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Know before you go: A practical guide to visiting Glasgow

Glasgow is open and ready to welcome you back.  Some may feel apprehensive about heading out and about again for the first time but our favourite places are safe, ready and eager to welcome you back! #GlasgowIsOpen

Many of the city’s bars, restaurants, shops and attractions are back up and running and each will have their own health and safety measures in place but here we’ve outlined just a few things you may find useful to know before you go.

1. Stay safe.  Protect yourself and others

We want everyone to have safe and enjoyable experiences so please be kind and be patient as we all get used to things being a bit different. And remember the Scottish Government’s five FACTS that will help all of us stay safe and protect each other.

In Scotland, it’s a legal requirement for people to wear face coverings (unless exempt) in shops and on public transport and in enclosed spaces where physical distancing is more difficult.  You do not need to wear face coverings in cafes, coffee shops, restaurants or pubs. 

Face coverings don’t have to be drab, why not support a local Glasgow maker and buy one from  Slanj Kilts or Braw Wee Emporium, just a couple of Glasgow-based companies designing their own. 

2. Plan ahead for your visit

Simple measures such as avoiding peak times when travelling and checking ahead that the shops, bars, restaurants and venues you plan to visit are open, can help ensure a more enjoyable experience.

Remember, right now some bars and restaurants may require advance booking for their indoor and outdoor spaces. Look out for those restaurants participating in the UK Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.  From August 3 – 31, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday you can get a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to dine or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 per diner).  Restaurants across the city that have already signed up to the initiative include Ox and Finch, Kilmurry and Co, Mharsanta, Drygate and Black Sheep Bistro.  The full list of participants in Glasgow is available to search on the UK Government’s website.  

Shops are limiting numbers, introducing one-way systems and may have changed their opening hours.  

Queuing means getting into or around a venue may take longer so please be patient and make sure you leave yourself plenty of time. 

3. Getting here and getting around  

As some local transport providers still have reduced capacities, why not consider new and alternative ways in which to travel into and around the city.

Glasgow Subway car parks are now open so why not park the car and either walk or cycle into the city?  The city centre is only a 15-minute walk from Bridge Street or just 30 mins from Shields Road.  You’ll also find Nextbike hire at each of the stations and up until August 24, your first 30 minutes are free.   

Should you wish to drive into the city, the car parks at St Enoch Centre and Buchanan Galleries shopping malls are now open.  Alternatively, hop in a Glasgow Taxi.  Their cabs are sanitised, safe and offer contactless payment.

First Bus has increased services on selected routes and to allow people to make safer decisions on travel, they also have a new app that allows customers to track their next bus and view how many passengers are currently on board. ScotRail have also introduced their five rules for safer travel. 

Glasgow City Council's Spaces for People programme has been developed to give pedestrians and cyclists more space to roam in the city centre and encourage more active travel.  The widening of footpaths and the introduction of a one-way pedestrian system on Buchanan Street and Argyle Street are just some of the temporary measures put in place.  Others include pop-up cycle lanes on Cumberland Street, London Road and Gorbals Street and more cycle parking installed in George Square. 

4. Support local Glasgow businesses

Our experiences may be a little bit different which makes it the perfect time to reconnect with Glasgow and support the city’s amazing local businesses.

Look out for businesses that are part of the new ‘Good to Go’ scheme, a UK-wide industry standard designed to give consumers confidence and allow businesses to demonstrate they are adhering to government and public health guidance and have correct protocols in place.


For ideas and inspiration on how to enjoy and experience the city at the moment, check out our Glasgow Now section for articles on shopping, dining out, virtual Glasgow, local neighbourhoods and more.


Article last updated July 2020