My first ever trip to Scotland was just last month, April 2019, to Glasgow – the most populated city of Scotland. How have I lived in the UK all my life and not travelled to Scotland I don’t know but I’m glad I finally made the journey North!
There are a few public transport options from London to Glasgow: by air, train or sleeper train. It’s definitely worth exploring all of them as the cost difference can be huge, with overnight sleeper trains being very cheap. I took the Virgin train from Euston to Glasgow Central as I was only going for a weekend and it was the most convenient.
I was visiting an old uni friend so I didn’t have to pay for accomodation or transport! We love friends who live in beautiful places that you can visit 😊
So I was very impressed that Glasgow really does have it all…
My first taste of Scotland’s beauty was with Dumbarton castle which is an incredibly old castle with a long history dating back to the iron ages. It sits on volcanic rock overlooking the River Clyde and if you climb 500+ steps, you get an incredible view over the river!
Our road trip continued to Luss in the Loch Lochmond National Park where we spent the next couple of hours on a gentle stroll through the village to the beach, ending up on a faerie trail, a mini pilgrimage (!) and eventually made our way back for food. There’s plenty of opportunity to buy authentic Scottish gear in the village shops including the lovely tartan print, shortbread and hilarious greeting cards.
The easiest way to get here is by car, parking is cheap (£2 for 2 hours) and the views driving up are insane.
The evening took us on a stroll along the River Kelvin and to Kelvinpark (where the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum can be found) as we made our way into the city centre. The areas are named after Lord Kelvin, who the temperature unit is named after.
Rich history and culture
In my Dublin post, you may recall that I touched on Irish whiskey vs Scottish whisky discussion. There’s a bit of rivalry about who invented it first (the Irish say they did), then the Irish put an E in it to separate themselves from the Scots! So I had to see what Scotland had to say for itself.
We visited the Clydeside distillery and unfortunately missed the last tour of the day which starts at 4pm! So the jury is still out on the whisky rivalry..!
However we did stay for a Flight of whisky (4 different whisky to taste) and oatcakes chutney and cheese – £16.
We visited the People’s Palace which is in the East of the city. This was recommended by the lovely Effy of effyshowslife who grew up in Glasgow so I knew it would be good! It’s an incredible museum which showcases the good and hardships in life of Glaswegians through the ages and at different stages of their lives. It’s free to enter (donations are welcome) and will leave you with the most heartwarming sensation at the end!
The Centre for Contemporary Arts is an art gallery, cinema, exhibition space, vintage shop, bar, cafe etc all rolled into one. A nice place to go and explore and see what inspires you!
And make sure you stroll around the city centre as plenty of gems can be found!
My first foodie experience here was our Friday evening tasting menu at 111 by Nico. For an incredible £28, we had a surprise 5 course meal plus more for wine. London could never!! (Make sure you book in advance!)
We had lunch at Luss Seafood bar during our visit to the National Park on Saturday: Cullen skunk soup (a classic of the area), and a Seafood platter for £24 in total!
Did you really visit Scotland if you didn’t try haggis?! I had my first taste at restaurant and bar Oran Mor – with tattis (potato) and neeps (parsnip) in whisky sauce. The texture is very soft and it’s very rich so it gets a bit much after a while. Verdict – tasty as long as you don’t think about it!
There is also a vegan option available.
Argyl St Arches is a food hall under the train tracks which is a great place to grab a bite to eat and do some food shopping on the weekend. We ate this delicious chicken wrap with halloumi from sharwarama.
Coro chocolate cafe is the place to visit for anyone with a sweet tooth! Every possible dessert is available (mostly chocolate with some variants).
Other typically Scottish sweet treats to try here available cheaply at any supermarket are shortbread of course, irn bru fizzy drink and tablet (like fudge but sweeter!).
The nightlife in Glasgow is honestly so wild yet can suit all tastes. We started our Saturday in the West End which is a little boujee but I’m here for that! My favourite bar was a gin bar called BeGin – where I drank jinzu gin and the Hyndland pink lady gin cocktail..SO good!
Hillhead bookclub is another cool venue filled with hipsters for an alternative scene. In between bars, we came across many fun Glaswegians who added some flavour to our night!
So that’s my short, sweet summary of my fabulous Glasgow weekend. It was a great intro to Scotland and I can’t wait to check out more of the country!
Do share below your experiences of Glasgow or any comments you have…I would love to hear them!