Accommodation and travel information
The MSP group is located in the University of Strathclyde, on the 13th floor of the Livingstone Tower. The entrance is on the north side of the building, on Richmond Street. The University of Strathclyde is in central Glasgow, near all of Glasgow Queen Street train station, Glasgow Central train station, and Buchanan Bus Station.
The following map shows several key locations (click on the link below the map for a larger picture):
Travelling to Glasgow
By train. See National Rail for trains within the UK. Note that if travelling together with someone, it might be cheaper to get a Two Together railcard (or a 16–25 railcard if you are a (PhD) student). Both Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street Station are within walking distance of the University of Strathclyde (see map above). Trains from London take 4.5 hours. Another option is to travel overnight on the Caledonian Sleeper from London, which arrives in Glasgow just after 7am. If you are arriving from the continent, you can take the Eurostar to London, and then take another train to Glasgow (see The Man in Seat 61 for more information).
By plane. The closest airports are Glasgow International Airport (30 minutes bus connection (bus 500) to George Square), Edinburgh Airport (1 hour bus connection (Citylink Air) to Buchanan Bus Station) and Glasgow Prestwick Airport (40-50 minutes train connection to Glasgow Central).
By car. Parking in Glasgow city centre — where the University of Strathclyde is located — is expensive and hard to find. The cheapest and possibly easiest option is to park and ride.
The city centre is quite compact, so walking is not a bad idea. Otherwise your options are suburban trains, the subway, bikes for hire, buses or taxis. You will need a separate ticket for each mode of transport.
- You can buy train tickets using ticket machines at most stations (if you can't, you can buy them on the train, or before leaving the destination station). Bafflingly, it's sometimes cheaper to buy a return ticket, and even if not, the difference in price is going to be minimal, so you might as well always buy the return. After 9am, you can use a cheaper "off-peak" ticket.
- The Subway is easy to use, but does not reach all parts of the city. A single ticket costs £1.70, and a return £3.20, so you might as well get two singles unless you are sure you are going to return on the subway again.
- Nextbike operates a bike sharing scheme with stations all across the city. You sign up and then rent the bikes using an app on your phone, which will give you a code to unlock them. Without a yearly subscription, the price is £1/30 minutes; this should be enough time to get you to most places in Glasgow, and is the cheapest non-walking option.
- Most buses in Glasgow are operated by First. You will need exact change (typically either £1.65 for a "short journey", or £2.10; you can tell the bus driver where you are going, and they will hopefully tell you the price), or a contactless debit/credit card. It is probably easiest to use Google maps to figure out which bus to get, and when.
- Taxis are reasonably priced in Glasgow. Decent companies include Hampden cars (phone number 0141 332 5050) and Network Private Hire (phone number 0141 557 1110). They both have apps for booking a ride, but there is also Uber in the city.
Medium. A convenient place to stay is the Glasgow City Centre Premier Inn, literally across the road from Livingstone Tower. (There are several Premier Inn locations in central Glasgow; the closest one is "George Square", but several others are also within walking distance.) Other decent hotels nearby include the Z Hotel in North Frederick Street and the Brunswick Hotel in Brunswick Street.
Renting a flat
Here are a few tips for MSP newcomers looking to rent a flat in Glasgow.
Generally, it can be a bit hard to find a place to live in Glasgow, especially for popular areas. Book many viewings, and try to be quick when you find a flat that you like. Viewings are often fully booked one or two weeks in advance, so you might want to start searching before you arrive in Glasgow. Most websites give you the option to receive alerts by e-mail when new ads come up — that is usually a good idea.
Areas. A good rule of thumb is to not look north of the motorway, east of Alexandra Park, west of Whiteinch or south of Mount Florida. The following areas are popular:
West End (Hyndland, Partick, Hillhead, Woodside): Cafes, pubs, cute shops. Kelvingrove Park, the Botanic Gardens the Kelvin walkway are nice green areas. Expensive. Only train, subway or cycle distance to work.
South Side (around Queen's Park, King's Park, Shawlands, Mount Florida): Also lots of cafes and pubs and green spaces (Queen's Park, Pollok Park) around. Not as expensive as the West End. Still only train or cycle distance to work. Some care required, as some streets are nicer than others.
Merchant City: In the city centre. Again expensive, but really close to work! Closest green space is Glasgow Green and the walkway along the river Clyde.
Dennistoun: A mix of pretentious shops, nice cafes and down-to-earth not-so-nice places. Walking distance to work. Glasgow Green and Alexandra Park are the closest parks, but the north-east edge of the city is also reachable from here.
See and do
Glasgow Cathedral: an 800 year old church, with beautiful stained glass windows, less than 10 mins walk away from the venue. Right next door is St. Mungo's museum of religious art and life and Provand's Lordship, the oldest house in Glasgow (the cathedral is not a house, but a building).
The Necropolis: a large cemetery on a hill overlooking the East End of the city. Impressive views, impressive tombstones.
Tennent's Brewery: Tennant's is the most popular beer in Scotland, and its all produced in Glasgow. You can go on a tour, which of course finishes with a tasting session. For a more hipster experience, the Drygate Brewery next door (part-owned by Tennant's) makes a nice selection of craft beers, and also puts on brewery tours.
Glasgow Green: this is Glasgow's oldest public outdoor space, and the larger park closest the city centre. It contains the People's Palace, a kind of socialist museum, and the West Brewery, which is a German-style microbrewery. The river Clyde borders Glasgow Green, and following the riverbank makes for a nice run or walk.
Museums. All museums below are free, except for the House for an Art Lover.
- GoMA: gallery of Modern Art, in the city centre.
- Kelvingrove museum: the top art museum in the UK according to TripAdvisor. Also has some history and natural history, and is set in a nice park. Take the subway to Kelvinhall (or Kelvinbridge, and walk through the park).
- Riverside museum: an award-winning transport museum in an award-winning building. More interesting than it sounds. Take the train or subway to Partick.
- Glasgow Women's Library: a library, but also a museum about women's history, culture and achievements. It was shortlisted for the Art Fund UK museum of the year 2018. Take the train to Bridgeton.
- The Hunterian: the official museum of the University of Glasgow, containing scientific instruments and collections, including a two-headed sheep preserved in alcohol. Take the subway to Hillhead.
- House for an Art Lover: showcasing the architecture and design of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Take the subway to Ibrox.
Whisky distilleries. The following distilleries are more or less in Glasgow, and all offer tours.
- Auchentoshan: the "traditional" Glasgow distillery. Take the train from Queen St to Kilpatrick.
- The Clydeside Distillery: a brand new distillery on the river Clyde. As such, they won't have produced any whiskey of their own for another ten years, but they still offer tours with a tasting of other whiskies at the end. Take the train to Exhibition Centre.
- Glengoyne: situated on the West Highland Way, this feels more like a proper highland distillery. Take the number 10 bus towards Balfron from Buchanon Bus station.