Glasgow Scotland, utravlr

5 Things to know before you visit Glasgow

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, a cosmopolitan and modern metropolis with an ornate historical facade. It’s an architecture buff’s dream, with an array of preserved Victorian and Edwardian buildings to marvel at. Chief among these is the grandiose City Chambers, constructed in the late 19th century in the theatrical Beaux-Arts style. Here is a list of other travel posts if you are planning on a trip to the United Kingdom and surrounding areas!

It certainly serves as a dramatic counterpoint to recent additions to the skyline like the space-age SEC Armadillo auditorium. Once the sun goes down, Glasgow really heats up, with bustling bars and clubs catering to everyone from art school hipsters to real ale connoisseurs. So this post lays out the all essential information you need to help plan your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Scotland.

No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? I have included all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip to Glasgow:

Best time to visit

Glasgow has an oceanic climate, with cool, cloudy winters and mild, humid summers.

  • Average temperatures range from 1ºC in winter to 19ºC in summer.
  • Most rainfall occurs from October to January, yet you can usually expect a dozen rainy days per month even in summer. 
  • The warmest time of the year is from May to September. As for weather, it’s the best time to visit Glasgow. 
  • Hotel and flight prices remain roughly the same all-year-round.

Glasgow basics

  • Primary language: English
  • Plug Type: G
  • Electricity: 220-240 V
  • Currency: Pound sterling (£)
  • International Dialling code: +44 141
  • Emergency telephone number: 999

Getting into the city

Glasgow Airport

Glasgow Airport sits around 8 miles west of the city centre. One of the busiest airports in Scotland, it features a single terminal divided into 3 parts, each of them dedicated to a specific type of flight: international, domestic and low cost. The airport hosts a good choice of dining and shopping options as well as facilities including banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options to reach central Glasgow:

  • A taxi to the city centre takes around 15-20 minutes and costs roughly £20-30. The taxi rank can be found in front of the terminal building.
  • The Airport Express bus takes around 15-20 minutes and costs roughly £8-9. The bus stop is right in front of the terminal.
  • The local bus takes around 1 hour and costs roughly £5-6. The bus stop is outside the terminal building. It’s the cheapest way to reach downtown Glasgow. The journey is longer, but you may find your hotel near one of the many stops along the way.
  • Car rental agencies can be found in the arrivals hall of the terminal. 

Glasgow Central Station

Glasgow Central is the main railway station in Glasgow. The busiest railway station in Scotland, it’s rated by customers as one of the best stations in the UK. The train station hosts a good choice of facilities including coffee shops, ATM machines and free Wi-Fi. From here, you can get to your hotel by bus, subway, taxi or hired car.

Getting around Glasgow

The most pleasant way to explore Glasgow is on foot. The city is rather compact and features historical landmarks and attractions such as the Provand’s Lordship of Glasgow, the Lighthouse (Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture) and the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens within walking distance of the city centre. Downtown Glasgow is also home to a good choice of dining and shopping options.

For longer journeys, the public transport services are as efficient as they’re affordable. The subway network is the most convenient way to go around Glasgow. Buses and ferries are also at hand. 

  • Glasgow public transport is run by the SPT – the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.
  • A single journey on the subway costs £1.70.
  • A 1-day ticket on the subway costs £4.10.
  • If you travel with your family, the Daytripper ticket is a good option. For £21.80, 2 adults and up to 4 children can travel on the subway, most buses and some ferries for 1 day.

Taking a taxi

  • Many taxi and black cab companies operate in Glasgow. The most popular of them include Glasgow Taxis (+44 141 429 7070), Hampden Cabs (+44 141 332 5050), and Southside Radio Cars (+44 141 883 3333).
  • Half a dozen taxi ranks can be found across the city, near the train station and city attractions.
  • Taxis can be hailed on the street unless a taxi rank is nearby. 
  • Standard taxi fares start from £3 for the first 940 yards then £0.20 per subsequent 184 yards.
  • Payment of the fare by credit card is usually possible but it’s better to ask the driver before starting your journey.
  • Popular mobile phone apps such as Uber, MyTaxi and Gett can be used to hail a taxi in Glasgow.

Cycling with Nextbike

Glasgow features a bike sharing scheme run by Nextbike. It offers a cool way to explore the city on clear days. All you need to do is to download the app for free. The price to use a bike is £1 per 30 minutes to a maximum of £10 per 24 hours. Over 50 docking stations can be found throughout the city.

Annual Events in Glasgow to look out for!

Burns Night

  • What: Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, is celebrated every year with recitals of his famous verses along with a traditional Scottish feast of haggis, neeps and tatties. 
  • When: 25th January 
  • Where: Participating bars and restaurants throughout Glasgow 

Glasgow’s Whisky Festival 

  • What: A gathering of Scotland’s finest distilleries, combining tastings, masterclasses, and a celebration of all things related to whisky. 
  • When: November
  • Where: Hampden Park stadium 

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  1. knowgoodwriter

    Kudos to you for giving so much info about transportation and getting around. The Glasgow’s Whiskey Festival sounds interesting. I see it’s in November. I wonder if they’ll have it this year, and if so, if will be as popular as usual.

    1. utravlr

      Thank you so much! You’re too kind 🙂 This year there is a slight chance of it happening, would really depend on the decision of the governing bodies. However, Germany did have its usual festivities this month so fingers-crossed!

  2. Sunshine with Savannah

    Great post! This is such a fantastic guide and offers a lot of information that I’d be looking for as a traveler. As an American I haven’t made the trip across the pond yet, but Scotland remains one of my top destinations. I’m definitely saving this for later! Thank you so much for sharing.

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