Posted by Sarah
Glasgow gets a bad rap these days, as far as Scottish holiday destinations go. But in my experience, the bustling, vibrant city centre is a world away from the dark and seedy underbelly you most often hear about on TV. I’ve been a few times and I really love it – it’s got all the attractions of a big city without being overcrowded and oversized. In my mind, it’s one of the UK’s most ideal cheap break destinations.
For starters, it’s easy to get to: trains from London run along the West Coast Mainline through the Lake District, or up the east coast via Newcastle and Edinburgh. Both journeys are picturesque and relatively inexpensive if you buy tickets early; but if time is a major factor, it’s probably quicker to get the plane, especially if you’re travelling from the south or Ireland. But whichever way you’re getting into Glasgow, one thing that’s sure to hit you first off is its impressive skyline. From attractive bridges spread across the majestic River Clyde to innovative venues like the Clyde Auditorium (the ‘Armadillo’ to locals), it’s a magnificent place.
A lot of its main attractions are free too. My favourite has to be the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, a superb Victorian building that’s set in a wide expanse of parkland (Kelvingrove Park). There’s quite a vast collection of art and natural history exhibits, but it’s the astounding architecture that’s floored me every time I’ve visited. Not so far away are Glasgow University’s main buildings, which are also quite commanding, and you have to visit the Glasgow School of Art – popularly considered to be influential Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s finest building.
What’s more, Glasgow’s really well-known for its eclectic music scene – Franz Ferdinand, the Fratellis and Glasvegas all came from here. For a taste of what’s around now, I’d suggest visiting smaller venues like King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut on St Vincent Street or Stereo, where you might occasionally get to see the odd great band at no cost.
It’s so easy to get around Glasgow too – the Subway (which is sure to seem novel to anyone au fait with London’s vastly more complicated network) is around £1.20 flat fare or £3.50 for unlimited day travel, so is still quite affordable. In fact, the hardest thing about Glasgow for most tourists is the accent! Be prepared to here plenty of smatterings of ‘pure’ (meaning ‘very’) in every other sentence.
But despite their verbal impenetrability, I think Glaswegians are very friendly – especially if you partake in local habits. Drinking ‘Buckie’ or Buckfast (a kind of strong fortified wine), for instance, is definitely something to try before your break is over – it’s cheap too!
Find out more about some of our cheap city breaks packages in Europe.