In Scotland, there’s this age-old rivalry between the great cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. One the largest, the other the capital, those in the know are fully aware not to ask for sauce at a chippy in Glasgow, just as they know to bite their tongue during ‘Glasgow kiss’ talk in Edinburgh. Of course, it’s merely facetious and all in jest. With both places equally as enticing as the next, here’s everything you need to know and see.
Good food or ‘well tidy scran’ as the Scots say, is a make or break factor when visiting any city. Thankfully, both Glasgow and Edinburgh are overflowing with an abundance of delicious eats, straight from Scotland’s natural larder. From fancy to deli, take your pick and enter into foodie paradise.
The crème de la crème of Edinbrugh’s fine dining scene, The Kitchin is a cut above the rest. This is where to find ‘farm to table’ eats are created with French cooking techniques, all in the comfort of a cool contemporary setting. For a wildly romantic time, The Grain Store is a twinkling culinary utopia overflowing with Scottish produce – cosy little cubbyholes and delicious eats make this place perfect for date night. Valvona & Crolla is a must-visit destination for serious foodies. From fancy meats and cheeses, to pastries and cakes made for nibbling, to addictive coffees, and wines, expect to be happier than a Scot with a case of Irn-Bru.
Lamb Shank | Courtesy Of The Kitchin
Unfathomably cool and perfectly unpretentious, Ubiquitous Chip in the West End is one of the greatest eateries in Glasgow. With multiple seasonal menus, on-point fresh ingredients and exceptionally magical accents (complete with fairy lights and a rooftop terrace), it’s hard to beat. Contemporary and chilled, Roastit Bubbly Jocks offers a fantastic array of Scottish cuisine with a modern international twist. They serve a mean breakfast and source top quality meats, making it great for those seeking extra nosh for their buck. A blissful union of beautiful and delicious, Roots, Fruits and Flowers has it all. From exquisite flowers imported from Holland to fresh bread, fruit, veg and groceries, this little foodie dreamland is the perfect pit stop.
Mini Slider | © unsplash
It’s no lie that every place in Scotland is riddled with history and a colourful past. From castles and cathedrals, to museums and more, make sure to soak it all in.
Overflowing with history and bestowed with secrets, the Castle is an ever-present all-seeing part of Edinburgh. Touring every nook and cranny is a historian’s dream, as is walking down the Royal Mile to explore the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Just make sure to meander off down Edinburgh’s charming closes or alleyways. For a historically accurate depiction of 17th century Edinburgh, The Real Mary King’s Close is the way to go. Tour the underground passageways and learn secrets worth knowing.
Edinburgh Castle | © Craig Cormack Follow / Flickr
An architectural Gothic masterpiece and joy to the soul, Glasgow Cathedral or the High Kirk of Glasgow, St Mungo’s and St Kentigern’s, with its gargantuan stone pillars and arching ceiling, was established by St Mungo in 543 AD. Just a stone’s throw away, The Provand’s Lordship, a house dating back to 1471, is a museum filled with curiosities. Alternatively, Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum is the perfect way to brush up on your history knowledge, especially from Glasgow’s perspective. A beautiful Victorian sandstone building, expect a wonderful selection of natural and Scottish history. Once more, it’s free!
Glasgow Cathedral | © Michel Curi/Flickr
Where To Stay
From hostels and boutique hotels to bed and breakfasts, there’s a whole host of spots in Scotland to lay your heid for the night.
Perhaps the most famous hotel in Edinburgh, The Balmoral Hotel is luxurious and decadent. Bang smack in the city centre, this hotel offers all the finer things in life from spas to Michelin-starred dining. The doormen in kilts are an added bonus. An otherworldly experience, G&V Hotel is a cut above the rest with its ultra swanky contemporary feels and atmospheric décor. Overflowing with arty accents, a kaleidoscope of colours and exquisite eats, this hotel is the epitome of epic.
The Balmoral View Of Edinburgh Castle | Courtesy Of Rocco Forte Hotels
The Glasgow equivalent of The Balmoral, Grand Central has all the bells and whistles of a fancy hotel. Just a step away from Glasgow Central Station and Gallery of Modern Art, this beauty screams indulgence and comfort. Beyond swish and undeniably cool, citizenM is a unique boutique hotel complete with appealing prices. With all the necessary mod cons and welcomed extras dispersed throughout, this fun futuristic looking sleeping den is ideal for the sophisticated hipster.
citizenM | © Richard Powers / Courtesy Of citizenM
Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are graced with an abundance of green spaces beckoning to be traversed. From wild to open, roam free and enjoy the fresh air.
Holyrood Park is a 650-acre patch of green associated with the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse. Situated in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat, this expansive mass of land is popular among fitness fanatics and those craving an invigorating Sunday stroll. A horticultural wonderland, the Royal Botanic Gardens is as beautiful as it is intriguing. From fab spots to eat and tribes of deciduous trees, to Victorian glasshouses, rock gardens and ponds, consider this spot a photographer’s dream, and an ideal place for those in search of peace or an epiphany.
Holyrood Park | © Karen Bryan/Flickr
Just south east of the city, Cathkin Braes is comprised of undulating hilly terrain. Perfect for mountain bikers, hikers and walkers alike, this spot is close to Castlemilk, Fernhill and Burnside and sports stunning views. A sea of flowers and trees, The Botanic Gardens and Kibble Palace are small in size but large in entertainment value. Investigating Kibble Palace, a domed glasshouse, never gets old, with its impressive ferns and distinctive shrubbery.
Kibble Palace | © Paul Stainthorp/Flickr
With a myriad of options, finding a list of must-see attractions in Scotland is a walk in the park. All worthy of a visit, discover the best.
Situated on the Mound, The Scottish National Gallery is a neoclassical building overflowing with some of the greatest and most renowned artworks out there, including pieces by Degas, Rembrandt and Monet. A true cabinet of curiosity, the National Museum of Scotland is sanctuary for every Culture Tripper. The collections are not just for the cultural heritage of Scotland, but the world. From Dolly the Sheep and the Lewis Chessmen, to one of the best mammal collections, not to mention a fashion gallery, prepare to be in a permanent jaw-dropped state.
National Museum of Scotland | © Paul Hudson/Flickr
Those with a discerning eye for creativity can’t help but marvel over Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art. Situated inside the former Stirling’s Library, GOMA is the city’s main spot for contemporary art. Highlights include works from David Hockney, Andy Warhol and John Bellany. A fabulous attraction, The Riverside Museum is packed to the brim with over 3000 objects, including cars, trams, prams, vintage cars, skateboards, locomotives and velocipedes. This genius place offers a glance into Glasgow life from early to mid 20th century.
Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art | © Tony Webster/Flickr
From all types of music and countless clubs, to pubs, bars, theatres and more, the Scots certainly know how to party.
Electric Circus, The Jazz Bar and Sneaky Pete’s are filled with never-ending banter for those in need of a night out for alternative music whereas Sandy Bell’s, one of the world’s most famous folk music venues, is that perfect blend of live music and a traditional pub. For swanky bars and upscale pubs, Tigerlily and Opal Lounge on George Street never disappoint. Theatrically speaking, The Playhouse is the go-to spot for big name musicals and shows, whereas The Festival Theatre and Traverse tend to host more contemporary plays.
Sandy Bell’s | © John Paul Endicott/Flickr
For a never-ending supply of gin, Gin71 will fulfill every juniper-infused desire, whereas The Pot Still is perfect for those with a hankering for a wee dram. For evenings that call for killer outfits all round, gravitate towards The Corinthian or Sugar Cube. Oran Mor is undeniably the space for a plethora of pre-theatre banter. For nights that call for mad times, Bamboo seems to be the club and rite of passage for every Glaswegian.
Cocktails | © sharonang /Pixabay