Student Guide: Glasgow City Guide
27 February, 2023
11 mins read
Tips and Advice
If you're heading to Glasgow, you can do many fun things. The city has much to offer, from its old buildings to its beautiful parks and modern focus on science and technology. In this Glasgow City Guide part of our Student Guide series, we will walk you through everything concerning Glasgow as a city, Glasgow attractions, student accommodation in Glasgow, Glasgow Transportation, and more!
Glasgow is located in the county of Lanarkshire, Scotland's largest city. Glasgow's location on the lower Clyde Valley, which has the river Clyde, gives it a beautiful natural landscape. This natural development is evident in its historical name of Glashu, which means Green Glen, a reference to the city's greenness. The city is a very old one with roots dating back to prehistoric times; the town thrived, however, in 550 CE with the arrival of Saint Mungo, who established a religious community in the city.
Glasgow moved from a town to a Barony in 1180 and became a Royal Burgh in 1450; Glasgow's university was founded a year later. Glasgow's location is between the Scottish Lowlands and its Highlands, as well as Edinburgh, which allowed it to flourish as a centre for trade. During the 18th century, Glasgow has become a significant trading city trading primarily coal and cloth, among other products, to Europe and the Americas. With all of Glasgow's wealth, the city has prospered and developed, resulting in a rich cultural and scientific scene. This wealth also resulted in the creation of various Edinburgh landmarks, which will be listed later in this student guide.
In the following sections of the student guide, we will provide details about everything you need to know, essential activities, and locations once you settle in Glasgow!
Where to Eat and Drink
Glasgow has a vibrant food and beverage scene that is a must-try; from Michelin-star restaurants to adorable teahouses and cafes, this city has it all! Listed in this section of the Glasgow city guide are the must-tries in Glasgow's food and beverage scene.
The Gannet: 1155 Argyle Street, Glasgow
The Gannet is an award-winning restaurant in Glasgow serving British food with a modern twist. It is a must-try as the menu is very creative and handled by experienced chefs and staff, which resulted in the restaurant being featured on the Michelin Guide and designated as "Scottish restaurant of the year in the year 2016/17". The restaurant has a weekly changing menu.
Ox and Finch: 920 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow
Ox and Finch is another restaurant featured on the Michelin Guide and awarded the "Bib Gourmand". This restaurant serves Middeteranean as well as international and fusion dishes. Some of their signature dishes include beetroot hummus with Feta, seared Scallops, and Parmesan Gnocchi. The restaurant has something for everyone; make sure to reserve in advance, however, as the restaurant is always full.
Mother India: 28 Westminster Terrace Finnieston
Mother India is one of Glasgow's best must-try restaurants; it has both the Mother India restaurant and the Mother India Cafe.
The Mother India Cafe is near the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum at 1355 Argyle St, Glasgow. Mother India's cafe serves delicious Indian dishes in Tapas style, which is great for sharing or trying various dishes. The Mother Indian restaurant serves different dishes, some to share and some main courses. It has gained international recognition since its opening in 1990 and was even visited by the Legendary Chef Anthony Bourdain!
Bilson Eleven: 10 Annfield Place, Dennistoun, Glasgow
Bilson Eleven is another restaurant featured on the Michelin Guide that serves modern food. It takes traditional recipes and gives them a modern artistic twist or creates entirely new creative combinations and dishes; it is a must-try! The restaurant has a tasting menu where you can taste various sample dishes.
The Ubiquitous Chip: 12 Ashton Lane, Glasgow
The Ubiquitous Chip is one of Glasgow's landmarks for food and has been serving delicious food since 1971. It is also featured in the Michelin Guide and has won a variety of Awards. The restaurant features an A La Carte Menu, a set menu, and a Vegan and Non-Vegetarian Tasting menu. One of the restaurant's most popular dishes is its Haggis, a traditional Scottish dish. The restaurant has beautiful designs and architecture making it picturesque.
Mono (Vegan): 15 Osborne St, Glasgow
Mono is one of Glasgow's most popular Vegan restaurants, not just that, but it also hosts gigs and performances. It offers a variety of your favourite dishes, such as pizzas and pasta but with no meat products and lighter items, such as salads and tacos.
Thomson's Coffee: Burnfield Ave, Giffnock, Glasgow
This coffee and Tea Room is one of the oldest in Glasgow and one of the city's most known. This place has been open since 1841, and they not only serve coffee, they also create their own speciality roasts. This coffee shop is also unique as it is a family-owned business that takes pride in its long history. Their old traditional blends sold under the "Legacy" line are still made the same traditional way.
Café Strange Brew: 1082 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow
Cafe Strange Brew is regarded as one of Glasgow's hidden gems when it comes to coffee. This cafe is not just known for its coffee which is unique, but also for its delicious food, especially desserts. One of their signature desserts is the White Russian Waffles; they also sell their coffee beans and blends.
Grain and Grind: (Various locations)
Despite being a recent addition to the coffee scene in Glasgow, Grain and Grind has amassed a large following of coffee lovers ever since opening in 2018. They offer coffee and sell their unique blends, which are made up of organic and specially selected coffee beans prepared in traditional methods. Their coffee blends are named after the locations from where they are sourced. They also offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
The Corinthian Club: 191 Ingram St, Glasgow
The Corinthian Club is one of Glasgow's oldest and most popular tea houses, initially founded in 1842 by David Hamilton. It is exquisite and has Victorian interiors and various areas, such as private dining areas. The Corinthian club has a variety of menus such as Afternoon Tea, Market Menu, Brunch, and a Sharing Menu on Sundays.
Cup Tea Lounge: 71 Renfield St, Glasgow
Cup Tea Lounge is an award-winning Tea House that serves unique Afternoon Tea and sells its unique tea blends. Cup Tea Lounge has more than different coffee blends that are hand-blended; they can also send you your afternoon tea at home for you to enjoy. Cup Tea Lounge also serves Morning Tea as well as Brunch and Lunch.
Cranachan Café: Princes Square, 48 Buchanan St
Cranachan is a modern Scottish Tea House serving the finest afternoon tea with cosy interiors and delicious food. They have various options, including Afternoon Tea, A Day Menu, and an Evening Menu.
Where to Shop
Buchanan Galleries Shopping Centre: 220 Buchanan St, Glasgow
The 1999-established Buchanan Galleries shopping centre is in the city centre and has more than 90 different shops. Some of the centre's most unique shops include H&M, Mango, Burger king, Sainsbury's, Costa Coffee, and more.
Enoch Centre: 55 St Enoch Sq, Glasgow
St. Enoch is another central shopping centre ideal for a fun day out. Various fun things can be done at St. Enoch's; you can head to Vue Cinema to watch a movie, grab a bite from various chains, including Burger King and McDonald's, or grab a coffee at Cafe Nero or Costa Cofee. You can also shop at Tesco, H&M, JD Sports, and many more.
Princes Square: 48 Buchanan Street, Glasgow
If you're into fashion, you're in for a treat at Princes Square. Princes Square is a shopping centre with over 25 of the best shops in Scotland, all in an 1841-built restored building. Princes Square also has a variety of places to eat and drink coffee and the Everyman Cinema.
Govan Saturday Market: 790-794 Govan Rd, Govan, Glasgow
This Govan Street Market is a street market open from 10 am to 3 pm every Saturday in Govan. It sells some of the freshest produce in town and second-hand products; it has more than 20 shops.
The Barras Market: 244 Gallowgate, Glasgow
Barras Market has roots dating back to 1888 when James and Maggie Mclever opened a food stall. During WW1, Maggie was left to grow her market while her husband was drafted into the army, with a series of successes; in 1921, the couple established the New Barras market, which was covered due to the weather. After 1926 Barras Market has become the largest market in all of Britain. Today the Barras Market showcases a wide range of handmade products and events.
The Forge Market: 1201 Duke St, Parkhead, Glasgow
The Forge Market is one of the largest in Glasgow, with more than 80 traders, a cafe, and a variety of food spots selling everything from Donuts to Takeaway shops and restaurants. It is Scotland's largest indoor market.
Mitchell Library: North St, Glasgow
The Mitchell Library is one of the largest in Glasgow and is open from Monday to Thursday, 9 am to 5:30, and Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm. The library requires no reservations when it comes to studying areas. The building is known for its unique architecture and rich history, dating back to 1874 when William White built it. The Mitchell Library is created in the Edwardian Baroque Style.
Partick Library: 305 Dumbarton Rd, Partick, Glasgow
Patrick Libary was built in 1925 and is open from 10 am until 5 pm; it closes at 8 pm on Tuesday and Thursday and is closed on Sunday. The library offers various services, such as free Wi-Fi, study spaces, printing services, etc.
Kevin Hall-National Library of Scotland: 1445 Argyle Street, Glasgow
Kevin Hall is a library in Glasgow, part of the National Library of Scotland; it is open all days except for Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, except for Wednesday when it opens from 1:30 pm to 8 pm. It offers a variety of resources such as cafes, a quiet room, library resources, and more.
Best Outdoor Activities
Lounge Back at Parks
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Glasgow's Botanic Gardens are a must-visit with more than 9000 different plants and species and have a variety of beautiful Victorian glasshouses and more than 20 hectares of green fields. These gardens are a definite must-visit if you're looking to unwind.
Kelvingrove Park is located by the river Kelvin and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The park is 85 hectares, and in the Victorian style, it is said to have been inspired by the Boston gardens. Its unique location is strategic as it lies next to famous landmarks such as the previously mentioned gallery and museum and the University of Glasgow.
Named Glasgow's prettiest park, Victoria park is one of the oldest in the city and got its name during Queen Victoria's 1887 Jubilee. It contains a pond, a fossil site, tennis courts, and many more facilities.
Glasgow has a wide range of beautiful neighbourhoods which are worth visiting, especially if you are looking for Glasgow accommodation. Some of the best areas include:
Glasgow's city centre contains a large number of Glasgow's attractions. It contains beautiful Victorian and modern buildings and has landmarks such as the Theatre Royal, the Buchanan Galleries and the Galleries of Modern Art. You can also experience the city centre to the fullest if you move into one of our central Glasgow student accommodation options, such as Dobbie's Point Roost and Kyle Park House.
Shawlands is a trendy destination, especially among the youth; it is located on the south side of Glasgow. It is known for having beautiful parks and cafes and is one of the best places to hang out and meet people around Glasgow. Shawlands is also one of the main cultural centres in Glasgow, with its rich art scene.
Hillhead is one of Glasgow's most attractive districts as it contains a variety of beautiful historic buildings and green spaces nearby and is within reach of various neighbouring cities; the suburb also hosts a variety of unique restaurants and shops and is viewed as one of the trendiest spots in Glasgow.
Merchant city is near the centre of Glasgow and is among the most distinguished areas in Glasgow. It has a variety of 18th-century buildings, as well as trendy shops and restaurants. Some of the most iconic sites in Merchant city include the city hall and the old fruit market. It is considered to be Glasgow's most stylish district. You could also move into one of our Glasgow student accommodation options in Merchant city, such as Merchant City House or nearby options, such as Merchant Studios Roost.
Visit Glasgow's Attractions
We cannot have a Glasgow City Guide without listing the best places to visit in Glasgow!
Glasgow City Chambers
The Glasgow City Chambers is one of the oldest structures in Glasgow and one of the Glasgow attractions completed in 1889; it is where the city's municipal government meets and is among the most iconic buildings in Glasgow.
St Vincent Street Church
The St Vincent Street Church was completed in 1859 and is among the only churches left by Scottish architect Alexander Thomson and follows the Classical style. It draws inspiration from various classical cultures, including Greek models, Egyptian elements, and even an Indian dome, making it a unique building.
People's Palace and Winter Gardens
The People's Palace and Winter Gardens were opened to the public in 1898 to benefit the community and promote the well-being of the city's citizens. The people's palace has an extensive garden with glasshouses, unique art pieces, and a museum.
The Riverside Museum is among the top Glasgow Attractions constructed by Zaha Hadid, one of the world's most iconic modern Architects. The Riverside Museum displays the history of the city's shipbuilding in a modern display. It has over 3000 unique objects and is part of Scotland's sustainable tours.
Other Glasgow attractions include the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Glasgow Cathedral, the Glasgow Science Centre, the Pollok Country Park, and more.
Getting around in Glasgow
Glasgow's transportation network makes the city well connected as the city has over 80 different bus routes with various ticket products. To get more information regarding the closest bus stops and how to commute, you can check the google maps app and the First Bus App for the cheapest bus prices.
Glasgow's Metro or Subway system has 15 stops and is a very fast way of commuting around the city, with subways arriving every four minutes. Finishing the 15 stops from start to end only takes 24 minutes, making it a very effective commute.
You will find various people biking around the city; if you don't have a bike, don't worry; you can rent a bike through OVO Bike.
At Casita, we help students find their perfect homes in more than 90 different countries, so if you head to Glasgow, we can help you arrange your perfect Glasgow accommodation. This city guide will help you once you have settled in, as you must enjoy the city to the fullest. At Casita, we recommend that you experience the city's rich culture to the fullest by going on walks and exploring, visiting galleries, museums, and the city's historic sites; we also recommend that you make the most out of the city's nature and make sure to go out with friends and create lots of unique memories. Read more about the city in the Glasgow City Guide!
Is Glasgow worth a day trip?
Glasgow is worth a day trip; it has a variety of beautiful parks, a rich restaurant and cafe scene, and multiple old churches, galleries, and amazing museums.
How do you spend your day in Glasgow?
To make the most out of Glasgow, try the local food and the city's most iconic restaurants, explore the city on foot, discover its most iconic districts, and visit its landmarks. If you have the time, go shopping as the city has unique shopping centres and street markets.
What things are famous in Glasgow?
Glasgow is known for its beautiful architecture, most notably the 18th-century-built buildings, the city's parks, its friendly people, and its rich history (especially in shipbuilding).