A Day Out In Glasgow.... On A Budget

23 August 2015

Think Money recently got in touch with me and asked if I'd like to get involved in putting together a little mini 'spend a day in Glasgow' guide - with a budget of £40.

Now, as you all know, my usual day in Glasgow would be spent shopping, but £40 wasn't going to go too far there, so I decided to take up the challenge, play tourist in my own city and do the lot for £40. Bearing in mind that most people don't go on days out themselves, I roped my good friend Kim in and that meant we had to plan a full day's activities with a £20 per head budget.

The obvious way for me was to try and do as many free things as possible and blow the £20 each on dinner - so we made our way over to the West End, which houses many of the cities best free activities.

For any visitors to Glasgow you want to go on the subway and take it to Hillhead - the Glasgow subway is really just a big circle, it's not difficult so don't worry!

I always enjoy getting off at Hillhead and seeing this mural! Anyway, a subway ride in Glasgow will cost you £1.40 for one way, no matter how many stops you're going so that was us £2.80 into the budget!

Glasgow university is a pretty magnificent structure - there's a reason that 'It's like going to Hogwarts' is often used to describe the uni, and it also houses The Hunterian Museum & The Hunterian Art Gallery - both of which are free. The uni is a fairly straight forward walk up university avenue, which is just off Byres Road, where Hillhead subway is, but there are tonnes of signposts and maps like this one everywhere so you can't get lost!

We arrived and headed in to The Hunterian Art Gallery, mainly because I wanted to see The Mackintosh House - only to find it was closed! I went on a tour with Glasgow School of Art which I talked about in this vlog, and I've been meaning to stop by The Hunterian to take a look The Mackintosh House it ever since that first tour so I was a bit gutted. On a side note, although the GSA tours weren't a great option for us on a budget of £40 for 2, they are brilliant tours which I do thoroughly recommend! You can find more info about them here.

Boo! Anyway, the main Art Gallery was still open an I took a few photos - there's a good variety of art on display and I wanted to give you a feel for that without showing you everything and defeating the purpose of you having to go!

As well at The Hunterian Art Gallery there is The Hunterian Museum. We didn't visit it today, but it's also free and well worth checking out. Glasgow university is overall a beyond beautiful place and there are guided tours at 2pm of it most days which I want to go back and do at a later point - the cost is £10, which is again why we didn't bother doing it today but if the university tour is a patch on the GSA tour it'll be well worth £10.

After we had done with the gallery we were peckish for lunch and decided we'd get something to take out and head up to The Bontanic Gardens to eat it. Now, with the variety of independent places on Byres Rd we went somewhere really exotic - Starbucks. Ridiculous I know, but in our defence seeing the Starbucks at Hillhead subway without a queue of students out the door was just such a novelty that we had to check it out!

We were gearing up for the most massive burger known to man for our dinner, so we split this bag of waffles for our very healthy lunch and got a drink each - the man misheard Kim and she got a latte for Kemp instead, but that aside it was considered a success. I think this came to about £7 for the 3.

We sat down on one of the outside benches at The Bontanics, and ended up there for about an hour as we took the fancy of every dog being walked that day and every time we went to go to head into the glasshouses another little ball of fluff came along who wanted to chat to us!

Also, don't worry if you're in Glasgow when it's raining - there are plenty of benches inside the glasshouses as well where you could sit and picnic!

The company of these beautiful ladies isn't exactly a bad one to keep whilst eating, and of course you're surrounded by beautiful flowers. I'm not really a garden person usually but the botanics is my exception and in total Kim and I were there for about three hours, covering both the glass houses and walking in the grounds - and we could have easily stayed longer.

Cue a ridiculous amount of photos - but they were all too beautiful to narrow down any further!

We felt very Alice in Wonderland and sang 'Golden Afternoon' several times! There are beautiful flowers, but also flowers that are weird and wonderful in there so we switched between feeling like Alice and also feeling like we were in a Hogwarts herbology lesson - I was waiting for Professor Sprout to pop up and start telling us all about the greenery!

Doesn't this just look exactly like a Hogwarts green house...

It's like the plants are trying to escape!

After the wander round the gardens we decided to walk over in to the city centre - the walk from the west end to town is about half an hour at a relaxed pace so more than do-able if you aren't in a  rush and, with budget in mind, it saved buying another 2 subway tickets!

The walk took us past Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - known as KG to the majority of people in Glasgow - and I blogged about it before here. Again KG is free and very wonderful, but The Hunterian is a lot less well known and I thought it was about time I brought some attention to it on this little blog!

The walk work dup quite an appetite and with value in mind there was one option for me - TGI Fridays. Yes, I know, a chain restaurant and one you'd naturally overlook, but having been to their press launch of their new menu a few weeks ago I knew that value for money wise there was a perfect option here - The Warrior Burger. £14.99 for a double burger with mozzarella dippers, cheeese, bacon, onion rings and chips. It. Is. Massive. And ridiculously good.

Even with our walking and small lunch neither of us finished this - which just goes to show that sometimes one slightly more expensive course is more than enough! Part of my reason for choosing TGI's was also a budget related one - unlimited refills on soft drinks. Kim only drinks water (which was totally free!) so our bill in TGI's came to £33 for my diet coke, which I had 3 refills of, and our 2 burgers - more food than either of us could finish.

In total our spends for the day were just over budget at £42.80 - but if we'd walked over to the west end in the morning we could have totally saved that £2.80, which would have brought us in exactly on budget.

It was really fun playing tourist in my own city, so thank you to Think Money for asking me to take part - I'm definitely going to go back to The Hunterian to see The Mackintosh House once it opens again, and also to go over to the actual museum part! 

What are your favourite things to do on a budget in your home city?!

Join the conversation!

  1. This is pretty similar to how I'd spend a budget day in the city, I love wandering around the West End and the museums are particular favourites of mine! xx

    Charlotte / Colours & Carousels

  2. This sounds like such a lovely day lady and what fun pictures! I've never actually been to the Botanics in Glasgow and have only been to the Hunterian on a school trip, so really have to correct that when I'm home next. I always think it's funny how you never do the touristy stuff in the place that you live. You really did make the budget go far, so well done for that too! Li x


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