Is it possible to see Glasgow in 24 hours? Follow this complete itinerary for one day in Glasgow to see the best of what the city has to offer (including popular day trips).
Situated on the River Clyde, Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. It’s a lovely city with gorgeous Victorian buildings, a vibrant nightlife and many shopping centres.
With its central location, Glasgow is a great base to explore Scotland. You can easily take one-day trips to Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle, Linlithgow Palace and many more places of interest.
One day in Glasgow itinerary
How to see Glasgow in a day? Follow my detailed Glasgow itinerary to get the best of the city in only 24 hours.
Find a detailed map of this Glasgow itinerary at the end of the article.
The best one day in Glasgow itinerary (ideal for first-timers)
- Start the day with breakfast at The Wilson Street Pantry
- Visit the Glasgow Cathedral
- Explore the Necropolis
- Tour the medieval Provand’s Lordship
- Admire George Square and City Chambers
- Gallery of Modern Art and Duke of Wellington Statue
- Stop for lunch at Singl-end
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
- Marvel at the University of Glasgow
- Stroll in the Botanic Gardens
- Finish your one day in Glasgow with Scottish food and gin
Already have a hotel booked?
See whether your hotel is in a good area in my guide to where to stay in Glasgow.
Breakfast at The Wilson Street Pantry
08:30 AM – 09:30 AM
Start the day with breakfast at The Wilson Street Pantry. I loved the toast with avocado and salmon. The porridge is very good, too.
There is some great street art just next to iCafe. Don’t miss to take a look if you’re in the area. In fact, you can find amazing examples of street art all over the city (find out more about the City Centre Mural Trail here).
Visit the Glasgow Cathedral
09:45 AM – 10:30 AM
Glasgow Cathedral is one of the most famous sites in the city. It is a stunning Gothic cathedral from the 12th century. In its crypt, you can see the tomb of Saint Mungo, the patron saint of the city. The saint founded Glasgow in the 6th century AD. The name of Saint Mungo is, in fact, a nickname. The latter means “my dear one”. The real name of the saint is Kentigern.
The cathedral is one of the shooting locations of the Outlander series. If you’re a fan of the series, don’t miss this Outlander Adventure 1-day tour. It covers the most famous shooting locations of the series – Doune Castle, Midhope Castle, Linlithgow Palace and the charming village of Culross.
Glasgow once had a castle. The Bishop’s Castle stood right next to the cathedral. From here comes the name of “Castle Street”. Unfortunately, the castle was demolished in 1792.
Explore the Necropolis
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Right next to the cathedral is the Necropolis, an old Victorian cemetery. The bridge that connects the cathedral and the cemetery, is known as the Bridge of sighs. The name comes from the fact that this bridge was a part of the route of funeral processions. As the Necropolis is located on a hill, the views over the cathedral are quite beautiful.
Tour the medieval Provand’s Lordship
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Provand’s Lordship is the oldest remaining medieval house in Glasgow. It dates from the 15th century. The house is small but charming and free to visit!
Admire George Square and City Chambers
12:15 PM – 12:30 PM
George Square is named after King George III. Initially, the square was a muddy hollow used for slaughtering horses. The square started to get its current look during the 18th and 19th century. The building of the City Chambers is a great example of Victorian architecture.
Gallery of Modern Art and Duke of Wellington Statue
12:30 PM – 12:45 PM
While passing along the Gallery of Modern Art, stop and take a look at the Duke of Wellington Statue.
This is one of the symbols of Glasgow – the statue with its orange traffic cone. The cone was placed here around 1980 by some local residents. The authorities removed it many times, but in vain. It appeared again and again. In the end, the authorities decided to leave it there for good. During my visit to Glasgow, the cone was on the horse’s head.
Lunch at Singl-end
12:45 PM – 02:30 PM
Stop for lunch at Singl-end. It’s a cool place with fantastic cakes and awesome breakfast and lunch options.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
02:30 PM – 04:00 PM
Pass along the building of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The museum is free, so if you are into art, spare some time to see the exhibitions.
If you’re not interested in art, you can visit the Hunterian museum instead. It’s the oldest museum in Scotland (opened in 1807). The museum covers the Hunterian Museum, Hunterian Art Gallery, Zoology Museum and the Mackintosh House. All museums are free of charge (except the Mackintosh House).
If you are in a mood for something sweet after the gallery, go to Tantrum Doughnuts.
Marvel at the University of Glasgow
04:15 PM – 04:45 PM
This place is so magical, that it’s like taken out of the Harry Potter movies.
Stroll in the Botanic Gardens
05:00 PM – 06:00 PM
The Botanic Gardens is the ideal place to finish a day of sightseeing. Take a walk or just sit on a bench and enjoy the sun (if it is sunny). I was very lucky with the weather during the first days of my trip – sunny without a single drop of rain. Something not very common in Scotland.
Finish the itinerary 1 day in Glasgow with a dinner at Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery.
If you love Indian food try Obsession Of India, a great restaurant in the Merchant City.
For fish and chips go to Merchant Chippie.
After sunset, take a walk along the river. There are some spectacular views. I took the photo below from the bridge on Crown St.
Try some Scottish gin
Try some gin at Gin71. If you are into beer, Brewdog Bar is your place.
If you have more than one day in Glasgow, don’t miss to take a guided tour of Celtic Park. It’s one of the biggest football stadiums in Europe.
How many days in Glasgow
Is one day in Glasgow enough?
One day in Glasgow is enough to discover the most popular attractions, including the cathedral, Necropolis and the famous University of Glasgow. Most probably you won’t have time to visit any of the numerous free museums (or maybe only one). So, if you’re a museum lover, you’d better dedicate 2 days.
If you plan to take any day trips to the Scottish Highlands or the famous Stirling Castle, add two extra days to your itinerary.
What if I have less than a day in Glasgow?
In this case, skip the Botanical Garden and Kelvingrove Art Gallery (or Provand’s Lordship). In any case, don’t miss Glasgow Cathedral, Duke of Wellington Statue and the university.
Best time to visit Glasgow
For pleasant weather visit the city from May to September (average temperatures are 20°C/68°F). The busiest months are July and August. You can enjoy endless days (the sun sets at 11 PM) and warm evenings.
However, keep in mind that there is always a chance for rain. So, don’t forget to bring your umbrella.
In August, the World Pipe Band Championships takes place.
If you plan to explore the Scottish Highlands, be aware of the midge plague in the summer. The highland midges are particularly active in August and September. Always bring an insect repellent with you. Or just visit the Highlands in the spring or in the autumn (the weather is great for hiking during these seasons).
Getting around in Glasgow
You can find a map of the itinerary here.
You can easily explore the city centre on foot. Yet, to go to West End (where the famous university and some of the museums are), you’ll probably need to use public transport. It’s about 2km away from the Merchant City.
One option is to take the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus. It’s the easiest way to explore the city, plus the buses are regular.
If you prefer using public transport, there are underground and buses. The First Group buses serve the city of Glasgow.
The underground runs in a double circle around the city centre. In fact, this is the only city in Scotland that has an underground. The latter is named Clockwork Orange because of the colour of the carriages.
How to get to Glasgow
Glasgow has two main train stations – the Central Station and Queen Street Station. Both are located right in the city centre. Check timetables and book train tickets online at ScotRail official site.
If you’re arriving by car, it’s best to choose accommodation with available parking. Another option is to use car parks.
There are two airports – International (GLA) and Prestwick (PIK).
Glasgow International Airport is located 16km west of the city centre. Airport Express is the easiest way to get to the city centre. There are shuttles every 10min and the trip to the city centre is about 20-30min.
Prestwick Airport is 51km away from the city centre. You can reach it by bus or train. For the train option, just take the train directly from the airport to the Central train station. There are 4 trains per hour and the journey time is 45min.
Day trips from Glasgow
If you plan to explore Scotland check out these ideas for awesome day trips from Glasgow. Also, don’t miss to buy the Scotland Explorer Pass to save money.
Loch Lomond is one of the most scenic places near Glasgow. It’s a must-see for every mountain lover. The beautiful lake is one of the largest lakes in Scotland. You can take a cruise, go hiking or explore its picturesque banks.
This Highlands small-group tour is well organized (and it’s the most popular one).
How to get to Loch Lomond
- by car – 45 min via M8 and A82 (see directions)
- by train – take a train from Queen Street Station to Balloch (50 min journey). From there it is about 800m to reach the lake (see more details).
- by bus – Take a bus (CityLink) from Buchanan Bus Station to Loch Lomond (Duck Bay or Luss Village). The trip is about an hour.
Stirling Castle is one of the largest castles in Scotland. Several Scottish rules were born, crowned and died here.
James V constructed the castle for his French wife Mary of Guise. Their daughter Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned in this castle. Only one week old, Mary became a queen after the death of her father in 1542.
The ticket to Stirling Castle gives you free access to Argyll’s Lodging, a lovely 17th-century townhouse. Don’t miss to visit the Church of the Holy Rude on your way to the castle.
How to get to Stirling Castle
- take an organized tour that combines the best of Scotland in one day. You’ll visit Stirling Castle, Scotland’s largest loch and end the day with a whisky tour! See tour’s details and 210+ reviews
- by car – 40 min via M80 (see directions)
- by train – take a train from Queen Street Station to Stirling Station (30 min journey). The castle is an about 1km walk.
- by bus – take a bus (CityLink) from Buchanan Bus Station to Stirling Goosecroft Bus Station (50 min journey). The site is an about 1km walk.
If you’re visiting Scotland, Edinburgh is a must-do. This gorgeous medieval city is the capital of Scotland. And it’s the most beautiful city in the country.
Yet, you’ll need at least 2 days to explore it (check out my travel guide for a long weekend in Edinburgh for more details). For an overnight stay, check out my guide to where to stay in Edinburgh for the first time.
How to get to Edinburgh
- by train – take a train from Queen Street Station to Edinburgh Waverley Station (50 min journey)
- by bus – this is the cheapest way. I used Megabus as they offer the lowest prices (book in advance). Another option is CityLink. Take a bus from Buchanan Bus Station and get off at Edinburgh Bus Station (1:30 hours journey).
Linlithgow Palace was a residence of the Scottish rulers during the 15th and 16th century. It was the birthplace of the last Queen of Scotland, Mary Stuart.
In 1746 the palace was severely damaged by fire. For centuries on end, no one used it. Nowadays only pigeons play hide and seek in the palace’s great halls.
How to get to Linlithgow Palace
To get there, take a train from Queen Street Station to Linlithgow Station (30 min journey). The palace is 300m away from the station.