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Glasgow City Guide
- How big is Glasgow?
- Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland and the third-biggest in the UK. Set on the River Clyde, the city covers 175.5 km2.
- How many people inhabit it?
- Almost 600,000 live in the city itself, while around 1.75 million people inhabit the Greater Glasgow Area.
- What are the language and the currency?
- The people of Glasgow, or Glaswegians, speak English and use the Pound Sterling.
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Things to see in Glasgow
- What is Glasgow's number one attraction?
- Well, considering that it's visited by millions of people each year, Glasgow's number-one attraction is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
- What's so great about it?
- For starters, it's free. Spread across three floors, it's also the biggest civic museum and art gallery in the whole of the UK. There is a huge collection of objects on display - 8,000 in total, actually. This includes really famous pieces like Salvador Dali's painting 'Christ of Saint John on the Cross'. Here you’ll also see things like ancient Egyptian artefacts, armour and weapons from many different time periods, natural history displays and much more. The museum re-opened in 2006 following a three-year refurbishment and it's now more popular than ever. In the West End, the Kelvingrove is beside Kelvingrove Park and close to the University of Glasgow.
- Anything else which shouldn't be missed?
- One must-see is definitely the Glasgow Science Centre. You'll find a huge number of exhibits here and pretty much all of them require some sort of interactive participation. There's a stringless harp that could provide literally hours of entertainment. Overall, it's well worth the admission cost of £9.95 for an adult ticket. The Botanic Gardens are a great place for a wander. On a fine day, a lot of people tend to head here for a stroll through the gardens and glasshouses or just to sit on the grass and hang out. Glasgow Cathedral and St. Mungo's Museum beside it are also worth a visit. The stained glass in the Cathedral is impressive and you can also see the tomb of Glasgow's patron saint. St. Mungo's is also really interesting, with exhibits ranging from a Mexican Day of the Dead skeleton to statues of the Buddha.
- So the Kelvingrove's free. What about the other top museums in Glasgow?
- You'll be delighted to hear that it's all free. None of Glasgow's top museums charge admission. This includes both the Kelvingrove and St. Mungo's, along with other museums such as the Hunterian, Scotland Street School, Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art and the People's Palace.
- Where can you find Glasgow's best architecture?
- Glasgow's got a lot of gorgeous architecture and it's spread out around the city, with the West End looking particularly pretty. From the famous tenements to the neo-gothic style of the University of Glasgow to the art nouveau buildings designed by famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, you'll find a lot of great buildings throughout Glasgow. It's not just all old-school design though. You'll also see examples of more recent architecture, with the Clyde Auditorium (or 'Armadillo', as it’s fondly known) probably the most visible example.
- Anything else I need to know?
- If you want to take a trip outside Glasgow, the nearby city of Stirling is a great choice. Not only is it home to one of the most important castles in Scotland, Stirling Castle, it's a very picturesque city with lots of interesting things to see in the Old Town as well as good shopping and many cafés, restaurants and bars.
- Say I want to spend some of my hard-earned cash. Where should I go?
- Glasgow will give you plenty of opportunities for shopping. In fact, people say that it’s now got the best shopping in the UK outside of London. The main shopping street is Buchanan Street and if that's not enough, there are also the large shopping centres Buchanan Galleries, Prince's Square and St. Enoch. Here you’ll find all the big-name brands, along with a lot of top designers, too. For smaller shops or boutiques, check out the West End. And if you're looking for a bargain, the Barras Market in the East End is a good option.
Going out in Glasgow
- Is it expensive to go out in Glasgow?
- Not so much. With three universities and a huge student population, Glasgow can provide a very cheap and entertaining night out. Many bars and nightclubs offer drinks promotions and special offers, as well as free or cheap theme nights.
- Where are most of the bars found?
- There are lots of bars in the West End, as this is where a huge portion of the city's student population is based. There are clusters of nightspots throughout the city though, with many to be found in the city centre and also in the Trongate area of the East End.
- Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
- It's a good idea to carry some form of ID when you go out, especially if you look young, as a lot of places have someone on the door keeping an eye on things.
- Is there anything to do that doesn't involve alcohol?
- There is. You can go see a movie at one of the city's small cinemas like the Grosvenor on Ashton Lane or, alternatively, at the big Cineworld multiplex on Renfew Street. For a spot of high culture, check out the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Sauchiehall Street. There are lots of theatres in the city, too, so you could take in a play at the Citizens' Threatre, the Tron Theatre or the Pavilion Threatre, to name just a few. Comedy is also popular in Glasgow with The Stand and Jongleurs offering a great night out.
- Any particular bars/clubs worth singling out?
- Glasgow has some great bars that mix live music with good value on drinks and a party atmosphere. Two of these are Oran Mór in the West End and King Tut's Wah Wah Hut on St. Vincent Street. Both places are hugely popular and are a great choice for a night out.
- Anything else I need to know?
- Glasgow has implemented the smoking ban so if you want a cigarette you'll have to take it outside.
Eating Out in Glasgow
- Is it expensive to eat out in Glasgow?
- That all depends on where you choose to eat, really. It doesn't have to be expensive though, as many of the city's restaurants serve good food at low prices or offer menu deals or specials such as pre-theatre menus or early birds. Plus there's a huge choice of fast-food places serving large portions at cheap prices.
- Where is the best selection of restaurants in the city?
- Different areas of the city have pockets of restaurants. In the West End there are lots of great places on Ashton Lane and Byres Road. In the city centre, around Buchanan Street and Merchant City you’ll also find a huge selection of restaurants, cafés and coffee shops.
- Are international cuisines well represented?
- Yes, food from all over the world can be found in Glasgow's many eateries. From Japanese noodle bars to Indian cuisine to American-style burger joints, the city has it all.
- Any places you'd recommend?
- A good spot for breakfast is Morton's Coffee House on Byres Road. You can get a bacon roll and tea/coffee for just £2.50 and they do a lot of other breakfast specials, too. Plus it's a great place for sandwiches. DiMaggio's is a chain of restaurants around the city and the city centre branch is in Royal Exchange Square. Here you'll find a huge ranges of dishes from pasta to pizza to more local specials at low prices. Comfortable and affordable, Beanscene is another great place to go to eat or just hang out with a coffee. It's got free WiFi, occasional live music and does the best plate of nachos in Glasgow.
- What times do restaurants close?
- Some places stay open as late as 12am and others close earlier in the evening. Generally, though, there will always be somewhere open to find food.
- Anything else I need to know?
- Seafood and shellfish are particularly popular in Glasgow, with mussel pots being a favourite on many restaurant menus. The shellfish used in these dishes is mostly from the West Coast of Scotland and is a definite favourite with both locals and visitors.
Transport in Glasgow
- How many different modes of public transport are there in Glasgow?
- Bus, subway, train and taxi services operate in and around Glasgow. On the main routes, buses come along every 10 minutes or so. The subway system only has two lines - the Inner and the Outer, with stations located close to most of the main attractions. The system is easy to follow and trains come at regular intervals. Taxis can be hailed down across the city and the prices are very reasonable.
- Is there one ticket which covers bus/train/subway?
- SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) do offer a ZoneCard which covers the subway, trains, most buses and even some ferries. Prices depend on the number of zones and length of card duration. However, most of the city is covered by the G1 and G2 zones, and a card lasting a week for these zones can be purchased for £17.10. If you do take advantage of this, you need to have one passport photo with you when you're buying it.
- Will I need to use public transport at all?
- You might not. It isn't that far to walk from the city centre to the East End, and the West End is reachable on foot, too. However, the subway is a really good way of getting around quickly and without any hassle.
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