Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, positively surprises every time. Scots are usually associated with kilts and bagpipes, right? Glasgow, this beautiful green land, will give you so much more than those thanks to its impressive, modern metropolis where are many events happening every day and night. Few decades ago, Glasgow was one of Britain’s smoky, ugly industrial cities. The poor lived in scary slums, sad and forgotten. Fortunately, the city within last 40 years has turned into a beautiful vibrant city that will never leave you bored.
A bit of Glasgow’s history
The history of the town dates back to the early Middle Ages when Glasgow was the largest bishopric of Scotland. Thanks to this, the city attracted a lot of wealthy people and raised its status. In the 18th century when Scotland gained access to the sea, Glasgow became a very important port and trade center. Merchants trading rum, cotton and tobacco significantly contributed to the development of the city. After the Second World War, the city faced the problem of slums and poverty but managed to capture it and today Glasgow is one of Scotland’s most attractive cities. In 1990, it received the title of the European Capital of Culture and 9 years later the City of Architecture and Design of the United Kingdom.
The climate in the city is stable. The winters are mild here, and the summers are warm, however with a lot of rainfall. Glasgow’s main tourist attractions are architectural objects, museums and art galleries.
What to see in Glasgow for free?
George Square is a home to the City Chambers – the seat of the city government. In the middle of the square there is a column with a statue of Walter Scott. On the statue one can find images of famous personalities, from Queen Victoria to the Scottish national heroes (James Watt and Robert Burns).
A net of streets stretching east of the town hall is the Merchant City, a historic district that once housed shops and residences of local traders selling tobacco, sugar and cotton. There are many bars, restaurants and entertainment venues right now. Visiting Merchant City is worth paying attention to several facilities, including: at Hutcheson Hall, an elegant spire-shaped building, built in 1802. It replaced the existing 18th-century hospice, which houses statues incorporated into the façade of the new edifice.
Necropolis it’s an old cemetery founded in 1833, located on a hill with beautiful old tombs. Amazing mysterious place with a bit of aura. You can have an impression as if you moved back in time. The necropolis was designed by Parisian Pere Lachaise. It consists of monumental tombs which testify the considerable wealth of industrial magnates buried here in the nineteenth century.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of the most frequently visited museum’s in Scotland with a collection that caters to all tastes, and encompasses everything from Salvador Dali to Spitfire planes, stuffed animals and armor.
The Gallery of Modern Art, is also worth-seeing place. The gallery dates back to the late 18th century. The facility is divided into four levels, each of which is named Fire, Earth, Water and Air. At the top of the building there is a mirror mosaic, which is an example of the so-called Glasgow style. While visiting this culturally rich city, one should also visit Botanical Garden, which is a green oasis of tranquility. There are tropical fruit trees, palm trees, cacti, ferns, and predatory plants.
The Hunterian, part of the university of Glasgow, is the oldest museum in Scotland. You can find here archaeological and ethnographical displays.
Where to eat on a budget?
Glasgow is rich in restaurants and bars so you will have endless possibilities for both eating and drinking in the city. Typical Glasgow thing is that you do not have to decide between the two activities because most of bars and pubs in Scotland offer very tasty and cheap food that go along with fresh pints and cocktails.
Bread Meats Bread
Nice, cheap eatery known for its delicious burgers. Prices start at £6.50 for a classic Scottish beef burger, but there are many variations on offer. You can give it a try to caramelized sweet fries, they took my heart.
True Glasgow style restaurant where you can eat vegan meals during the day, but at night it turns into a late-night bar, gig and club venue.
The Horse Shoe Bar
The name of the bar reflects the shape of its bar – all 104 feet and three inches of it. Its tastefully decorated with a dark wood on the walls and ornate ceiling. It really give you an idea of what drinking in Glasgow used to be back in the days. And if you are lucky, you can get to a karaoke session.
Where to stay on a budget?
As you probably know, accommodations in UK are not cheap and sometimes it results hard to find a reasonably priced room. Luckily, in Glasgow there are few hotels on a budget in good locations.
If you want to be in the very city centre of Glasgow surrounded by main shopping areas, check Alexander Thomson Hotel, that is located just next to Central Rail Station and offers rooms for under $100.
Kelvingrove Museum is centrally located and this is where you can find family-run Argyll Hotel. Rooms are equipped with private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi.
Sandyford hotel is located in the city centre from where you can get to good shops, museums and galleries. Worth mentioning is this delicious full Scottish breakfast (eggs, meat, mushrooms, beans, the whole deal) provided in the morning.