Steve Retson Project 6 Sandyford Place, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow +44 (0)141 211 8628 http://www.sandyford.org/srp/ Tu&W 5.30PM-8.30PM A sexual health service for gay men in Glasgow.

The Glasgow LGBT Centre The Steve Retson Project 11 Dixon St Glasgow, G1 4AL +44 (0)141 211 8628 http://www.sandyford.org/srp/ Th 5.30PM-8.30PM A sexual health service for gay men in Glasgow.

PHACE Scotland Top Floor, Rothesay House, 134 Douglas Street, Glasgow G2 4HF +44 (0)141 332 3838 http://www.phacescotland.org/ Promoting Health and Challenging Exclusion.

Learn

Glasgow has three universities:

Work

Jobs in Glasgow can be found through the government-run JobCentres. Be aware that you will need a National Insurance number and, if you are not a citizen of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, the correct type of work visa to work legally in the UK. Your employer should require this to ensure you pay the correct rates of income tax. However if you ask around you'll find a lot of bars and nightclubs offer work cash-in-hand. Some of the many temp agencies in the city centre aren't too fussy about immigration niceties either. With the city's growing financial services industry, there are quite a lot of opportunities for office temps.

Buy

Glasgow has positioned itself as an upmarket retail destination, the shopping is the some of the best in Scotland, and generally accepted as the No.2 shopping experience in Britain after London. Buchanan Street is the 7th most expensive place for retail space in the world, which means that there's an increasing number of designer clothes shops in areas like the Merchant City. Alongside this, the Council is putting pressure on more traditional shopping centres like the Barras where you can get remarkably similar-looking clothes for a more sensible price.

The nucleus of Glasgow shopping is the so-called "Golden Z", made up of the continuous pedestrianised thoroughfares of Argyle Street, Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street. Here, virtually all of the major British big name retailers are represented. Buchanan Street is the most upmarket of the three, with prestigious names such as House of Fraser, Apple Store and Zara and other specialised designer stores. Ingram Street in the Merchant City has seen a boom in recent years for attracting more exclusive, premium brands like Bose, Bang and Olufsen, Ralph Lauren and so on.

Bath Street and Hope Street run parallel to the main pedestrianised streets, and if you want to get away from "chain store hell", they have a fine selection of more quirky, local independent retailers selling everything from fine art, Scottish clothing, antiques and specialist hi-fi.

There are larger shopping malls on the city outskirts at Braehead, Silverburn and Glasgow Fort.

Eat

The city has won the title "Curry Capital of Britain" two years running and has a huge and dynamic range of restaurants, Indian or otherwise. Despite Glasgow being the home town of culinary hero Gordon Ramsay, there are no Michelin-starred fine dining establishments in the city (Glasgow's sole Michelin starred restuarant, Amaryllis - owned by Ramsay himself - embarrassingly folded in 2004), nevertheless there are scores of highly regarded eateries in the city. The restaurants below are some of the culinary highlights of Glasgow.

Scottish/Local

Takeaway/Fish & Chips

Glasgow has taken many different cultural foods and combined them into a unique dining experience. Most takeaways offer Indian dishes (pakora), pizzas and kebabs as well as the more traditional fish and chips or burgers. This has resulted in some takeaways offering a blend of dishes like chips with curry sauce, the donner kebab pizza, the battered and deep fried pizza to name but a few.

Fish & Chips (aka "Fish Supper") is a perennial favourite, and there are a healthy number of fish and chip shops around the city. As mentioned above, many will also offer Asian or Italian dishes alongside the traditional chip shop fayre. Given the Glaswegian's famous fondness for anything deep fried - "bad" establishments don't usually last long. In the centre of town, four of the best "chippies" are:

On a side note, the now infamous deep fried Mars Bar - served up in many Glasgow chip shops - did not originate in the city, contrary to popular belief. It was in fact invented in Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire.

Chinese

European

Indian

Glasgow has, arguably, the finest Indian food in the United Kingdom, and indeed many Glaswegians now joke that the Indian Curry is their "national dish". Most of the good Indian restaurants are clustered together between Charing Cross & Berkeley Street. Take your pick from Panjea, The Wee Curry Shop, Mother India's Cafe and more. Check out the Ashoka West End (1284 Argyle Street, near Kelvingrove), the Ashoka at Ashton Lane or Kama Sutra (Sauchiehall Street) - all of which are owned by the local Ashoka [131] chain. Glasgow's top Indian restaurants include:

Chicken Tikka Masala - A Glaswegian Invention?

The Shish Mahal is widely believed to have invented Chicken Tikka Masala, recently voted the UK's favourite Indian dish. According to one Glasgow MP [134],the Shish responded in the 1960's to complaints from Glaswegians that traditional Indian curries were too dry by soaking the chicken and spices in tomato soup, resulting in the first incarnation of the 'wet' style of curry commonly enjoyed today. This MP is now known to be seeking formal EU recognition that Chicken Tikka Masala is a unique Glaswegian creation, and that the Shish Mahal is the origin.

There are also literally hundreds of takeaway Indian restaurants around the city on nearly every main street, although the quality of these can be very variable. Some are excellent - comparable with anything you'd find in the city centre, whilst others can be rather poor. To be on the safe side, only go on local recommendation.

Italian

Amarone (2 Nelson Mandela Place, Glasgow 0141 333 1122 www.amarone.co.uk) Stylish restaurant with excellent menu. Highly rated. Mains £8-20.

Mexican


Fish

As befits a port town, Glasgow excels at Seafood and fish.

Veggie

For fab veggie food try:

International

Glasgow is a city of immigrants and has a thriving international food scene. Try Mzouda (Moroccan), Cafe Argan (Moroccan), Shallal (Lebanese), Kokuryo (Korean), Koshkemeer (Kurdish), Café Serghei ,Konaki(Greek) Alla Turca (Turkish) La Tasca (Spanish), Ichiban (Japanese), Kublai Khan's (Mongolian) and the numerous Thai, and Malaysian and Chinese restaurants, including the Yumla, the Thai Siam, the Thai Fountain Rumours and others.

Drink

Pubs are arguably the meeting rooms of Scotland’s largest city, and many a lively discussion can be heard in a Glasgow bar. There is nothing Glaswegians love more than “putting the world right” over a pint (or three), whether it’s the Old Firm, religion, weather, politics or how this year’s holidays went. You are guaranteed a warm welcome from the locals, who will soon strike up a conversation.

There are three (or, arguably, four) basic drinking areas: these are also good for restaurants. First, there is the West End (the area around Byres Road and Ashton Lane), second there is the stretch of Sauchiehall Street between the end of the pedestrianised area (near Queen Street Station) and Charing Cross (and the various streets off this area). Thirdly there is the Merchant City, which is near Strathclyde University's campus. This is the most 'upmarket' area to drink and eat in, although it still has numerous student dives: start at the University of Strathclyde and wander down towards the Trongate (the West part of this part of town is the gay area). Finally, and up and coming, is the South Side (i.e. South of the Clyde). This used to be very much 'behind the times' sociallly speaking, but the relocation of the BBC to the South Side and the whole area generally moving 'upmarket' has improved things greatly. Try the area round Shawlands Cross for restaurants, bars, and The Shed nightclub. There are also several hidden gems in and around the Blythswood Square area and the streets between Hope Street and Charing Cross - this being the city's business district however it can feel quite deserted on evenings and weekends.

Be warned though about dress codes, particularly in some of the more upmarket establishments in the city centre and West End - sportswear and trainers (sneakers) are often banned, and some door staff are notoriously "selective" about who they do and don't allow in with arcane "regulars only" door polices which they never seem to want to explain. If confronted with this, don't waste your time arguing and take your custom elsewhere. The general "boozer" type pubs don't have dress codes, but football shirts are almost universally banned in all - particularly on weekends. One rule to be aware of is that some clubs and upmarket pubs enforce an unwritten policy of not allowing all-male groups of more than about four people. For this reason, it may be advisable to split into groups of 2 or 3. Some pubs in Glasgow are also exclusively the haunt of Old Firm football fans - again these will be very crowded on football days and can get very rowdy, and should be avoided. Fortunately they are easy to spot - for example a large cluster of Celtic-oriented pubs exist in the Barrowlands area, while one or two bars on or near Paisley Road West are favourite haunts of Rangers fans.

The following is merely a selection of the many bars, pubs,wine bars and clubs throughout the city.


Chain/Theme

Like any major British city, the central area of Glasgow has its fair share of chain and theme pubs, with establishments from the likes of Whitbread, Yates and of course the ubiquitous JD Wetherspoon. Top picks are:

Whisky

For single malt whiskies, try The Pot Still on Hope Street, a few blocks north of Central Station. It stocks over 300 single malt whiskeys (as well as other drinks, of course), and the staff really know their stuff. It's also an excellent example of a traditional British pub, with a great atmosphere.

Other bars with a good selection of whisky are Uisge Beatha (pronounced "ooshke beh-hah" - Gaelic for "whisky"; literal translation is "water of life") on Woodlands Road and there's one called Ben Nevis on Argyle St towards the West End.

Beers & Real Ale

Other Real Ale bars can be found at the Bon Accord on Charing X, Clockwork BeerCo near Hampden Park, and also The Three Judges on the Dumbarton Road, at the bottom of Byres Road, which has won the CAMRA award (Campaign For Real Ale) most years for the past 2 decades. Also check out The State off Sauchiehall Street is a similarly good ale venue and a cosy proper pub if you're sick of trendy bars.

Student

The city’s large student population means there are no shortage of student bars, with large concentrations around the Merchant City area (for nearby Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian universities, aswell as several nearby colleges), and of course Byres Road and Ashton Lane in the West End for Glasgow University. Another cluster (near Glasgow School of Art) exists along the western reaches of Sauchiehall Street, just beyond the pedestrianised section. Some of the most popular student bars are:

Style

Bath Street has a constantly shifting array of "style bars", which become more numerous as you walk up towards the financial district on Blythswood Hill. The quality varies wildly depending on your taste and tolerance. Some of the best are:

Gastropubs

Apart from Stravaigin and Brel in the West End (see the Restaurant section above), there are a few gems in and around the city centre.

Culture & Music

If you like your rock & metal music you should try Twisted Wheel on Queen street (about 2 mins walk south of the station), the The Solid Rock Cafe at the bottom of Hope street and Rufus T.Firefly's near the top of Hope street.

Traditional/Local

As the city centre and West End’s bars become ever more sanitized, off-the-peg and tourist oriented – finding a traditional “boozer” in Glasgow is getting harder. For the tourist that wants to make the effort, they can be great places to discover what many would call the “real” Glasgow – the Glasgow where Glaswegians hang out. The other advantage is that the cost of a drink is often a lot cheaper. Common sense should tell you which ones to try out, and which to avoid!

Sleep

Camping

Budget

Moderate

Splurge


Stay safe

Glasgow safety - top tips

Glasgow's most dangerous suburbs are well away from the central area and therefore it would be near impossible to accidentally venture into one of the city's troublespots unless you were making a conscious effort to do so. Nevertheless, for the tourist - the following advice should be heeded -

  • The Old Firm, Although you'll see it being worn everywhere by the locals, if you buy any piece of Celtic or Rangers-related clothing as a souvenir, be wary of wearing it in public as it can lead to violence if you meet the wrong people in the wrong place - particularly in the evenings. The underlying sectarian politics that for some people at least, underpin this infamous football fixture is ingrained into the city's culture, but for a visitor it is something to steer well clear of. In fact a sensible tip is to make sure your visit to Glasgow does not clash with the actual Celtic v Rangers fixture, as the city can have an unpleasant and divided atmosphere about it on this particular day, not making it the best place to be for a casual visitor. Most bars and clubs in the centre of the city universally ban all football colours - regardless of team.
  • 12th July, A huge proportion of Glaswegians are from Northern Irish ancestry - and thousands of Protestants still carry on the marching traditions witnessed in Ulster during the 12th July period, and Orange Marches do take place in the city centre. Although they usually pass without incident (unlike in Northern Ireland), the rules are the same as for Old Firm match days described above. An unbiased view simply doesn't exist among those who closely identify with this divide. Steer well clear of it is the general advice from a tourist's perspective.
  • Shipbank Lane. This area around the southern end of Saltmarket has become a hot spot for muggings and other violent crime in the evenings in recent years - although the recent closure of Paddy's Market means there is no real reason for a visitor to go near the area anyway. Another area to watch out for in the evenings are the backstreets around Central Station - in particular the southern end of Hope Street, whose line of pubs and nightclubs have become known for violence and fights in the early hours at weekends.
  • Street gangs are prevalent in the problem areas of Glasgow. Avoid venturing out of the central area of the city at night on your own if you are not absolutely sure where you are going. Groups of youngsters can often be seen congregating around street corners, outside take-aways and pretty much anywhere that sells alcohol and can behave aggressively. You may be approached and asked to buy alcohol for them - note that this is illegal and you could end up being prosecuted.
  • Public Transport. Be aware that the Subway and the overground suburban railways cease operating after 11:30PM (the Subway closes at 18:00PM on Sundays), meaning that you will have to resort to a bus or a taxi to get back to the centre of town if you leave it too late. Buses can get very rowdy on Friday and Saturday nights, and for this reason it is best to sit near the front of the bus within easy sight of the driver. If in doubt at all - flag down a black taxi - these will be shuttling back and forth on all the main thoroughfares in and out of the city centre into the the early hours of the morning.

Despite the city's reputation for being a violent place, things have improved a lot over the years, and generally Glasgow is no more dangerous than most other British or Western European cities, but problems with crime still persist in some areas (Possilpark, Drumchapel, Govan, Easterhouse, Pollok - none of which figure on most visitors' 'to do' lists). The title "Murder Capital of Europe" owes more to tabloids and true-crime books than hard statistics, and there are other areas of Britain with far higher murder rates. If you are exploring the city by foot, you will almost certainly become very aware you are leaving a tourist-friendly area long before you would be in an area which is actually dangerous. The centre of Glasgow is in the main, very safe and you should not encounter any problems. All of the city centre and tourist areas are well policed. During the day, the City Centre also has many 'information officers' in red hats and jackets who should be able to assist you if needed. However - the basic commonsense rules apply:-

Prostitution is a fact of life in all major cities, Glasgow being no exception. The "Red Light" areas are as follows:

The Calton area of the east end (East of the "Barras") especially around the Tennents brewery, the eastern end of Glasgow Green from the Peoples Palace to Bridgeton Cross area. These areas function as red light areas more or less 24/7: however it should be noted that they are well worth avoiding at night as they are quite far from the city centre and are poorly lit. There is also a red light district in the financial area of the city(Anderston: West of Central Station) although this only becomes a red light district from about 9PM onwards (or after dark during winter). This area in particular is very heavily policed.

It should be noted that whereas prostitution is legal in Scotland, 'soliciting' (i.e. prostitutes soliciting for business), and 'running a brothel' are illegal: brothels and 'massage parlours' can be (and are) frequently busted by the police and their 'customers' taken into police custody at least temporarily. It should also be noted that since the Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act came into effect in 2008, the police are increasingly cracking down on 'Kerb Crawling'. Therefore lone males should drive or walk around the red light districts at their own risk, and should be aware that if the police suspect them of attempting to solicit a prostitute they can be arrested and charged. In these areas, especially during summer, prostitutes from these areas occasionally provide sexual services in 'private' (but open air) parts of the city. Yet again, this is illegal, and, again, 'customers' caught having any form of sexual activity in what the law sees as a public place (i.e. not a private residence or a hotel) will be charged.

Strathclyde Police, the local police force, has a Stay Safe while Travelling guide [158].

Contact

Phone

Glasgow's area code (for landline numbers) is 0141. When calling from outside the UK, drop the leading 0 and use the UK international dial code +44.

Internet

If you are travelling with a laptop then you will find broadband internet access in the rooms of most, but not all, medium to high end hotels. If this is important to you, check before booking. Alternatively, there are many Wi-Fi hot spots in and around Glasgow and WiFinder [159] provides a register.

There are also several places that offer web and other internet access if you are travelling without a laptop. These include:

Get out

Related Information


WikiPedia:Glasgow



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A list of contributors is available at the original article on Wikitravel. Additional modifications may have been made by users at TRAVEL.COM [171].

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.

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