Area Guide: Glasgow

Everything you need to know about living in Glasgow

Glasgow’s rapid growth from small rural settlement to Scotland’s largest city by population shows just how loved the ‘Dear Green Place’ is. In this Glasgow guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the city, where to live and how much it costs to buy a property. We’ll also highlight the city’s best schools, pubs and restaurants, and showcase the area’s superb transport links.

Local area guide
Glasgow city centre

Where is Glasgow?

Glasgow sits on the banks of the River Clyde in Scotland’s West Central Lowlands. The city is 47 miles west of Edinburgh and 96 miles north of England’s third most northerly city, Carlisle.


Is Glasgow bigger than Edinburgh?

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city by population and is certainly bigger than capital city Edinburgh. The population of Glasgow had grown to more than 614,000 by 2021, while an estimated 1.6million people live in the wider Greater Glasgow area.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, had a central population of just under 550,000 at the start of 2021.


Is Glasgow a good place to live?

Glasgow was named the 96th best place to live in the world in 2020.

The city has also picked up many other accolades, including being named the best UK city for millennials in 2019 – ahead of London. Meanwhile, Bearsden on the fringes of Greater Glasgow and city suburb Dennistoun were both named among the best areas to live in Scotland by the Sunday Times.

Glasgow is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Scotland, with the 2011 census revealing 12% of Glaswegians were Asian, African, Black Caribbean or from another minority ethnic group. That figure is certain to have grown in the decade since, while Glasgow’s position as Scotland’s multicultural hub is unrivalled.

Where to live in Glasgow

Whether you’re looking for lively city centre living, or you’re keen to explore its amazing, family-friendly suburbs, Glasgow will have something for you…


The city centre

The city centre of Glasgow isn’t all about bustling nightlife, trendy boutique shopping and urban living. It’s packed full of green spaces, with a whole host of parks, as well as the stunning River Clyde which runs through the middle of the city.


The West End

The West End of the city is Glasgow’s hub of arts and culture. Home to the University of Glasgow, the West End is also superb for boutique shopping and a haven for food and drink lovers.


Shawlands

South of the River Clyde and on the banks of the White Cart Water, Shawlands is a great option for both young professionals and families. With great amenities, superb restaurants and the wide, open space of Queen’s Park, Shawlands really does have it all.

Best places to live in Glasgow
Property for sale in Glasgow

Property for sale in Glasgow: What you’ll find

Glasgow’s rapid growth through the 18th and 19th centuries means the city is home to a huge number of period properties. So, expect to find imposing stone-built Victorian homes in central Glasgow – known as tenements.

Rows of tenements were constructed using red, brown and grey sandstone, are packed with original features and can be found throughout the city and its suburbs.

Elsewhere, Glasgow’s development through the 20th and 21st centuries has seen more and more modern blocks of striking flats and apartments built in the city centre, particularly around the River Clyde, where riverside living is hugely popular with young professionals.


Is it expensive to live in Glasgow?

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Glasgow is 19% less expensive than London, with rents in the city 62% cheaper than in the capital.


Property prices in Glasgow

The average price of a property in Glasgow in the year to July 2021 was £195,757, according to Zoopla – considerably lower than the UK national average and a rise of 12% on July 2020.

Average costs by property type in Glasgow

• Detached house: £335,935
• Semi-detached house: £216,831
• Terraced house: £176,846
• Flat / apartment: £151,886


How much you’ll pay in council tax

A Band A property in Glasgow will cost you just over £1,200* a year in council tax. Common Band C and D properties, meanwhile, cost between £1,600* and £1,850* per year, while the most expensive Band H homes cost just over £4,000*.

*For year April 2021 to March 2022. Prices from glasgow.gov.uk.

Property to rent in Glasgow

Rental properties available in Glasgow range from purpose-built, modern city centre apartments to period tenements and family homes in the suburbs.


Rental prices in Glasgow

The average monthly rent for a property in Glasgow was £929* in July 2021. Buy-to-let investors, meanwhile, can expect healthy yields of between 5% and 7% from rental properties in Glasgow and its suburbs.

*Prices from Home.co.uk, July 2021

Property to rent in Glasgow
The best schools in Glasgow

Schools in Glasgow

Schools in Glasgow regularly top Scottish tables on educational performance. St Denis’ Primary School in Dennistoun tops the list of Glasgow’s best primary schools, according to schoolguide.co.uk, with the rest of the top-10 below…

2. Sacred Heart Primary School
3. St Francis’ Primary School
4. Oakgrove Primary School
5. Alexandra Parade Primary School
6. Garnetbank Primary School
7. St Patrick’s Primary School
8. St Anne’s Primary School
9. St Roch’s Primary School
10. St Mungo’s Primary School

Meanwhile, Notre Dame High School is the highest-rated Glasgow secondary school, followed by:

2. Hillhead High School
3. Holyrood Secondary School
4. Bellahouston Academy
5. St Mungo’s Academy
6. Whitehill Secondary School
7. Springburn Academy
8. St Roch’s Secondary School
9. St Aloysius College
10. Abercorn Secondary School


Is the university of Glasgow prestigious?

The University of Glasgow is ranked among the world’s top-100 higher education institutions and welcomes around 19,000 undergraduate students every year.

Its prestigious alumni include Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, former Liberal Democrat leaders Sir Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy and seven Nobel laureates. More recently, Hollywood actor Gerard Butler and British musician Emeli Sande have graduated from the university.


Glasgow transport links

Glasgow is extremely well connected to the rest of Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.


Glasgow rail links

Trains from Glasgow Queen Street to Edinburgh Waverley arrive in a very commutable 48 minutes, while services to Aberdeen in the north east of Scotland take just over two-and-a-half hours. Direct trains to Manchester Piccadilly from Glasgow Central, meanwhile, take just over three hours, with services to London Euston arriving in five hours.


Glasgow road links

Glasgow is surrounded by a superb motorway network, providing access to all of Scotland’s other major towns and cities.

The M77 runs south to Kilmarnock, while Glasgow sits just to the south of the east/west M8 between Paisley and Edinburgh. The M80 motorway connects Glasgow to Stirling in mid-Scotland, while the M74 and A74(M) link the city with Carlisle in England and the M6 south.

Glasgow’s best restaurants and pubs

Scotland is renowned across the world for its incredible produce and, as you might expect from a major city, Glasgow scores extremely highly when it comes to great pubs and restaurants.


Five of the best pubs

From specialist whisky haunts to gastro pubs and real ale venues, Glasgow has something for everyone when it comes to pubs. Here are five of the best on offer in the city…

1. Drum & Monkey - The Drum & Monkey takes pride of place on St Vincent Street in the city centre. A converted 1920s bank, the venue offers real ales and is a speciality pie house if you fancy a hearty bite to eat.

2. Waxy O’Connor’s - One of the UK’s largest Irish bars, Waxy O’Connor’s can be found right next to Queen Street station. Offering televised sport, classic pub food and more Guinness than Dublin itself, Waxy’s is well worth a visit.

3. Innis & Gunn - If you’re looking for something more modern from your Glasgow pub of choice, Innis & Gunn at Argyle Street Arches is the epitome of ‘cool’. Housed among the old railway arches, Innis & Gunn regularly rotates the beers on offer at Argyle Street, where neon lighting brings out the old, exposed brick work of the arch above.

4. The Belle - What it lacks in size, The Belle in the West End makes up for in atmosphere. The Belle is cosy, but it’s also simple, too – a throwback to the pubs of yesteryear, with an open fire and even stags’ heads on the walls.

5. Phillies of Shawlands - Shawlands is a community – and this is the area’s community pub. With regular guest ales, a pub quiz and great food, Phillies is one of Shawlands’ most popular venues.


Five of the best restaurants

Glasgow is a food-lover’s dream city, thanks to a host of superb restaurants. From fine dining to hearty, classic Scottish dishes, Glasgow has it all…

1. Cail Bruich - Cail Bruich became Glasgow’s first Michelin-starred restaurant in 18 years when it was awarded the honour in 2021. Run by head chef Lorna McNee, Cail Bruich’s tasting menu includes west coast crab, stuffed scrabster turbot and the intriguing ‘Hen of the Woods’.

2. Julie’s Kopitiam - What started as a Malaysian street food pop-up for former Masterchef contestant Julie Lin McLeod has quickly become one of Glasgow’s go-to restaurants. Its popularity forced Julie’s Kopitiam into larger premises in Shawlands in 2019 and its famous side of tatties with peanut dip fuses Scotland and Malaysia perfectly.

3. Kimchi Cult - This Korean eatery was first launched as a stall in London, but now has its own permanent home in the West End of Glasgow. Items on the menu include soy garlic fried chicken and kimchi burgers – simple food packed full of flavour.

4. Bilson Eleven - Found in one of Dennistoun’s oldest tenement buildings, Bilson Eleven takes classic Scottish produce to a new level. The venue’s sample menu includes potato cracker with prawn and charred langoustine tail and highland venison with preserved cherry.

5. Ox and Finch - Fusing the Mediterranean with Scotland through delightful small plates, Ox and Finch’s menu provides incredible flavour at affordable prices. Harissa mackerel, carpaccio of rib eye and peaches and courgette and feta fritters are all recommended, with four plates and one or two sides costing a little over £20.

The best pubs and restaurants in Glasgow
Things to do in Glasgow

Things to do in Glasgow

Glasgow is packed with museums, galleries, parks and culture – all giving an incredible insight into its history as Scotland’s biggest city. For a real look at Glasgow’s rich history, visit the city’s ancient cathedral. It’s been in constant use for more than 800 years and is of huge architectural significance.

The Tall Ship Glenlee, meanwhile, details Glasgow’s heritage as a port city through the 19th century cargo ship that was built in 1896 on the River Clyde. As well as the exhibitions, you can set foot on board and take in the history of an incredible vessel.

Scotland, of course, is famed for its whisky, so no visit is complete without a distillery tour. One of the best is at Glengoyne, 14 miles north of Glasgow, where you’ll learn about the history of the distillery and enjoy a unique tasting experience.

Away from Glasgow’s rich history, shoppers can enjoy retail therapy that truly rivals London. Shopping centres in Glasgow include Buchanan Galleries, which is home to the likes of John Lewis, Next, Hollister, Pandora and Thomas Sabo, and Princes Square, which houses global brands like Vivienne Westwood, Jo Malone and Kurt Geiger.

Silverburn, meanwhile, has more than 100 stores and independent boutiques, as well as a 14-screen cinema.

The annual Glasgow Mela has expanded over more than 30 years to become a huge outdoor event with artists and performers celebrating Indian sub-continent traditions. The Mela is part of the West End Festival – four weeks of street parties, comedy, film, music and family fun, showcasing everything great about the city.

Finally, sport lovers should take in stadium tours of Celtic Park and Ibrox – the homes of Scotland’s two most successful football clubs, Celtic and Rangers. Ibrox is located in the west of the city, north of Shawlands, while Celtic Park is in the Parkhead area to the east of central Glasgow.