It’s been a while since I shared a foodie destination on the blog, so today I wanted to take a trip down memory lane and talk about Glasgow! Sam and I have been to Glasgow twice on two separate trips to Scotland, and both visits were dominated by the city’s spectacular food scene.
Yes, we also made time to check out some of the city’s top attractions, but for the most part, we were happy to go from cafe to restaurant, to tea house, to distillery, to bar.
With so much to eat and drink (yet so little time), I decided to take some of my favourite experiences and combine them into the perfect Glasgow itinerary for foodies. Enjoy!
Glasgow Foodie Itinerary
Brunch at Le Petit Cochon
For your first day in the city, we’ll kick things off with a leisurely brunch – just in case you’re feeling the effects of jet lag or you just want to enjoy a lazy morning lie-in.
Since today’s itinerary is partly focused on the city’s west end, I would go with breakfast at Le Petit Cochon. You can enjoy feta, avocado and poached egg on sourdough, or opt for a full breakfast complete with sausage, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, and thyme roasted plum tomatoes with toast.
They are also conveniently located near your first attraction.
Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
From there, it’s mere footsteps to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum set in Kelvingrove Park. This art gallery and museum has one wing dedicated to art and another wing dedicated to science, and it’s very easy to lose a few hours viewing the exhibits and also admiring the building’s architecture.
Some highlights include the Floating Heads installation featuring over 50 floating heads that depict emotions ranging from laughter to sorrow, the Spitfire LA198 soaring above the animals in the West Court, and the Kelvingrove Organ which gets played in daily recitals Monday-Saturday at 1:00 pm and on Sunday at 3:00 pm.
And did I mention that this museum is completely free of charge?
Tour the University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is well worth a visit even if you’re no longer a student. This is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities dating back to 1451!
Many of the buildings on campus are designed in the Gothic revival style giving it some serious Harry Potter vibes and though the movies were not filmed on campus, one has to wonder whether they offered a bit of inspiration.
Don’t miss the cloisters if you do decide to visit!
Enjoy lunch at Drygate Brewing
For a taste of Glasgow’s craft beer scene, we visited Drygate Brewing, the only Microbrewery operating in the historic heart of Glasgow. Set in a former box assembly and screenprinting factory that dates back to 1964, this industrial building has been completely transformed into an urban gathering place.
If you’re keen to learn more about their brewing process, you can sign up for their “Behind the Glass Tour” which lasts one hour and includes a guided tasting of 4 of their beers. Or alternatively, you can just go for lunch and enjoy their beer.
I ordered their jerk ox cheek sandwich board with smoked cheddar, the house slaw, and watercress. I was given the choice between sourdough and ciabatta and I just had to assemble the ingredients at the table. It was simple but delicious, and the ox had a consistency similar to pulled pork. I paired this with a side order of truffle mac and cheese which was simply divine. Seriously, I came for the beer but enjoyed the food so much more than I thought I would!
As for my favourite beer, that would be the Disco Forklift Truck, a pale ale that was fruity and tropical thanks to someone’s genius idea to add mango juice.
Another thing to note is that Drygate Brewing is open for major sporting & cultural events which are shown on giant cinema screens – just in case you happen to be in town during a big football match.
Tour Glasgow Distillery Company
Another fun thing we did in the city was tour Glasgow Distillery Company. Glasgow was once home to hundreds of distilleries until the Depression and Prohibition-era led to their closures, but today they are making a comeback.
Our tour included a tasting of Makar Gin – an award-winning gin and the first gin to be distilled in the city of Glasgow! Tours must be booked in advance.
Have dinner at Gamba
Gamba is a restaurant located in Glasgow’s city centre and they specialize in fresh, local and sustainable seafood with a Scottish twist.
If you only order one thing, make it the seared king scallops with Stornoway black pudding, celeriac puree and pancetta crumbs. Your tastebuds will thank you for it!
They also have an extensive gin menu; I tried Daffy’s with a fresh mint and lime garnish. Yum.
Have afternoon tea for breakfast at the Willow Tea Rooms
The Willow Tea Rooms are renowned for their afternoon tea, but you can actually order it any time of day, so why not breakfast?
You can choose between a traditional afternoon tea set or a savoury afternoon tea set. We went for the traditional, which featured a 3-tiered tray with homemade sandwiches, scones served alongside clotted cream and jam, and a choice of pie, cake or tart.
Not a bad way to kick off the morning, if you ask me!
Visit the Duke of Wellington Statue
This is one of those statues that makes no sense unless you know the back story. I mean, why would the Duke of Wellington be wearing a traffic cone on his head?
It all started back in the 1980s when a traffic cone started appearing on the statue’s head. It’s believed that a drunk student decided to scale the Duke of Wellington statue after a night out, and although Glasgow City Council tried to remove the cone many times, it was only a matter of days before it would reappear. So the cone became a permanent fixture.
The first time I visited Glasgow there was only a cone on the duke’s head, but by the time I went back again a few years later, a second cone had appeared on the horse!
Wander through the Gallery of Modern Art
The building directly behind the Duke of Wellington statue is the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), which focuses on contemporary works by both Scottish and international artists. It’s not a huge museum, so it’s easy to drop by for a quick visit. They also have a cafe if you feel like you need a quick mid-morning coffee.
Have lunch at The Crafty Pig
Then, for a casual yet mouth-watering lunch, I would suggest The Crafty Pig. They’re all about slow-cooked smokey BBQs, chicken wings and classic burgers. We’ve eaten there are few times and always love it.
In my opinion, you just cannot go wrong with their pulled pork sandwich and chilli cheese fries. And let’s not forget their shakes: peanut butter, spiced chocolate malt, cookies and cream, you name it! Did I mention you can make them boozy shakes by adding sweet liqueurs? How could we not add this place to our Glasgow itinerary for foodies?!
Stroll through Glasgow Botanic Gardens
I always enjoy visiting parks and gardens when I travel, so in Glasgow, we took the opportunity to wander around Glasgow Botanic Gardens. We did get a bit of rain during our visit, but used this as an opportunity to step into the glasshouses; the most famous of these is the Kibble Palace, a 19th-century wrought iron framed glasshouse that has sculptures sprinkled in between the vegetation.
The gardens are open from 7:00 am to dusk all year, with the glasshouses opening from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (4:15 pm in winter), and entry to all areas is free of charge.
Have Dinner at Porter & Rye
For a fancy meal out in Glasgow, we went to Porter & Rye, a high-end steakhouse in the Finnieston area.
Seeing as they specialize in dry-aged meats, we decided to order aged steaks for the first time: a 50-day aged steak and a 120-day aged steak. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised. Beef ageing is a process that results in the concentration of the meat’s natural flavour, plus it also helps achieve a very tender cut of meat. We paired this with a bone marrow macaroni and cheese that was creamy, buttery and out of this world!
Start the day with Breakfast at Cafe Gandolfi
On our last morning in Glasgow, we went to Cafe Gandolfi for breakfast. This is a well-known establishment that has been around for over 30 years and it was packed – always a good sign of good food to come!
I got the Gandolfi Vegetarian Breakfast, which was a fun twist on the traditional Full Scottish Breakfast, swapping meat for mushrooms and halloumi cheese. It also had classic items like tomatoes, potato scones, beans and eggs, plus a side of sourdough toast. It was hearty and exactly what I needed for another fun day sightseeing around Glasgow.
If you’re more of a sweet breakfast person, they also have french toast, pancakes, porridge and Swiss-style muesli bowls to choose from.
Explore street art in The Barras
The Barras is a street and indoor weekend market in Glasgow’s East End. The word “barra” is Glaswegian dialect for “barrow” relating to the market’s early days when vendors sold items from handcarts.
Today it’s a place where you can find lots of cool murals and street art. While in this area, we hit up Barras Art and Design (BAaD), a multifunctional space that’s home to small independent shops and a restaurant but also doubles as a concert and events venue.
Have lunch at A’Challtainn
For lunch, we ate at A’Challtainn, a restaurant and cocktail bar located in the heart of BAaD in the Barras. A’Challtainn means “the hazel wood” in Gaelic, and they specialize in Scottish fish and shellfish dishes.
I ordered the squid ink risotto with sea bass, which was creamy and delicious. I also tried Sam’s roasted red pepper pearl barley risotto with zucchini, eggplant and sea bass – another excellent choice!
I loved the design of this space, the presentation of each plate, but most importantly, the food was outstanding.
Step inside Glasgow Cathedral
From there, it was just a skip and a hop to Glasgow Cathedral, sometimes also referred to as St Mungo’s Cathedral. This is both the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland and the oldest building in Glasgow. It was dedicated in the year 1136, but most of the building dates back to the 15th century. It’s considered to be a great example of Gothic architecture, so make sure to add it to your Glasgow itinerary.
Visit the Glasgow Necropolis
Just a few steps from the cathedral, you have Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery that sits on a hill. The tombs and mausoleums you see here were designed by prominent architects of the day, and if you don’t find cemeteries too spooky and morbid, you can join a tour!
Enjoy dinner at The Finnieston
This restaurant is set in a historic building that dates back to the early 1800s when it was used as a drovers’ tavern. Over the years it has also housed a cabinet-making workshop, a hotel, and even a dairy farmer and his cattle.
The Finnieston specializes in Scottish seafood in gin and they have over 60 different varieties of gin to pair with your meal. You can order things like beer-battered haddock with hand-cut chips, a Scottish seafood stew with fish and shellfish, and the catch of the day with garlic butter.
We were feeling adventurous and tried oysters for the first time – no lemon juice or Tabasco sauce needed!
Where to stay in Glasgow
If you’re only in Glasgow for a few days, I would recommend booking a place in the centre of town so you’re not too far removed from the action.
Grasshoppers Hotel Glasgow
Z Hotel Glasgow
I typically also include hostels as a more budget-friendly option, but the few hostels in Glasgow don’t have the best reviews. Another budget-friendly alternative is booking an AirBnB – you can browse rates here.
Now you’re all set to enjoy the perfect foodie weekend in Glasgow!