Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the fourth largest in the United Kingdom after London, Birmingham, and Leeds. The city is located in the western part of the central Scotland on the River Clyde.
Scotland is a magnificent country that draws in hundreds of thousands of tourists annually thanks to its magical landscapes and love for art. The largest art festivals take place here every year.
Glasgow is well known as the art center – here you will find the richest museums’ and galleries’ collections. There are more than 30 art galleries in the city including the famous Burrell Collection – one of the largest and the most unique private collections in the world.
Another reason to come to Scotland is that it is like an oasis compared to many places in Europe. If you want to enjoy amazing views, Scotland is your choice of destination. Glasgow is one of those cities with dozens of parks and gardens that are delight to the eye and create the atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
However, you shouldn’t think that Glasgow is only about parks and museums. The city founded in the 6th century has kept a number of medieval buildings and some of architectural monuments of the later centuries. The main tourist attractions in Glasgow include St Mungo's Cathedral (the oldest building in Glasgow that dates back to the 13th century), Provand's Lordship, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and the above mentioned Burrell Collection.
What Area is the Best to Stay in Glasgow?
The city is divided into 21 districts but such division usually only makes it more complicated for travelers. I would recommend focusing on seven main districts: Glasgow Downtown that also includes the Merchant City and the Financial District, as well as West End, East End, South Side and North Glasgow. There is nothing worth seeing for tourists in North Glasgow. These are residential areas, some of which are pretty troublesome. So, instead let’s focus on other districts.
Glasgow is not like all those cities where main sights are located within the historical downtown. All tourist attractions in this Scottish city are spread over different districts, and when choosing the place for accommodation you should keep in mind two most important factors: what are you planning to see in Glasgow and how much money are you ready to spend on accommodation.
The central district in Glasgow includes the territory on the north bank of the River Clyde from the King's Theatre in the west to the oldest street in the city – the High Street in the east. This area includes the historical downtown, the Merchant city and the financial district of Glasgow.
Historical Glasgow is the rich heritage of several historical periods: from Dark Ages to the blooming industrial center in 17th 19th centuries and the modern cultural Glasgow. The heart of the city is the George Square where Glasgow City Chambers are situated. Just like in many other cities, a part of the historical center is a pedestrian area. Here you will find shops, theaters, museums, art galleries, restaurants and cafes.
In the eastern part of Glasgow’s central district is interesting because of the Merchant City. It used to be a very prosperous district, home to many rich entrepreneurs whose wealth resulted from selling tobacco, sugar and many other goods. Here you will see many neo-classic buildings. Years ago they were homes to entrepreneurs and today they host stores and restaurants. The center of this small district is Glasgow Cross area and the main tourist attraction is the Tolbooth Steeple.
The western part of the city is the financial district, a large business center in the UK that is often referred to as Wall Street On the Clyde. Here you will find offices of large financial and insurance companies.
Tourists will be happy to know that hotel rates in Glasgow are relatively inexpensive compared to other large cities in the UK, so you can treat yourself to a comfortable accommodation in the city center. If you decide to stay in this district, I recommend to pay closer attention to such hotels as The Grand Central Hotel, Grasshopper, Premier Inn Glasgow City – George Square and The Z Hotel Glasgow.
Comfortable and fancy The Grand Central Hotel and Grasshopper are located in the close proximity to the Glasgow railway station and just a 10-minute walk from the George Square. The area near the railway station is a good option for accommodation. Rooms are sound-proof and if you don’t open windows you will not have any problems with the noise from the streets. Choosing this accommodation option you will be located right in the middle of the city and you won’t have to use public transport for travel with heavy luggage.
Premier Inn Glasgow City and The Z Hotel Glasgow are located near the George Square and from here you can easily reach St. Mungo’s Cathedral. Lots of shops, malls and restaurants are also within an easy reach.
West End District is the most lively district in the city. If you need a trendy place with lots of expensive bars, clubs, fancy hotels and restaurants, don’t have any doubts, West End is the place you are searching for. Here you will also find some tourist attractions, such as Glasgow University, Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Park and Gallery, and Glasgow Exhibition and Conference Center. Which means that if you came to participate in a conference or an exhibition, you should take a closer look at this district.
Good accommodation options in West End Argyll Hotel (near the Exhibition Center and the Kelvingrove Gallery), Argyll Western Hotel (ex Lomond Hotel, a 5-minute walk away from the University and a 5-minute bus drive to the city center) and Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel (two minutes away on foot from Glasgow Botanic Gardens, a 10-minute walk to the Kelvingrove Gallery, and a 10-minute bus drive to a large shopping center).
In this district you will also find a lot of apartments for rent. If you want some extra freedom and an option of cooking your own meals (a good way to save some money on food) I recommend Queen Margaret Apartment and Embassy Apartments with great views over the river and Botanic gardens.
East End is the oldest district of the city where its main tourist attraction St. Mungo’s Cathedral – is located. Other famous sights include Provand's Lordship, Glasgow Green Park located along the River Clyde and the soccer stadium of the local club “Celtic.”
The South Side of Glasgow includes residential areas and large parks. It is a good district for families with kids even though it is located relatively far from the city center. However, the transport system in Glasgow is well thought out and you won’t have any problems to reach the central part of the city.
In this part of Glasgow you will find the famous The Burrell Collection with 8,000 showpieces. Soccer fans can visit the museum that is fully dedicated to soccer. The museum is located in Scottish national stadium Hampden Park. Its collection includes over 2,500 exhibits – this is one of the best soccer museums in the world.
There are not many hotels in this district and all of them are spread over the vast territory of the South Side. However, really good options are City Short Stays apartments (they are located very close to the Pollock Country Park where the gallery that hosts the Burrell Collection is situated), Sherbrooke Castle Hotel (this one is situated in a real castle), Number 10 Hotel (near the Hampden Park stadium and the Queens Park).
Things to Consider When Choosing a Hotel in Glasgow
Glasgow is a large city, yet is does not get a lot of tourist attention like Edinburgh, for example. Often, people come here for a day trip from Edinburgh (it is just 45 minutes away by train) or stay for a weekend. Honestly, two days here are more than enough, unless you are a huge art lover. The main sights are spread throughout the city, that’s why I recommend choosing a hotel solely based on your budget. Compared to Edinburgh prices here are quite reasonable. However, the best district, in my opinion, is the central one considering that the railway station is nearby and you will not have to carry your luggage through the entire city.