I recently spent a weekend in Glasgow. Cultural capital of Scotland, Glasgow offers visitors a fantastic collection of art galleries, amazing street art and green spaces.
It’s an easy city break destination with the friendliest and welcoming people. In addition, you have lots of attractions, great food & music scenes, free museums. The city offers something for everyone whether you like music, architecture, music, art or drinks… so you will always have things to do or see..
Here is my 48-hour itinerary including all the best things to do in Glasgow.
- 1 Weekend in Glasgow – the perfect 2 day itinerary
- 2 Trip preparation
- 3 Two days in Glasgow – Day 1
- 4 Day 2 in Glasgow
- 5 Day 3 in Glasgow
- 5.1 9am – Breakfast at Ibis Styles
- 5.2 10 am – Discover Glasgow’s murals
- 5.3 12:30 pm – Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis
- 5.4 2 pm – Lunch at Bar Soba
- 5.5 3 pm – University of Glasgow
- 5.6 5 pm – Back to London
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Weekend in Glasgow – the perfect 2 day itinerary
How to get there
I took a Virgin Trains from London Euston to Glasgow Central. The journey lasted around 5 hours. I was worried about the length but it was surprisingly enjoyable. Driving is possible but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are visiting Glasgow as part of a road trip across Scotland. You can also fly to Glasgow airport. There are shuttle bus direct to the city centre.
Getting around in Glasgow
Glasgow is a compact and walkable city so you can get around and see most of the attractions located within the city centre and other areas easily. Here are some popular areas in Glasgow:
City Centre: This district is perfect for tourists wanting to stay close to the main attractions as most of the old Victorian buildings and museums are there.
Merchant City: This is Glasgow’s busiest neighborhood, with shops, art galleries, restaurants and pubs on every corner. It is also It is the medieval heart of the city. Wandering in this area is delightful as you have rows after rows of eighteenth century buildings with impressive architecture.
West End: This area crossed by the Kelvin River is home to the Kelvingrove Museum but also the trendiest part of the city.
East End: This area is the historic heart of the city and home to the famous Barras Market.
Where to stay in Glasgow
I stayed at CitizenM a pretty modern hotel with neat rooms, extremely comfortable beds and super friendly staff. If CitizenM has a small bathroom, the living room with contemporary and stylish design made up for the small size. Both hotels are quirky, stylish and ticked all the boxes.
More accommodation ideas in Glasgow
- Ibis Styles Glasgow City Centre – Modern budget hotel with good sized rooms
- Euro Hostel Glasgow – Great option for all ages, families and groups.
- Citizen M – Big comfortable beds and mood lighting
- Hotel Indigo – Very pleasing rooms with top facilities
- Malmaison – Stylish modern boutique hotel
- Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel – Luxury with awesome spa
- Radisson Blu Hotel – Scandi cool hotel ideal for both business travellers or couples
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Two days in Glasgow – Day 1
Depending on your mode of transport, you are likely to arrive in Glasgow in the late morning or early afternoon. In which case, you will have ample time to add things to your itinerary. A selection of additional attractions will be added mentioned at the end of the article.
2 pm – Arrival
My train arrived at around 2 pm and I headed straight to my hotel to check-in. My plan was to head straight back out again but Glasgow being Glasgow, it started raining.
I took it as an opportunity to explore the CitizenM hotel. If the rooms are basic, all the good stuff is in the lounge and canteen areas. I can’t get enough of the design of this cool hotel.
4:30 pm – Early dinner at Bread Meats Bread
Bread Meats Bread is a popular burger chain I noticed when walking to my hotel from the train station. I quite liked the name so decided to check it out. They serve everything from burgers, poutine, grilled cheese toasties to vegan and veggie options too.
6:30 pm – Stroll through Glasgow City Centre
After the delicious burger, it was time for a post-meal walk. I headed towards Buchanan Street, Glasgow’s most important shopping street for a little window shopping. From then on, I wandered along the streets passing by George Square, the most popular place to relax and people watch in Glasgow. The City Chambers opposite the square offers tours to discover the insta-worthy interiors.
Glasgow is an architecture fan’s paradise. The city is full of beautiful and impressive Victorian type buildings. You need to look up to see the stunning structures that illustrate the city’s rich architectural heritage.
After finishing my walk along the Clyde River which was quite pleasant, I went back to the hotel for a late night snack.
Day 2 in Glasgow
My second day in Glasgow was all about exploring the city, checking the art galleries and exploring every corner of the artistic city. Even with the busy day ahead, I decided to wake a little later. What are weekends for without a sleep in?
9:30 am – Have brunch at Singl-end
First thing first: food – essential for the busy day ahead. Glasgow has lots of delectable breakfast spots and coffee shops. Singl-end is a cute Bohemian cafe frequented by the locals and students of the Glasgow School of Art. After having a hard time deciding what to get, I settled for the Betty, a toast with avocado, halloumi and poached eggs on top.
11 am – GoMA
With a full stomach, I walked down towards Merchant City to Glasgow’s Museum of Modern Art (GoMA). The building used to be the house of a very wealthy tobacco merchant. It has housed the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Royal Exchange and a library. There is a cafe and a library in the lower floor where people can sit and relax.
Cost: Free entry
12 noon – The Lighthouse
Following on from my yummy breakfast, I headed to the Lighthouse. The building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. As well as being an art gallery showcasing the work of the Scottish architect, it is also an exhibition space, a visitor centre, events venue and also a small gift shop. What makes a visit to the Lighthouse worthwhile is the viewing platform offering an excellent view of the city.
Cost: Free entry
13:30 – Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
If you have time for only one museum, then I recommend you spend it at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. With more than 20 themed galleries, it holds one of the largest collections of art in Scotland. I had fun exploring the different exhibits from paintings, artefacts from Ancient Egypt to a spitfire plane and “The Floating Heads”.
You can easily spend 2/3 hours here if you decide to pay a visit to the onsite cafe, gift shop and garden.
Cost: Free entry, small admission for special exhibitions
4:30 pm – Explore Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Founded in 1817, Glasgow Botanic Gardens is home to several glasshouses including the exceptional Kibble Palace. Each one designed to suit its inhabitants ranging from desert cactus to moisture-loving ferns. The botanic gardens are a lovely place where families, joggers and locals take time to stroll.
There is an onsite teahouse that serves everything from breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. So you can perfectly spend the whole day there, weather permits!
Cost: Free entry
6:30 pm – Have dinner in Ashton Lane
Ashton Lane is a picturesque lane hidden in a small alley in the heart of the West End. This is perhaps the most charming little corner of the city both for its charming cobbled stone streets and its atmosphere. Every late afternoon and evening, the little alleyway gets packed with locals, students and tourists enjoying a drink or a nice meal or party-goers lovers of live music. Ashton Lane is the place to be.
7:30 pm – Have dinner at Ubiquitous Chip
Ubiquitous Chip is both a restaurant and a brasserie with exceptional setting. The atmosphere is warm, with lights and plants making it an ideal place for a romantic dinner or a solo like I did. The food is very tasty and staff are amazing too.
For mains I I went for Scotland’s special dish: the haggis. This dish consists of sheep’s heart, onions, oatmeal, spices, liver and lungs cooked in a sheep’s stomach (as a cooking bag). It’s served with mashed turnip (neeps) and mashed potato (tatties). I agree, the list of ingredients doesn’t make this dish appetising at all but trust me, it is delicious. I even wished I had gone for the main dish instead of starter version! Ubiquitous Chip serves one of the best haggis in town! Desert was the highland crowdie cheesecake with honeyed oats.
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Day 3 in Glasgow
9am – Breakfast at Ibis Styles
My final day started with a simple breakfast at the hotel.
10 am – Discover Glasgow’s murals
Glasgow is slowly becoming the rising star of Europe’s street art scene. Massive murals decorate Glasgow’s building for the delight of locals and fans. All of the masterpieces tell a story and pay homage to Glasgow’s culture and history.
My favourite was Saint Mungo located not far from Glasgow Cathedral. The mural, by street artist Smug, represents a man holding a small bird.
12:30 pm – Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis
The Glasgow Necropolis is Glasgow’s answer to London’s Highgate Cemetery or Paris’ Père Lachaise cemetery. The necropolis is perched on a hill, so even if cemeteries are of no interest to you, you can still enjoy the breathtaking views of the city. There are about 3,500 tombstones and mausoleums on site with more than 50, 000 people buried there. Take a wander and you will meet other wanderers and photographers, attracted by the beauty of the Victorian cemetery.
After the quiet wander, walk down to the magnificent cathedral which is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. Admire the gothic building and step inside for the magnificent stained glass windows. Glasgow Cathedral is one of the city’s oldest buildings. Formerly a Roman Catholic Church, it is now Church of Scotland.
Cost: Free entry
2 pm – Lunch at Bar Soba
I was on my way to The Hanoi Bike Shop but when my Uber driver suggested Bar Soba, I decided to go there instead. I love Japanese food. The food and service were good, the place had a great buzz and the staff were friendly.
3 pm – University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is one of the oldest universities in the UK. I’m sure J.K. Rowling was inspired by the university when imagining Hogwarts. The university is massive with corridors that never seem to stop, almost like a labyrinth. You can take a guided tour to explore the university.
Within the premises of the university are a few museums that are open to the public. The Hunterian Art Gallery, The Mackintosh House and the Hunterian Museum are some of the other sites that can be added to your visit.
The Hunterian Museum is the oldest public museum in Scotland and founded by William Hunter, an art collector and anatomist. It offers an incredible collection of anatomical and atypical objects.
Hunterian Art Gallery holds art from artists all around the world but mainly Scotland.
From the Hunterian Art Gallery, you can access The Mackintosh House, a reconstruction of architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his artist wife Margaret MacDonald’ s house. The couple redesigned and decorated their house. It’s worth visiting to get a sense of how they lived.
Cost: Free entry except Mackintosh House (£6 admission fee)
5 pm – Back to London
It was soon time to head back to Glasgow Central for the train back to London. Glasgow was a surprise for me. It’s packed with plenty of things to do, places to eat (which as you know are all impossible to do in two/three days). Although it has many attractions, it’s not too big nor too touristy.
Additional things to do in Glasgow
Here is a list of additional cool things to do in Glasgow including tours and day trips ideas!
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Have you been to Glasgow? What was your highlight? let me know in the comments below!