Surely all of us prefer to spend several days in a new city when travelling. Only this way can you immerse yourself into the local culture and experience what it’s really like. However, not all journeys allow it. If you have an upcoming trip to Glasgow and Edinburgh, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will prove that it is, in fact, possible to have an amazing, non-frenzy experience, even if you’re short on time. So, let’s assume that you have 72 hours to spend in between these two world-famous cities and see what kind of itinerary will give you the most memorable vacation in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
What to do in Edinburgh
Jumpstart the day with a high-quality coffee and a filling breakfast. Our favourite spots around Edinburgh include World of Mouth Cafe, The Haven Cafe, Quick & Plenty Cafe, and Grams. Once ъоу’ре full and ready to explore, head off to the Princes Street Gardens to take a stroll through the beautiful greenery and get some of your first impressions of this beautiful city.
Make a stop at Scott Monument, the largest tribute in honour of an author, and take some amazing photos of the views around. Then head to the Scottish National Gallery to marvel at the many wondrous exhibitions and exquisite artworks, and head to the Makar’s Court to read some of the most inspiring writer’s quotes from Scotland’s most adorned writers. You can even visit the Writer’s Museum if you’re interested in the topic.
One of the most famous spots in Edinburgh is the Royal Mile, a picturesque cobbled street that dates back from ancient times. You’ll find many curiosities here. You should also visit the Edinburgh Castle to snap that mandatory castle photo and take the historical tour so that you could have some nice stories to tell once you’re on a homeland.
Right about now you must be starving from all the walking and sightseeing. Settle that hunger in some of the restaurants along the George IV Bridge such as Elephant House, Divino Enoteca or Angus Fling. Then head back to the bridge and walk along until you reach Greyfriars Bobby with the statue of the famous Skye Terrier right in front of it. It is said that the dog has guarded his owner’s grave for 14 years.
Go back to the Royal Mile to check the St Giles Cathedral and then head down the street until you reach the Scottish Parliament Building. Here your eyes can soak up the beautiful architecture while you’re learning all about the rich history of the place.
It’s time to visit the New Town with its many fancy shops and get some souvenirs for friends and family. Wind out in one of the local pubs and sip on the craft beer or cocktails. To end the evening appropriately, head to The Gardener’s Cottage where you can enjoy a mouthwatering dinner, all made according to old recipes and with fresh, local produce.
You can see the best sunset in Edinburgh on top of Calton Hill. And the walk up will be just the exact amount you need after a filling dinner.
Travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh
Now, there are two ways to fully enjoy a journey between the two cities. You can get a taxi from Edinburgh to Glasgow and let the driver advise you on the best landmarks on the way. However, it’s most convenient if you rent a car and see them for yourself and at your own pace. Here’s what you can see on the route between Edinburgh and Glasgow in a short amount of time:
- Linlithgow – in this beautiful small town, you can check The Cross and Cross Well, St Michael’s Parish Church and Linlithgow Palace which was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.
- Stirling – this is a much bigger town and would usually take you the entire day to enjoy (or even a few), but the most important points of interest include the Stirling Castle, The National Wallace Monument, the Church of the Holy Rude, and The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum.
Make sure to grab a bite on the go or get some food for the road when travelling between Edinburgh and Glasgow. It’s nice to stop at a gas station but the food there is not of the best quality and neither is it cheap.
What to do in Glasgow
It’s always nice to start immersing yourself into the local culture by having breakfast at a cafe in the city centre. There you’ll be able to sit and observe the locals while refuelling your power and getting ready for a day full of adventures. Our favourite breakfast places are Scran, Jodandys, and My Home Bakery. You can head down to the City Centre Mural Trail and snap a few photos of the vibrant creations that adorn the city’s buildings.
Now that you have a full belly, you can catch the subway to Hillhead in the West End of Glasgow. There you’ll enjoy the trendiest part of town which is also amongst the coolest neighbourhoods in the entire UK. Just around the subway station, you’ll find many cafes and little vintage shops.
There are many free things you can do in Glasgow. If it’s raining, you can hide in the Glasgow Botanical Gardens where the tropical temperature will quickly warm you up. And if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you can check the main building of the University of Glasgow where the movie was shot. From there, you can take a stroll through Kelvingrove Park or take a look into Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum’s many exhibitions.
Now that you are tired from all the sightings, you can go and grab a bite, and replenish your strength at Number 16, Saint Judes or Malaga Tapas Centro. Then you can head back to the city centre taking the path along the river Clyde. The walk will take you about 40 minutes but you’ll be able to see some of the shipbuilding relics that date back to when Glasgow was an industrial city.
This is the time of day when Glasgow truly shines. In the evening, make sure to stop by the city’s centre for architecture and design, The Lighthouse, which houses a collection of drawings and designs by Mackintosh. Visitors can go all the way up to the tower and enjoy the mesmerizing views of entire Glasgow. To taste the history of the city, visit Glasgow Cathedral which is the oldest building in Glasgow. Just behind it, you’ll find the beautiful Necropolis cemetery.
Take your evening stroll in Glasgow’s oldest park, Glasgow Green, a popular hang-out spot for locals. Here you’ll find People’s Palace – a museum that tells and shows the history of Glasgow residents. It’s free and a perfect hideout from bad weather because it’s part of the park and part a greenhouse.
If you happen to visit Glasgow on a weekend, make sure to stop by the Barras market and shop your souvenirs at bargain prices. It’s the best way to experience Glasgow’s authenticity.
It won’t be a proper evening if you don’t have a pint in some of the many pubs that Glasgow has to offer. We like the Shilling Brewing Company, Speakeasy and Pavement. After that, there’s nothing much left to do than enjoying a live performance. Make sure to check the Glasgow Gig Guide to find something for your taste.