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48-hours   ›   Short breaks › Travel Inspiration  ›  Scotland

A weekend in glasgow – What to do with 48 hours in Scotland’s largest city

A weekend in Glasgow promises lots of memory-making fun. As Scotland’s largest city, it’s often overshadowed by Edinburgh – Scotland’s Capital – but with Glasgow’s rich architecture and world class museums, it’s no surprise visitors flock to here with their families each year. Roam through the bustling streets and you’ll see why Glasgow is famous for its vibrant arts, friendly locals, and wonderful parks. Making it a perfect city to visit with or without kids in tow and my 48-hour itinerary has something for everyone.

January 17, 2023

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Friday Lunch time on your weekend in Glasgow

Kicking off your weekend in Glasgow in the city’s trendy West End, you’ll find yourself in the most beautiful stretch of Green at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens. Set between the River Kelvin and the lively Great Western Road. Filled with Restaurants, bars & quirky shops. It’s the perfect base for an early morning stroll along the river, before taking in the many attractions the west end has to offer.

Set within the Green Oasis itself, you’ll find a tropical greenhouse, a Victorian glasshouse, and perfectly presented lawns with paths through the flowerbeds and trees as well as an onsite Café. The gardens are laid in an informal style resulting in paths zig-zagging their way through each corner of the lawn. Offering bustling spots for people watching or quiet corners to set up for a picnic.

The gardens are open from 7 am to dusk all year, with the glasshouses open from 10 am – 6 pm, with free entry to all areas of the gardens and glasshouses. It offers an experience that’s a world away from anything else in Glasgow’s city center.

From 11 am – 5 pm, you can visit The Tearoom at the Botanic gardens – located near Kibble Palace. Originally known as ‘The Kibble Crystal Art Palace’ at its home on the Shores of Loch Long. The structure was dismantled and moved by barge to Glasgow where it was reconstructed in the Botanic Gardens headlining a new 150ft circular dome extension. It opened in 1873, and now features an impressive collection of plants from around the world. It’s the perfect spot to take in the historical greenhouse and fuel up for the day ahead.

Friday afternoon in Glasgow’s West End

After a stroll through the botanic gardens or a spot of afternoon tea on your weekend in Glasgow, Kickstart your afternoon at Oran Mor for The World Famous, A Play a Pie and a Pint. Where you will find a new lunchtime play every week, running from Monday to Saturday at 1 pm – lasting no more than an hour it leaves plenty of time to take in all that Glasgow’s west end has to offer.

With a brief 10-minute walk to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and a 6-minute walk to the University of Glasgow or the Hunterian Museum, you truly are spoilt for choice. If you are a bit of a history buff, I highly recommend making the short jaunt to The University of Glasgow. It is undeniably one of the most prestigious and historic buildings in Glasgow’s West End.

As well as being one of the oldest Universities in the world, it houses one of the most exemplary works of architecture, The Cloisters, also known as The Undercroft. Although no harry potter scenes were filmed here, you’ll certainly feel like you’re in Hogwarts. The Cloisters are made up of archways and gothic-styled columns connecting the East and West quadrangles of the University. Wrapped up in fairy lights they make a fabulous spot for that Instagram shot.

Friday evening in Glasgow’s west end

Tucked away in Glasgow’s west end behind the Hillhead Subway station you’ll find a cobbled backstreet known as Ashton Lane. Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Byres Road, it can be a little tricky to find unless you are looking for it, and is a true hidden gem you would only hear about from the Glasgow locals. Crowned with fairy lights it has a unique charm, particularly after dark.

The lane is packed with everything you need for a perfect evening of food, drink, and nightlife on your weekend in Glasgow. It even has its very Cinema – Grosvenor Picture Theatre, dating back to the 1920s. Showing mainstream movies and hosting quirky events.

Kickstart your night with one of Scotland’s top brewers at the Innis & Gunn Brewery Taproom or perhaps you’d rather find yourself sipping cocktails for as little as £4 at the quaint Vodka Wodka bar, whatever your scene you’ll find it as you enter the lane.

As the evening unfolds you can simply wander down the cobbled lane to an assortment of different restaurants for dinner. If you fancy al fresco dining, step into Brel, known as Glasgow’s west end’s most magical venue and beer garden, with indoor and outdoor bookings available all year round, whatever the Scottish weather. If you decide to step a little further down the lane for dinner, you can always circle back to Brel later in the evening and cozy up by the firepit toasting marshmallows or enjoying some s’mores under the Brel lights.

When I say this little nugget of a west-end lane has everything, I truly meant it. If al fresco casual dining isn’t on the agenda. You can find the legendary Ubiquitous chip on the cobbles, The winner of two AA Rosettes, and a good food guide, rating 5 since 1971 – the longest serving in Scotland. Offering delicious food, made with the finest Scottish ingredients, within a bohemian meets shabby-chic vibe setting.

Although, it’s not just all about the food here. In various corners of the building, you’ll find some of the best bars in town. Perfect for a nightcap before you head off to your room for the night. From an award-winning hand-picked wine list at the Corner Bar to a ‘wee dram’ at The Wee Whisky Bar. Either way, you’ll get a warm Glaswegian welcome from whichever part of the multilayered venue you decide to dock on.

Saturday morning in Glasgow

Fill up with a full Scottish breakfast this morning on your weekend in Glasgow – we’re hitting the pavement on one of Europe’s busiest shopping destinations. Glasgow’s ‘Style Mile’ for a spot of early morning shopping. With a mix of high-end and high-street fashion, again Glasgow has something for everyone. It’s also home to well-known Scottish brands, such as Tartan plus and the Isle of Skye candle company. The Style mile itself is made up of several well-known streets – Buchanan Street, Sauchiehall Street, Argyle Street, and Ingram Street and you could lose hours on these streets alone.

Should you go hungry or find yourself needing a coffee or a spot of brunch, you’ll never be a more than a stone’s throw away from a good eatery on your weekend in Glasgow. On Buchanan Street itself, you’ll find The Ivy spread over two floors offering relaxed sophistication and all-day dining. For lighter bites stop in at The Wild Olive Tree, a tearoom located inside an old church offering soups, scones, and a range of espressos.

If it’s local legends you are looking for, finish up you’re shopping and head round to The Wilson Street Pantry, located in Glasgow’s Merchant City, it’s the perfect spot to wind down after a morning in the shops. With local legend status comes popularity – so please remember to book!

Saturday Afternoon on your weekend in Glasgow

As the style mile fills up, it’s the perfect time to wander around Glasgow’s Merchant City. Linking the two you’ll find GOMA – Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern art. Opened in 1996, its Scotland’s most visited art gallery with an extensive modern and contemporary art collection. On its doorstep, you’ll find ‘the man with a cone on his head’ who in Glasgow needs no introduction but to others, he’s better known as the Duck of Wellington. The iconic orange traffic cone has become an icon for the city and sums up Scottish humor perfectly.

In the heart of Merchant city, you’ll find merchant square a cool cluster of bars and restaurants, the perfect place to wet your whistle, before walking a short 10 minutes east to Glasgow’s Cathedral. A stunning medieval gothic church and Scotland’s largest place of worship. Built upon centuries of history, dating back to the 6th Century AD. Taking the title of the oldest building in Glasgow and the oldest cathedral in mainland Scotland. Home to one of the finest post-war stained-glass windows in Britain – The Millennium Window.

You’ll also find other fascinating attractions upon entering the cathedral, should you venture down to the lower church, you’ll discover St Mungo’s tomb, where a service is held each year on the 13th of January to commemorate his life.

Before you head off be sure to take a stroll through the Glasgow Necropolis. If not for the history, for the amazing views of the cathedral and the surrounding area.

Saturday evening in Glasgow

In the heart of Glasgow city center you’ll find Vronis, but be careful, should you blink, you might just walk past it. Tucked away on West Nile Street. Offering wine and champagne by the glass or the bottle this small and intimate, candlelit venue is a welcomed escape from the busy streets of Glasgow. With over 25 years in business, it has become one of the cities leading wine bars.

With a rumbling stomach head east round to Royal exchange square (yes towards the man with a cone on his head) and you’ll find Glaschu Restaurant and Bar offering Modern-Scottish fine dining. The menu truly has Glasgow at its heart. Oozing with Scottish produce, it’s all freshly sourced and cooked, meaning you can enjoy a traditional favorite with a twist. If you are in the sharing mood, the beef wellington is perfect to split between the two.

My favourite places to stay

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January 17, 2023


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