Looking for the perfect Scotland Itinerary? Look no further!
Last May, Michael and I went to Scotland for my 25th birthday. Even though it’s almost been a year since we were there, I still can’t stop thinking about how incredible that country was. Scotland was this magical, gorgeous, wild place where we met some of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met in my life. Going on a trip to Scotland is guaranteed to be life-changing. Which is why I wanted to share my Scotland Itinerary with you, so you could experience some of the magic for yourself.
We didn’t have a chance to go to any of the Isles and we definitely missed a few must-see cities, but that just leaves room for next time. But trust me, there will be a next time.
The Perfect 10-Day Scotland Itinerary
Day .5: Arrive in Glasgow
Michael and I took KLM airlines from Zurich to Glasgow Airport. This was my first time trying out my new registered traveler status and it was amazing being able to go through the e-passport lanes!
Where to Stay: Holiday Inn – Glasgow Airport
I think the best way to start out your Scotland itinerary is by driving to the Highlands, so I’d suggest booking a room at the Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport to get a bit of a shut-eye before the long day ahead.
Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport was one of the best airport hotels I’ve ever stayed in because the people were so nice and they even gave us a free drink voucher just because it was my birthday! Book Your Stay.
Where to Eat: Hotel bar or Weatherspoon’s (because what’s a UK trip without a trip to Spoon’s?)
What to Do: Get some sleep! You’ve got a long day ahead of you!
Day One: Fort William
After renting a car with Europcar, we were on our way! Fort William should be your first spot because it is home to a very important literary landmark, The Jacobite Steam Train aka the Hogwarts Express. It’s also nestled in the middle of the Highlands, so driving there is incredibly scenic and you can reach any of the Isles or Inverness/Loch Ness pretty easily. Remember: this is your Scotland Itinerary so you can make any changes you want to create the perfect trip!
Things to See and Do On The Road from Glasgow to Fort William:
Driving from Glasgow to Fort William is a huge part of the adventure! There’s so much to see and do that you should definitely add an extra hour or two to your driving time because I guarantee you’ll want to stop and take pictures along the way!
Here are some suggestions for your drive:
- Have breakfast or lunch at Duck Bay Marina Hotel. Gorgeous Loch Lomond views with delicious traditional Scottish brekky.
- Take the scenic route and drive through Trossachs National Park!
- Glencoe is on this route, which has many Harry Potter and Game of Thrones sites to see.
- Stop at the Green Welly Rest Stop in Glencoe, cutest rest stop I’ve ever seen.
What to do In Fort William:
- Ride the Nevis Range Mountain Shuttle up to Ben Nevis (UK’s highest mountain range) and hike up the mountain (this was the most magical experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone! There are trails for all levels of athleticism).
- Visit Ben Nevis Distillery after hiking for a whisky tour (The distillery closes at 5 pm).
- Glenfinnan Viaduct and watch the steam train pass by (this is the shot used for the Hogwarts Express) The times for the trains vary, but you can find a schedule here.
- Hike Steall Waterfall, a 10 min hike after the parking lot
Where to Eat: Garrison West Pub
Nestled in the old town of Fort William, Garrison West is not your ordinary pub. All the food is farm to table and the menu changes constantly. They have an extensive whisky list, with some rare whisky’s that you can get for cheaper than anywhere else I’ve seen and delicious craft beers on tap. I’d suggest trying the Haggis here, paired with a Ben Nevis whisky. Incredible.
Where to Stay: The Garrison Hotel or The Imperial Hotel
We stayed in the Imperial because it was literally 50 quid for the night but I’ve heard incredible things about The Garrison. Book Your Stay.
Day Two: Jacobite Steam Train aka The Hogwarts Express (Fort William Continued)
I’m planning on writing a whole post about riding The Hogwarts Express (it’s on my bucket list), but if you’re a Harry Potter fan this is a MUST. If you’re not a big HP fan, you can choose to take advantage of the hiking that Fort William has to offer or just move straight to our next stop, Loch Ness.
The Jacobite Steam Train drops you off in Mallaig, a small fishing town, for about two hours before you board the train and head back to Fort William.
Book your tickets for the steam train way in advance, they sell out quick! We bought ours literally 6 months beforehand and they were already almost sold out. Book your tickets here.
What To Do For Two Hours in Mallaig:
- Visit all the Harry Potter shops
- Have to-die-for fish and chips at the Steam Inn or Cornerstone. They get pretty crowded so maybe make a reservation ahead of time.
We ended up driving straight from the train in Fort William to Loch Ness but you can choose to stay another night in Fort William or any of the surrounding areas! Or, you can get off at Mallaig and take a ship to the Isle of Skye. Up to you!
Day Three: Loch Ness
Even if you don’t believe in Nessie, Loch Ness is one of the most gorgeous towns I’ve ever had the privilege of being in. It was literally breathtaking.
Things to Do:
- Go on a Boat Tour (We Took the Monster Hunting Tour with Jacobite and it was AMAZING!)
- Visit the Nessie Museum
- Watch the sun go down over Urquhart Castle
- Hike through the South Loch Ness Trail
Where to Stay: Loch Ness Inn
This was an adorable little B&B right on the Loch (so you can search for Nessie outside your window). They have beers on tap in their second bar that is brewed in house.
We accidentally showed up on 60s night, where they had a Rod Stewart impersonator named Bob Wyper who sang 60s show tunes all night. We were the youngest people in the restaurant and it was…hilarious. Book Your Stay.
Where to Eat: The Boathouse Loch Side
Day Four: Inverness
I’m amending this itinerary because we didn’t stay the night in Inverness but I wish we had. There’s so much to see, eat, drink, and do so I would highly suggest sticking around and staying a night here. We’re definitely going back so, this list is also for me (lol). It’s for my next Scotland Itinerary, right?
Things to Do:
- Drive to Cawdor Castle – the Castle where the fictional Macbeth became Thane. It’s gorgeous
- Go to the Victorian Market for some delicious eats and whisky tastings
- Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
- Inverness Castle Tour
- Inverness Botanic Gardens
- Tomatin Distillery Tour
Where to Stay: Caledonian Hotel (recommended to me by a friend)
Where to Eat: There are so many places to eat in Inverness so just going to list a few places that look good:
Days Five and Six: Glasgow
Glasgow’s motto is “People Make Glasgow” and it’s so true. Out of all the places that we stayed while in Scotland, everyone we met in Glasgow was the kindest and most interested in some banter. The original Scotland Itinerary that I wrote had us staying for three days in Glasgow but honestly, I think two days is enough to get a taste of everything the city has to offer. It’s a workers city, so it’s a bit spread out and not as breathtaking as the other places on this list. However, Glasgow had the best people and the best food. We mostly just sat in bars and ate in Glasgow and I’m not sorry about it.
Things to Do:
- Kelvingrove Museum (free entry! A really cool museum)
- University of Glasgow (basically Hogwarts)
- Gin Distillery Tour
- Duke of Wellington Statue
- Riverside Museum
- Hynland Bookshop
- A Play, A Pint, and A Pie
Where to Eat (And Drink)- I’m writing a separate post about all the places to eat in Glasgow because there are SO MANY but here are some of my faves:
Day Seven: Stay In A Castle Outside Edinburgh
I’ve always wanted to stay in a (preferably haunted) castle in Scotland. So, I decided to treat myself and book us a stay for me to spend my birthday night in Melville Castle. If this isn’t in your budget or doesn’t seem like your thing, just go straight to Edinburgh and stay there! As I said, make your Scotland Itinerary yours! However, staying in a castle in Scotland was literal magic so I would recommend it to anyone.
Where to Stay: Melville Castle
I’m writing an entire post about this but here’s a quick history: Melville Castle is located just 40 minutes outside of Edinburgh and has been a staple in Scottish history since 1155. Mary Queen of Scots was a frequent visitor here and when her lover, David Rizzio, was murdered, she planted two majestic Spanish Chestnut trees on the grounds in his memory. The trees still survive and the hotel managers told me that Mary still haunts the halls today, among other guests who never left. Best. Hotel. Stay. Ever. Book Your Stay.
Things to Do:
- I mean, you’re in a castle so lounging, reading, and exploring are all you should be doing during your stay.
- The Library Bar is open 24 hours a day (yes, you heard that right) and has beers on tap, cocktails, and whisky. You can borrow some books from the shelves or play some board games. We celebrated my 25th birthday at midnight at the bar, drinking whisky with the lovely staff and looking for ghosts. It was perfect.
Where to Eat: Melville Castle Brasserie Restaurant
The Castle restaurant’s chef prides himself on making everything from scratch daily. And it shows. Located in the dungeons of the castle, you’ll find some of the best food and banter. They’ll seriously treat you like royalty!
Day Eight: Edinburgh – Harry Potter Edition
If you didn’t know by now, I am a huge Harry Potter fan and Edinburgh is the birthplace of Harry Potter. I’ll be listing all the Harry Potter stuff to do here and in another blog post, but the next two days afterward will list normal things to do if HP isn’t your thing.
Things to Do (Harry Potter):
- Breakfast at The Elephant House – the cafe where JK Rowling wrote parts of Sorcerer’s Stone on napkins. They don’t take reservations but if you get there early enough, you shouldn’t have to wait.
- Have a coffee at Spoons, the cafe where JK Rowling also wrote HP.
- Walk down Victoria Street (the inspiration for Diagon Alley)
- Go to Diagon House — Diagon Alley themed shop
- See Tom Riddle’s Grave at Greyfrair’s Kirkyard (Check out this handy Harry Potter Graveyard Map that’ll help you find all the relevant tombstones)
- Peek over the fence at George Heriot’s School (the inspiration for Hogwarts)
- Have High Tea (with champagne) at Balmoral Hotel— the hotel where JK Rowling stayed to write and finish Deathly Hallows. She often had tea at Palm Court, where they serve a delicious high tea.
Where to Eat: The Albanach
For amazing Haggis and burgers. Don’t knock haggis till you try it.
Where to Stay: Bruntsfield Hotel
An adorable and very comfy Best Western hotel that’s just a bus ride away from everything good! Book Your Stay.
Days Nine-Ten: Edinburgh
Things to Do:
- Scotch Whisky Experience – even if you don’t like whisky, this is a must. You may even be converted. I’d recommend the Platinum Tour because you get the best bang for your buck. Book tickets here.
- Edinburgh Writer’s Museum
- The Royal Palace
- Edinburgh City Chambers (cast of JK Rowling’s hands)
- Browse the many Edinburgh bookshops
- Optical Illusion Museum
- Mary King’s Close tour
- Gin Distillery Tour
- Museum of Scotland
- White Hart Inn (most haunted pub in Edinburgh)
- Maison de Moggy (a cat cafe!! Tickets have to be booked in advance).
We took the Hidden and Haunted Tour with Mercatt Tours, which Michael thought was silly but it brings you down into the catacombs underneath Edinburgh and I thought it was spooky AF. Book it here with Tiquets.
Where to Eat (and Drink):
- Tuk Tuk Indian Street Food (AMAZING)
- Frizzante Proseccheria
- The Witchery
- The Devil’s Advocate.
- The Voodoo Rooms
- Heads and Tails
- Cool quirky vintage bar
- Panda and Sons
- The Edinburgh Gin Distillery
Day 11: Fly Home and Be Prepared to Miss Scotland Everyday Afterwards
And there you have it, 10 wonderful days in Scotland with a full Scotland Itinerary!
I hope this Scotland Itinerary can help you plan the trip of your dreams. Please let me know if you go to any of the places I’ve recommended or tag me on Instagram @femalehemingway! I want to hear your thoughts.
Have you ever been to Scotland? If so, where are your favorite places to go? Let me know in the comments!
Here’s a confession: I don’t love my body.
I never have. For almost my entire life, I have struggled with my own self-image and my own relationship with my body has been very toxic, to say the least. I’m 6 ft tall and curvy. I’ve lost and gained weight off and on for years. When I was 18, I lost almost 100 pounds. I always thought that losing that much weight would mean I could finally love what I saw in the mirror, but the harsh reality is, I didn’t. I still saw so many flaws that led to disordered eating and unhealthy, reckless thought patterns. Everyone would compliment my new and improved “skinny” body but I still found myself crying in dressing rooms. I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did.
I always thought that being “skinny” equaled self-love. That wasn’t the case.
I realized it was never about the weight, it was always about me. I could not (and still am unable to) love my body for what it was, for what it is. And that’s hard. That’s so hard for me to write down and admit. But it’s the truth and this blog is about being honest with myself and with you.
I wish I could tell you that I’ve changed, that I’ve found the love for my body that I never had. Unfortunately, though, I’ve gained a lot of the weight that I lost back and my self-image is not in a great state right now. I find myself looking in the mirror and hating what I see. Michael, my partner in life and love, tells me every single day that I’m beautiful just the way I am and I want to believe it, but it’s hard.
It’s hard loving your body when your whole life has revolved around hating it.
It doesn’t help that family members and random strangers have spent years telling me how pretty I’d be…if only I lost some weight. But I lost the weight. I still didn’t love myself. I gained the weight back because I couldn’t possibly find a way to love what I looked like.
It’s a vicious cycle that I hope to break.
However, I am much happier mentally and emotionally than I used to be. My depression and anxiety are much more in check and want to use this year to work through the reasons why I have such a bad relationship with my body.
This story doesn’t have a happy ending….yet. But I hope that one day it will.
In the last three years, I’ve done a lot of traveling. In some ways, travel has helped me love myself a little bit more. In others, I make enjoying travel really hard for myself because I spend so much time consumed with hatred for the way I look. Michael can tell you that I spend so many mornings on a trip changing outfits because nothing looks right to me. Embarrassingly, I even had a breakdown in a hotel room in London because I did not think I looked good enough to go out in public. I know this is something for me and my therapist to figure out together but it brings up the question:
How Do You Travel When You Don’t Love Your Body?
The simple answer is: you just do. In a world where traveling often revolves around getting the perfect Instagram shot, it can be extremely difficult for someone like me who only sees flaws first in photos. But traveling isn’t about the perfect photo. It’s about experiencing new cultures, new food, meeting new people. It’s about falling in love with a place, seeing all that you can of it before you leave. Traveling is about learning new things about a place, learning new things about yourself.
I hate my body, but last year I climbed a mountain. I hate my body, but I still fell in love with Paris.
If it were up to the little voice in my head, I’d never travel. I’d go full Emily Dickenson and stay secluded in my room and never leave. Thankfully, it’s not up to that little voice anymore. It’s up to me. And I have to be brave.
But sometimes, the bravest thing is also the hardest.
Going out and experiencing the world, regardless of how much the voice in your head tells you that you shouldn’t, is definitely brave.
If you’re like me and struggle with self-love, don’t let it discourage you from doing what you love. How do you travel when you don’t love your body? By being present.
Go out. Travel. Explore.
Do all the things you could do if you loved yourself, and maybe, just maybe, you eventually will.
I’m still working on it, but I hope that going against my own demons will allow me to love myself one day. I hope I can report back and tell you how I did it.
Until, then, though, just know you’re not alone.
I don’t love my body, but I love to travel.
If I can do it, so can you.
We can do this together.
Visiting the Prettiest Library in Stuttgart
Last Fall, Michael and I decided to take a day trip to Germany and I knew we had to visit the prettiest library in Stuttgart. Books are my home, they’re what get me through life. Libraries have always been like a little slice of heaven for me. Visiting a gorgeous library is always my top priority when I travel.
I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
-Jorge Luis Borges
The Stadtbibliothek was recently redesigned by a German architecture company called Totems and is now one of the largest public libraries in the world.
The sleek white walls, Harry Potter-esque zig-zagging stairways, and bright blue couches make for a bibliophile’s dream.
I was blown away when I Googled photos. However, the photos hardly compare to what you see in person. The library is an architectural masterpiece. Seriously. I was in awe. The clean lines and geometric structure make for visual art that is guaranteed to make you gasp.
The outside of the building isn’t anything to write home about, but the moment you walk inside, you’re transported to a wonderland of literature and geometric symmetry.
Entry is free. A security guard will check your bags, and then you’re free to roam for as long as you’d like.
In order to see the library the way it’s meant to be seen, go up to the fifth floor and walk up the stairs. Once you’ve reached the top, you can go through the cafe and up to the roof. From there, you’ll see a birds-eye view of all of Stuttgart. It was a cloudy day when we went. I bet in summer, though, it’s stunning.
And the books! Don’t even get me started on the books.
There are seven floors lined with shelves upon shelves of every book and audiobook imaginable. They’re categorized by language and genre, so everything is relatively easy to find.
The English fiction took up almost the entirety of the sixth floor! My local library in Switzerland has a shelf of five English books. Two out of those five are biographies of old white men I could care less about. So, being able to walk through an entire floor filled with English books just waiting to be read made me want to pack my bags and move in. I’d be the Phantom of the Library. If only.
To make things even more of a dream, they have exclusive covers for classics. I found an incredible copy of Great Expectations that made me swoon.
Sadly, without a library card, you can’t check any books out. You can spend all day reading on the comfy blue couches or in the library cafe, though. However, even if you don’t live in Stuttgart, you can get a library card! You just have to bring proof of identification with you or you can register online. If you live in Germany, get on that! Support your local, gorgeous library!
You should absolutely make it a priority to visit the prettiest library in Stuttgart. Seriously. You won’t regret it.
Do you want to hear more about the rest of my trip to Stuttgart? Let me know in the comments!
Bucket List Item #44 and #46: Meet Tommy Wiseau, See The Room in Theatres
First of all, if you haven’t seen The Room yet or don’t know who Tommy Wiseau is, stop what you’re doing, go have a glass or two of wine, and WATCH IT. It’s weird, it’s horrible. It’s perfect. It’s the Citizen Kane of bad movies. Ever since Michael and I watched it for the first time last year, we’ve become obsessed. We’re not the only ones.
The Room has developed a kind of cult following, where people go to showings and throw spoons at the screen, dress up as the characters, quote lines loudly and in unison. When Michael and I figured this out, we were dead set on going to see one of these showings and we were even more determined to meet Tommy Wiseau, the zany, weird actor, producer, writer, and director of the film. We fell so in love with this bad movie and the people in it that meeting Tommy and seeing The Room in theatres added themselves to my bucket list quite quickly.
In February, Michael and I headed to London to cross both these things off my list in one go.
Tommy and his younger sidekick, Greg Sestero, have been doing tours once a year around the world, where they show The Room and Greg’s feature film, Best Friends. At the showings, Tommy answers questions and then they stand outside and sign merch, take photos, and drink beer. It’s amazing. It’s everything you could ever imagine meeting Tommy would be like.
The Disaster Artist
We headed over to the Prince Charles Cinema, an incredible independent movie theatre right on the outskirts of Chinatown, and began our all-day Tommy Wissaeu extravaganza.
We began with The Disaster Artist — and listen, I know James Franco is a smoking pile of trash fire but it was a genuinely funny movie, based on the memoir, written by Greg, of the same name. It felt accurate and Franco did an amazing impression of Tommy.
It’s a good way to introduce the people who are wary of The Room to the room. It’s my civic duty to make sure everyone is a Room enthusiast.
Coming Face to Face with Tommy
After the showing, we walked out of the cinema to come face-to-face with Tommy and Greg. Greg was getting the merch together and Tommy was being Tommy. Our hearts were racing.
Greg heard my accent (American, like him), looked at me, and said, “Hi.” Tommy walked up the stairs and looked Michael right in the eye. Or at least we think he did. He always wears sunglasses so who is to say. We were a pile of giddy-nerves and it took everything for me to muster a meek “hello” to Greg while Michael stared back in awe at Tommy.
We had two hours until the premiere of Best Friends and we had to leave the theatre to make room for the people seeing the showing before. Michael and I left in search of beer because we knew we could not go through the rest of this night completely sober. We felt high and giddy, replaying the moment over and over again, screaming as we practically skipped down the street.
“Tommy stared right at me,” Michael said.
“GREG SAID HELLO TO ME. TO ME.”
It’s safe to say we were a mess.
The rest of the night feels like a blur. As we waited in line, we met a dude who was very strange but very nice and who came to see Tommy alone. He was as excited as we were so despite his proclivity to saying weird things, we hung out with him the whole night.
Best Friends was produced by Greg and stars both him and Tommy. It was weird and beautiful and I have no idea what the fuck was happening — so, yeah, it was awesome. It wasn’t the kind of weird that The Room is, nothing can be that kind of weird. Instead, it was intentional weird, a strange, almost transgressive stream of consciousness about two best friends trying to make millions of dollars off of old dental scraps. There was a clown at some point? Honestly, I can’t really explain the plot to you but you can tell Greg was extremely proud of it and that was enough.
Meeting Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero (Officially)
That was the first time I met Greg and Tommy. We took a photo and Tommy said, “You’re from America? Me too. Me too.” Greg asked me where I was from and told me to let him know how I liked his film. I don’t even remember what I said to them. I feel like I just blacked out because I couldn’t believe I was in the presence of Tommy. I just remember being excited. I hope I was at least slightly charming.
We then took our final walk outside of the cinema to stand in line to watch The Room. It was 11 PM by that point and our giddiness had drained us. We were tired but this was it. We were going to finally see The Room in theatres.
An Almost Fight
As we waited in line, a drunken British lad tried to skip us and then tried to fight me for some reason until Michael stepped forward and the lad saw how broad Michael was. Once he saw that, he backed off and I was thankful. It was a bit scary and just added to our nerves and excitement. By the time we finally got into the theatre, our hearts were racing.
Was it from the adrenaline of an almost fight? Was it the excitement of finally being able to throw a bunch of plastic spoons at a cinema screen? Maybe it was a bit of both.
And let me tell you, it was everything I could have ever wanted. Watching that ridiculous movie for like the 17th time in a room full of people who have seen it just as many times, if not more, was amazing.
We threw spoons at the screen and screamed and laughed with the crowd. Tommy was Tommy and we were happier because of it.
The Best Night
Though, I have to say the sex scenes felt even longer on the big screen. Maybe because of the fact that we were watching the most uncomfortable sex scene in film history in a room of other people.
I wish I could put into words how amazing, strange, and funny that night was. I still can’t believe I got to meet THE Tommy Wiseau. Life is crazy.
All I can really say, I guess, is that it almost tore me apart, Lisa.
And you best believe we’d do it again.
Have you seen The Room in Cinemas or Met Tommy Wiseau? Share your experiences in the comments! Room-lovers unite!
The 11 Best Restaurants in Glasgow
Glasgow is home to some of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to in my life. A worker’s city, Glasgow is not really the place for sightseeing. Their motto is “People Make Glasgow” and that’s so true. When Michael and I visited, we met some of the kindest, funniest people we’ve ever met in our lives. And the food. THE FOOD. Seriously, as you can see on my Scotland Itinerary, we mostly just ate and drank during our three days there. And now, I’m going to list the 11 Best Restaurants in Glasgow for you to enjoy. Seriously. Go to these places. You won’t regret it.
*All photos are from the restaurant websites unless stated otherwise. Because I’m an idiot who got too excited about the food to take a good photo.
Here Are My Top Picks for the 11 Best Restaurants in Glasgow:
The Crafty Pig
508 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 8EL, UK
Type of Food: Pub Fair with a Twist
After a long day of driving, we arrived at The Crafty Pig right at the start of dinnertime and were not disappointed. Part of a good collective owned by Kained Holdings, The Crafty Pig is where fine-dining meets dive bar. Serving up burgers, po’boys, and hot dogs, this restaurant puts a twist on pub fare with their homemade BBQ sauce, freshly made brioche buns, and melt-in-your-mouth Scottish beef. Michael got the pulled pork burger and I had the Classic Burger with cheese and oh my god. I think that was literally one of my top ten burgers of all time. Seriously. If meat isn’t your thing, they’ve also got an amazing smoked tofu burger that the waitress told me is super popular with vegans and non-vegans alike.
They’ve also got an extensive beer list, with craft brews from local breweries and a guest beer that changes monthly. Our waitress was so lovely and talked to us about New York, Glasgow, and just life in general. I’d highly recommend you go here on your stay. Oh, and apparently the milkshakes are insane. I didn’t have one because I wanted to be able to go out afterward but I saw a few go by and yum!
Porter & Rye
1131 Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8ND, UK
Type of Food: Fancy Steakhouse
Owned by the same people who own Crafty Pig, Porter & Rye is an upscale steak restaurant with certified Scottish beef and wild game. This is farm to table in the best way. The owners work closely with local farmers to ensure the best cut of meat every time. Even the ketchup is made in-house!
How it works: pick your cut of beef, one side per person, and the sauce of your choice. The food comes out on a communal plate for everyone at the table to share. It reminded me a bit of Peter Lugers in NYC. And OMG, it was delicious. We got the Porterhouse Cut for Two with a side of bone marrow mac-n’-cheese, skinny truffle fries, and the broccoli rocket pesto. This was a birthday trip so we definitely splurged. And it was worth it. I paired my meal with the Scotch & Rye and Michael got a seasonal IPA. Everything was so perfect. This was truly one of the best restaurants in Glasgow.
Also, funnily enough, since the restaurant is owned by the same people as Crafty Pig, we ended up having the same waitress! She was so excited to see us again (and vice versa) and she gave us a free dessert. Speaking of dessert, you must save room for it! The Dark Chocolate Cremeux was so creamy and chocolatey. I’m drooling just thinking about it. This place is definitely more expensive, but if you’re in Glasgow for a birthday or a special event, I’d definitely recommend eating here.
85 Drygate, Glasgow G4 0UT, UK
Type of Food: European, Craft Beer, Pub Fare
About a ten minute Uber drive from Glasgow city center lies the Drygate Brewery. You can go here for lunch or dinner. I’d recommend booking the Behind the Glass tour, which is every weekend at either 5 or 7 PM. Sadly, we were only in Glasgow during the week so we missed this but you shouldn’t. You can also book a Through the Glass tour which is on weekdays during lunchtime. During this tour, a craft beer expert will give you a flight of seven beers to taste while teaching you about the brewing process! Both seem like experiences that can’t be missed. You can book a tour here.
Now, about the food. Just like The Crafty Pig, Drygate offers an elevated beer hall/pub fare menu. One of the highlights on the menu, though, is Ox Cheek. I tried this and it was sweet and savory. It didn’t taste gamey at all. It reminded me a bit of the haggis that I had in Fort William. Extremely juicy and delicious. You can also get an artisanal sandwich board or brick oven pizza. Not the healthiest of meals but definitely delicious. On request, your server will pair you with a beer that goes perfectly with your meal. Or, you can just get a beer flight like I did!
1125 Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8ND, UK
Type of Food: Seafood
Coincidentally, The Finnieston is ALSO owned by the same people who own Porter and The Crafty Pig. I guess I have a type.
We actually just went here for cocktails and dessert because they’re right next to Porter and Rye. And I know we’re talking about the best restaurants in Glasgow, but holy hell, the cocktails here were amazing. Any cocktail with dry ice basically has me sold. I have a thing for smoke. But, I know friends who have actually eaten here and they literally couldn’t stop raving about the Halibut and the Beer Battered Haddock. They also have a smoked mackerel scotch egg listed as a side so sign me the F up!
If you’re looking for a cocktail rec, I highly recommend the Penicillin. It doesn’t taste like medicine but it definitely was a cure for something. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It looked like Linda Evangelista. It had liquid smoke. What else could you ask for?
Oh! And the homemade bread? Legendary.
Doghouse Merchant City
99 Hutcheson St, Glasgow G1 1SN, UK
Type of Food: Pub Fair
Ok, I’m realizing a lot of food on this list is very meat-based but I promise we’ll get to some healthier, veggie options down below. This probably explains why I gained three pounds while in Glasgow — whatever. But! There is a cauliflower burger at Doghouse. I looked it up online and it looks delicious so there is hope for you yet, vegetarians. And there’s a vegan burger called Hail Satan. So. V important stuff.
Anyway, Doghouse is definitely more of a bar than a restaurant but it’s a great place for a late night bite or a quick lunch before hopping to the Kelvingrove Museum (which is right across the street). If you’re not familiar, Doghouse is a famous brewery located in Glasgow but they sell the beers all over the world. The Doghouse Punk IPA is even sold at COOP in Switzerland, and it’s one of my favorite beers.
There’s obviously tons of craft beer to try here and you don’t have to eat anything to try them. But since we were here for brunch, I had the Eggs Bun-Addict which was a cool twist on eggs benny, which was more like a sandwich with black pudding instead of ham. Delicious! Michael had a hot dog, I think it was called the Patriot Dog. Each menu item has a specific beer pairing as well, and who am I to go against the experts? I’d definitely recommend going here for brunch before you head off the to museum. It’s worth it.
37-43 Ashton Ln, Glasgow G12 8SJ, UK
Type of Food: Belgian, Seafood
Sadly, I’m deathly allergic to shellfish so I couldn’t have the best dish at Brel, which is their Moules Frites (aka mussels and fries). Everyone I’ve ever known who has been to Brel has recommended the Moules Frites to me and I’m like, “Sounds good, but I don’t want to die.” So, if you’re not cursed with a shellfish allergy like I am, definitely get these. If you show up before 6 PM, they’re only 6 quid! They’re apparently to-die-for (get it? Cause if I ate them, I would die).
For me, the biggest pull for going to Brel is the location. It’s part of BAAD, which is a huge art collective in Glasgow. Converted lofts were turned into shops and restaurants. The lofts are covered in graffiti and art from local Scottish artists. It’s a really cool place to be and there’s so much to explore! Even if you’re not hungry, you could grab a beer or a coffee here and just enjoy the atmosphere.
Since I couldn’t get the Moules Frites and I didn’t want to get the fondue because I live in Switzerland, where fondue is always best, I ended up going for the Poisson Frites, which were really incredible fish and chips. The batter was crispy and light, the fish was juicy. The fries were thick and crispy. It was a really great experience.
54 Calton Entry, Glasgow G40 2SB, UK
Type of Food: Seafood, European
Also located in the BAAD, A’Challtain was truly one of the best restaurants in Glasgow. On weekends, you can sit out on the courtyard and gaze at all the incredible art.
The cashew nut and ricotta spiced mullet was incredible and so was the pan seared cod!
64 Albion St, Glasgow G1 1NY, UK
Type of Food: Breakfast
Breakfast with a side of history. Cafe Gandolfi has been open since 1979 and is one of the oldest long-standing restaurants in Glasgow. It was once part of an old cheese market, but now, they serve up some of the best brunches in town.
I tried the Eggs Benedict, which had a really savory hollandaise with a slight kick. The eggs were poached to perfection and it tasted homemade. Michael had the full Scottish breakfast and he said the black pudding was some of the best he’s ever had.
They also have a fish market, so you can pop over for lunch! Trip Advisor reviewers say you must try the salmon!
102 Dumbarton Rd, Glasgow G11 6NX, UK
Type of Food: American, Breakfast
Living in Switzerland, sometimes I truly miss a real American breakfast that won’t cost me a million dollars and my first born child (#swisslife, am I right?). So, when I travel to the UK I always try to seek out at least one place that’ll serve me American style pancakes.
TriBECa met that need and more. The restaurant was a nostalgia-fest for any New Yorker, as the walls are covered floor to ceiling with iconic black and white pictures of New York. And the pancakes did not disappoint. They were fluffy, sweet, with a blueberry compote on top that tasted like carb-loaded heaven. It had the typical diner feel so I was right at home. They also serve bagels but I don’t trust a bagel that’s not from New York. It’s in my DNA as a New Yorker to be extremely biased against bagels.
If you’re brave and not a bagel snob like me, though, try the bagels and let me know how they are! Perfect breakfast spot.
1056 Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8LY, UK
Type of Food: Light Lunch, Sandwich
If you’re looking for a light lunch or a sandwich for the road, Piece is the place to go! My friend Ian, who lived in Glasgow for a while, recommended this place to me and I’m so happy I paid Piece a visit! Their menu is simple, just sandwiches and paninis but the place smells incredible and the sandwiches taste even better. I had the Cubano and Michael had the Bahn Mi. Both were great. The perfect place for a quick lunch!
The Hanoi Bike Shop
8 Ruthven Ln, Glasgow G12 9BG, UK
Type of Food: Vietnamese
The Hanoi Bike Shop was the first ever Vietnamese restaurant in Glasgow. With its canteen-style decor and trendy bar stools, this place is perfect for a night out.
I LOVE Vietnamese food, so stopping in here was one of the best decisions I made while in Glasgow. And it’s absolutely one of the best restaurants in Glasgow, hands down. The crispy tofu spring rolls melted in my mouth, and the Make Your Own Pho was just what I needed on a slightly chilly spring night. I had the Chicken Pho, which had the perfect balance of spicy and savory.
They also deliver if you just feel like eating spring rolls and rice cakes in your hotel room (I don’t judge. I almost did that, too).
So there you go! My top picks for the 11 Best Restaurants in Glasgow! Check Out My 10 Day Scotland Itinerary.
Did your favorite restaurant show up here? If not, tell me your favorite place to eat in Glasgow in the comments!
I haven’t been a good blogger lately. Actually, I haven’t been a blogger. Period.
It used to be that writing was my life. Writing used to be what kept the bad days at bay.
Lately, though, I sit down to write and stare at a blank page with a blank mind until the anxiety creeps into my chest. I click exit. I don’t press “save draft.”
I have so much to write about. In 2018, I went on adventure after adventure. I spent 10 days in Scotland. I stayed in a haunted castle on my birthday. I met Tommy Wiseau. I went on a literary tour in Berlin. I have so much to write about and yet, when I sit down to write it, self-doubt creeps in like an unwanted visitor and I’m left wondering if I have anything worth saying at all.
I haven’t been a good blogger lately. This is why.
In 2016, my high school sweetheart and my mentor died within a month of each other. In 2017, my dear friend Aaron took his own life. I have been dealing with the backlash of grief for the past two years and it’s not easy. This shouldn’t be an excuse. I have written for other publications and for work. If you saw me in the office last year, you’d most likely not even know that I was grieving. But I’ve felt the scars so deeply ingrained on my heart, and I’ve felt like everything I want to write about on my own blog isn’t good enough if it’s not about overcoming grief. I am so blessed to be living the life that I live and yet. And yet.
Losing three people within a year has often made me feel like I’m drowning. It’s like with them, my lust for putting words to paper died. It’s been three years and the wounds are still fresh.
This shouldn’t be an excuse. And in 2019, I am going to work towards making sure it won’t be. I know that Nick and Aaron and Robin wouldn’t want me to put what they believed in most about me on hold just because they’re gone.
I know that putting your passions on hold is not how you successfully live life.
This year, I’m seeking therapy and seeking new adventures so that I can find that love for words again. I’m going to be the blogger I know that I can be. I’m not going to let mental illness win.
I hope that all of you who have followed me over the years are still around. I hope you can forgive me for being a bad blogger.
I hope you know that I’m sorry for being gone but I appreciate you all for staying.
I’m back. I hope you’re ready for what’s to come.
Suffering from both anxiety and depression can oftentimes make traveling difficult. Over the years, I’ve come up with a few sure-fire ways to overcome travel anxiety.
Visit Stonehenge is part of my bucket list series. Read the entire list here.
Michael and I went to London for a few days in the beginning of February and I finally got around to doing my literary tour of London.
This past year, I achieved one of my biggest bucket list items: moving abroad and living life as an expat. However, there are still so many items just waiting to be checked off the list.
I’ve suffered with depression pretty much my entire life, the severity waxing and waning as the days go by.