We do recommend that you carry an umbrella and dress according to the weather since Glasgow is known for its cold winds and sudden rain showers. Depending on how long you take for each sight you might not be able to see everything that is listed below. So make a note of the places you definitely want to see.
We also recommend using Google Maps for information on how to take the route using public transportation.
By public transport it is very likely that you will arrive either at Glasgow Queen Street station or Glasgow Central Station. Both of these are very close to Buchanan Street which is the main shopping street in Glasgow’s city centre, always bustling. Take a look around and listen to a busker or two before you head off.
Breakfast: Singl-end cafe and Bake House Merchant City
For a great start to the day, we recommend the beautiful cafe Singl-end Merchant City. On its menu, you can find breakfast for everyone. Fruit & grains, various egg recipes, as well as meaty, veggie and vegan options. It always offers fresh bread and cake, which does not just taste great but also makes the entire cafe smell delicious. They also have some arty souvenirs for sale so you could double up there.
The Glasgow Cathedral is the first sight we recommend. Consecrated in 1197, it is Glasgow’s oldest building and definitely worth a visit. Have a wander through and maybe have a peek into the basement where they feature exhibitions from time to time. From the 26th to the 28th September 2019 the Cathedral celebrates art, music, history and culture with the Glasgow Cathedral Festival.
From the cathedral, it is only a couple of minutes to the next sight.
The Necropolis is a Victorian garden cemetery and is located right behind Glasgow Cathedral. You can get there by walking through the gate on the right-hand side of the Cathedral.
Nowadays, the Necropolis spans 37 acres so it is a good idea to have a look at the map at the bottom of the Necropolis to decide which way to go and how much time you want to spend exploring the views and monuments. We do recommend to try and get to the top for a great view of Glasgow.
The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis offer walking tours, you can find more information on those and their booking on the website.
Take a break at McCune Smith or Tinderbox
If you are in need of rest, a snack or caffeine, we recommend the cafe’s McCune Smith and Tinderbox. Tinderbox is a coffee chain with a lot of seating, various coffees as well as sandwiches and cakes. McCune Smith is a small and cosy cafe that focuses on ethical, sustainable, local and Scottish ingredients. It offers various drinks and foods with several vegan options being available as well.
Both are located in Merchant City and you will pass them on your way to the next sight if you walk down High Street and turn right onto Ingram Street.
Merchant City is one of Glasgow’s oldest quarters and used to be where wealthy traders had their warehouses. Today it is known for its vibrancy. So if you feel up to it, have a wander around before heading to the next stop.
Duke of Wellington and Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)
Now we are making our way back to the city centre towards the Gallery of Modern Art. When you walk down Ingram Street you can see the GoMA right at the end of it. In front of it is the famous Duke of Wellington and yes, of course he has a traffic cone on his head. Erected in 1844, the statue shows Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. It is thought that the traffic cone tradition dates back to the first half of the 1980s and it is claimed that it reflects the humour of Glasgow.
The Gallery of Modern Art is the most visited art gallery in Scotland and displays local and international art in its four galleries. Have a look at their programme here to get an idea of the exhibitions that are currently on display.
Admission to the gallery is free (as with all museums in Glasgow) so have a wee wander through the exhibitions and the museum shop. And if you are a book lover, there is a library in the basement of the museum.
The next stop is the beautiful Kelvingrove Park over in the West End. If you walk past the GoMA on either side and continue walking through the arches you will be back on Buchanan Street from where you can take the subway to Kelvinbridge Station (not to be confused with Kelvinhall which comes a couple of stops later!). You can also walk to Kelvingrove Park via Sauchiehall Street, but allow half an hour.
Take a stroll through the beautiful Victorian Park, along the River Kelvin and maybe (weather permitting) sit on a bench to recharge. You can also walk all the way up to Lord Roberts Monument to get a view of the park and the University of Glasgow.
Lunch: Kelvingrove Art Gallery
Right next to the park is the impressive Kelvingrove Art Gallery which has several exhibitions ranging from art to animals and Charles Rennie Mackintosh in its 22 galleries. It also has changing temporary exhibitions, which you can check out here. The entry is free and there is a cafe where you can stop for lunch. If you are lucky you might just be in time for one of the impressive daily organ recitals here.
University of Glasgow
Just next to the art gallery is the University of Glasgow. Follow Kelvin Way and you will find a small path on the left-hand side that leads up to the university. You can walk through the big gates and have a wander around the beautiful grounds of the University that really do resemble Hogwarts.
Dinner: Byres Road & Ashton Lane
For secondhand shops, local treats, food and drinks, make your way to Byres Road. From there it is also very easy to get to Ashton Lane, one place you definitely should not miss out on when you are in the West End. The little street is littered with pubs and restaurants. If it’s time for dinner, this is the perfect place to be. Both Byres Road and Ashton Lane are perfect places to spend the evening with various restaurants and pubs to choose from.
Nightlife: Sauchiehall Street
And if you have any energy left, then you should really not miss out on Glasgow's nightlife.
Sauchiehall Street with various clubs and bars is the place to be if you want to get a feel for the local nightlife. On a Friday or Saturday night it would appear that Glaswegians put on their 'glad-rags' and go out, and whilst most will opt for movies, dinner, theatre - don't be surprised if by 9pm you find people from all age groups (16 - 60) tottering along Sauchiehall in an inebriated state. An unofficial attraction in it's own right ;-)
Hopefully, by the end of the day you will have an felt the spirit of Glasgow and seen some of Glasgow’s best locations and understood why Daniel Defoe once called it the ‘beautifullest city in Britain’. And hopefully you will be inspired to return for more than 24 hours next time!
Written by Annika Trapp, who is currently studying Media and Communication at Glasgow City University. You can read more of her work or follow her on twitter