When to fly?
April to September is the tourist season for Glasgow, and the peak season is July and August. These two months are further inundated with visitors when the British schools are on holiday. For this time of year, reserve your hotel well in advance.
The best times to book cheap flights to Glasgow are late spring, early summer, and autumn. All the attractions are open, rooms are easy to find, and the weather is warm. Every year in October, tens of thousands of participants take part in the Great Scottish Run. Starting in George Square, the 10k or half marathon challenge (depending on your ability) is sure to set pulses racing. Runners are able to catch a glimpse of a number of famous attractions along the route, whilst spectators can cheer them on to the finish line at Glasgow green. Kids can also get involved in events, such as the Toddler dash, Mini Run and Junior Run.
If wet weather doesn't dampen your spirits, visit in the spring. The flowers are starting to bloom and accommodation rates and airline fares are reduced.
Scotland’s largest city is blessed with some of the greatest representations of Victorian architecture in the world, most notably the works of famed Glaswegian architects Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander Thomson. Travellers fly to Glasgow for the city's seventy-plus stunning parks and gardens, earning it the Gaelic title of “the Dear Green Place”. Apart from its aesthetic beauty, most Glasgow travellers are pleasantly surprised by the energy of the city, from its trendy bars to its artsy galleries and great shopping. In fact, the shopping is one of the main reasons visitors from all around Europe hop on a flight to Glasgow for a city break. Music seems to fill the air in the city, seeping through the thick walls of its opera houses and concert halls. Pop into a pub on a weeknight and listen to a band looking to break into the scene. Many award-winning bands including Franz Ferdinand and The Fratellis first began their careers in this inspiring city playing at such gigs. But serious music lovers booking flights to Glasgow should definitely visit at a time when the city plays host to some great music festivals, particularly the Glasgow Music Festival.
Glasgow winters are cold and wet with some snow and little sun. November through March, temperatures are typically between zero and about 7 degrees Celsius. If the cold weather doesn’t discourage you and you are in town in January, make sure to attend the Celtic Connections - the biggest festival of the year and the largest Celtic event in the world. Taking place predominantly at The Royal Concert Hall, the festival showcases traditional Celtic folk music and dance, in addition to contemporary performances.Hogmanay in Glasgow is not just a New Year's Eve celebration, as it offers over a week of festivities, usually starting just after Christmas. Crowds of people flock to George Square, to visit the various pubs and bars and enjoy live concerts on New Year's Eve.Spring brings warmer weather and the sun. Summer days start off a little foggy but typically clear up and warm up. July and August days are often in the teens. There is a chance of rain year-round, but that also brings all the lush greenery. May and June typically have the least amount of rainfall.Getting to the city Buses leave regularly from Glasgow International Airport (GLA), stopping off at the main railway and bus stations. The journey to the city centre takes 15 to 20 minutes. There are also trains to Glasgow Central Station, connecting to towns and cities throughout Scotland. Taxis are available outside the terminal 24 hours a day.
Getting around Glasgow
Set out on foot to best explore Glasgow. If you’ve forgotten some good walking shoes, take advantage of the hop-on, hop-off City Sightseeing bus to make your way around. You can also head out to the water for a cruise on Loch Lomond or to the islands in the Firth of Clyde. The city’s public transport system will help you get around very easily. The local rail network is great and the buses are connected to the subway and trains. There are only a few night buses, but the local buses cover the day service very well. To get between the city’s centre and the West End, stick to the underground.
A smart way to save money is to get a Roundabout Glasgow ticket, which allows unlimited underground and train travel for one day. Family passes are available too.
Taxis are plentiful, but the rates will rack up quickly. You’ll find that taxi drivers have some of the best knowledge of the city though, so it may be worth it in the end. If you are driving into the city, leave your car at the park-and-ride stop located at the underground rail station outside Glasgow. When you’re in the city, you’ll wish you didn’t have a car. There are many one-way streets, traffic jams and not enough parking to make it worth your while.
Glasgow insider information
- George Square is right in the heart of the city, in the centre of the old town. Surrounded by huge and spectacular buildings, this is the perfect place to start a tour. The square houses information points and benches where you can relax and take in the architecture. It is also the host to many festivals throughout the year. The piping festival in August is especially worth visiting if you are in town.
- The University of Glasgow is housed in a spectacular building, right next to the Kelvingrove Museum. The second-oldest university in Scotland (to St Andrews), the original university was founded in 1451. The buildings used today date from 1870 when the campus was moved to its current location. The University is also home to the Hunterian Museum – the oldest public museum in Scotland. The art collection is impressive, including works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Whistler.
- Whisky is one of Scotland’s biggest imports. The nearest distillery to Glasgow is at Glengoyne. It is also located close to Loch Lomond so you could combine a visit to both in one day out. The distillery is open for tours and tastings throughout the year. Hire a car and drive, if you want to visit Loch Lomond as well, or take a taxi from Glasgow – which will take around 35 minutes.
- Much of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s best work can be found in the city. Architect, designer and painter, he was a spearhead of the Art Nouveau movement. The Lighthouse is a museum dedicated to architecture and design, converted from his 1895 Glasgow Herald office. You can learn all you’ll want to know about the designer and architecture in the museum. There is also the Mackintosh Tower, with excellent views of the city.