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Which airport works best

I have been searching flights and it seems that from Canada, Glasgow is the most economical airport to fly into. I have read that 1-1/2 days would be sufficient to see Glasgow. So I was hoping to book an early landing flight and spend day one exploring for a bit, get a good sleep overnight in Glasgow and mid day be off to Edinburgh for 3 nights. I would like to rent a car and use Secret Scotland for a 11 day tour to see as much of the country as possible before flying home. My question is would it be a better use of time to spend 2 nights in Glasgow, rent the car in Glasgow and head west to the highlands and return along the eastern coast back to Edinburgh drop the car off and spend the three days in Edinburgh at the end and take the train back to Glasgow to fly home.

Thanks Caroline

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi, Caroline,

You're going to be tired after your TransAtlantic flight, so I'd recommend your latter plan - to spend two nights in Glasgow, hire the car from the airport on the morning of your third day, then head off on your "Secret Scotland" tour. Then you can drop the car off at EDI on your return and catch the tram in to town. You'll be better off picking your car up at GLA, as central Glasgow is no fun to negotiate, even if you're fully awake! It's also a lot easier to get out of town, as the M8 runs right by the airport.

Many of the sights in Glasgow are centrally located, so you should book somewhere in town, then see the sights on foot or by bus and taxi for your first day and your second (full) day. The number 500 bus runs directly from Glasgow Airport in to central Glasgow. I think that it's about eight or nine pounds.

Unless you sleep on the overseas flight, you'll be jet lagged on your first day, but try to stay up as late as you can (9:00 p.m.?), get a good night's sleep, and you'll be ready for your first full day.

Hope that helps!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
27359 posts

Since your time in Glasgow will be limited (for myself, I do not count the arrival day at all), I suggest Googling to find the websites of any places you plan to go inside. The last thing you want to do is spend time trekking over to a museum only to find that it is closed for reconstruction. Quite a number of key sights in Glasgow were closed the last time I checked. I'm going to have to do some last-minute verification just prior to my summer trip.

These are the places whose status was questionable, or worse, when I did my research in October:

  • Glasgow School of Art (it essentially burned down last year)
  • The Burrell Collection (closed for an extended period)
  • People's Palace and attached green house (structural issues; PP itself may reopen in 2019)
  • Paisley Museum and Art Gallery (closed until 2022)

Also, in the day-trippable town of Helensburgh:
- Hill House (structural issues; may reopen as early as April 2019)
- List item

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Posted by
887 posts

I actually flew into Edinburgh and out of Glasgow via Amsterdam and I didn't find a difference in price. I spent my last four days in Glasgow which was more than adequate, but I did do a day trip up to Stirling from there via guided tour. I spent the first six days in Edinburgh where there is a lot more to see, but I also did a couple of guided day trips from there also. Don't rush yourself to get the car. Spend another day in Glasgow and do a guided day trip to a place you might not get to on your driving route. If you have the car for eleven days you can cover a lot of ground, but not everything you want to see. From Glasgow head towards Oban then up the west side and take the road out to Applecross if you have time. From there up to the Isle of Skye, across to Inverness (I also went up to Ullapool) then back down towards Edinburgh. Lots of castles to see on the way. When I left Edinburgh I went to St. Andrew's first and made a stop at Glammis. I also used Secret Scotland for my driving portion and they were great, but you should still check opening times of the places they recommend as at least one on my list was closed the day I was there.

Posted by
103 posts

Thanks for the great advice it is very much appreciated. I have reads fabulous reviews on Secret Scotland and feel that booking with them will take a lot of the guess work out. I will keep checking flights over the next month but GLA seems to be a good option

Posted by
679 posts

I recommend taking a tour with the Glasgow Food and Drink Tour ( We found it to be a wonderful introduction for food, drink and history for the rest of our Scotland adventure. We spent about 4 hours or so walking around the West End, Glasgow University, and sampling amazing food and drink.

Posted by
103 posts

Glasgow airport is perfectly central and accessible and very well linked to the national road and freeway network, as such it should be a good arrival point for your itinerary.

Id definitely spend 2 nights in Glasgow on arrival and pick up a car and on the third day. I'm not sure who's saying one day to see Glasgow, but I would disagree and I would have thought most people should be able to find enough to occupy them for a least 2-3 days if not more, as there is plenty to see. As mentioned, I wouldn't particularly count on seeing much of anywhere on your arrival day as you ll just be tired and jet lagged.

I've noticed a couple of posts lately with people suggesting that lots of things in Glasgow are closed and perhaps implying - I'm sure unintentionally - that people should reconsider visiting because of this. Although I accept that the art school and burrell collection are closed, the reality is that the vast majority of other attractions are perfectly open and operating as normal and there is no reason not to visit the city:

Kelvingrove museum open
Riverside museum open
University open
Museum of modern art open
Hunterian museum and art gallery open
St mungo museum of religious life and art open
Provand's lordship open
Glasgow cathedral and necropolis open
Hampden park and Scottish football museum open
Tennents brewery tours open
Celtic park and Ibrox tours open
Botanic gardens and glasshouses open
Glasgow science centre and tower open
House for an art lover open
Pollock house open
The lighthouse open
City chambers open

Even the peoples palace and hill House are expected to reopen in Mar/April this year. So the city is definitely open for visitors!

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi, All,

No one has mentioned The Barras as one of the sights to see in Glasgow. It's the place to go if you want to see the real Glasgow. Now I'll admit that The Barras are not what they used to back in the heyday (as late as the 1990s), but still it's a fun place to visit on a weekend day, and only a short walk from the Trongate and Argyle Street. Just head straight east from the Trongate along Gallowgate, and you're there.

Most of the indoor market and outside stalls are in the area between Gallowgate and London Road. The main landmark is the Barrowland Ballroom, possibly Glasgow's most well known and well loved music venue. In addition to the indoor market and outside stalls, there are all sorts of food vendors, chippies, caffs, and pubs. Although most of the pubs are of the spit and sawdust variety.

It's not as true as it used to be that you could find anything at The Barras. The Barras and Paddy's Market were well known for selling bootleg or knockoff items. Most of those dealers are long gone, but if it looks like a good deal, it probably isn't. You're there to take in the atmosphere, not to look for a great bargain.

The Barras are a rabbit's warren of indoor and outdoor stalls and food vans. Listening to the patter of the barkers hawking their cut price ciggies and cheap bolts of cloth is part of the entertainment. The Barras have been a way of life in Glasgow since 1921 or 1934, depending on which history you follow.

It's not to everyone's taste. If you prefer art museums, fancy tearooms, and posh surroundings, this is definitely not for you. However, if you want to experience Glasgow as Glaswegians have been doing for decades, it's well worth a couple of hours of your time. Saturday and Sunday are the best days to go, although some vendors have been opening on Thursday and Friday.

Best free place to park is across from the Templeton Carpet Factory/Business Centre, just before the People's Palace. Or you could park at the St. Enoch Centre and walk over from there (paid car park).


Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
40 posts

My wife and I are leaving for Edinburgh in June. We live in Pittsburgh and believe it or not I found that Air Canada Rouge had the best price right into Edinburgh with upgraded seats and all. However what we plan on doing is flying into Edinburgh and hitting the ground running. Spend as much as we can in Edinburgh for the day than grabbing a train for Falkirk. What we did was base ourself in Falkirk for several days where its a 30-40 min train ride to Edinburgh or Glasgow.

on our last day in the area (Which will be spent in Edinburgh) we will be grabbing our car right before our last night in Falkirk. We will then be ready to get up early and start our drive..

Not sure if this helps much but good luck :D