We are planning on a trip to Glasgow in September. On the way or as a daytrip we want to see Ailsa Craig and we will also take the train for a daytrip to Edinburgh (we've been before and love it). I'd like suggestions for a place to stay in Glasgow or other tips. We will stay several days and when we can we like to do self catering - it makes it so easy to do laundry at night. We want to be near a good chip shop or other places to get a quick meal and very close to public transport. We need to be centrally located so that we don't spend to much time or energy just getting to and from our rooms. RS doesn't have much good to say about Glasgow or southern Scotland but Glasgow is said to have some great art and many gardens. We haven't decided yet if we will take the train, fly or motor from London to Glasgow. At some point we will rent a car and plan to spend a few days in some quieter town in either Scotland or England but haven't decided where and would like suggestions. We love great architecture, art and natural history museums, and good (but inexpensive)British cuisine, especially the cheese. We like browsing small shops but not so much the expensive stores.
We have spent quite a bit of time in Glasgow over six different trips. The hotel we use is Victorian House on Renfrew Street, right near the Glasgow School of Art. That puts you just a short block away from Sauchihall Street, The main shoping/pedestrian street. The hotel is about a fifteen minute walk from the hotel on the same street. Queen Street Station is down Sauchihall. Central Station is walkable, we've done it several times, but we tend to walk more than some. Lauder's on Sauchihall is a good pub in the old tradition to have a Scottish meal. The Willows Tea Room is an architectural creation of Charles Rennie MacIntosh as is the Art School. The Glasgow School of Art has tours that cost although they didn't use to. Queen Street Station is where you go to or from Edinburgh on the train. Buchanan Station, Sthe bus station is at the foot of Renfrew but the street has a different name there. Buses from the airport dump you off there, as well as take you to points in western Scotland. We have always used Scotland: The Rough Guide for Scotland. As a matter of fact I just checked the spelling of Sauchihall and the book started falling apart, its so old. Let me know if I can help further.
Hi, Marjorie, I would recommend Adelaide's in Glasgow. It's not self-catering, but they are so helpful, I'm sure they would have a solution for that. (and there is always the bathroom sink) It is close to the School of Art, too, and lots of places to eat around there. They will have great suggestions for you. In fact, I would call or email them with all your questions and they will be honest with you. It's in Rick Steves' book; very reasonable price. All of the places I stayed last summer on my UK trip were great, but this was the best for friendliness & customer service, and the room was very nice, too. Closer to the bus station than the train station. I didn't use local bus service (walked everywhere) so I can't say, but it's likely got good bus service. http://www.adelaides.co.uk/guest-house/whats-around-adelaides-whats-it-a-good-base-for/
If you are looking for a small place by the sea in Scotland, I loved Arbroath, north of St. Andrews, and Crail, south of St. Andrews, on the North Sea. I didn't stay overnight, but the little shops were fun and the towns beautiful.
In Glasgow, you may want to visit The Hunterian - various museums/galleries at the university, including natural history collections. Another of its venues is a gallery with The Mackintosh House. For your visit to a "quieter town", how quiet do you mean? Are you looking for a particularly small place, or just somewhere that is smaller compared to the big cities of Glasgow and London? I can think of several places that tick the boxes for architecture, art, natural history museums, food and small shops, but not sure if any qualify as charming county towns if that is what you are really after. For instance, here in Oxford we have what you want (including several art galleries and quite an extensive natural history museum - the venue for the definitive 19C evolution debate), but Oxford isn't especially small/quiet and so fails on that criteria. Perhaps a few days on the east coast might suit - driving down to Whitby to stay, stopping on the way at either Durham (for architecture) or Newcastle (for the natural history Hancock Collection, now part of the Great North Museum)?
I don't have a hotel/B&B rec, but I have visited some great museum in Glasgow. I really liked the Tenement Museum. Since that visit I've visited the comparable museum in NYC and the Glasgow one is as good or better. I also really enjoyed Kelvingrove and the Botanic Gardens. I thought the western part of Glasgow was great. i stayed there one visit. I loved the music and restaurants in that area. I had a friend take me to the Burrell Collection and that was amazing. The transportation museum has moved since I was last in Glasgow and sound better than ever. Don't forget to visit the cathedral. If you want a small town with a bit of history and some lovely walks that is accessible by train, look at Dunkeld/Birnam. They have some lovely walks that don't require that you be Olympic athletes. There is a wonderful pub, the Taybank. PAm
Are you a fan of B/Bs? You might want to look into 1883 Guest House as I had a wonderful stay there! Superb really from the breakfasts to the always helpful host family. It's a short walking distance to the train and a 5 minute train ride into downtown. I stayed here last July and can't find one negative thing to say. I'd recommend flying from London, super short and in my case the same price as a 5/6 hr train ticket when I booked early enough. Plus Glasgow's airport is a breeze to get through. If you end up staying at the B/B tell Jen from Atlanta says Hi!