Top day trips from Glasgow to escape the 2014 Commonwealth Games
- Jay Thundercliffe
- 9 July 2014
Take advantage of the city's west-coast location with a visit to Scotland's lochs and islands, or even a World Heritage Site
Head out of the city and admire Scotland’s natural treasures
Within touching distance of Scotland’s Highland hills, expansive golden beaches and historical treasures, Glasgow is well placed for days out beyond the city.
Scotland’s first of its kind, the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a 30-minute drive away and is packed with stunning scenery, activities and events. The loch itself serves as a watery playground for Glasgow: take an informative cruise, hire canoes to explore the islands or, for the more high-octane, try a jet-ski. Landlubbers can hire bikes, visit picturesque Luss, climb Conic Hill near Balmaha, or walk a stretch of the West Highland Way.
For a spectacular insight into Scotland’s industrial past, the World Heritage Site of New Lanark, situated in a gorge by the Clyde, is an impressive 18th-century cotton mill complex. It became a model of utopian socialism under Robert Owen whose care of the social and welfare needs of his workers was decades ahead of the rest of the industrialised world.
Those wanting to sample one of the nation’s 790 islands can catch a train to Ardrossan and then a ferry to one of the country’s best: the Isle of Arran. Known as ‘Scotland in miniature’, the island is split by the Highland Boundary Fault that crosses the entire country, giving Arran the characteristic lowlands in the south and hills in the north.
Ayrshire’s coastline is a popular destination for Glaswegians looking to be beside the seaside. Ayr, Troon and Irvine all have excellent, expansive sands, while a visit to nearby Largs should include a stop at one of the UK’s best ice-cream parlours, the art deco Nardini’s of Largs.
Despite little love lost between the two cities, given the proximity and easy 45-minute journey to Edinburgh from Glasgow, it’d seem rude not to visit Auld Reekie. Assume absolutely everyone else will be there, too, during the Fringe; at other times soak up the historic Royal Mile, visit excellent galleries and restaurants, or take a ride on the much-bedevilled new tram system.