Gallivanting in Glasgow, Scotland

“To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness.”

 Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587)

After a glorious trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland, the time had come to cross over to Scotland. We had spent the day exploring Belfast, Northern Ireland and took the 3:30pm Ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan. This ferry takes about two and a half hours with an additional two hour drive to Glasgow. The two ferries we took on this trip were so easy to navigate, and a nice way to relax in between our stops by playing cards and enjoying coffee and snacks. The moment we drove off the ferry we were in awe of the Scottish landscape, the mountains, green grass, and sheep were abundant. As soon as we were able, we pulled off on the side of the road to take in the landscape and salty air. Absolutely gorgeous!

Amazing Street Art in Glasgow

The night we arrived in Glasgow we didn’t have much time for sight-seeing, so we went straight to dinner and then the Airbnb (see below). The next morning we woke up early to see ALL of Glasgow in a day- not an easy feat! We started with one of the best breakfasts I had on the trip at The Wilson Street Pantry, and walked around the city that led us to the Glasgow cathedral and Glasgow Necropolis. This cathedral is huge, intricate, and very Medieval. When we walked inside, I was hit in the face with the scent and pollen of fresh flowers. We walked around a bit to see tombs and statues and made our way to the graveyard (The Necropolis) to see the diverse tombstones.

Trivia Question: Do you know the difference between a Graveyard and Cemetery?

See answer at the end of the post.

After meandering through the graveyard we found ourselves on the opposite side of town, and already pretty tired, so we took a taxi down to explore Buchanan Street and George Square on the way to The Lighthouse. At The Lighthouse you can check out local art, eat at the cafe, and climb the Mackintosh Tower- a helical staircase to an outdoor viewing area where you can see across Glasgow. We had some difficulty finding where to climb the tower, as there were not many signs, but it was worth it once we got to the top! We walked around the downtown area listening to street performers and checking out the shops- for postcards of course!

Where to eat:

Our first night in Glasgow we ate at Sapori d’Italia where we met the Meatballs Master and had some of the most amazing pasta! There were two people working in the restaurant- the waitress and the chef a.k.a The Meatballs Master. They were from Naples, Italy and brought the cuisine of their home country to Scotland. We ordered the Meatballs of course, since the Master said they were the best in the world- and Andrew agreed they were the best Meatballs he ever had! We chatted with them throughout the night, and they encouraged us to visit Naples- so we did a few months later!

We had breakfast at The Wilson Street Pantry, where as I mentioned earlier had the best breakfast on the trip! I ordered toast and eggs (so simple, right!?)- but let me tell you they were the best eggs I have ever had! They were so light and fluffy, topped with green onions, with a side of avocado that was topped with salt and lemon oil. I now make my eggs the same way at home and am still not tired of it! On this trip we also tried a ton of local and authentic cuisine, so when the waiter asked us if we had tried Square Lorne sausage yet, we had to order some. We had already tried white pudding, black pudding, and haggis, so why not try another kind of sausage? All of these, even with the unsettling descriptions, were not too bad at all! Would I intentionally order them to eat in the future? That would be a no.

Where to Stay:

We stayed in another great Airbnb in Glasgow– with such a nice place and cool city, we wished we could have stayed longer! It was a bit away from most of the sights, but we were only there for a day so it worked out just fine. If you plant to be in Glasgow for a couple days, I would stay near the downtown area- any where near Buchanan or George street.

Pit-stop between Glasgow and Edinburgh:

The Tower at Lochleven Castle

There is just so much to see and do everywhere along the route from Glasgow to Edinburgh, so on the day we left Glasgow we stopped at the Lochleven Castle to take in the sights of one of Scotland’s oldest Towers (1300s) where Mary Queen of Scots was once held prisoner in 1567, and later escaped. This pit-stop is about 60 minutes from Glasgow and 50 minuets from Edinburgh; if you decide to drive straight from Glasgow to Edinburgh it is a little over an hour drive. Lochleven Castle is on an Island so you must take a boat to access the castle, there is limited capacity on the boats so it is suggested you reserve your £9 ticket in advance. We purchased our tickets the day-of with no issues. When you arrive you can ask the timing of the tours, which run every half hour or so. We were dropped off on the island and had plenty of time to explore the castle, and walk along several trails. We jumped on the next boat that came to island back to the mainland, so we were there for about an hour.

Things still on the list:

With so much to see and do, we obviously were not able to make it to everything. Here are a couple other stops I wanted to make:

  • The Bothwell Castle is an 18 min drive from Glasgow and 60 minute drive to Edinburgh.
  • Stirling, Scotland is home to the Wallace monument, 2 abbeys, a Castle and is 37 minutes from Glasgow and 60 minutes from Edinburgh.

I cannot wait to head back to Scotland! I already have a plan to visit the southern part of Ireland and the Northern part of Scotland to hike, and visit Nessie and Distilleries, on a trip in the future! Where would you make a pit-stop between Glasgow and Edinburgh?

Trivia Answer: The words Graveyard and Cemetery are often used interchangeably, however they are a bit different from each other: a graveyard is a burial ground on the same premise/land as a church and ran by the church, cemeteries are privately owned and are not attached to places of worship.

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