It’s got a big city vibe, bucketloads of culture and can compete with the trendiest capitals of Europe. Is Glasgow a place you’d like to call home?
Glasgow is the biggest urban area in Scotland, sprawling on the banks of the River Clyde. The city was once a former industrial giant, but it now has a fresh image as a place of culture, sport and entertainment.
It’s more than 25 years since Glasgow was named European City of Culture. Since then literature, music and the arts have flourished. The city and its suburbs also pride themselves on their edgy cultural ambiance. Glasgow hosted the Turner Prize in 2015 and areas such as Garnethill are known for their bohemian attitude.
Average house prices allow buyers and renters more scope than they’d get in London or other southern cities with similar amenities. The average is currently £178,000, but you can pick up even more affordable properties in certain suburbs. Take a look at the latest figures here.
Compare Glasgow to the city of Edinburgh by reading our dedicated guide.
Living in Glasgow Central: what to expect
Glasgow city is divided into the straightforward regions of City Centre, North Glasgow, Southside, East End and West End. Each section has its own defined personality, from the city centre's cool boutiques and trendy nightspots to West End's refined architecture.
All budgets and tastes are catered for in the Glasgow property market. Properties range from classic red sandstone tenements and modern townhouses to bungalows, semis and detached villas.
Beyond the city is the rest of the Clyde Valley, a hotspot for walkers and cyclists. The coast is also within easy reach, as is the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. Within the city itself are plenty of community parks and open spaces for families to enjoy.
Where to start your property search
As a former winner of the Academy of Urbanism’s ‘Best Neighbourhood Award’, the West End is among the most desirable circles of Glasgow. It’s north of the river – a spot where tenements, sandstone villas and historical architecture line cobbled streets.
If you fancy living in one of the classic red sandstone terraces in the West End, opt for the Hillhead district. It has fine tenement buildings on roads such as Kersland Street, which typically have up to three bedrooms.
For something more imposing, look at Dowanhill. It's popular with professionals and has detached homes with generous rear gardens. Take a look at Victoria Circus to see some of the grandest stone-built properties in the area.
International commuters who need regular access to either of Glasgow’s two airports could consider buying or renting on the Southside. The quarter offers better value than the pricier West End but is still a smart address for those mindful of their postcode.
Pollokshields was built as one of the first Victorian garden suburbs and has kept its green spaces and community spirit. Crossmyloof and Strathbungo, known for its trees, are other areas well worth considering. Search Southside Crescent to see an example of the striking contemporary blocks of flats in the area, or pick up a terraced, four-storey home near Queen's Park.
For stylish modern living check out the new-builds in the former grounds of BBC Glasgow. The Botanics development is a mix of apartments and townhouses at one end of Hamilton Drive, where you’ll also find established properties. The area is a short stroll from the city’s Botanic Gardens and around 10 minutes from the city centre.
In the city centre itself, hotspots include Merchant City's Victorian housing and Garnethill's bohemian neighbourhoods. The former has a mix of ultra-modern apartments and converted houses whereas the latter has predominately Victorian conversions.
Getting around Glasgow Central
By rail: Glasgow has its own underground system known as the Subway. It circulates the city, taking in much of West End and running parallel to the River Clyde before heading back into central Glasgow. Trains run every four minutes at peak times.
The city has two stations – Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street. Trains from Glasgow Central to London Euston take four hours and 30 minutes whereas a journey from Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh Waverley takes 50 minutes.
By car: Glasgow is served by the M8, which heads towards Edinburgh around 50 miles away.
By air: Glasgow Airport, on the west side of the city, is about 20 minutes from the centre. It offers flights to more than 100 destinations. You can also fly from Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which is around 45 minutes away via the M77. From here you can reach European destinations such as Alicante and Rome.
Things to do in Glasgow Central
History: Riverside Museum, which houses 3,000 objects related to Glasgow’s past, is one of the most unusual heritage centres. The collection includes skateboards, vintage cars, paintings and prams. The tallship, The Glenlee, is also moored in the river close by.
Glasgow's choice of museums also includes The Hunterian, a museum dedicated to the history of surgery and medicine. It's Scotland's oldest museum and has collections of archaeology, zoology and palaeontology.
Cultural: Visitors can immerse themselves in the full film experience at the Grosvenor cinema. It has a licensed restaurant-bar, its own café and The Lane bar, which hosts music. The cinema has two screens, complete with luxury seating (and sofas on the back row).
Prestigious art galleries are scattered throughout the city centre. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has one of Europe's greatest art collections. Its 22 galleries are filled with 8,000 objects, including works from French Impressionists and Ancient Egypt.
Theatre is also in good supply. The Citizens Theatre was established in 1945 and focuses on contemporary interpretations of classics as well as new Scottish drama. Don't miss local festivals either, such as the Merchant City Festival in the summer.
Outdoors: There are numerous country parks to enjoy around Glasgow and beyond, including Dams to Darnley, Cathkin Braes and Seven Locks Wetland Park. There are 10 parks and gardens in the north of Glasgow alone. Among the best is Ruchill Park, which offers spectacular views over the city.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens are open from 7am until dusk all year round and are free to enter. The gardens were created 200 years ago along with a series of glasshouses, including the impressive Kibble Palace. A network of riverside and woodland paths enables visitors to explore the area in more detail.
Pollok Country Park has been named the best park in Britain and Europe on separate occasions. Besides seeking the sanctuary of the woodland and gardens, make sure you visit Pollok House, which is considered one of the most elegant in the area.
Twenty minutes from the centre of Glasgow is the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, Eaglesham Moor. The windfarm is the starting point for more than 130km of cycling, horse-riding and walking trails. Less active visitors can view the spectacular windfarm and turbines from the farm's café windows.
Sport: Practise your skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing at Snow Factor, just outside Glasgow in Braehead. It’s the longest indoor real snow slope in the UK and has four ski lifts, a main ski slope, ice climbing wall and an ice slide.
Shopping: Glasgow’s ‘Style Mile’ in the city centre will be well known to fashion lovers. It offers a mix of 200 boutiques, independents, designer stores and unique shops. Retro fashion collectors are also spoilt for choice in the city – there’s a thriving vintage scene, especially in the trendy West End.
The St Enoch Centre includes a Debenhams and other high-street names such as H&M, Topshop and Superdry, whereas Royal Exchange Square has upmarket stores such as Reiss and LK Bennett alongside bars, restaurants and the Gallery of Modern Art.
Food and drink: The Glad Cafe in Pollokshaws Road is one of the hippest places in Glasgow. Food is fresh and seasonal and coffee is freshly brewed. But this café also offers something extra in the form of its live music and performances. The programme includes films, drama and storytelling as well as local and international musicians.
Another stylish eatery is The Black Dove. Its drinks menu includes cocktails, wine and craft beer. Several small plates of food are recommended, which include choices such as pearl barley risotto and crispy chicken thighs.
For drinks, try a pub such as Blackfriars. It serves beers from around the world and has a basement music venue. Alternatively, order a cocktail from The Kelvingrove Café and settle into a seat in its Victorian-themed interior.
Hidden Glasgow Central
Queen's Cross Church is the only one in the world to be designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The architecture is gothic meets Art Nouveau and is set off by blue stained-glass windows featuring classic Mackintosh motifs. It now hosts concerts, weddings and conferences.
5 reasons to live in Glasgow Central
• Big city atmosphere
• Excellent shopping
• A wide range of properties
• Close to greenery, coast and mountains
• Eclectic, bohemian cultural scene
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