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Is Glasgow worth a visit?

Is Glasgow worth a visit?

Old Dec 5, 19, 4:15 pm
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Is Glasgow worth a visit?

Hello,

I'm booked to fly into and out of Edinburgh Dec 12-15, so I have roughly 2.5 days before heading to London. I know there is plenty to see in the city, but I wouldn't mind doing a road trip and maybe spending one night somewhere else if it's worth it. Is there enough to see/do in and around Glasgow to warrant staying a night there, or should I keep Edinburgh as my home base the entire time and perhaps just do a day trip to Glasgow? (or somewhere else? I would love to see some castles and pretty landscape, etc.). The highlands seem amazing but perhaps a bit too far for such a short trip. I know with this time of year the short daylight hours could also be an issue. Is Glasgow more than just a typical modern city? Any advice would be much appreciated!
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Old Dec 5, 19, 5:41 pm
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Re the question "Is Glasgow worth a visit?" - yes, no doubt.

In your situation, with 2.5 days - well, there's more than enough to do in 2.5 days in either Edinburgh or Glasgow, so it's kinda up to you whether you'd like to try and squeeze a bit of both in.

It is as easy to get to London from either Edinburgh or Glasgow, so you could head over to the latter and then down to London from there - whilst this is FlyerTalk, I'd suggest going by train. There's also sleeper trains from both Edinburgh and Glasgow to London every night apart from Saturday nights (Caledonian Sleeper).
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Old Dec 5, 19, 6:33 pm
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Thank you for the insight! I thought about the train, but since this is a quick trip I opted to fly to give me more time in both Scotland and London. Flights are already booked into and out of Edinburgh, but Iíll try to do a night in Glasgow as well. Appreciate the help!
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Old Dec 5, 19, 9:35 pm
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I really like (the nice parts) of Glasgow...and it's a very short train ride from Edinburgh: I would do as a day trip...but that would definitely eat into the very limited time you have in Edinburgh. In terms of the 'unique' aspects of Glasgow (and I speak as a non-Scot who has only been a few times), I particularly liked the Rennie Macintosh buildings/ artwork, and the rather quirky but charming Museum of religion (or whatever it's called).

BUT, taking up a whole day in Glasgow versus a whirlwind drive around the (accessible) highlands...would take the latter, even in Winter...

tb
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Old Dec 6, 19, 6:54 am
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For your first trip and given the limited time I wouldn't bother. Having been to both places I much prefer Edinburgh.
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Old Dec 6, 19, 6:59 am
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I recently visited Glasgow in order to re-trace aspects of my mother's life, having not set foot there for many years. I liked it so much I've been back since to see a game at Hampden Park, and I'm spending New Year there.

IMO, it's a much underrated City which is very much different to its traditional stereotype - friendly people, vibrant pubs, plenty of architecture stretching through several centuries, the glorious Botanic Gardens and museums to suit most tastes. It's very different to Edinburgh - much more down to earth.

A day will only give you a flavour, but given the short travel time it's a journey I'd make to get ideas on spending longer there in future.

I would, however, travel by train - there's a frequent Scotrail service between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and that will allow you to finish the day in one of the many superb pubs around Central Station - even if you're not a drinker, the atmosphere in them is part of the Glasgow experience. I'd recommended the Pot Still, but it's by no means the only choice.
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Old Dec 6, 19, 7:08 am
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Originally Posted by Kate031 View Post
Thank you for the insight! I thought about the train, but since this is a quick trip I opted to fly to give me more time in both Scotland and London. Flights are already booked into and out of Edinburgh, but I’ll try to do a night in Glasgow as well. Appreciate the help!
I really wouldn't bother with the faff of moving hotels to stay the night in Glasgow. The trains only take 45 mins and run until about midnight, so you can very easily do a full day and evening there while staying in Edinburgh. Incidentally it's also cheaper to buy a same-day return than to return next day (as is generally the case on UK trains) especially if you avoid morning peak.I think the only reason to stay overnight would be if you want a very late one out partying there, i.e. going 'out out'.

With regard to the train to London, it can actually be about the same time or even quicker door-to-door than flying, depending on where in the city you're going from/to. In terms of flights, as a general comment I would usually suggest flying into LCY if possible, both for convenience and the landing experience (but realise you've booked flights already in this case).
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Old Dec 6, 19, 7:44 am
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There is a huge contrast between the two cities. Architecture, landscape, and (especially) the people. Glasgow is amazingly vibrant and much underrated. There are fast trains between the two every few minutes and the train ticket costs buttons, it's the obvious way to get between the two cities.
Train is also the better way to get between central Edinburgh (or central Glasgow) and central London. Unless you are flying into LCY, the end to end journey time between city centres by plane isn't quicker.
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Old Dec 6, 19, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by rcspeirs View Post
There is a huge contrast between the two cities. Architecture, landscape, and (especially) the people. Glasgow is amazingly vibrant and much underrated. There are fast trains between the two every few minutes and the train ticket costs buttons, it's the obvious way to get between the two cities.
Train is also the better way to get between central Edinburgh (or central Glasgow) and central London. Unless you are flying into LCY, the end to end journey time between city centres by plane isn't quicker.
I love Glasgow, and think itís a much better place to live than Edinburgh. But I always say that I can see why tourists go to Edinburgh first - castle, vistas and tat. Glasgowís definitely worth a visit, but itís more for a cultural experience - both in terms of the incredible museums, arts scene and architecture, and in terms of feeling more immersed in Scottish culture - than a typical sightseeing trip around Edinburgh.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 5:06 am
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Originally Posted by Scots_Al View Post
I love Glasgow, and think itís a much better place to live than Edinburgh. But I always say that I can see why tourists go to Edinburgh first - castle, vistas and tat. Glasgowís definitely worth a visit, but itís more for a cultural experience - both in terms of the incredible museums, arts scene and architecture, and in terms of feeling more immersed in Scottish culture - than a typical sightseeing trip around Edinburgh.
I prefer Glasgow too but, on a short trip like that, I would probably stay put in Edinburgh. Glasgow is less in your face "pretty" the way Edinburgh is and it takes more time imo to appreciate it. I'd leave it to a future visit with a little bit more time to immerse oneself into the vibe of the city.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 1:14 pm
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The OP is asking about pretty landscape and castles. It would be more sensible to plan a day car journey, perhaps to Glamis Castle and St Andrews. The landscape won't be as amazing as the Highlands or the Western Isles but will be lovely and Glamis Castle (or, indeed, several others within a couple of hours drive from Edinburgh) will certainly fit the bill.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
I prefer Glasgow too but, on a short trip like that, I would probably stay put in Edinburgh. Glasgow is less in your face "pretty" the way Edinburgh is and it takes more time imo to appreciate it. I'd leave it to a future visit with a little bit more time to immerse oneself into the vibe of the city.
I agree. The question is a bit like asking whether a person with 2 days in Toronto should visit Hamilton, a person in Washington should visit Baltimore or a person with a short time in London should visit Sheffield. Nothing against Hamilton, Baltimore or Sheffield but they too are places that take a little time to appreciate.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 4:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Kate031 View Post
Hello,

I'm booked to fly into and out of Edinburgh Dec 12-15, so I have roughly 2.5 days before heading to London. I know there is plenty to see in the city, but I wouldn't mind doing a road trip and maybe spending one night somewhere else if it's worth it. Is there enough to see/do in and around Glasgow to warrant staying a night there, or should I keep Edinburgh as my home base the entire time and perhaps just do a day trip to Glasgow? (or somewhere else? I would love to see some castles and pretty landscape, etc.). The highlands seem amazing but perhaps a bit too far for such a short trip. I know with this time of year the short daylight hours could also be an issue. Is Glasgow more than just a typical modern city? Any advice would be much appreciated!
Short daylight will indeed be an issue as you'll only have about seven hours of sunlight. Although the Highlands are spectacular, it's about 4.5 hours to Inverness.

Let me make a suggestion for the road less traveled. Go to Dumfries in the Lowlands instead. It's about 80 miles southwest of Edinburgh (less than two hours driving), there are stretches that are stunning, and at the end of the line, you can spend some time exploring the Robert Burns House: https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/robert-burns-house-p250471.

I didn't do the Lowlands until my seventh trip to Scotland and wish I'd gone before. An alternative would be a drive up to Stirling to see the Castle there--only about an hour's drive.

And if you want to avoid driving but still want a taste of Scotland other than Edinburgh, then I second the recommendation regarding St. Andrews. Although justifiably known as the Home of Golf, there's a lot more there, including St. Andrews Cathedral, the University, the St. Andrews Castle, and plenty of restaurants and shopping. It's a small town with all of the sites in easy walking distance, and frequent trains run from Waverley to the town of Leuchars where a bus will meet the train to take passengers on the 10-minute trip to St. Andrews. The trip from Waverley to St. Andrews takes about an hour total and includes the trip across the Firth of Forth on the rail bridge, which, in itself, is a pretty spectacular part of the trip.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 6:56 pm
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If you want to go to Stirling, you needn't drive, as trains run at least every half-hour and take less than an hour. The castle is great, though it's more of the medieval fortification type (like Edinburgh's) than the fairytale stately palace type.

But, really, there's plenty to see in Edinburgh, in addition to the Castle, without resorting to the city's unfortunate tourist tat. Big museums: National Gallery, National Museum of Scotland, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Modern Art. Smaller museums and galleries: City Art Centre, Georgian House, Queen's Gallery (in Holyrood House), Stills, Open Eye, Summerhall, more. The Botanic Garden, an easy bus ride from Princes Street, is nice at any time of year, and now has its seasonal lights path at night (tickets required). Architecture: Old Town, New Town(s), maybe a chilly walk along the Water of Leith Walkway. Other walks with more panoramic views, like Calton Hill, Arthur's Seat, Braid Hills (not in the center), more. Other cultural stuff, too, like theatre and music.

Glasgow is a great city, too, and worth visiting. But I wouldn't dismiss Edinburgh, over-touristified though it's becoming, as lacking in genuine home-grown attractions and interest.

Last edited by Giggleswick; Dec 7, 19 at 7:04 pm
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