48 hours in Glasgow

Monday 08 May 2017

Let’s face it, the hardest part about planning a vacation to a bustling city is deciding what to do first. And Glasgow, Scotland—with its two dozen museums and art galleries, stunning architecture, world-renowned restaurants, and red hot music scene—is no exception.

To help you make the most of your time in the stylish Scottish city—the birthplace of Canada’s first Prime Minister, John Alexander Macdonald (he moved to Canada at the age of 5)—we rounded up our favourite sights, sounds, and snacks in Glasgow.

Day 1:

Kick off your journey at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow’s west end. Featuring 22 galleries that house everything from Scottish folk art to dinosaur bones, it’s the perfect place to get a taste of the country’s heritage and admire some awesome art. Best of all—it’s free!

Now that you’re feeling inspired, take a stroll along Ashton Lane—a pretty cobblestone street near Byres Road offering an assortment of bars, pubs, and eateries. Pop into one for a sweet treat and a mug of tea, or head to the Finneston area, home to some of the city's best new restaurants.

Interested in learning more about your Scottish ancestry? Make an appointment with one of the registrars at the Mitchell Library to uncover your family lineage, and access birth records, marriage licenses, maps, and more. 

After dinner, experience the sounds of the city at one of Glasgow’s most famous spots for live music, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. This intimate venue helped launch the profiles of bands like Radiohead, Beck, and Florence and the Machine. If you’re interested in learning more about the musical history of Glasgow—it was even named a UNESCO City of Music in 2008—consider taking an informative two-hour walking tour.

Day 2:

Explore the pathways of Glasgow Botanic Gardens to check out the impressive collection of flora and shrubs before visiting Kibble Palace, an exquisite restored Victorian glasshouse. If you need a bit of a pick-me-up, swing by the tearoom for a slice of cake and an assortment of tea and coffee.

For a museum experience like no other, head to Scotland's museum of transport and travel, Riverside Museum. Here, you’ll discover the story of vehicles, from horse-drawn carriages, to automobiles, locomotives, and Scotland's earliest buses and trams.

Break for lunch at Tchai Ovna, Scotland’s original Teahouse and Vegetarian restaurant. This charming little cafe is housed in a former 19th century stable on a cobbled lane in the city’s west end. And since it’s Glasgow… expect to see hear music along the way.

To see some of the city’s most impressive architecture, take a stroll around Glasgow University to admire its atmospheric cloisters and ornate buildings. While on campus, be sure to swing by Hunterian Museum—Scotland's oldest public museum, and home to one of the largest collections outside of the National Museum.

Cap off your day with a trip to West Brewery, which serves German-inspired beers with a unique Glasgow flavour. Take a guided tour of the microbrewery, or feast on currywurst, Wiener schnitzel, or burgers at the on-site restaurant.

While 48 hours is plenty of time to get a taste of what Glasgow has to offer, don’t worry if you can’t fit everything in—it’s only all the more reason to return!

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