I don’t know about you, but I cannot stop watching the Summer Olympics. Though visiting London is fun, there are many other fabulous cities to visit in the United Kingdom. 

Of Scotland’s two major cities, Edinburgh tends to be the one that many first-time visitors will gravitate towards, being that it’s the capital and host of the annual world-famous Edinburgh International Festival. 

But to skip Glasgow is to miss out on a thriving, energetic, and lively metropolis. 

Glasgow, Scotland downtown

I visited Glasgow back in 2007 and really enjoyed the gritty energy of the city. It seemed very real, filled with very Scottish people. Their accent was also the most difficult I’ve ever encountered. I could barely understand the Glaswegians, and I’m a native English speaker! 

In recent years, Glasgow has transformed itself from a slightly down-at-heel city that lost the heart of its ship-building industry, to one that has found a successful new role on the global scene. Glasgow is the 2012 UNESCO City of Music, and in 2014 it will be hosting the Commonwealth Games. 

Bagpipers in Glasgow

The best way to experience Glasgow is to stay in the heart of the city, where you can be close to the action –  numerous cultural centers, great shopping, and a lively nightlife with music, clubs and theatre. 

Of the hotels in Glasgow, Millennium Hotel is an impressive Victorian building in George Square, offering four-star comfort and an ideal base from which to explore the city and the beautiful surrounding countryside.

What to see and do during your visit:

The Glenlee in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Explore the Merchant City quarter, one of the oldest parts of Glasgow and its cultural heart. It’s a wonderful mix of craft workshops, lively bars, design shops and galleries, and tenement buildings. And you definitely will not want to walk away without having eaten at one of this area’s award-winning restaurants. 
  • The city hosts numerous music events throughout the summer – for an especially Scottish experience, and for fans of bagpipes, check out the World Pipe Band Championships in August, which features Highland dancing and the Glasgow World Highland Games.
  • Glasgow has long been respected for its artistic and architectural heritage. Visit the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), then follow the “Mackintosh trail” – discovering the work of world-renowned architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh along the way. The Glasgow School of Art offers two walking tours, one about the development of Mackintosh’s style, and one which tells the story of his regeneration of Glasgow into a successful post-industrial city. 
  • Finally, visit the Clyde river, the source of the city’s prosperity for so many centuries. Take a tour of “The Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour,” the restored Glenlee, which was built in 1896. 

 Have you ever heard a better accent than that of the Glaswegians? What’d you think of Glasgow?