Travel advice: Glasgow (and Edinburgh)
February 3, 2015 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Planning another trip, which means it’s time for another AskMe. This time: Glasgow (with a side trip to Edinburgh)…

Starting to look seriously at booking a trip in mid-May. First off, where to stay? Based on TripAdvisor reviews I’m looking at:
15 Glasgow
Acorn Hotel
Hotel Indigo Glasgow
citizenM Glasgow
The Z Hotel Glasgow

I’m also thinking of doing an apartment rental in the West End as recommended by a friend, but maybe we want a front desk available to help us out for our first trip?

We’re planning on mostly walking, visiting museums, taking photos, and eating/drinking - and I’m going to try to book a tour of the necropolis. We’re also planning on taking the train to Edinburgh for a day, so what are the can’t miss items there – other than the castle?

Also, neither of us are scotch drinkers (I know, I know), so we’re not too interested in any sort of distillery tour or tasting, but we are beer drinkers so a brewery tour is a possibility.

Any advice appreciated!
posted by JoanArkham to Travel & Transportation around Glasgow, Scotland (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
As beer drinkers, you should definitely follow up your Necropolis with a visit to the nearby Drygate, a recently opened brewery/beerhall/restaurant in an industrial building next to the large Tennent's brewery. If you do go, note that the upstairs beerhall serves only a burger menu (I wasn't that impressed), while the downstairs restaurant/bar has a wider menu that I've eaten from twice now, both times amazing. The beer selection at the bar and in the small shop is terrific.

Not far from there, on Glasgow Green, is the German-style brewery/beerhall West, which is in a cool-looking Victorian former carpet factory. The beers are good here too, though I've found the food hit and miss. Depending on the weather in May, this can be a great place to sit on the grass outside with your drink.

There are lots of other places you should definitely visit, in the West End and museums around town. You can't go wrong really, and guidebooks will have most things covered. But when I think of some other less-obvious places in the next few days I might pop back here.
posted by cincinnatus c at 11:55 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

In Edinburgh, the National Museum of Scotland has an amazing collection of ancient artifacts, including a very nice Roman collection (the Romans made it that far, they just didn't stick around).
posted by Mogur at 12:22 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I always recommend the Gilmerton Cove (tours by appointment only) as one of the best tourist attractions in Edinburgh. Although if you're only here for a day you might not want to spend any of it underground!

Can't miss items other than the castle would be to climb either Arthur's Seat or Calton Hill, to walk the length of the Royal Mile and to visit Mr Woods Fossils. In my opinion Edinburgh Castle is best appreciated from a distance.
posted by neilb449 at 1:46 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Easily one of my favorite places in Edinburgh, not too far off the high street - Edinburgh Larder. Do. Not. Miss.
posted by Medieval Maven at 2:01 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

For both Glasgow and Edinburgh (though mostly Edinburgh) food recommendations, check out Lunchquest. They have a location-aware app which is the bomb for finding decent places.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:17 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Brewdog has a bar in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The brewery is in Aberdeen if you make it up that far, although I don't know if they do tours.
posted by Huck500 at 3:02 PM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I also enjoyed ordering food from Anima, because the local accent turned the initial 'ah' into 'eh', and they'd always answer the phone by saying their name. I may have been 12 years old that weekend.
posted by Mogur at 3:37 PM on February 3, 2015

When in Edinburgh: Sandy Bells
posted by The_Auditor at 4:17 PM on February 3, 2015

I'd probably go for CitizenM. It's well-placed close to the bus station, the subway and the Queen Street station (where you get the train to Edinburgh). It also looks exceedingly nice every time I pass.

You can take the subway to the West End (Hillhead for Byres Road, the main street; Kelvinhall for Kelvingrove Museum) and a return is £1.90. The subway is a big circle, so don't worry about zones or anything.

In Glasgow proper, the Necropolis is great. I also love walking along the Kelvin Walkway which takes you from the Botanics (top of Byres Road) down to Kelvingrove. You'll walk along the River Kelvin, see wildlife (in the middle of the city) and you can stop off at Gibson Street halfway through the walk and take in some excellent coffee & cake at Artisan Roast.

Just off Gibson Street, you find the best little secondhand bookshop, Voltaire & Roussau. It's another ten minute walk down to Kelvingrove and you'll pass the suitably gothic Glasgow University building on the way (next door you'll find the Hunterian which has a nice little Mackintosh museum as well as another off-shoot with gory medical history and Roman artifacts). Opposite Kelvingrove, you find a Brewdog bar. My personal favourite pub in the area is The Sparkle Horse where local musicians, artists, writers, and assorted other creatives hang out over local beers. It has a good vibe which is distinctly West End (I am a West Ender. I am biased). If you don't fancy that, you can always head to top of Byres Road where you find Oran Mor with murals by the great Alasdair Gray.

One museum often over looked by Glasgow visitors is the Burrell Collection south of the Clyde. It's in the middle of the big Pollok Park where you get up close & personal with Highland Cattle. It has a really relaxed vibe and the collection is housed in a forever-leaking-but-stunning modern building.

In Edinburgh, you should be aware that the National Museum of Scotland has closed off a lot of collections as it's prepping new stuff. I like Broughton Street for shopping in Edinburgh and I love the Museum of Modern Art & the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland. I avoid the Royal Mile like the plague as any sane person would.
posted by kariebookish at 3:56 AM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

PS feel free to MeMail with any other questions etc
posted by kariebookish at 4:00 AM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, all! I've bookmarked many of your suggestions. Really looking forward to our trip!
posted by JoanArkham at 7:24 AM on February 4, 2015

Response by poster: Sorry, just a few more: after looking at all this on a map, I'm wondering if getting a cab on the street is easy/affordable. Also, beyond the usual "be aware, it's a city" cautions are there any issues with walking most places? I'm especially thinking of getting back to the hotel post-pub.

Also, also - I've been checking menus online and everything seems pretty reasonably priced. Can't find any beer prices though. I know there's going to be a range, but what do you think I can expect to pay for local craft beers in Glasgow?

Thanks again!
posted by JoanArkham at 9:02 AM on February 4, 2015

Cabs are everywhere. They're classic 'black cabs' and you can hail them on the street or at ranks (they can't stop when there's a rank nearby, btw). They're totally fine. They'll cost your £3-4 a mile.

Central Glasgow is very walkable though, and there's the Underground which can whistle you about pretty effectively.

I haven't got the bus in Glasgow for a while, but last time I did it was a bit of a confusing patchwork of different companies. Edinburgh has Lothian Buses and the Tram from the airport into town, all run under one umbrella. There's also a few other companies, but they don't run that many routes in town.

For local craft beers in Glasgow you're probably going to pay £3.60 and up for a pint in central Glasgow. More like £3.80 and up in Edinburgh. Depends where you go. A round for two people will normally be £7-10.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:15 AM on February 4, 2015

The only Glasgow places I wouldn't walk after dark are places you'd probably be unlikely to go (Possil & Bridgeton spring to mind).

I find taxis in Glasgow super-affordable, Edinburgh taxis less so. I usually pay around £6 for a taxi from City Centre to my home - if you are two people sharing that fare, it can actually work out easier/cheaper to get a taxi than struggle with a bus (see next section).

Busses in Glasgow are mostly operated by FirstGlasgow. They don't give change, so have correct fare or buy a day ticket (£4.10 currently). There are problems with bus drivers "forgetting" bus zones and overcharging, so have a rummage on FirstGlasgow's website and print out zone map if you think you might be travelling a lot outside the City Centre. It may be more of an issue for us locals than it'll be for you, though!
posted by kariebookish at 1:35 AM on February 5, 2015

« Older OSX File Sharing for Small, Growing Office?   |   Best jobs for people who don't like applying to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.