Airports

Glasgow is served by two airports - Glasgow International (GLA) is the city's principal airport serving the major carriers, whilst Glasgow Prestwick (PIK) is the secondary airport serving low-cost airlines and holiday charters. Glasgow is also served by a regular frequent  express bus service from Edinburgh International Airport (EDI).  Full details here http://www.citylink.co.uk/index.php

 

Glasgow International Airport (GLA)

Glasgow International Airport is located 8 miles west of the city's downtown near the town of Paisley, with regular connections to London and elsewhere in the British Isles, the main European hubs (Paris, Amsterdam & Frankfurt), and is Scotland's principal transatlantic & long-haul departure point .  GLA also serves as a hub airport for the local Western Isles network (currently operated by Flybe).  You can fly to Glasgow International from almost any destination through London and connect to Glasgow via regular British Airways shuttle flights throughout the day from both Heathrow and Gatwick.   Continental Airlines operate a daily service to Glasgow from New York (Newark) which can connect from most major cities in the USA.  The summer months have more direct flights from the USA (Chicago, Philadelphia) than the winter months.  A great tip if flying from the USA is to connect via Iceland as it cuts down the flight times and is a more direct, and often cheaper, route than via London.  KLM also run regular shuttles to Glasgow from their Amsterdam-Schiphol hub which serves a wide range of international destinations, and can be a far more pleasant experience than changing planes at Heathrow.  Emirates now have a twice daily service to GLA to/from their Dubai hub which serves as a useful alternative to London for those arriving from the Middle East and Asia .

In addition, the low cost airilne easyJet runs regular services to Glasgow from London's Luton and Stansted airports - these can be a lot cheaper than the British Airways services from Heathrow, Gatwick or City, but bear in mind that both airports are some considerable distance from London (35-40 miles) and the rail transfer costs (typically £20+ return per person) can wipe out any cost saving between the BA services (or indeed not flying at all, and using an express train to do the entire journey) - so do the math as they say before booking!! 

GLA-City Centre connections - Bus

There are several (service 500 from stance 1, from stance 2 service 747) buses that run from the airport to the city centre every day from the stands straight across from the main airport exit (well signposted).  Once they get downtown, the airport buses call outside Central Station (for rail connections to the southern parts of the city, and to the south generally), Queen Street Station (for rail connections to Edinburgh and anywhere north) - finishing up at Buchanan Bus Station.  The buses also make key stops in the city centre along St. Vincent Street, George Square, and near Blythswood Hill to cater for the large concentration of hotels in this area.

The quickest option is the 500 service which runs up to every 10 minutes and is an express bus utilising the adjacent M8 motorway, it does not stop until it comes off the M8 at Bothwell Street (for Hilton, Marriott and Menzies hotels, although 5-10 min walk required for these hotels) Further stops at the other end of Bothwell St for Central Station and then on to Queen St Station for hotels around George Square such as Carlton George, Millenium and Premier Inn (George St). The journey time is advertised as 20 minutes though at rush hour may be slightly more, the cost is £6, for an extra 50p you can upgrade your ticket that allows onward travel throughout the city on the operators (Firstbus) other services that day, useful if your final destination is beyond the city centre.

The 2nd option is the 747, this however is not an express bus but a regular commutor type bus therefore it has limited operating times i.e. no early morning/late night services and a reduced service on Sundays/Bank Holidays. journey time to Buchanan Bus Station is around 50 minutes as the bus takes a more circuitous route even calling at a large out of town Shopping Centre on the way and there are only 2 per hour. the good thing about this service is it goes through the West End (along Dumbarton Rd and past Kelvingrove onto Sauchiehall St, therefore if your Hotel is in this area then this may sut you better. the cost is £3.75 

GLA-City Centre connections - Taxi

Taxis (white cabs) are readily available at the front door of the airport and are reasonable compared to other airports around the World (around £20-22 to the city centre), you can save around 25%-30% if you call one of the many Private Hire Car firms in Glasgow to come and pick you up, however you must call after you reclaim your baggage and you will have to make your way across to the Multi-Storey car park opposite the terminal (3-4 mins walk) and wait on the ground floor at the pay station for your car to come and collect you. Please note that these cars are ordinary Saloon Cars holding only 4 passengers and limited luggage space in the boot (Trunk) so if there are 3-4 persons in your party then with additional hand luggage it might be a tight squeeze. Journey time to the City Centre is around the same as the 500 bus minus the stops in the city centre.

GLA-City Centre connections - Rail

The airport is not on the railway network, however a combined bus-rail ticket which connects to any rail destination in the country, but for getting into the centre of Glasgow it doesn't really compete with the direct bus services in terms of either time or convenience.  Its main function is to connect GLA to the rest of Scotland, rather than as a means of getting to Glasgow itself, as a combination of waiting for the bus/train could involve a journey time of up to 45 minutes to the City Centre.  The bus runs between the airport and nearby Paisley Gilmour Street station which is on the main line railway network from which it is possible to travel into Glasgow Central (eastbound), or the Ayrshire or Inverclyde coasts (westbound)

Tickets are available at the SPT Travel Information Desk in the domestic arrivals hall.  The bus (bound for "Paisley Gilmour Street") is available at the airport bus stands.   If making the reverse journey back, simply ask for a rail ticket to "GLASGOW AIRPORT"; the route down to the bus stop is clearly signposted inside Gilmour Street.  Show the bus driver the rail ticket - it will be valid to the airport.

GLA-City Centre connections - Driving by car

The M8 motorway directly connects the airport to the city centre, but it gets very congested at rush hour.  Stay on the M8 all the way into the centre of town, and exit at Junction 19 on the Kingston Bridge for the City Centre (it is clearly marked) - this is the best exit for the likes of the Marriott, Hilton or any of the large concentration of hotels in the Anderston or Charing Cross areas.  If your hotel accommodation is in the West End (e.g the Crowne Plaza or Hilton Grosvenor), take the exit for the Clyde Tunnel/Southern General which is just three exits along from the airport.  Again the tunnel is very busy at rush hour but a far less stressful option than the M8.

 

Glasgow Prestwick International Airport (PIK)

Prestwick Airport is about 30 miles to the south west of Glasgow and has an increasing number of direct European flights thanks largely due to Ryanair who uses Prestwick as a hub.  Although further away from the city centre, don’t be put off flying into Prestwick – the airport has a train station in it with a frequent train service straight to/from Glasgow Central Station.  It’s really easy and worth the slightly longer journey for the sake of a direct or cheaper flight. Note that you may be eligible for free or half price rail travel to/from anywhere in Scotland depending on the flight at Prestwick you are on.  Show your booking reservation to the train guard or ticket clerk to take advantage of this offer.

PIK-City Centre connections - Bus

The X77 bus service runs non-stop directly to Buchanan Bus Station on an hourly frequency throughout the day, journey time around 50 minutes and the buses stop close to the terminal building.

The X99/X100 bus service runs the same route as the X77, but only in very early morning and late evening (when the train service isn’t!), and must be pre-booked.  Tickets cost £9 if booked in advance via the airport website, £16 if bought on the day.

PIK-City Centre connections - Taxi

It can be done, but owing to the airport’s distant location from Glasgow , don’t expect any change out of £45-£55!!  Only consider it if you are travelling as a group.

PIK-City Centre connections - Rail

Trains run on a half hour frequency to Glasgow Central station, and the journey takes 45-50 minutes.  The airport railway station is connected via a bridge from the check-in hall.  This is by far the most convenient method compared to the bus.  You are eligible for half price, or free rail travel anywhere in Scotland when flying from Prestwick depending on what flight you are on.  Simply have a printed copy of your flight reservation on hand to show to the guard or ticket clerk to make use of this offer.  When making the return journey, all trains bound for Ayr and Stranraer stop at Prestwick Airport .  Note that the trains do not run in the early morning which is problematic if you have an early check in - here, your only option is the X99/X100 bus service.

Try and have some change ready for the train fare as most people get on the train at Prestwick with notes of a high denomination e.g. twenty pounds or more.  Also state your end destination rather than just stating Glasgow or Edinburgh to the conductor as you will get a discounted thru ticket. 

PIK-City Centre connections - Driving by car

The A77 and the M77 motorway leads from the airport directly to Glasgow city centre, connecting with the M8.  Journey time about 50 minutes.  Directions to hotels are as for Glasgow International Airport above, but note that you cannot directly access the Clyde Tunnel on this route.  Note that an average speed camera system operates on this road between Prestwick and just short of Kilmarnock !

Rail

Glasgow boasts two main line railway terminals.  The larger of the two, Glasgow Central, serves all long-distance routes to England, local commuter services to the southern suburbs and surrounding towns, and the Ayrshire coast (including Prestwick Airport).  Glasgow Queen Street, near George Square serves Edinburgh and all destinations north of Glasgow.  

Take a daytrip down to the Ayrshire Coast by Train and visit lovely beaches and coastal towns such as Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Largs, Irvine, Ayr and Prestwick.  All are direct from Glasgow Central.  Loch Lomond is accessible from Glasgow Queen Street, the thrice daily West Highland Line service to Fort William calls at Ardlui at the northern tip of the loch, whilst the lively town of Balloch lies at the gateway to the busy south end of the loch - trains leave half hourly from the Low Level platforms.

Glasgow Central station also boasts a useful Travel Centre which you can book train travel to anywhere in the United Kingdom, and Eurostar bookings can be made here also.  Both Central and Queen Street stations are divided into High Level for main line trains, and Low Level for local and suburban services.

From Edinburgh: Trains leave for Queen Street (High Level) station on an 15 minute frequency during the day dropping to a half-hourly frequency after 6.30pm.  Journey time is 50 minutes, and a cheap day return costs around £11 If traveling off-peak as party of 3 or 4 consider a group save ticket which is equivalent in cost to two cheap day return fares.   Note that certain East Coast trains originating from London go to Glasgow Central - journey time is just over an hour and can be less crowded than using the Queen Street shuttle service - but your ticket is valid on either.  Trains to Helensburgh Central and Milngaviealso call at Queen Street (Low Level - these trains go via Bathgate and Airdrie), but are considerably slower than the shuttle and don't cost any less.  They are useful however, as a means of getting to the eastern suburbs of Glasgow faster than travelling into the centre and coming back out again.

From London:  As of 22nd May, 2011 there are fifteen direct trains a day to Glasgow Central, departing either from Euston or King's Cross station depending on operator.  Virgin Trains operate from Euston; 13 trains run per day on the West Coast route via the Midlands, and North West England (journey time: 4.5hrs), while East Coast operate from King's Cross; 1 train runs per day on the East Coast route via Yorkshire, North East England and Edinburgh (journey time: 5.5 hours) - additional connections are available by changing at either Edinburgh or Newcastle.  Fares for both companies start at around £15-18 one way rising to about £50 one way depending on how early you book.  The best place to buy is typically through the operators' website anything up to 12 weeks in advance.  For foreign visitors, BritRail passes (which must be bought in your country of origin before arriving in the UK) can be used to purchase tickets on either route.   Like everywhere on the British railway system, "open" tickets bought on the day of travel are very expensive - the standard Glasgow-London off peak fare is £110 return for example, and doubles if you want to leave London in the evening/morning peak - therefore booking in advance is strongly advised.   However, if you are using tickets bought in advance, you must always remember to only travel on the date, and particular train time that is printed on the ticket.  Otherwise your original ticket will be void and the on-train staff will oblige you to buy another at full price - you have been warned!

In addition to the daytime trains, Scotrail operates the overnight Caledonian Sleeper which leaves London Euston station every evening except Saturday at around 11.30pm, and arrives into Glasgow Central at 7am the following morning.  You can travel in a 1st Class seated coach for the same price as a daytime train, or for £40 extra the much preferable sleeping compartment (where at least you will get a bed!).  Note if you are travelling alone you may have to share the compartment with a stranger of the same gender.  Scotrail also offers heavily discounted "Bargain Berth" tickets on the Sleeper trains, which start at £19 one way and are fully inclusive (travel + sleeping berth).  These can only be purchased online, and are sold as e-tickets similar to an airline.  You must print out the booking confirmation and show it to the conductor before getting on the train.

From Central England & Wales:  Most trains for Glasgow pass through either York, Manchester Piccadilly or Birmingham New Street stations.  You can book a through journey to Glasgow which will run via this station.  More information is available at National Rail Enquiries .

Glasgow also boasts an extensive above ground network of commuter railway lines which serve the outer suburbs and outlying towns.  For more details visit the Strathclyde Passenger Transport website.  Day Tripper tickets are available which allow complete freedom of the network and Subway outside of peak times.

Bus

Buchanan Bus Station is located to the north of the city centre on Killermont Street (close to the eastern end of Sauchiehall Street) and has a taxi rank within it.  Buchanan Street  is the nearest Subway if you are heading to the West End.   The station is the main hub for Scottish Citylink, which connects with every major destination in Scotland.  National Express operate longer distance services to destinations south of the border, whilst budget operator Megabus operates a range of intercity services direct to Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness (via Perth), Dundee, Manchester and London.  Fares start at £1 (even to London if you book early enough).

You can take direct buses from Glasgow Buchanan Street Station to many beautiful coastal towns and enjoy the views on route from the bus!  Services are run by Stagecoach to Ayrshire and many other locations.

A usefull website for planning and timetables is www.travelinescotland.com 

Car

From Glasgow travelling to other parts of Scotland is very easy, the M8 Motorway links Glasgow to Edinburgh some 45 miles (72 km) east taking an estimated 1 hour to drive.

Travelling westward along the M8 leads to Greenock (25 miles / 41km) taking an estimated 35 minutes to drive.

The main route north from Glasgow is the M80 which merges to become the M9 after the exit for Stirling.  Stirling is 28 miles or 46 km from Glasgow, approximately a 37 minute drive.  Perth is 32 miles further on from Stirling - approximately another 30 minutes.  Upon reaching Perth, Dundee is another 20 minutes along the A90; Aberdeen some 152 miles (243 km) miles from Glasgow, about a 3 hour drive.

Perth is approximately 60 miles (100km) from Glasgow and is 1 hours drive away.  The A9 road continues north from Perth towards Inverness through the Central Highlands - another 2 hours (around 110 miles).

The more scenic A82 road runs out of the West End of Glasgow and on toward the North West Highlands, taking in the west bank of Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor, and the spectacular Glen Coe before arriving in Fort William.   Taking the A82, Fort William is 108 miles (173 km) from Glasgow and driving it would take 2.5 hrs, although it can take considerably longer in the height of summer due to the heavy tourist traffic on the road.  The A82 continues up the route of the Great Glen towards Inverness - another 65 miles on the banks of Loch Linnhe and Loch Ness.

Heading south most people tend to take the M73/M74 which again can be reached via the M8 , the M74 runs directly south through Lanarkshire and Dumfriesshire to meet the end of  the M6 at the English border and carries on directly south through the Lake District, running past Manchester and Birmingham before swinging east to meet the M1 at Rugby for the final 80 miles south to London.

(A new extension to the M74 opened on 28th June 2011 linking it to the M77/M8 south of the Kingston Bridge. This can for the moment result in SatNavs getting rather confused and many on-line route planners are yet to recognise this new stretch of motorway.)

Note however that the M6 becomes badly congested around the Birmingham area, and many drivers heading north from London opt instead for the northbound M1 all the way to Leeds and then swing westward on the M62 to join the northern section of the M6 at Wigan or Warrington, or alternatively continue to follow the A1 northwards to Scotch Corner and cut across the Pennines via the A66 to join the M6 at Penrith.

Manchester is around 3.5 hrs from Glasgow and is approximately 210 miles (338 km) away. Driving to/from London is indeed possible from Glasgow, being 406 miles (650 km) and would take 6.25-7 hours. Please note above times are non-stop and breaks are strongly recommended.

Please note these driving times are just a guide and do not take into account peoples different driving styles , please also be aware of speed cameras on many of these roads, it should be also noted that not all these roads will be motorways , and thus may affect the time travelled.