City Guide



Introduction to Glasgow

Stone Age canoes unearthed in Glasgow suggest this settlement began as a small Celtic fishing village before the Roman invasion. Through the ages, Glasgow grew into the UK’s busiest trading centre outside London, diversifying from tobacco exports, to sugar imports, to ship building, locomotives then tourism.

Glasgow has changed tack and changed tack again in order to keep its conurbation of 2.3 million residents afloat, which is almost half of the entire population of Scotland. Residents hit hard times during the recession of the early 1900s that saw ill-planned tenement blocks and mass unemployment, but efforts are being made to stem the tide and redevelop the city into a capital choice for conferences and tourism.

City Centre

The city centre is bounded by the M8 motorway to the west and the north, the River Clyde to the south and High Street to the east, where the main shopping area is located alongside two city universities and the train and bus stations. Not much goes on south of the river, with the administrative and cultural centres scattered around the north.

West End

Students have made their mark on the map of Glasgow here, with the spire of gothic Glasgow University towering over the whole of the West End. This part of the city is a collection of bohemian cafes, bars, boutiques along Ashton Lane and green space, namely Ashton Glasgow Botanic Gardens and Kelvingrove Park. International students will find a lot of house shares here.

East End

This area is a cheaper place to live as it contains some of Glasgow’s remaining tenement buildings. It is also home to Glasgow Green, which houses the Winter Gardens, a fountain and museum, as well as Barra Market’s charming stalls and chatty traders at the weekends. Famous landmarks in the area include Glasgow Cathedral and Tron Steeple.

Merchant City

Also to the east is Glasgow’s Merchant City area, which is a hive of theatres and bars that have become popular with the gay community. Plans are underway to develop this area into a cultural quarter, which stems from its great many art galleries, which have sprung up from the cheap rent charged for studio space.


One of the most architecturally magnificent buildings on the riverside is the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), which was built on Queen’s Dock in the 1980s and connected to new business district Pacific Quay by Clyde Arc bridge. There are acres of green space across the water, including Linn Park, Queen’s Park, Bellahouston Park, Rouken Glen Park and Pollok Country Park. Haggs Castle Golf Club is also located here.