At first, when I visit a new destination what I really nead is a series of practical information, like for example “How to get there“, “Which companies fly to” and so on. That was the case for my trip to Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland.
Glasgow, how to get there by air
If you live outside UK, the easiest and convenient way to reach Glasgow is flying to its two airports:
- Glasgow Prestwick, located 32 miles south from the city, is mainly served by low cost companies like Ryanair;
- Glasgow International Airport, with direct flights worldwide is one of the biggest of United Kingdom and it is just 10 miles from the centre.
How to arrive to Glasgow city centre from the Airport
I flew to Glasgow with Easyjet from Milan Malpensa, it’s a new useful connection between Italy and Scotland that I hope to use frequently for my future trips. There are many options available to get to Glasgow city centre from the Airport, check here for the full list.
Undoubtedly, the Glasgow Airport Express service 500 operated by First Group is the fastest way to arrive in town. Departing every 10 minutes from Stance 1, just in front of the airport terminal, it takes 15-20 minutes to reach Buchanan Bus Station. This is the last stop of the route, it is the main terminal for local buses and the ones coming from all UK.
Glasgow Airport Express bus 500: prices and First mtickets
A single ticket costs £7,50, while an open return is £10. Apart from that, there are different fares for adults, children and families as well (check the full price list on First Group website).
You can pay directly to the bus driver, otherwise you can purchase your ticket in advance as a mticket. To do so, once you have downloaded the First Group app (available for iOs and Android) it is possible to buy the tickets for this bus service as well as all the others of First network. To be valid, they must be activated the day of the trip just before getting on the bus.
The Glasgow subway
Glasgow is the only city in Scotland and UK, outside London, to have a subway. Not only that, it is one of the oldest in the world, after London and Budapest, as it was opened on 14th December 1896.
During my stay in town I did not have the opportunity to take it because, despite being a big city, from my point of view the walk distances are just fine. Anyway, Glasgow Subway links the city centre with the West End and it crosses the River Clyde. It seems quite easy to use as there are just two circle lines, the inner and the outer, as you can see in the metro map.
Visit the city on a Glasgow City Sightseeing bus tour
The Glasgow City Sightseeing is another interesting way to discover the city treasures while relaxing on a bus tour. Departing from George Square, the full tour takes around 75 minutes and connects the city centre with the Glasgow West End, a renovated area overlooking River Clyde and where it is possible to visite some of the most famous city museums.
The itinerary includes 21 stops located close to the places of interest, helping you to save time for your visit. I did try the hop-on hop-off bus twice, in the first day to get a glimpse of Glasgow, in the following day to reach the Riverside Museum and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the West End.
It is possible to buy the Glasgow City Sightseeing tickets in advance in this page.
Hotel in Glasgow
I stayed at Newton Hotel, near Buchanan Bus Station and 15-20 minutes by foot from George Square. I got an en-suite room, spacious enough for 1 person. The cleanliness was good, the only problem – though not for me – could be the noise from the street so ear plugs may be useful.
The reception is available 24/24 and the continental breakfast is included in the fare.
I returned to Glasgow few months later and I stayed at Victorian House. This B&B is located in Renfrew Street 212, a short walk from the Glasgow School of Art as well as Charing Cross train station. Besides that, it’s really convenient for those travel to or from Glasgow by bus as Buchanan station is easily reachable in five minutes’ walk.
The single room with en-suite facilities was big enough for my needs and it was very clean as well. Overall, I had a nice stay though I have to point out the lack of the lift.
The reception is open 24/24, breakfast is served 7-9am during the week and 8-10am on Saturdays and Sundays. The buffet offers continental products (jams, brioches, yoghurts, drinks and so on) and traditional English breakfast with bacon, eggs, mushrooms, sausages plus haggis. WiFi is free and it’s available everywhere.
During the weekend spent in Glasgow as a guest of Visit Scotland and People Make Glasgow I had the chance to stay at ABode Glasgow Hotel.
It’s located in Bath Street 129, really close to the city centre so that many attractions, shops, restaurants and clubs are easily reachable by walk. Otherwise, if you want to explore Glasgow West End or places like the University of Glasgow and Ashton Lane you can take the subway (Buchanan stop).
What to add about my experience? Well, I felt immediately at home thanks to the lovely staff and all the comforts available in my double room (single use), bathroom en suite. I even found a personalised postcard wishing me a nice stay in town.
Speaking about breakfast, apart from the rich buffet you can order a main dish like for example eggs with salmon or – if you have enough Scot Spirit – haggis.
How to reach Glasgow from Edinburgh
Only 46 miles separate Glasgow from Edinburgh. This short distance allows frequent and fast links across the day, both by train and bus.
Travel between Glasgow and Edinburgh by train
Trains leave from Glasgow Queen Street Station, located just few steps away from George Square, and journeys take around 70 minutes to reach Edinburgh Waverley Station.
You can check ScotRail website for further information regarding timetables and fares.