Welcome to Glasgow! Here’s the perfect two-day Glasgow itinerary to get you started.
Forget the notion of Glasgow being Edinburgh’s frumpier older sister – this city oozes cool. And not only is it a fantastic couples or friends getaway destination, it’s also fabulous for family travel.
When planning a Northern UK itinerary, it can be hard to give Glasgow enough time when there’s so many other places to explore. But that’s okay – below I’ve outlined a two-day Glasgow itinerary that will have you exploring this delightful city with plenty of depth.
We absolutely loved Glasgow in a way that was totally unexpected, and we think you will too. Enjoy!
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Day 1 Itinerary: Discover the city’s murals, music history, and ghoulish goings-on
If you’ve only got two days in Glasgow, then you’ll want to get up early (you’ll have picked one of these excellent Glasgow accommodation options) and make the most of your time. You’ll start your Glasgow itinerary by exploring the Riverside Museum, before grabbing some lunch.
It’s then time to witness the city’s iconic murals, learn about its music history, and head on a spooky evening tour. So be prepared for an action-packed day as you’ll be on your feet quite a lot!
Grab breakfast at a local coffee shop (9 am – 9:30 am)
To fuel your full day of sightseeing, you’ll want to pick up some breakfast nice and early. As you’ll be visiting the Riverside Museum first (more on this in a minute), you’re best off finding a quaint little coffee shop nearby.
Space Speciality Coffee House is a great option as it’s just a 15-minute walk away. Not only is the coffee delicious, but they do a mean cinnamon roll as well as tasty cakes! If you’d prefer something more substantial, then the pancakes are popular.
Meadow Road Coffee is another good choice and is a similar distance away from the museum. Here, you can grab a tasty toastie or granola, as well as other dishes. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating too.
The Riverside Museum – (10 am – 12 pm)
Your first stop (aside from breakfast) on this Glasgow itinerary is the Riverside Museum. You’ll find this award-winning museum along the River Clyde, and in my opinion, it’s one of the city’s best free attractions!
The Riverside Museum is home to over 3,000 objects, with many of these focusing on transport and technology. You’ll find everything here from vintage cars to spectacular locomotives, so there’s something for everyone.
The interactive displays at this museum (including 90 touch screens) allow you to learn all about Glasgow’s history.
Highlights include wandering down an ‘old-cobbled street’ dating from 1895 to the 1980s, learning about the city’s shipbuilding history, and hopping aboard a tram to get an idea of what public transport used to be like in Glasgow.
For the best experience, get here for opening and then you can spend a couple of hours at the museum before grabbing some lunch.
Lunch in Merchant City (12:30 pm – 1:30 pm)
Merchant City is one of Glasgow’s most stylish neighbourhoods (as well as one of the oldest). To get here from the River Museum, I’d suggest taking an Uber so you don’t waste too much time.
Now, there are tons of fantastic eateries in this area serving a wide variety of cuisines. Here are some of the best options:
- Mharsanta Restaurant & Bar – This is the place to be if you’re after traditional Scottish (and British) dishes! The staff and atmosphere are fantastic too.
- Santa Lucia Ristorante – A popular family-run restaurant that specialises in authentic Italian dishes. The food is delicious and portions are a decent size!
- Paesano Pizza – This restaurant is famous for its mouth-watering Napoletana pizzas. Service is quick here and you’ll have plenty of topping options.
- Boteco Do Brasil – A funky Brazilian restaurant known for its tasty South American dishes, fantastic cocktails, and quirky decor.
Music Mile Walking Tour (2 pm – 4 pm)
As Glasgow is a UNESCO City of Music, it would be rude not to appreciate the city’s fantastic music scene (and its history). Considered to be Scotland’s music capital, there’s a never-ending amount of gigs, festivals, and concerts held here.
To learn about Glasgow’s music scene, I’d suggest heading on this Music Mile walking tour. It starts at 2 pm and lasts for two hours, so won’t take too much time out of your day.
You’ll meet your tour guide at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and from there, you’ll explore the city’s famous ‘Music Mile’. This area has hosted plenty of famous bands, and you’ll learn all about this while on the tour.
Not to mention, you’ll get to visit The Pavilion Theatre, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, as well as Nice ‘n’ Sleazy. The latter is a funky bar, where you can grab a drink!
The Glasgow Mural Trail (4:15 pm – 5:15 pm)
If you’ve only two days in Glasgow, then you’ll want to admire the street art here. Named one of the best cities in the UK for street art, Glasgow is famous for its colourful and unique murals.
There are over 20 huge murals in this city, which you can find by following along the City Centre Mural Trail. The majority of them are located around Merchant City, which is where you’ll already be.
Highlights include ‘St Mungo’ (which is arguably one of the most popular pieces), ‘The World’s Most Economical Taxi’, and ‘St Enoch and Child’. How much you get to see, will depend on what time you decide to go for dinner.
Of course, if you want to swap this itinerary around, you can always explore via a tour instead rather than self-guided. This daily walking tour lasts for around 1.5 hours and will take you to some of the city’s best street art.
George Square (5:30 pm – 5:45 pm)
For those with a bit of extra time, wander past George Square on the way to grab some dinner. This impressive square was named after King George III and has been around since 1781.
The architecture in this area is striking, especially that of the Glasgow City Council building. Depending on the time of year, you’ll also find several events taking place here, which often includes the city’s Christmas market.
Not only that but there are some fantastic monuments and statues to be found at George Square. These are dedicated to famous Scottish people, including the likes of James Watt, Robert Burns, Sir Robert Peel and Sir Walter Scott.
You won’t need lots of time at George Square. I’d say 15 minutes is more than enough time to walk through and snap a few photographs, perhaps even less.
If there’s any event on during your stay, then, of course, you may want to stay longer so keep that in mind.
Dinner and drinks (6:00 pm – 7:30 pm)
If you’re planning to do the spooky walking tour (which we’ll talk about in a minute), then you’ll be meeting at Kings Theatre.
As such, you’ll want to find somewhere nearby to dine. Luckily, there are plenty of options, all of which are around a 15-minute walk away (at least the ones below are).
Here are some great restaurants near Kings Theatre:
- Ardnamurchan Scottish Restaurant & Bar – This eatery offers traditional Scottish dishes, with a focus on fresh and sustainable produce.
- Topolabamba – A quirky Mexican restaurant, known for its flavourful food (including tacos and burritos), tequila, and fantastic atmosphere.
- Non Viet Restaurant – Just a 4-minute walk away, this place specialises in authentic Vietnamese cuisine. As such, there are tons of tasty dishes on offer.
- The Butterfly and the Pig – With a shabby chic interior, delicious food (and afternoon tea), and live music, this place has everything you could need!
Spooky Evening Walking Tour (8 pm – 10 pm)
Even if you’ve only got two days in Glasgow, I recommend this Gothic Glasgow walking tour. It’s the only spooky evening tour in the city, and you’ll get to learn so much from your guide.
The tour starts at 8 pm and lasts for around 2 hours. You’ll meet your guide, Vincent (the Man in the Hat) at King’s Theatre. He has nearly 30 years of experience when it comes to performance experience, so you couldn’t be in better hands.
On this tour, you’ll learn all about Dracula’s Scottish connections, the gruesome history of body-snatching in the city, and Glasgow’s ghosts, among other things!
Another great thing about this tour is that every effort has been made to make the route accessible. This includes avoiding any steep hills and walking at a steady pace for those who struggle with mobility issues.
Just be aware that this tour isn’t suitable for children under 14 years of age, and it’s best to stick to that. We also did one with the kids in York (it said all ages!) and they were quite freaked out by the end.
Day 2 Itinerary: Explore Glasgow’s botanical gardens along with Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
On day two of this Glasgow itinerary, you’ll explore the city’s beautiful botanical gardens. After, you’ll head to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum before visiting the iconic Clydeside Distillery.
After spending a full day exploring, you’ll likely want to relax for a while. Luckily, Glasgow has so many fantastic pubs and dining establishments. As such, you won’t be short of options when it comes to finding somewhere for dinner and drinks!
Grab breakfast at the Papercup Coffee Company (9 am – 9:30 am)
To make the most of your two days in Glasgow, I’d suggest another early start. For breakfast, head to the Papercup Coffee Company which is found on Great Western Rd. It’s under a 10-minute walk from the Botanical Gardens which is where you’ll head next.
There are a variety of coffee options at this place, but you’ve also got plenty of choices when it comes to food as well. This includes delicious cakes and banana bread.
If you’re after something hearty, then the Papercup Coffee Company serves some tasty sweet treats such as pancakes and brioche French toast. There are also some fantastic savoury options including breakfast rolls and burritos, porridge, and eggs on toast.
Black Pine Coffee Co. is another great option which again, serves delicious coffee (the perfect wake-me-up that you may need). You’ll also find some tasty pastries and treats on offer if you’re just looking for a quick bite.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens (10 am – 11:30 am)
While in the city, you should take the time to visit Glasgow Botanic Gardens. It’s another free attraction so is great for budget travellers and you’ll have an escape from Glasgow’s hustle and bustle.
The Glasgow Botanic Gardens were founded in 1817 by Thomas Hopkirk, a respected botanist. The main garden covers an impressive 11 hectares, with The Arboretum (also being large in size), covering 2 hectares.
Today, it’s thought there are over 9000 plants within the gardens and glasshouses, so there’s a lot to see. These range from native to tropical plants, and the best way to explore is simply wandering around.
If you’re travelling as a family, then there’s also a children’s playground here, as well as a charming tearoom.
The amount of time you spend in these gardens is completely up to you, but I‘d suggest at least an hour. Otherwise, your visit may feel quite rushed.
Grab something to eat at Ashton Lane (11:45 am – 12:45 pm)
After wandering around the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, it’s time to grab some lunch! Ashton Lane is just a 10-walk away and is known for its cinema, bars, and restaurants, so it’s a fun place to visit.
Although it’s a cobbled backstreet, it’s a popular spot for sure. Especially as it’s so photogenic, so have your camera ready!
Here are some great restaurants along Ashton Lane:
- Ubiquitous Chip – This eatery dates back to 1971 and offers delicious Scottish food, an extensive drinks list, and a fantastic atmosphere.
- Brel – This bar offers both indoor and outdoor dining, charming decor, and plenty of tasty dishes, including their famous Moules Frites, sharing tacos, and burgers.
- Ramen Dayo – As the name suggests, this place specialises in Japanese cuisine. Here you can try mouthwatering ramen, gyoza dumplings, and other sides.
- The Curlers Rest – This charming pub is known for its laid-back atmosphere, cosy decor, delicious food, and great service. What more could you ask for?
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (1 pm – 3:30 pm)
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is under a 15-minute walk from Ashton Lane and is another must for your Glasgow itinerary.
This incredible museum first opened in 1901 and is a fan-favourite with both locals and tourists alike. Like many of the best attractions in Glasgow, this art gallery and museum is free to enter, which is always a huge bonus.
There are also multiple language museum guides available, so you don’t need to worry about the translations.
There are 22 galleries in total and these feature everything from Ancient Egypt to Scottish art. No matter your interests, you’re sure to find something to your liking here.
As there’s so much to see, I’d recommend spending at least 2 hours here, although you can spend longer if you wish. However, if you want to visit the next place on my list, you’ll need to get there before 4 pm.
The Clydeside Distillery (4 pm – 5 pm)
The Clydeside Distillery is located along the River Clyde. It’s the first dedicated single malt whisky distillery in the city for over 100 years, so as you can imagine, it’s a big hit.
The best way to experience this place is by heading on the distillery tour. It lasts for around an hour, and you’ll learn all about the history of whisky and the distillery process. On this tour, you’ll also get to taste whiskies from different Scottish regions.
You can book a distillery tour online in advance if you wish, or you can book through the distillery website itself, which may have more time slots available.
Typically, the tours run every hour (although this may change) with the last tour operating at 4 pm. If you’re planning an action-packed itinerary, then it’s best to go for the last time slot available (as the distillery shuts at 5 pm).
Dinner and drinks (5:30 pm onwards)
After an exciting two days in Glasgow, it’s time to find somewhere to dine and reminisce on your trip. Of course, the night isn’t over yet, so you’ll now have plenty of time to appreciate the city’s nightlife and pub scene.
I’d suggest heading to the area of Finnieston, which is a foodie hub known for its trendy restaurants, old-school pubs, and stylish bars!
To make the most of your night, grab something to eat in one of the area’s restaurants, and then head out on a pub crawl (if you’re not with kids, of course). Better yet, try to find a pub that offers live music, as that will be the perfect end to your trip.
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