Overview of Glasgow

Glasgow waterfront view
Glasgow waterfront view

Although Glasgow is not the capital city of Scotland, it is the largest city in the nation. Its population is about 600,000 within Glasgow city, or over 2 million residents if neighbouring towns are included. It is located at the western side of the Central Belt and resides on the River Clyde's banks. This city is not only historically important as a the main industrial area of Scotland, but is also one of the United Kingdom's most important economic centres outside London particularly as it is actually the 3rd largest city in the UK.

Although it is important throughout the UK's history as a key industrial area for Heavy Engineering, this does not mean Glasgow is completely filled with factories and dullness. In fact, it has been bestowed many great awards which truly shows the variety and richness of Glasgow. These awards in more recent years include being awarded a City of Culture in 1990, a City of Architecture and Design in 1999, and the Capital of Sport in 2003. It will play a part in the London 2012 Olympic Games as one of host cities. Glasgow will also be the key host city for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Glasgow joined the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative in 2008 after it was named a UNESCO City of Music. In order to prepare itself for this creative award, Glasgow transformed from being a British industrial powerhouse to a centre for tourism, commerce and culture and averaged 130 music events per week from Celtic, pop, opera, and rock music.

Due to this massive transformation, it is now one of the most popular cities to visit in United Kingdom. As the city centre has revitalised itself, it is thought to have the greatest shopping, museums, and parks outside of London itself. It also has quick and easy accessibility to the Islands and the Highlands, which make for an excellent central point for tourists who wish to explore the rest of Scotland.

Glasgow has an excellent public transportation network by UK standards. It is one of the most extensive public transportation systems outside of London, and includes buses, taxies, subway, and ferries. The subway system is the largest network is the 2nd largest in the United Kingdom, but be warned – there are sometimes only 2 trains per hour on some routes while other routes are more frequent. Buses are excellent, as major routes are served by buses every 10 minutes. Glasgow city is also pedestrian friendly, so whatever mode of transport you decide to take – whether you choose the more expensive option (i.e. taxi) or the cheapest option (i.e. by foot), you will never be disappointed.

The Clyde Arc in central Glasgow
The Clyde Arc in central Glasgow

As Glasgow is renowned for its amazing lifestyle and its many exclusive awards, there is plenty to do here for travellers on any budget. The architecture in Glasgow is amazing, especially buildings that were built during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Many top architects have lived here, including Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander Thomson. There are 20 museums and art galleries, and most of them are free which are perfect for anyone's hip pocket! These museums and art galleries vary from modern art to more classical works, as well as a general museum and more specialist ones such as a police museum, maritime museum, and more. There is even a distillery on display, for those who love their Scottish Whiskey.

As for entertainment, there are many different things to do. After all, being bestowed a City of Music or a UNESCO Creative City does not just stop as soon as a city is awarded such a prestigious status. Living up to its reputation, Glasgow has had a famous music scene for at least the past 20 years, with legendary venues including the King Tut's Wah Wah Hut and Barrowland Ballroom. There are also comedy shows, performing arts, football matches, and much more for both locals and tourists to indulge in.