Edinburgh is many tourists’ first destination in Scotland. If you want to experience more what city life in Scotland is like, Glasgow can give you a much better insight. It’s the city with the biggest population in Scotland and the third biggest in the UK overall. We went to Glasgow as a day trip from Edinburgh. If you’re looking to save money, you can choose to go off peak (i.e. outside of rush-hour), but it could limit the time you have to explore Glasgow. The train ride itself is just 50 minutes, crossing into the West of Scotland.
People’s Stories’ Palace – FREE
First we walked to Glasgow Green to the People’s Palace since we wanted to learn a bit more about Glasgow and this free museum exceeded our expectations by far. It does, pretty much, what it says on the tin, by showcasing what people’s lives in Glasgow were like, going from the 1800s up to the 1980s. Apparently, locals go there to be reminded of their childhoods or to see what it was like for their parents or grandparents. Even if you have no personal connection to Glasgow though, we found it fascinating and we learned many aspects about Glasgow’s history which shaped how we saw it, walking around it, later.
Glasgow was one of the fastest expanding cities. By the early 1900s, it had over a million inhabitants. Overcrowding and incredibly steep rents were the result, a tricky subject we only know too well from living in Dublin.
Walking around the City Centre – FREE
We didn’t understand the size of the city until we tried to walk everywhere like we do in Dublin and realized how far everything is apart. Even if you’re not too much of a fan of walking, it’s easy to stroll around Buchanan and Princes Street, one of the biggest shopping streets.
When in Rome
If wanted to “do as the Romans do” and see the local’s side of Glasgow. For lunch, we walked into a restaurant close to lots of office buildings. Travel tip: Those are the areas where you can often find the best lunch deals. With the hipster industrial chic interior design and chill indie music, we felt like this is a place we’d go to if we lived in Glasgow, especially because a decently sized pizza is only £5.
The City of the Dead
We walked onwards to Glasgow Cathedral and up to the top of the necropolis. This Victorian Cemetery, which literally translates to City of the Dead, inspired Julia to write a short story when she visited it for the first time a few years earlier. City of the Dead is still one of her favourite stories she had written. It is a unique atmosphere walking on the small paths between tall stone graves with artistic engravings. As a bonus, you get a beautiful view over the city from the top of the hill.
Just a small bonus tip: The free museums we were hoping to visit around the Cathedral are closed on Mondays.
Walking Around the City
Walking back, past the university buildings, with more people in the street as the workday ended, we realized the scale of the city. Everything, even the sidewalks are spaced out. It’s a complete contrast to cities like Edinburgh and Dublin and made us wonder what it would be like to live there. By the end of the day, though, we had walked 16km and only seen a small part of the city. Whenever we come back we’ll have to give the public transport a go.
Travel Mistakes Not To Make
By the time we had our warm hot chocolate and were ready to head back to our Airbnb in Edinburgh we were quite tired. However, there was one little mistake we made and want to share with you, so it doesn’t happen to you as well. Check your train tickets very carefully. We checked on the website and realized there is a special rule for trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh, which extends the peak period. Being millennial travellers on a budget we had bought the off-peak ticket to save money and in the end had to wait almost an hour to finally catch a train.
Glasgow is a massive city and we only scratched the surface but I have a feeling we’ll be back. In the meantime, we climbed monuments and discovered JK Rowling’s inspiration for Harry Potter in Edinburgh.
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