I'm going to tour Scotland this summer, and even though I have several guidebooks, I was wondering if some of you could recommend some non-touristy interesting places to see in Edinburgh and Glasgow. You know, the sort of funky local stuff that might not necessarily be in guidebooks.
When you're in Glasgow, be sure to take a pub crawl down Byres Road. It's the best part of the city, in my humble opinion, for cheap food and drink, and always plenty of entertainment.
As for Edinburgh, I'm afraid there's nothing non-touristy about the place!
MikeyBoab's probably right. Whenever I've been to Edinburgh it's either been for a gig, with my mum or for record shopping. It's pretty much a tourist haven because of the history and the castle. Glasgow has a lot of history but I guess it's not as aesthetically pleasing to tourists as Edinburgh.
As Mikey says, Byres Road is a hive of activity, lots of little boutiques and cafes along with a strong student population. I would also check out the Merchant City which is host to a lot of nice restaurants, galleries and some cool clothing boutiques. Just down from the Merchant City is the 13th Note Cafe which plays good music, has many live acts in the evening and does great vegetarian food. There's also Mono round the corner - a venue, cafe, record store and organic shop all in one. Their home-made ginger beer and lemonade is a must.
To be honest though, if you're a typical backpacker on a budget and a time limit, wanting to see the typically cool parts of town, I'd say look no further than Byres Road and surrounding area.
If there's anything else you'd like to know put it on here.
[ Edit: Edited at May 3, 2006 1:33 AM by Windmill ]
As for Edinburgh, I'm afraid there's nothing non-touristy about the place!
yah true, the city is made for tourists and weekend partiers.
nightlife is centered around the grassmarket/cowgate.
But last night on my return from a weekend away - comin into the old town from the Waverly bridge - I noticed again how stunning the city is!!
OOps, my post differs a bit from those above! Bear in mind that we are not townies, and have no preference for one or the other City, but enjoy spending in both.
Glasgow has nothing funky to offer Anna, not that I've seen and I've spent a bit of time in the City. The Byres area is probably better now than it was when I was around the town but unless you seek the 'darker' corners of the City, where there IS good entertainment if you can find one of the locals to show you around, it's not something I'd recommend!
Although it was the City of Culture a few years back, and that WAS fantastic, there is not much attractive now about Glasgow at all, now that all the touristy stuff has gone and the bigwigs have had their day in the limelight there's not the money being spent by the Council and other groups and what there is is in the guidebooks. And all too pricey. Try a £5 charge to get out of the car park car after spending the evening in the Scottish Exhiibition Centre, the notices were put up after all the showgoers were in the place!
The locals will no doubt have better ideas, and being there is where the good stuff is seen, but it seems not to be well advertised.
We struggled to find enough good fun things to do a year back for friends visitng the area, though we spent a lot of time there.
I'd say that Edinburgh has much more to offer, with reasonably safe nightlife in the pubs and bars and some good daytime activities all best found from a starting point around the Royal Mile and the Grassmarket areas.
And yes, I know that it is touristy but, DO try the Haunted Closes type trips, see Greyfrairs Bobby (look up the story on the internet), walk down Leith Walk from Princess Street and have lunch in on of the Italian places near the bottom, do the Zoo, see the bands playing in Princess Street Gardens, climb the Scott Monument and chat up the soldiers on guard at the Castle.
The Clubbing scene in the town is good, so they tell me, but being my age I don't do much of that!
What do you have in mind for transport?
Take a trip across the Bridges and see some of the country other than the big cities and you'll have a much better vacation, the Fife Coast and fishing viillages, Tayside's lovely Glens (Prossen, Isla, ect) the Aberdeenshire area is great for coastal visits or take a trip up the A9 to Inverness and enjoy the villages just off the roadside.
I've only ever passed through Glasgow, so really know nothing of the town.
However I've lived in Edinburgh for three years now, and here are a few things I'd try to do if I were you.
Go to the museum on chamber street - the stuffed animals are pretty amazing, but if you go to the roof you get a fantastic view on the city from the center of it, which is breath taking.
The meadows and bruntsfiel links. Though it'll probably still be festival time, if you can, enjoy a quiet moment just sitting out on the grass.
Arthurs seat at sunset or sunrise. beauty! I can't really think of much that isn't touristy i have to say...
hey anna, these guys, being scottish, definately are givin better advice than this here canuck. I'm livin in Glasgow right now, and while ot isnt exactly picturesque like edinburgh is, you will have way more fun there if you are looking for a more authentic scottish city life. Byers road and sauchiehall street are definately your night life stops, but the best part about Glasgow are the locals. Just walk around and talk to people, they are hilarious and super friendly...most of them. Even the drunks are friendly lol. There's some cool independent movie theatres too... i can get names if u want.
Also, I know it's touristy but I have to mention it. In Edinburgh, in front of the castle, there's a museum of optical illusions. Some of these are cheesy and lame, butothers are really cool, and some are just fun. It only costs like 3 pounds and every hour or half our they open this mirror in the roof and you get a panoramic view of edinburgh in a dark room projectred only with mirrors. Very very cool, check it out. Camera obscura... that's what it's called. anyways enjoy scotland, its going to be a niiice summer here!
I think it started last night, MENTAL thunderstorms in Glasgow! Nice day today though... ahhh, the May heatwave!
That storm was insane last night, I can't remember ever seeing anything like that here, it was all the weirder for the fact that it was a beautiful day yesterday and it was lovely again today. Anyway, Glasgow isn't particularly pretty, but there are some nice buildings here and there, if you're looking for something to do or just to see an interesting piece of architecture then the science center is worth a visit, the best thing about Glasgow is the nightlife though, pubs, music, shows and whatever else you want are all on offer.
I would say go and see some bands while you're here, I'm biased in that I play in a Glasgow band but there are a lot of really good bands nobody has ever heard of in the city, some places (bars/venues) to go are the 13th Note, Nice N Sleazy, the ABC, the Scotia Bar, King Tuts, the Vale, the Bastille, Rufus T Firefly's and Stereo. All of those places have a good atmosphere and bands on just about every night, that's where I spend most of my time. If you're into clubs then there are plenty of those too, but that's not really my thing so all I'll say is avoid the following unless you want stabbed - the Arches, Room at the Top, the Buff Club, Clutha Vaults, Blacks and Lizardus. The last one is technically illegal and you'd have to go out of your way to be there but if someone mentions it then politely decline!
Glasgow's much more picturesque than Edinburgh . . .