Glasgow, the second city of the empire as was, now looks for a lot of the time like it is in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. However, peel away the threatening veneer of neds and gaunt chancers who haunt the city centre and you will find a vibrant city with an awful lot to offer. Plus their “infamous” sense of humour.
To kickoff, all your touristic needs can be accomodated at the VisitScotland Glasgow iCentre which is located at 156/8 Buchanan Street, beside the south entrance of Buchanan Street Subway Station (G1 2LL). The team of friendly, knowledgeable advisors will provide information to help visitors make the most of their visit to both the local Glasgow city area and the rest of Scotland. The iCentre team can advise visitors to the city on a wide range of ticketing options for local tours, activities and attractions during their visit.
For fans looking to sample a little of what Glasgow offers outwith football, pubs and dining, here are some suggestions.
Glasgow is situated in the central belt of Scotland in the west on the river Clyde. Three airports are convenient for the city.
Glasgow International Airport
Located 8 miles west of the city centre Glasgow Airport is connected to the city by the Glasgow Airport Express (First Bus service 500) departs every 15 minutes from stance 1 with drop offs near Central Station, Queen Street Station and terminates at Buchanan Bus Station. Costs £9 single and £14.80 return and takes 15-25 minutes.
The number 77 First Bus is a local bus that also reaches the city centre via Renfrew, Brahead and Partick. It is cheaper but runs every 30 minutes and takes about an hour to the city centre.
The slowest and cheapest option is McGill’s 757 service that goes to Paisley Gilmour Street train station, from there up to 10 trains an hour connect to Glasgow Central station. A rail ticket covers the bus and train and costs approximately £3.80
A taxi from the airport to George Square will cost about £20 and take 15-20 minutes.
Scotland’s busiest airport is situated on the west side of Edinburgh just off the main motorway to Glasgow. The Citylink AIR Glasgow Service 900 departs from immediately outside the terminal stop D to Buchannan Street Bus Station in the centre of Glasgow, it runs every 30 minutes and takes about an hour.
The tram from the airport provides connections to Edinburgh Park, Haymarket and Waverley train stations with connections to Glasgow. You can buy combined tickets for the tram and the train.
Prestwick International Airport
Sometimes known as Glasgow Prestwick, located 50km south of Glasgow on the coast the airport is predominately Ryanair flights so sunny mediterannean destinations.
The airport has its own train station with 4 trains per hour to Glasgow Central 6 days a week and 2 per hour on Sundays, journey time is about 45 minutes. Show your flight confirmation when buying the train ticket to receive a 50% discount.
The X77 Stagecoach bus runs from the airport to Buchanan Bus station.
There are 2 main railway stations in Glasgow, trains from England, southern Scotland and the cities southern suburbs (including Mount Florida for Hampden Park) run from Glasgow Central Station. Shuttle trains from Edinburgh and anywhere north of the city arrive at Glasgow Queen Street. Is in only a short 10 minute wealk between stations if you need to transfer.
There are 4 rail routes from Edinburgh to Glasgow so check the journey times as they will vary from 45 minutes (shuttle service to Queen Street via Falkirk) to the 70 minute service to Glasgow Central.
Glasgow is a huge city with 2 main train stations and a Subway (underground Orange line in the image below)
For travel to Hampden, services from Glasgow Central to Mount Florida. King’s Park on the same line is an alternative for the East Stand.
Things to See and Do
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was ranked in Lonely Planet’s top 500 experiences in the world (2020). With one of Europe’s finest civic art collections, you’ll find everything from dinosaurs to Dutch Masters.
The award-winning Riverside Museum houses the city’s vast transport collection and street scenes from a bygone era. Moored alongside the museum is the Tall Ship – an icon of Glasgow’s shipbuilding heritage. Visit glasgowlife.org.uk and thetallship.com to find out more.
Tenements are Glasgow’s iconic, sandstone buildings which are split into apartments. A true hidden gem, The Tenement House lets you discover tenement life as it was in the early 20th century. The house was lived in by Miss Agnes Toward from 1911 until 1965, who lovingly preserved many of her possessions.
The police in Glasgow are known as “the Polis” amongst other names. For any visiting Garda, or even normal people, in the heart of the Merchant city lies a true hidden gem. Visit the Glasgow Police Museum (winner of the ‘Best Day Out Award’ at The Glasgow Awards 2019) and discover the history of the oldest police force in the UK. For opening times visit policemuseum.org.uk
Glasgow Street Art Walking Tour
Art enthusiasts hoping for a cultural experience beyond the traditional gallery setting shouldn’t miss this Glasgow street art excursion showcasing the city’s intriguing urban artists. Follow your guide through alleys and beneath bridges to discover Glasgow’s public murals and hidden artistic gems. As you go, you can learn about the city’s artists, uncover Glasgow’s culture and creative industries, and see the Glasgow School of Art.
Read more about Glasgow Street Art Walking Tour – https://www.viator.com/tours/Glasgow/Glasgow-Street-Art-Tour/d740-50040P3?mcid=56757
For any football fan staying on after the game, the Hampden Football Museum tour is an incredible journey through the rich history of Scottish football.
The range of pubs and bars in Glasgow is quite amazing. Having come out of the pandemic battered and bruised like most cities, it is once again a thriving hub of nightlife. Given the size of the city the pubs listed below are spread over a wide area but are easily available by bus or underground.
The State bar, 148 Holland Street – traditional old school pub with a wide selection of real ales and whiskies. Friendly staff who know their beers. About half a mile away are a couple of bars on Argyle Street, the Park Bar and Ben Nevis, which are locally known as teuchter bars ie people from the Highlands go there to drink. Both are warm and friendly with the Park Bar having live music on a Friday night though don’t expect any Highland flings unless you get very lucky.
Traditional pubs in the centre of the city include the Pot Still, 154 Hope Street, with over 800 whiskies, the Horseshoe bar, 19 Drury Street, longest continuus bar in the galaxy apparently, and Blackfriars bar on Bell Street which features folk music.
If you are in the city centre why not hop on a tube to the hip happening west end where there a wide variety of boozers and eating places. The Ubiquitous Chip on Ashton Lane is the last refuge of Glasgow’s bohemians who were left crying in their pints of absinthe when the owner sold out to Green King recently. The bar is attached to a very good, if pricey, restaurant.
Tennents bar on Byres Road has achieved classic status and its not hard to see why. Simply a great pub.
The city centre has all the national chains you would associate with any large city in the UK. The city’s reputation as a home to some fabulous Indian restaurants is well deserved, the best known of these is Mother India as 28 Westminster, boo, Terrace in Finnieston. This area has blossomed over the last decade as an area for some outstanding eateries. Another recommended place is the Partick Duck Club at 27 Hyndland Street.
In the West End Eusebi’s, 152 Park Road is a simply superb Italian which offers a fantastic variety of cakes plus some fabulous Italian food. Highly recommended is their day after lasagna. Also in that neck of the woods for some traditional Scottish food in Stravaigan at 26 Gibson Street or Ox and Finch at 920 Sauchiehall Street.
Located in the south of the city Hampden Park has been the home of the Scotland international football team since 1906 and almost every home intenational is played there. Very occasionally small friendly matches are played in Edinburgh or Aberdeen when a low crowd is expected but apart from that only during redevelopment in the 1990s and the 2014 Commonwealth Games have Scotland played anywhere else. It became the home to Scotland’s Womans National Team in 2019????
It was home to Queens Park Football Club until 2021, they were the real pioneers of the Scottish game who built the first Hampden on the site of the nearby Hampden Bowling Club playing the first game in October 1873. Evicted for the arrival of a railway line a second Hampden was built in 1884 just across Cathcart Road, it was renamed Cathkin Park when Third Lanark took over in 1903. It fell into a state of disrepair after the Thirds folded in 1967 although remnants of the terracing and crash barriers can still be seen to this day and the pitches are still used for amatuer football.
Queens Park were denied permission to increase the size of Hampden 2 and identified the existing site in 1899 with the first match between Queens Park and Celtic taking place on 31st October 1903. The first Scotland match against the England in April 1906 was watched by a crowd of over 102,000 and Hampden became the largest capacity football stadium in the world until the Maracana was rebuilt in 1950.
Hampden continued to have huge crowds right up to the 1970s, the 1937 Scotland v England match had an official capacity of 149,415, then a world record and still a European record, although it is believed a further 20,000 entered without tickets. A week later the Scottish Cup Final had officially 147,365 with reputedly 20,000 locked out.
After the Ibrox disaster of 1971 the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 led to the capacity of Hampden being reduced to 81,000 and the last match of the old sloping terraces was the 1992 Scottish League Cup Final. Rennovation continued during the 90s until is was completed in time for the 1999 Scottish Cup Final with a capacity of 51,886 and the stadium you would recognise today.
The latter stages of both Scotland domestic cup competitions are held at Hampden every year and it has also hosted the European Cup Final, European Cup Winners Cup Final, UEFA Cup Final and the Champions League Final. Matches were held in the 2012 Olympics and the 2020 European Championship as well as the 2014 Commonwealth game athletics. There are regularly large music oncerts held in the summer and in the past has hosted boxing and Rugby internationals and for a breief time was the home of the Scottish Claymores American Football team and the Glasgow Tigers Speedway Club.
Queens Park who remained an amatuer club throughout the 20th century agreed agreed to sell Hampden to the SFA at the end of the lease that completed in 2020. They will moved to Lesser Hampden (200 yards behind the West Stand) when rennovations are completed.
Visiting Supporters at Hampden
Depending on the size of the allocation visiting supporters are housed in the West or South Stands with bigger opponents receiving an appropriate part of Section A with the smaller allocations just getting a section P5/6. They will always be sold by the visiting Football Association and not by the SFA.
For the home section tickets will be available on the SFA website and are allocated first to the Scotland Supporters Club whose members are guaranteed a ticket, any remaining tickets will go to public sale, the North Stand is very popular with the Tartan Army and family sections more likely to be accomodated in the East or West stand where tickets are normally cheaper.