What You Need To Know

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and the third largest in the United Kingdom (after London and Birmingham). Historically part of Lanarkshire, it is situated on the River Clyde in the country’s West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as Glaswegians.

Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become the largest seaport in Britain. Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, it became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain’s main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.

With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded rapidly to become one of the world’s pre-eminent centres of chemicals, textiles and engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. Glasgow was the “Second City of the British Empire” for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period, although many cities argue the title was theirs.

Area: 67.76 mi²
Population: 598,830

Currency

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  • The currency of Scotland is the GBP Pound (£)
  • One pound is comprised of 100 pence and coins can be obtained in 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 denominations. Bank notes are commonly divided into £5, £10, £20 and £50 amounts. Scottish banks also issue a £1 notes which can be used as legal tender anywhere in the United Kingdom.
  • Scotland is a well developed country with a good economic infrastructure. For the average tourist, this means that they will find it relatively easy to get about and to exchange their money. Scotland also does not have any import or export restrictions on any form of money so visitors will not have to fret about whatever currency they carry into the country with them.
  • Money can be exchanged in banks, at foreign exchange bureaus and hotels. The exchange bureaus are generally open for longer than banks are but charge higher commission rates. Banks are usually open from 9:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday. Some banks are also open on Saturdays.If you plan to use American Express, MasterCard or Visa Cards, you will find that credit cards and debits cards are widely accepted. The same is true of Travelers cheques which should be in GBP to avoid extra exchange rate charges. There are also a multitude of ATMs available throughout Glasgow so you will have easy access to cash.

Weather

Despite being on the same latitude as Moscow and northern parts of Canada, Glasgow has a significantly more moderate climate.

Glasgow benefits from a mild south-western position; the Gulf Stream currents flow up the Clyde estuary from the Atlantic warming the area. Glasgow also lies in the path of a prevailing south-westerly wind and is sheltered by the surrounding Clyde Valley hills.

All of this acts to keep the city fairly humid throughout the year. As a result, Glasgow enjoys a very stable climate with relatively warm summers and quite mild winters. The temperature in Glasgow is often milder than that in the rest of Scotland.

The spring months (March to May) are mild and cool. Many of Glasgow’s trees and plants begin to flower at this time of the year and parks and gardens are filled with beautiful spring colours.

The summer months (May to September) can vary considerably between mild and wet weather, or warm and sunny. The winds are generally westerly, due to the warm Gulf Stream. The warmest month is usually July, the daily high averaging no more than 20C. (The highest recorded temperature is 31.2C, on the 4th of August 1975.)

Despite some infrequent clear or dry days, winters in Glasgow are normally damp and cold. (The lowest recorded temperature is -17C on the 29th of December 1995). Winds and rainfall are often fairly chilling and strong, like the rest of western Scotland. Severe snowfalls melt within days and rarely lie in the city centre. December, January and February are the wettest months of the year, but can often be sunny and clear.

Glasgow is known with those who have lived there to be able to produce all 4 seasons in one day. So as a general piece of advice, make sure you are suitably equipped with clothing. And when it rains in Glasgow, there is almost always wind to accompany it – umbrellas frequently break.

Language

Scotland is a multilingual country with people who speak Gaelic and Scots as well as English. Influences from abroad have meant that languages from Europe (especially Polish) and beyond such as Urdu and Punjabi have enhanced the richness of Scottish language and culture.

Scotland’s linguistic culture and heritage also encompasses the older languages of Brythonic, Norse and Pictish indicating from where modern day Scottish languages derive and how they have developed through time through Scottish place names, spellings and pronunciations, however the official language is English.

Health and security

  • Glasgow is internationally renowned for its thriving arts scene and top universities. It boasts handsome Victorian architecture, smart designer shops, fashionable bars and restaurants.At the same time, this dynamic city also has an unenviable reputation for poor health. Obesity rates are among the highest in the world. Research conducted in 2007 found that nearly one in five potential workers was on incapacity benefit and that Glasgow has a much larger number and a higher proportion of the population claiming sickness-related benefit than any other city in Britain.
  • What is worse, the city has an alarmingly high mortality rate. A 2011 study compared it with Liverpool and Manchester, which have roughly equal levels of unemployment, deprivation and inequality. It found that residents of Glasgow are about 30% more likely to die young, and 60% of those excess deaths are triggered by just four things – drugs, alcohol, suicide and violence.
  • A decade ago Glasgow was branded the murder capital of Europe . Determined to tackle the city’s addiction to violence Strathclyde Police decided they needed a new approach .In January 2005 the force established the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU). The unit’s remit was to target all forms of violent behaviour, in particular knife crime and weapon carrying among young men in and around Glasgow.
  • The VRU team is a mixture of researchers, police officers , civilian staff and former offenders who have turned their lives around and are now seeking to help others do the same.More than a decade on from the formation of the VRU Glasgow is no longer the murder capital of Europe and recorded crime in Scotland is at a forty year low. However violence is still a chronic problem in Scotland with domestic abuse and sex crimes a growing concern. The VRU remain committed to it’s public health approach to violence and are the only police members of the World Health Organisation’s Violence Prevention Alliance.

DON’T

  • it is also completely unnecessary. 99.9% of the resident Scots speak English (those who don’t you’ll probably never meet.) It’s the number one language and just because Gaelic is the national language doesn’t mean it’s extremely popular. In the 2001 census only 1.9% of the whole of Scotland had some Gaelic language ability.In Glasgow you wont hear one person speaking Gaelic, even though the Highlands are pretty much “the heartland” of Gaelic culture. Sure, if you visit Skye you’ll hear it but there’s absolutely NO NEED to try and order your food at a restaurant in Gaelic
  • don’t wear kilts all the time. Amazingly, trousers arrived in Scotland many, many, many, years ago and they’ve stayed pretty fashionable since then. Kilts are for celebrations more than anything else, things like weddings, funerals, christenings, maybe Hogmanay (maybe!) but NOT everyday use. Also, there is a difference between a KILT (male) and a KILTED SKIRT (female) make sure you know the difference before you decide to wear one.

DO

  • Make your visit to Glasgow interesting and dynamic with a trip to the Glasgow Science Centre. Whether you are a science novice or a fully-fledged expert, the exhibitions on display are fascinating and exciting. Sit in a chair that will instantly shrink you, and then become a giant by simply walking through a door. Finally lie back and chill in the planetarium and watch all the billions of galaxies twinkle in the night sky. Glasgow Science Centre is fun for people of all ages and the whole family.
  • The Clyde River is renowned for its ship building heritage, with some of the most famous ships in the world being built on the river’s banks. The Glenlee is a tall ship, launched onto the Clyde in 1896. After sailing throughout the world for over 80 years, the ship has returned home and is now a maritime museum. Visitors can tour the unique ship and sample a piece of Glasgow’s shipbuilding past. The Tall Shop is located at The Riverside Museum, Scotland’s National Transport Museum.
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