This past weekend I left Lancaster and took a direct train down to Glasgow for a couple days. I arrived in Glasgow late on Friday, took a Scottish Highlands tour all day Saturday, and finally left late morning on Sunday…I wish I had booked a later train so that I could see some of the walking tour spots! 😦 I did snap some random pictures of Glasgow while I was out (all from the King George Square area):
In any case, upon arrival on Friday I left Glasgow Central Station and grabbed a quick bite to eat at Ramen Dayo before heading to my hostel. Ramen Dayo is a Japanese inspired noodle bar that has a unique menu and is very tasty. I have linked their menu here. Personally, I ordered a chashu don (excuse my lack of accent marks) which is essentially a white rice bowl with pork belly ends, green onions, nori, sesame seeds, and their homemade sauce. It was what you would expect of a cheap noodle bar; I also ordered some sake which is a japanese rice wine. It tasted to me vaguely like vodka (but much sweeter/caramely). In any case, if you like noodle bars and want a cheap spot, hit up Ramen Dayo.
Next, I headed down to the Euro Hostel in Glasgow that sits right next to The River Clyde (Central Glasgow). The hostel had friendly staff, was well maintained, and the rooms were large. I have attached pictures below…at 20GBP/night, you can’t really beat this place. In addition, the hostel is a 5 minute walk from Glasgow Central Station, and 10 minutes from basically all of central Glasgow.
Now, the amazing part of the weekend was the Scottish Highlands tour. I booked the tour through Rabbies (a major tour operator in the area). The exact tour I was on can be found by clicking here. My guide was magnificent and had a true love and devotion for the country of Scotland. Not only did he know absolutely everything, he was humorous, personable, and played great music…which a lot of tour operators do not do (normally you end up sitting in silence or listening to the tour guide ramble all day). In any case, the tour left from Glasgow and had its first stop at Loch Lomond. The tour guide played “Loch Lomond” while explaining the rich history of the song and the area we were in. Pictures are below:
My tour did not have the time to take a cruise of Loch Lomond….but we did get to at Loch Ness featured later in this post.
From here the tour heads to Glencoe which is absolutely beautiful. From the journey through to the scenic outlooks, Glencoe is outstanding. In addition, the scene involving a certain Mr. James Bond, his home, and his Aston Martin from Skyfall were all filmed in this area. If you take a look at the video I have linked here, that is the exact same road you will drive through on! To make the experience even better, our tour guide played the iconic James Bond theme song as we drove through which really rounded out the whole experience. You can watch my view from the tour van below:
This area of Glencoe was also the location of filming for Hagrid’s house in Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban (so if you want to knock two filming locations off your bucket list, this would be a good tour to take!).
The photos below are all from Glencoe and the surrounding areas:
It was perfectly clear on the day of our tour which made for some excellent photo opportunities! A large part of the beauty of this tour rests in the driving portion through the highlands; however, it is very difficult to get good photos while driving…therefore, there are videos at the end of this post that showcase the beauty you can see while driving through.
Next I headed off to Loch Ness (which I was very, very, very…∞) excited for as the Loch Ness Monster is 100% real. Sadly, she must’ve been sleeping while on was on the cruise. With this tour service, the Loch Ness Cruise was optional (and 12GBP more) but come on, how could you pass up the opportunity at seeing the Loch Ness monster? Photos from the cruise are below:
As a side note, big shout out to the elderly lady who saw me rubbing my hands together for warmth, and subsequently allowed me to hold her hot chocolate to warm my hands up.
From Loch Ness, I believe we headed up to Cairngorms National Park…but to be honest, there were so many different mountains involved I truly do not remember. In any case, I got the following pictures from wherever I was at:
We then headed to what I believe the tour guide called the “Stratton Marshy Falls” which was a beautiful waterfall area with a little overlook. Pictures from here can be seen below:
To end the tour there was a quick stop in Perthshire for a restroom and refreshment break. I used the time to walk around the little town and window shop at the specialty stores and kilt kit sellers. Something odd that did happen was this man who set up all these owls under a tent and then walked away, these can all be seen below:
Finally, on Saturday night I decided I wanted to mix it up and get a nice meal to celebrate Glasgow being the largest city I have ever been too. I ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant (Gusto) and funny enough, my meal ended up being around the same price as my hostel cost for two nights! I ordered a Rhubarb Negroni (a mixed drink made up of Tanqueray Sevilla, Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic, orange, and rosemary), Spaghetti Carbonara, house salad, and a wonderful warm chocolate and hazelnut brownie for dessert. There menu can be found here. Photos of the meal can be seen below:
All in all, the trip was well worth it; however, if I ever went back I certainly would spend more time enjoying Glasgow itself. Sadly, I truly enjoy seeing the nature areas of where I travel and this normally does not allow for a lot of time in the city.
Here are the other miscellaneous videos of the tour I promised above: