The biggest city in Scotland, Glasgow’s transformed itself from a one-time industrial powerhouse to a bustling playground of culture, shopping and entertainment. Shopping’s an artform in Glasgow’s Style Mile, the region around Buchanan Street, Merchant City and Argyle Street. The array of flagship brands and designer boutiques is matched by the architecture of the department stores, with their glinting glass and ever-so-chic sleek lines. Equally stylish is the West End, where Victorian architecture meets a bohemian bar scene.
Things to see
However lively Glasgow may be, George Square’s a tranquil spot in the heart of town where you can put your feet up between shopping or sightseeing. Set amongst Victorian architecture, flanked by statues of a number of Scotland’s most famous sons and daughters including Robert Burns and Walter Scott, it’s the ideal place to take stock and catch a breath. Buchanan Street is Glasgow’s answer to London's Oxford Street, and with its cutting edge galleries rubbing shoulders with Art Deco and Edwardian buildings, not to mention traditional music played by kilt-wearing bands, it’s a treat for all the senses. An important part of modern Glasgow’s cultural life is the SECC – the exhibition centre on the North Bank of the Clyde which hosts conferences, exhibitions, and concerts. For a more sedate experience, the Botanic Gardens’ mix of riverside walks, tropics and woodland, not to mention its tearoom, is a slice of Eden in the city.
Hotels in Glasgow
If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find it in a number of plush, five-star hotels in Glasgow. Most of the top end hotels offer amenities such as indoor swimming pools, spas, saunas and fitness centers, as well as WiFi and satellite television. The majority of mid-range hotels tend to offer WiFi, flat-screen televisions and tea and coffee-making facilities, while among chain hotels you’ll find that many are geared up for business guests and have meeting rooms and audiovisual equipment available. Plenty of serviced apartments are available to rent, which can be an ideal solution for families or longer stays.
Where to stay
If you’ve come for sightseeing, shopping and clubbing, then Glasgow city center is probably the place to stay, as it’ll mean you’re always within walking distance of the main tourist attractions, the shops and the vast array of bars, clubs and pubs which give the city its reputation as a swinging party town. There are luxury hotels in Glasgow’s West End as well, which is probably the better choice for those who are visiting the city for its museums and galleries, as they’ll all be within walking distance from the hotel, along with the quirkier, more offbeat shops in the area.
How to get to
International visitors will usually arrive via Glasgow International Airport, which is around 10 miles west of the city center. A regular bus service runs into Glasgow from the airport, and while there is a train service, it’s a bus ride away from the airport. The smaller, Prestwick Airport, deals with many of the budget flights into Glasgow. It’s 30 miles from the city center but does have its own train station. Visitors coming from within the UK will generally come via one of Glasgow’s two main train stations – Central Station and Queen Street Station, both of which are within walking distance of the center.