Jaillan Yehia

Edinburgh VS Glasgow: At-A-Glance Guide To The Contrasting Scottish Cities

Written by Jaillan Yehia

Post Categories: Continents | Europe | Opinion | Savoir Stays | Scotland

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Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle by This is Edinburgh (edinburgh.org)

If you’d like to head to Scotland for a wee staycation and can’t decide between the historic cities of Edinburgh or Glasgow, then this at-a-glance guide to the two contrasting  – and often competing  – Scottish cities might help you make up your mind on the question of Edinburgh Vs Glasgow.

Edinburgh Vs Glasgow: Get Acquainted

The City of Edinburgh Council

Edinburgh bagpipers (image by The City of Edinburgh Council)


Glasgow for foodies

Glasgow city centre

The port city on the River Clyde has long been famed for its Victorian architecture and art nouveau history and in recent years it has made a splash with a thriving food scene and cutting edge cultural attractions.

Many of Scotland’s artistic hubs are here, from the Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet to the National Theatre of Scotland, as well as seminal Glasgow galleries and museums like Kelingrove and the People’s Palace – plus all of Glasgow’s museums and galleries are free to enter.

The city is well-known for being friendly and down to earth and has served as a melting pot dating back to the days when the shipyards attracted immigrants workers, who brought their traditions, cuisines and cultures with them. The shipbuilding may have largely ceased but the city is still the richer for this past.


The Mound Edinburgh

The Mound, Edinburgh by This is Edinburgh

The Scottish Capital is a UNESCO world heritage site, celebrated for its imposing castle, home to Scotland’s Crown Jewels, and the Royal Mile – the section of cobbled Old Town street which stretches from the palace to Edinburgh Castle.

The National Museum of Scotland, The Scottish National Gallery and The Scottish National Portrait Gallery are all here – making Edinburgh a great destination for art and history fans from around the world.

In its more modern incarnation Edinburgh is probably best known for The Edinburgh Festival and Edinburgh Fringe, and as well as the half a million visitors who come to enjoy comedy and theatre each August, yet more culture vultures join them for the Edinburgh International Book Festival – one of Scotland’s free festivals. All of this makes Edinburgh a world class destination for the creative crowd.

Edinburgh Vs Glasgow: Most Famous Face

billy connolly mural

Billy Connolly by Jack Vetriano

Taking a look at individuals who hail from these cities and represent their roots may help you figure out which of Scotland’s largest metropolises is your bag.


Comedian Billy Connolly, CBE, is the most famous son of Glasgow – and he’s so beloved by his native city that a selection of murals of the Big Yin, all made by Scottish artists, can be seen on buildings around the city centre – you can even take a self-guided walking tour of them all if you’re a fan.


Arguably the most suave of the Bond incarnations, Sean Connery is one of the most well-known sons of Edinburgh, though there is no shortage of famous thespians who have started their careers in ‘Auld Reekie’ as the city was once known  – based on the days when it was covered in a cloud of coal smoke.

Edinburgh Vs Glasgow: Defining Dish

Scotch Whisky and haggis

Haggis, neeps and tatties is Scotland’s National dish, so whether you choose Edinburgh or Glasgow your palate is in for a treat, or a shock, depending on your point of view.  For those of you who don’t know it, haggis is made from sheep’s heart, lungs, liver and stomach cooked with oatmeal, spices and grains.


The pretty setting of Glasgow’s rustic Babbity Bowster restaurant and bar serves up haggis, neeps and tatties, washed down with whisky and it is all very tasty. The setting of a listed Georgian building in Glasgow’s Merchant City area certainly helps to make the experience more palatable.


The international clientele of The World’s End is testimony to the welcoming atmosphere and easy charm of this 16th Century pub, which serves its signature haggis dish in easy-to-digest pie form, complete with a whisky sauce and all the trimmings. The dark decor and atmospheric nooks and crannies all add to the dining experience.

Edinburgh Vs Glasgow: Tipples To Try

Edinburgh Gin

Edinburgh Gin

There are well-known whisky distilleries, artisan gins, craft beers and ciders, plus plenty of other locally brewed tipples on offer in Glasgow and Edinburgh alike.


Glasgow’s working class roots make it an ideal city for producing perfect pints, and there is a great craft beer scene in Glasgow for ale and lager fans.

If you’d rather try the whisky that Scotland is famous for head out to Glengoyne  – well-known to be the most stunning in the area between Glasgow and Loch Lomond. Here whisky connoisseurs can take the 5-hour malt masterclass where you create your own unique whisky blend, and take it home in a presentation bottle.


Edinburgh citizens drink more gin per head than any other city in the British Isles and with Edinburgh’s long history of gin distilling which goes back to the 1700’s it is not surprising that small-batch distillers like Edinburgh Gin are winning awards and making waves in the city and beyond.

If gin isn’t your thing, and you’d rather keep it classic with whisky, pop into the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for an education in the flavour profiles of the national tipple.

Edinburgh Vs Glasgow: Easy Escape

Maid of the Loch

The Maid of the Loch

One of the wonderful things about a a city break in Edinburgh or Glasgow is that both cities are surrounded by stunning countryside and it’s possible to see some of Scotland’s famed scenery even on a short visit.


The bonny shores of Loch Lomond are about an hour’s drive from Glasgow city centre, meaning that you can combine city and nature with ease on a visit.


Around an hour and a half north of Edinburgh you’ll find Lomond Hills Regional Park, Scotland’s first ever regional park offers lochs, moorland and farmland to explore at your leisure.

Edinburgh Vs Glasgow: Somewhere To Stay

Fraser Suites Edinburgh

Fraser Suites, Edinburgh

Both Glasgow and Edinburgh make brilliant weekends away, and they’re especially good staycations when you have an apartment as your base.

Fraser Suites have serviced apartments in Edinburgh and also in Glasgow – these plush and luxurious fully serviced flats are by the same hospitality group who run the stylish boutique hotels Malmaison and Hotel du Vin  – so it isn’t surprising you’ll find cool contemporary decor and all the mod cons you need like free wi-fi and state of the art electronics plus an on-site bistro and gym. So whatever side of the Edinburgh Vs Glasgow debate you end up taking, you’ll have a home from home for your short break in Scotland.

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