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Scotland’s largest city and a vibrant metropolis. Glasgow is home to 600,000 people and is the heart of an urban area of more than a million people.
While Edinburgh, is Scotland’s main tourist draw, Glasgow has really upped it’s game in recent years. Although it’s still a wee bit rough around the edges, Glasgow offers unbeatable culture, great shopping, amazing architecture and a buzzing and vibrant nightlife.
See our Gay Edinburgh City Guide to find out about gay rights in Scotland.
The majority of Glasgow’s gay venues are concentrated in the ultra-hip Merchant City. Though Glasgow’s gay scene is nowhere near the same scale as London or Manchester, it is a good reflection of the city itself- unpretentious and friendly.
Glasgow International Airport (GLA) is the second busiest airport in Scotland and is Scotland’s transatlantic hub. The main European carriers all fly here as well as the budget airlines and Emirates for more exotic connections.
The Glasgow Aiport Express bus service 500 takes you into the city centre for £7.50. The journey takes around 15 minutes and operates 24 hours. During the day you can take a bus round about every 10 minutes. At night this drops to an overnight service.
Taxis can be taken from outside of the terminal building. A journey into the city centre costs £15-20 and is the quickest/most convenient means of getting where you need to be.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK), famous as being the only spot of UK soil Elvis Presley stepped foot on, acts as a hub for Ryanair. Alternatively, Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) is easily accessible by air and rail.
Glasgow has two rail terminals, Glasgow Queen Street and Glasgow Central. Both offer connections across the country with journey times to Edinburgh and London 50 minutes and 5 hours repectively.
Buchanan Street bus station offers intercity and international coach services. Although cheaper than rail travel for the most party, these journeys can take a while to destinations in England.
The best way to get around Glasgow is by foot. The streets are laid out in a grid system, much like an American city, which helps you get your bearings.
Glasgow has the third oldest subway systems in the world, and it is also one of the smallest with 15 stations in total. This is a convenient means of getting to the west end of the city. Singles cost £1.40 and day tickets are £2.70. Trains from 6.30am to 11.3opm with the final train on Sundays leaving around 6pm.
It’s best to stay in the Merchant City as it is close to the majority of Glasgow’s gay venues. For a list of recommended hotels, visit our Gay Glasgow Hotels page.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – this beautiful museum in Glasgow’s West End is a must see. It is free entry and holds work by renowned artists including Salvador Dali.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens – established in 1817, this is a perfect spot to while away a sunny afternoon. The main highlight is the Kibble Palace, a 19th Century glasshouse home to Australian ferns that have lived there for over 120 years.
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – prestigious performing arts venue that hosts high profile concerts across all genres. The venue is almost as impressive as the acts they draw.
Glasgow Cathedral – beautiful medieval church with ornate stained glass windows.
The Lighthouse – Scotland’s design and architecture centre. The building was designed by Charles Rennie Mackntosh who is for Glasgow what Gaudi is to Barcelona.
Scottish Football Museum – Glasgow has two football teams, with a fierce rivalry marked along religious lines. Here you can find out more about the history of both Celtic and Rangers.
Riverside Museum – designed by the late Zaha Hadid, this building hosts the Glasgow Transport Museum as well as an impressive collection of works by the artist Lowry.
Glasgow is best visited in the spring and summer time (March-September) when the weather is best. Unlike Edinburgh, Glasgow is not as much of a tourist hub so it is not normally heaving with tourists in the summer.
Winter is characterised by short days and a biting cold. Like most of the UK rain is pretty common.
Scotland uses the British Pound. Some Scottish banks issue their own bank notes. Scottish bank notes are always accepted in Scotland and by all banks throughout the UK. Occasionally a small trader in other parts of the UK might not accept Scottish bank notes due to unfamiliarity.
Credit and debit cards a very widely accepted. If you don’t have a PIN code for your card then you will be required to provide ID. Cash dispensers are widely available.
Tap water is drinkable. Most restaurants will provide free tap water with meals as an alternative to bottled water.
Scotland is part of the United Kingdom. In recent years, the UK has tightened its immigration procedures and introduced the use of biometrics. Full details can be found here.
Most visitors from Europe and countries such as the USA, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore and Taiwan do not require a visa – check here to see if this applies to you.
Most other visitors from Asia, Africa and South America need to obtain a visa before travelling to the UK. You will normally be required to attend an interview at your local UK Embassy.
Entry is normally permitted for a period of 6 months, and you are free to travel anywhere in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The UK is NOT part of the Schengen visa area. A UK visa will not enable you to travel to other European countries.
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