Ruff Guide to… Glasgow

Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, is also one of the greenest in the United Kingdom. Its name translates as ‘Dear Green Place’ and it is home to more than 90 parks and open spaces – making it ideal for dogs. The city has a buzzing arts and culture scene and is a major player in the movie world, thanks to its grid system design, which gives it a distinctly American look and feel. Several movie franchises – such as Indiana Jones and Batman – have been filmed here in recent years, helping to put this fantastic city in the spotlight.

Inside the Kibble Palace at Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Inside the Kibble Palace at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Dog-friendly Glasgow: the must-sees

Start with the Glasgow Botanic Gardens in the city’s West End. They are renowned for their Victorian glasshouses and the main one is called Kibble Palace – entirely appropriate for dog owners! Pets are not allowed inside, but there are plenty of good sniffs to be had in the gardens themselves, which were established more than 200 years ago. There are several self-guided tours around the grounds, which are free to visit and open all year round. Dogs must be kept on lead at all times.

Another great, if slightly spooky place to visit is the Glasgow Necropolis. This grand Victorian cemetery, next to Glasgow Cathedral, is packed with ornate tombs and mausoleums dedicated to 50,000 prominent locals of the day. You don’t see many cemeteries like this in the UK – and tours are available to help you take all of the 37-acre site in. Be sure to look out for the William Wallace Memorial.

Glasgow Cathedral as viewed from the Necropolis
Glasgow Cathedral, as viewed from the Necropolis

There are lots of other walking tours that dogs can join – and they’re a great way of getting under the city’s skin. Every visitor should pay homage to Charles Rennie Mackintosh – one of Glasgow’s most famous sons – by taking in some of his Art Deco architecture. This includes the Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street and the former Glasgow Herald building – now The Lighthouse, which doubles as Scotland’s national centre for design and architecture. The CRM Society has put together a series of walking tours that explore Mackintosh’s influence on the city centre and further afield. Download them by clicking here.

The City Centre Mural Trail is also great to do with dogs. There are almost 30 murals to see over the course of five miles. The trail, which includes pieces of art such as the Glasgow Panda and tributes to Billy Connolly, starts by the Tennant Caledonian Brewery and finishes just off Sauchiehall Street. Ideally, allow three hours to see it all. If you download the mural map to your phone, it moves when you do so it’s easy to navigate. The City Centre Contemporary Art Trail – which has 14 works – is well worth checking out, too.

Glasgow Panda on the Glasgow Mural Trail
The Glasgow Panda is part of the Glasgow Mural Trail

Dog-friendly Glasgow: the best walks

Glasgow is home to more than 90 parks and gardens so you’re never too far from a good walk. Pollok Country Park – the city’s largest – has previously been named the best in Europe. Its woodland and gardens provide visitors with an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is a great place to spot Highland cattle, too. A three-mile circular loop will give you a taste of everything the park has to offer, from North Wood and the White Cart Water to Pollok House.

Kelvingrove Park, near Glasgow’s West End, is a fine example of a Victorian park. The 85-acre site, on the banks of the River Kelvin, was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton and is home to bowling greens, play areas, cafes and more. It is also where you’ll find the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which has recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment to restore its Victorian splendour. While the gallery is not dog-friendly, it forms part of a 90-minute Heritage Trail that takes in all of the above sights.

A statue of Lord Kelvin in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow
A statue of Lord Kelvin in Kelvingrove Park © VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

You shouldn’t miss a visit to Glasgow Green either, which has been at the heart of the city for more than half a century. The 136-acre park, bordering the River Clyde, often plays host to concerts and events. It is also where you’ll find The People’s Palace museum. A paved pathway runs around the perimeter of the park and is approximately three miles in length. As you walk, you will see famous Doulton Fountain and Nelson’s Monument, as well as the imposing McLennan Arch, which forms one of the park entrances.

A little further east is the Cuningar Loop. In the 19th Century, the reservoirs here provided water for the whole of Glasgow but today, the area is a peaceful woodland park. Bats, butterflies and bees all thrive here and in recent years, more than 15,000 trees have been planted. Around two miles of paths and boardwalks criss-cross the site, which is also where you’ll find Scotland’s first bouldering park. Be sure to look out for the Cuningar Stones, which reflect the history of the local area. To find out more about the Cuningar Loop, click here.

Ashton Lane, Glasgow
Ashton Lane is renowned for being incredibly cool – and dog-friendly

Dog-friendly Glasgow: the best pubs and cafes

Some of the best pet-friendly pubs and cafes can be found in Glasgow’s vibrant West End. Start by visiting Ashton Lane, where your dog will be warmly welcomed at several establishments, such as Brel, Ramen Dayo! and The Gardener. Dogs can also dine with their owners in the brasserie at Ubiquitous Chip, which has been serving tasty Scottish food since 1971. Try the tasting menu to enjoy a little bit of everything. Ashton Lane is also home to a cute independent cinema – The Grosvenor – which hosts regular pet-friendly screenings.

If you’re in the mood for cocktails or a game of table tennis, head to Hillhead Bookclub on nearby Vinicombe Street. This funky bar and restaurant is housed in an old theatre and it’s easy to see where the stage would have once been. Bag yourself a booth and tuck in to hearty dishes such as burgers and pies. The weekend breakfasts are well worth visiting for too, and dogs will get lots of fuss from staff. They’ll also be in line for some treats at Cottiers, a converted church on Hyndland Street. This amazing bar, restaurant and theatre – named after Scottish artist Daniel Cottier – is truly one of Glasgow’s best-kept secrets. Dogs are welcome in both the garden and bar, which serves local craft ales and cocktails.

Veggie Baked Eggs at Singl-end, Glasgow
Brunch at Singl-End is a must – these are the Veggie Baked Eggs

For brunch, you can’t beat Singl-End, which has two branches in Glasgow – in Merchant City and Garnethill. The cafe and bakehouse makes as much as it can from scratch and has an extensive breakfast and lunch menu. Dogs are more than welcome to join their owners for a bite to eat – as long as they adhere to the four bark rule and are “seriously cute”. Another great dog-friendly brunch spot is Mayze, on Argyle Street in Finnieston. This vegan kitchen serves seriously good plant-based food and features in the Scottish edition of the Independent Coffee Guide 2021. Pets are also welcome in the vintage-style tea room at The Butterfly and The Pig, on Bath Street.

If you can’t decide what you fancy to eat, let Glasgow’s indoor street food markets inspire you. The Dockyard Social, Big Feed, Ronnie’s Bar & Bike Shop at SWG3 and Platform are packed with tasty, locally-produced treats, ranging from fried chicken to waffle fries. All of the markets are dog-friendly and many have live music, DJs and special events for kids. Be sure to check the websites before you visit to find out when the markets are next on. They are usually only held at weekends but are well worth checking out if you’re in the area.

Drygate Brewing Co, Glasgow
Grab a beer at the Drygate Brewing Co

Craft beer lovers should head for Drygate Brewing Co, which is housed in a former screenprinting factory and has a cool industrial feel. Drygate’s core range consists of three IPAs, a mango pale ale and an award-winning mocha milk stout, but it also has a rotating selection of beers on tap. Visitors can dine in taproom brasserie, bar or terrace – and there’s even a special dog menu. You can also take a tour of the neighbouring Tennent’s Brewery, but be aware that dogs are not permitted.

Another great place for beer lovers and their dogs is WEST on the Green, which claims to have a Glaswegian heart but German head. This imposing brewpub, by Glasgow Green, specialises in artisan lagers, wheat beers and traditional German cuisine, such as schnitzel, currywurst and pretzels. The burgers are even served in pretzel buns! Oktoberfest is a big deal here too so if you visit Glasgow in the autumn, be sure to check it out. If you’d rather have a wee dram though, head to The Pot Still in Hope Street. This family-run bar has more than 800 different whiskies on the menu – as well as cask ales and hearty pies. Dogs are welcome to join their owners in the bar until 8pm daily.

Macaroni Cheese at Sloans, Glasgow
Sloans is renowned for its Macaroni Cheese

Mac ‘n’ cheese seems to be particularly popular in Glasgow, and Sloans – one of the city’s oldest pubs – is renowned for its take on the dish. The grand three-storey venue even hosts regular meetings of the Scottish Macaroni Appreciation Club. Once a month, members feast on four courses of the dish (plus a drink) for £18. It’s billed as the “ultimate cheesy night out” and is open to non-members too, but does get booked up in advance. Mac ‘n’ cheese is on Sloans’ usual menu though and can be enjoyed in the bar or pretty courtyard garden. Dogs are welcome on the ground floor.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese is also on the menu at The Clutha Bar, which is regularly voted one of the best places to enjoy live music in Glasgow. The venue, on Stockwell Street, is run by an arts charity and welcomes dogs both in the bar and beer garden. The pub’s delicious freshly-cooked food is also amazing value for money. Bar snacks start from just £2.50 while mains are £5. Another dog-friendly live music venue is The Howlin’ Wolf, on Bath Street. This cool juke joint specialises in blues and also has great lunch deals.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh mural outside The Clutha, Glasgow - complete with mask
Charles Rennie Mackintosh mural outside The Clutha – complete with mask

Dog-friendly Glasgow: where to stay

If you want to stay in the heart of Glasgow, check out the Moxy Glasgow Merchant City, which is next to High Street Station. This funky four-star hotel – part of the Marriott group – has a cool, urban vibe and simple yet stylish rooms. Everything has been designed with the younger traveller in mind, and dogs are very welcome to stay with their owners. The modern GoGlasgow Urban Hotel, on Paisley Road West, is also pet-friendly.

The Argyll Hotel is perfectly placed for exploring Kelvingrove Park, as is the YHA Glasgow Youth Hostel. This Hostelling Scotland property is a great budget option and you can book everything from dorm rooms to doubles. If you want to push the boat out though, consider staying at the swanky Kimpton Blythswood Square. And dog owners can expect a very warm welcome at the Kings Park Hotel in Rutherglen, which has views of Overtoun Park. Many chain hotels in Glasgow also accept dogs for a small additional fee. These include the Travelodge, Hilton and Radisson.

If you’d prefer self-catering accommodation, check out 52 Charlotte Street, close to Glasgow Green. This historic 18th Century house has been split into six self-contained flats by the National Trust for Scotland. Each one sleeps two to four people – and welcomes dogs. The Dog Friendly Cottages website also has some great self-catering accommodation options and you’ll find plenty more on Airbnb and via the Visit Scotland website.

Iconic Duke of Wellington statue in Glasgow with traffic cone on his head
The iconic Duke of Wellington statue, complete with traffic cone

How do I get to Glasgow?

The city is incredibly well connected, whether you’re travelling from within Scotland, England or further afield. It is approximately a seven-hour drive from London, via the M1, M6 and M74, and an hour from Edinburgh via the M8. The M77 links Glasgow to the west coast of Scotland and the M80 connects it to Stirling, which is around 40 minutes away.

Trains from Glasgow Central Station serve all major cities to the south, while routes from Glasgow Queen Street Station mainly link to the rest of Scotland. The journey time from London is just over four hours, while it’s approximately 50 minutes from Edinburgh. Tickets can be booked via Scotrail, Cross Country, Avanti West Coast, LNER and TransPennine Express. There are also regular National Express bus services and two international airports – Glasgow Airport and Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

When you’re in the city, it’s easy to get around by public transport but you’ll probably find the Subway particularly invaluable. This is the simplest way to travel around the city centre and West End of Glasgow – and one of the most affordable, too. Single adult tickets start from just £1.55 – and dogs travel free.

The Finnieston Crane and Clyde Arc on the River Clyde, Glasgow
The Finnieston Crane and Clyde Arc on the River Clyde © VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

Where can I find out more?

Visit the People Make Glasgow website or check out the visitor guide on the Visit Scotland website. To see more dog-friendly pubs and cafes, visit the Dugs n Pubs website.

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