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Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Glasgow

23rd November 2017

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Scotland's biggest city is now one of the most intriguing metropolises in the UK with a range of top-class restaurants and attractions.

The city is very accessible and visitors that need to use stairlifts at home and struggle to get around can go on a city break to Glasgow safe in the knowledge that they will be able to travel around without any problems.

To find out all the accessible attractions, tours and activities visitors can do in the city, just read our guide below.

Best accessible attractions to visit

There are so many attractions to visit in Glasgow, but some are more accessible than others. Here are accessible attractions visitors just can’t miss and what people can see during their trip.

Glasgow Science Centre

Located on the river Clyde, the Glasgow Science Centre is a great attraction to visit as it displays science and technology in an inspiring way.

The science centre is regarded as one of Scotland’s must-see visitor attractions. Older adults heading to the museum with their grandchildren can enjoy two acres of interactive exhibits, workshops, shows, activities, a planetarium and an IMAX cinema.

The Science Show Theatre is where the live science shows take place and here visitors can expect lots of whizzes, bangs, pops and flashes.

The science centre is really accessible as there is ample parking available for mobility-impaired visitors and there are lifts available to all floors of the museum. Wheelchairs are also available to rent and there are fully accessible toilets too.

Glasgow Cathedral

The Glasgow Cathedral is one of Scotland’s most impressive medieval buildings and is the only building to survive the Scottish Reformation of 1560 fully intact.

The cathedral is the birthplace of the city of Glasgow and visitors can admire one of the finest post-war collections of stained glass windows in the UK.

Despite its age, the cathedral is also accessible to visitors with mobility problems as there are nearby car parks and the main entrance is suitable for wheelchair access as it boasts a slope and a public stairlift.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Another must-visit attraction is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which opened way back in 1901.

The accessible venue has 22 galleries to explore that cover topics such as Ancient Egypt, animals and art. There are around 8,000 objects on display and it can be hard to see all the different artefacts.

The Dutch Gallery is a highlight of the museum as the collection of 17th century Dutch and Flemish Old Masters is one of the largest and finest in the UK. Another popular attraction is the magnificent Spitfire LA198.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of the city’s most accessible attractions as there is wheelchair access to the museum and a lift available to visitors.

Best restaurants in Glasgow

The city’s restaurants offer everything from traditional Scottish food and modern British cuisine to daring fusion masterpieces and here are some great places to grab a bite to eat.

Wild Olive Tree Café

The Wild Olive Tree Café is located inside St George’s Tron Church of Scotland on Buchanan Street in Glasgow, less than 30 seconds walk from the subway and less than 5 minutes’ walk from Queen Street train station.

The café is at street level and there is a disabled access door at the side of the building, one disabled toilet and a lift to the basement level where there are more toilets.

The cafes vision is to serve good, healthy food and the profits from the cafe go towards supporting two local homeless charities (Glasgow City Mission and Bethany Christian Trust).

The eatery also offer work placements to individuals who need work experience or employability training to help them get into stable employment. Customers can buy a meal for someone who can’t afford it, by adding a soup or hot drink to their bill, which is then given away for free to people who are homeless, vulnerable or otherwise struggling and ask for help.

The café offers four different kinds of soups every day, alongside a variety of savoury and sweet scones, cold pasta salad, and a selection of delicious cakes and tray bakes to pair with their Dear Green coffee, a local Glasgow coffee roasting company.

The Wild Olive Tree Café is open from Monday to Saturday from 10.30am until 4.30pm, with soups available from 11.45am.

Cafe Gandolfi

Cafe Gandolfi is another trendsetting and stylish café that visitors need to visit in the very heart of Glasgow.

Brenda Anderson from Tasting Scotland recommends the café. She says, “In terms of location I'd head towards the 'Merchant City'; Glasgow's historic quarter. It offers a diverse range of quality restaurant and bars in beautiful old buildings that have been made very accessible.

“For a Scottish flavour it's hard to beat the locals' favourite Cafe Gandolfi; housed in the former offices of the old Cheesemarket.”

The café has been open since 1979 and over this time it has become well-known for producing some classic signature dishes. These include finnan smoked haddie, house smoked venison and haggis, neeps and tatties.

Café Gandolfi is accessible for those with mobility problems as there are accessible toilets and accessible parking.

Hutchesons City Grill

The Hutchesons City Grill is also set in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City and is spread over three floors.

Brenda Anderson, Tasting Scotland’s Director, adds, “If you're looking for a meal and to settle in for the afternoon or evening the refined setting of 'Hutcheson's', with both a restaurant and downstairs lounge area, is a great option.”

Dining at Hutchesons City Grill is an experience visitors won’t forget as dishes are served using the best Scotch produce from locally sourced Scotch beef, to the freshest of seafood found along the vast coasts of Scotland.

The restaurant is accessible for those with mobility problems and there is wheelchair accessibility across all floors.

Best accessible tours to go on

Here are some great sightseeing tours visitors can go on to see this famous Scottish city.

City Sightseeing Glasgow

The City Sightseeing Glasgow bus tours are rated as five-star by Visit Scotland and visitors with mobility problems can enjoy seeing the sights of this great city in pure comfort.

There are 21 stops visitors can hop on and off at to visit the array of visitor attractions the city boasts. The one-hour 20 minute bus tour is full of information about Glasgow’s history, architecture from the likes of Rennie Mackintosh and places visitors should head to during their break.

The tour offers live commentary from local guides or recorded commentary and the bus tour is in operation all year round. During the peak summer months there will be buses every 10 minutes.

Powerboat trips on the Clyde

Seaforce offers the original Clyde ride!

The tour operator offers Glasgow city centre trips, shipyard tours and other boat tours down the Clyde estuary.

Their tours are accessible for those with limited mobility and visitors just need to contact Seaforce beforehand so they can get everything prepared. Wheelchair users can go on one of Seaforce’s boats and the fast boat trips can last from 10am-1pm.

The Clyde Ride starts from the base at the Tall Ship next to the Riverside Museum before taking visitors upstream under the bridges to Portland Street footbridge and then heading to the Govan shipyards.

Glasgow Music City Tours

These informative guided walks explore the fascinating places, people and performances that have made Glasgow the first UNESCO City of Music site in the UK.

There are two ours available; the Merchant City Music Past and Present tour, which takes visitors to venues at Merchant City and East End, and Glasgow’s Music Mile tour, which is a walking tour of the city centre music venues.

The tours from Glasgow Music City Tours will also tell visitors about the different bands and musicians that have visited the city and will share funny stories as well.

Other activities

Watch a performance at the SSE Hydro

The SSE Hydro plays host to a number of national and international music stars as well as a whole host of entertainment and sporting events.

The 12,000 seated venue is very accessible for those with mobility issues as there are wheelchairs available to rent, accessible toilets and induction loop systems available for visitors with hearing impairments.

In November and December the likes of Kasabian, Gorillaz and Liam Gallagher will be performing, whilst next year Peter Kay will be performing at the SSE Hydro.

Visit a tall ship

The Tall Ship at Riverside was one of many hundreds built in Glasgow’s shipyards, but the Glenlee is now one of only five that are still afloat in the world today and the only one in the UK.

This independent museum operates a programme of year-round maritime themed events and activities with specially devised tours and talks on offer to visitors.

The Tall Ship has accessible parking for visitors and there are ramps and slopes to allow visitors with mobility problems to get onto the boat. The outside deck is also fairly flat and people who need devices to aid walking are allowed to take them onto the ship.