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Student City Guide: Glasgow 2022
6 min

Student City Guide: Glasgow 2022

Apr 8, 2021
6 min

a high altitude shot of a building in Glasgow
Hunting for the coolest places in Glasgow? Our list of the best things to do has it all.

Glasgow started out as a small rural settlement residing on the River Clyde and now is the largest seaport and the largest city in Scotland. It is now one of Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.
With top tourist destination attractions with a rich history such as the Glasgow Cathedral and George Square & the Merchant District, alongside being best British shopping destination outside of London, Glasgow has become the 4th most visited city in the UK.

Why study in Glasgow?

  • The data published by the Scottish government tells us that each year more than 48,000 international students from more than 185 countries come to study in Scotland. Getting admitted as international students in the Scottish higher education institutions will benefit you with many sources and parties: the students, the local economy, and the educational institutions themselves.
  • UKCISA states the profits from the international fee allow the colleges and universities to re-invest that money in additional assets in order to offer specialized courses which would not be possible for the UK student market alone.
  • Glasgow is a world-class education destination, home to many famous universities and two of them are in the top 300 QS World University Rankings 2021. One of them is The University of Glasgow ranked 65th is one of the oldest universities in the world having been founded over 500 years ago.. The other one is University of Strathclyde which is ranked 277th, well known for research and development, high subject rankings and strong bond with employers.
  • Glasgow the world’s friendliest city in 2016 by Readers of Rough Guides. So, making friends will get easier. Plus, there are many socializing options scattered over the city in the form of events, exhibitions and museums. Students from all nationalities and cultures will love Glasgow. Not convinced? Well, Glasgow is also ranked in the world’s top 40 best cities for students.
  • Are you a sportsperson? If Glasgow would have been a person, you would become best friends in an instant. Glasgow offers academic paths for athletes to conquer along with providing some of the best sporting facilities in the UK. There’s even a dedicated sports school.

Praising Glasgow could go on, but let’s now move on the important details.


Glasgow is an energetic and vibrant city brimming with rich culture, personality and extraordinary experiences. Regardless of whenever you visit, this city will never fail to surprise you with its stunning architecture, dynamic food and drink scene, excellent visitor attraction, friendly natives and prominent nightlife.

Admire Glasgow’s stunning architectural heritage

This city is home to many of the architectural heritage ranging right from the medieval age to modern. One can find “The Glasgow Cathedral”, one of the oldest and most famous cathedrals of Scotland to the Neo-Gothic University of Glasgow- also gossiped to be the inspiration behind Harry Potter’s Hogwarts- to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s well known Art Nouveau.

The city is home to some of the best world class attractions

Home to some of Europe's significant civic art collections, this city has a perfect blend of excellent museums, galleries and outstanding visitor attractions including the well-known Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Art gallery and several others, which are FREE to visit. Some of the other hidden gems include the Britannia Panopticon- the oldest music hall in the world, the Tenement House- experience early 20th-century Glasgow life.

There’s plenty of entertainment to keep you hooked

Glasgow is a UNESCO approved city of Music which hosts many legendary music scenes with many esteemed independent venues including King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and the Barrowlands. Apart from this, Glasgow also houses Scotland's national performing arts organisations like the Scottish Ballet and the National Theatre of Scotland.

Explore the work of Glasgow’s architect and designer “Charles Rennie Mackintosh”

No tour to the city is complete without exploring the works of the pioneering Glaswegian designer “ Charles Rennie Mackintosh.” From the newly renovated Mackintosh at the Willow, to the stunning Mackintosh House- which has its interiors collected from his original home.

Glasgow- “A Shopaholic’s Promised Land”

Glasgow is nirvana on earth if you are into shopping. Explore the lanes of the western neighbourhood to find some quirky old age second-hand vintage pieces and some independent boutiques, the southern path is full of some dainty locally crafted goods, and the eastern road hosts some of the best weekend markets of the city. Some of the famous streets of the town include Merchant city’s Ingram Street where you could find some of the rare exclusive fashion brands and Buchanan Street is famously known for its shopping malls.

What you should know before moving to Glasgow?


Scotland has a hodge-podge number of accents.  The variation of accents is an indication of geographic identity and social status. The accent varies significantly even from neighbouring villages. In general, some Scots speak with a thick accent while the rest sound more English. This can be a problem for you in social situations but don’t worry, the people of Scotland are among the most friendly people on the planet.

Love-Hate relationship?

Ever been in a love-hate kind of relationship? Well, the Scots have that kind of relationship with the weather. Why? Because you may have to face all the seasons on the same day.

No Free Refills

Scotland doesn’t dish out free drinks refills which most Americans must find weird. But there are a few exceptions such as Pizza Hut and a few others.

Get ready to be Bugged?

When midge season arrives, be prepared to be slapping your own arms and legs like mad while the wee buggers come to take a stroll near you. So, be sure to pack a repellent. Other than that, there is certain checklist which needs to be ticked off such as  VISA, English proficiency tests and other legal documentation.

Cost of living

Here are the approximate costs of the basics you need to spend upon:

Food – £200

Entertainment and social activities – £100

Travel (local) – £33

Clothes and toiletries – £60

Other expenses e.g. haircut – £40

Note: Glasgow is 151.52% less expensive than in London.

a chart showing the cost of living of students in Glasgow

Universities in the city

By now, you must know that the two best universities in Glasgow are The University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde at joint 277th.

The University of Glasgow

Along with being the 4th oldest English speaking University world, The University of Glasgow is among the big four ancient ones in Scotland along with the universities of Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Aberdeen in Scotland. It was founded in 1451 by papal bull (a papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church).

James Wilson, a founding father of the United States is a former alumnus of this University. Engineer James Watt, philosopher and economist Adam Smith, seven Nobel laureates, and three British Prime ministers and more all hail from the University of Glasgow. You can too join in on this list. 28,615 students studied at the University of Glasgow according to the  2016/17 data out of which there were 20,420 undergraduates and 8,195 postgraduates. The University of Glasgow is also associated with the big ones in the education world- Commonwealth Universities, Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, PEGASUS (The Partnership of a European Group of Aeronautics and Space Universities), The Russell Group and  Universitas 21.

The undergraduate tuition fee ranges from *1820 GBP to 16350 GBP* across four colleges: College of ArtsCollege of Medical, Veterinary and Life SciencesCollege of Science and EngineeringCollege of Social Sciences

University of Strathclyde

Second in the list is the second-oldest university in Glasgow is also a public research university like the former. Its former name was the Andersonian Institute, founded in 1796 and also is the UK’s first technological university. The University of Strathclyde was once ranked as the ‘Entrepreneurial University of the year' by Times Higher Education. A/Q TO 2016/17 date the total number of students enrolled in the university reached 22,955 with 15,590 undergraduates and 7,365 postgraduates.

The undergraduate tuition fee starts from 1820 GBP across the following Faculties & departments:

  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Humanities & Social Sciences (HaSS)
  • Faculty of Science
  • Strathclyde Business School

Other than these two there are other well known institutions in Glasgow such as the Glasgow Caledonian University and the Glasgow school of art.

total number of students in major universities in Glasgow


When it comes to students living in Glasgow there are 2 types of accommodation on-campus and off-campus.


Students will be able to embed themselves in their college experience by living on-campus. They have different types of rooms from single rooms and shared rooms to ensuites to 1 bedroom apartments.


PBSA stands for purpose-built student accommodation, which is developed and constructed by private developers exclusively for university students. Living in a PBSA has a number of benefits. Typically, all utility bills are included in the rent, and some even provide laundry service, lowering your monthly expenses even further.

HMO stands for "House in Multiple Occupation." A residence with 'common spaces' used by several households is referred to as a 'home of multiple occupancies' in British English. College or university students reside in dorms, sometimes known as dormitories. In dorm rooms, bunk beds are standard. There are two, three, four, or even six beds available.

En-suites: These rooms have a bedroom area and a private bathroom. However, you do not have access to your kitchenette or cooking facilities. In the ensuite room, all of the residents share a kitchen.

Non-en-suites: Here, you'll get your room with a communal bathroom. It's not quite the same as having your bathroom. You'll have a bed and a safe place to sleep, but you'll have to share the bathroom with one or more of your housemates.

Studios: The main section serves as a study, living room, and bedroom, with a bathroom and toilet separate.

Generally, on-campus accommodations are limited in number and also relatively expensive as compared to off-campus accommodations and also have restrictions in place. Most international students applying for higher studies opt for off-campus accommodation to save extra Rental Costs as this is a major part of the total living expense.

Security is an important aspect of choosing an accommodation. Some housing societies provide additional security by gating its premises and prohibiting entry to outsiders. Automatic burglar alarms are also an additional feature you can look for safety.


Glasgow is a great location if you want to explore the rest of the UK as well. It’s just a 20-minutes drive from the city centre to the nearest airport. So, flying away to nearby countries for a trip is as easy as it gets.

Glasgow is one of the closely packed cities in Scotland where you can get anywhere on foot. However, there are quite a few public as well as private transportation options which you can check out for travelling around Glasgow.

Buses and trains are available frequently at discounted tickets available for students. A student bus pass can cost you approximately £330 and will grant you unlimited travel around Glasgow every day of the academic year.

1. Bus

Among the other major bus operators, “First Glasgow” is considered to be the principal bus operator in the city which offers regular bus service. However, there are also other major bus operators who also run bus services in the city. Here are the names of the other major bus operators: Stagecoach Glasgow, Glasgow City Bus and McGill’s Bus Services.

You can buy a bus ticket directly while boarding the bus provided that you have the exact change required. However, purchasing a ZoneCard would be a conveniently good option if you plan on using public transport regularly.

One day pass (For Bus, Train and subway): £2.70

Single Adult ticket (To any station): £1.40

Yearly pass (For Bus, Train and subway): £450

Monthly pass (For Bus, Train and subway): £50

2. Subway

The Glasgow subway is an easy way to get around the city quickly. Its route is on just one big circuit around the City Centre and West End of Glasgow with 15 stations to stop at. Glasgow’s subway is the 3rd oldest underground railway in the world. It covers only a single circular route with just 15 stations on the way. One could buy a regular single ticket, but purchasing a day ticket would be a better option. Fares of the Subway are the same as that of the city bus.

3. Train

Glasgow Queen Street station links Glasgow by rail to Edinburgh and north while the Glasgow central station operates routes mainly to the South.  Buying an SPT(Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) roundabout ticket will give you free unlimited access to travel by train for a day. These tickets can be purchased through either SPT travel centres or ScotRail.

4. Taxi

Glasgow taxis is a distinctive black 5-6 seaters cab which operates in and around the city. The Glasgow taxi drivers are one of the friendliest drivers one could come across. You could flag down the taxi only if the taxi’s yellow light is one.

Note: Be aware of the fake ruby-coloured Glasgow Taxis.

Rates: One could get across the city for £6. Credit card payments are accepted for Glasgow Taxis.

Popular areas for students


Finnieston is your best bet if you need a prime location near the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde. It is also located at the centre of the main shopping district, the River Clyde and Kelvingrove Park which means you’ll never be short of anything you require. But on the downside, you’ll have to bear the higher cost of rent.


A fashionable place located at the West End filled with restaurants, pubs and bars. Hillhead is just a few minutes walk away to the University of Glasgow. Because of the demand for this place, the rent prices in Hillhead are among the highest for a student in Glasgow.

City Centre

City centre gets you main shops, supermarkets, transport hubs, bars and restaurants all on your doorstep. With that comes high rent, but on the bright side you will have all of the benefits of city-centre living.


Looking for a cheaper place to stay and has a lot going for it. It is a good location for students going to the University of Glasgow. It is filled with supermarkets and some great pubs and local shops too should you need.

Patrick and Denistoun are some other good places to stay. Now that you have selected on a place, you need to select the right accommodation. Some of the best student accommodation in Glasgow are:

Firhill Court

Firhill Court is the budget friendly property which starts at only £99/week. The city centre, University of Glasgow and campuses are just a short walk away. Firhill Court has all the latest amenities to make your stay comfortable and easy with number of flats having 4 to 6 en-suite bedrooms configuration to boast about.

Merchant Studios

All of the room configurations are studios as mentioned in the name. “21st century living for students”, this description is synonymous with Merchant Studios. What’s even better is that the  University of Strathclyde and the city of Glasgow are just a 5 minutes walk away. And, the University of Glasgow can be reached easily via the subway.

Best Restaurants in Glasgow

Glasgow is a bustling, lively city with an enormous variety of restaurants to choose from. With such a wide range to choose from, selecting a particular restaurant can be somewhat daunting. But worry not! Here is our pick on the town’s very best and finest dining restaurants.

1. Hanoi Bike Sho

Craving for some Vietnamese cuisine? Then HANOI BIKE SHOP has to be your to-go restaurant. Located in the cobbled Ruthven Lane, this Vietnamese restaurant has the honour of being first of its kind in Glasgow. The restaurant's interior is beautifully decorated with old bicycle tyres on the walls, trendy stools and multi-coloured lanterns. With no distinct courses, the visitors are encouraged to share the dish between the two. Food is bought dish by dish when it is ready, keeping the customers on their toes.

2. Gusto Glasgow

Awesome food in an equally outstanding setting! Located in Sauchiehall Street Area, Gusto, an Italian restaurant serves one of the most exquisite Italian cuisines in the whole of Glasgow. With its impressive European interior and delicious varieties of Italian food, this is the ultimate way to get a taste of Italy right here in Glasgow.

3. Bread Meats Bread

Nothing can win against a deliciously juicy burger, and as such, burgers are the first thing we reach out to when arriving in a new town! Located in the centre of Glasgow’s ‘burger district’, Bread Meats Bread is home to Glasgow’s finest burgers. Award-winning burgers, a well-considered menu, distinctive urban interiors and relaxed surroundings keep dinner coming back for more. Try out their classic Cali burger, filled with mustard fried beef patties and overflowing sauces which surely has to be the showstopper!

4. Horn Please

A real gem tucked away in the west end of Glasgow’s city centre; Horn Please serves some of the unique Indian cuisine combinations. With a combination of rustic yet colourful furnishing, exposed brickwork and a unique India cuisine concept, this restaurant has gained quite a fame. Some of the must-try dishes include Chicken tikka served with fenugreek sauce, Indian tapas and mouth-watering varieties of cocktails.

Note: Advance table booking is highly recommended.Happy eating!

Best Pubs and Bars in Glasgow

Whether you want to simmer down and enjoy a quiet drink or party the whole night, these are the best places to do it.

1. McChuills

Adhering to traditions this is also a popular venue for live music. This pub is a go-to place for Celtic. From students to locals, this pub has a mixed crowd. And a mixed variety of beers from around the world. If you still want to do something after you get dizzy, there’s a pool table in the corner too.

2. Bar Bloc

Bar Bloc has had a renovation and has now become a cool venue showcasing local live music everything from electronic and hip-hop to indie and acoustic. Sunday nights are filled with open mic events for you to enjoy and is open until 3 in the morning.

3. Bon Accord

This 40-year-old pub is a den for true drinkers. Despite its age, this pub is still going strong as because Bon Accord offers the best selection of ales and whiskies.

4. Stereo

This one is one of Glasgow’s favourites. Stereo has a friendly vibe to it and offers you an extravagant vegan menu and is never a quiet moment because there’s always live music to hymn to

Gin 71, Drum and Monkey, The Admiral, Nice & Sleezy and Variety are some of the other places you should look into on your drinking journey.

Five essential Glasgow Apps

1. Next Bike

Next Bike offers you access to more than 20 different pick up/drop off points throughout the city. All you need to do is simply register your bank account details and you will be charged on the basis of the amount of time that you choose to use the bike. It will cost you just £1 for every half hour, and £10 for 5 to 24 hours of rental.

2. Uber

People generally use taxis around the city. Uber will help you easily book taxis throughout the city at a reasonable cost.

3. Parkopedia

Parking in Glasgow itself can be a tough challenge as Glasgow is very short on parking spaces. Parkopedia will help you with facing this challenge head on. This app will allow you to find free and paid parking spots by your real-time location along with listing the opening hours, pricing and space availability with a direction guide as well.

4. Global Movie Trails

Everyone loves movies. But what if you could enjoy it more? Scotland is home to a rich film history and Global Movie Trail offers interactive tours around film with interesting facts about the film, locations and questions to keep the experience engaging and educate the audience at the same time.

5. Scotland’s Pubs and Bar – A Story to Tell

It's obvious you’ll be hanging out at pubs and bars when you are in Glasgow. Everyone loves stories. And, now with this app you can hear a locl lore about the pub/bar while you sip away the beer with this app.

Career development

Besides attracting about 2.3 million tourists every year, the Scottish town of Glasgow is not only famous for its artistic heritage and history buffs alike but also for their education options. With home to some of the UK’s best educational universities living off alone in the city with a limited amount of money to spare is not an easy task to work with. With a constantly increasing demand for jobs and an average Glasgow salary ranging to about £34,057, here are some of the popular part-time options which can help you go a long way in your future career:

Retail Sector

With no particular criteria to fulfil, the Marketing Sector has turned out to be is one of the most common and popular part-time roles that most of the students go for. Getting into the retail sector will not only increase your practical knowledge, but you can also earn an average of £9.38 per hour, which is definitely not a bad catch in any way.

Market yourself

With an average hourly pay of £26.10, this is definitely the highest paying sector. If you are keen on how the market works and enjoy marketing on the whole then has to be the perfect job for you.


Want to look sharp and tough while doing a job? With an average hourly pay of £11.45, “bouncer” is also an excellent part-time option that you can go for.

Do a good deed.

Students working in the social care services sector can earn an average of £11.25 per hour. It might not be the highest paying part-time job, but it is definitely one of the best.

If you are looking to commit to a career, then Glasgow is not short on opportunities. The demand for jobs is continuously increasing with IT, Healthcare & Nursing jobs. The cash flow is also increasing as well. Every year, salaries have gone up by 10.8% in Glasgow while the national annual change is only 2.2%. So, landing a job in Glasgow is one of the biggest reasons why you should pursue your studies in Glasgow.

Besides that, with amazing landscapes are at your doorstep, an entertaining nightlife, architecture with a rich history and much much more, Glasgow is one of the best places waiting for you to be lived in.