Full programme including local info as PDF
QPL is taking place in Room 301 of the McCance building of Strathclyde University. This is an ugly concrete pile with a car park beneath. Fortunately you can't see it from the inside. The entrance is at 16 Richmond Street, once inside go up the stairs.
Eating and Drinking
In the map I have labelled quite a few places for eating and drinking, which are all in the City Centre, Merchant City, or thereabouts. I've categorised things as Lunch, Dinner, or Drinks but many places could also fit under all three categories. Click and see!
Many of the best places to eat and drink in town are either in the West End (Subway: Hillhead) or Finnieston (Subway: Kelvinhall or Train: Exhibition Centre). I'll leave you to gather your own recommendations.
Here are guides by other people; I can't vouch for all of this but there is some good stuff there.
- Cheap places to eat and more cheap food.
- Best food and drink in Glasgow, Restaurants and more restaurants.
- Breakfasts, more breakfasts, breakfast for when you have a hangover, and even more breakfasts mostly not in the city centre
- Best bars, best proper pubs, and craft beer pubs.
- Beer lover's guide to Glasgow
Getting to Glasgow
Glasgow is served by three international airports.
Glasgow Airport (GLA) is the closest to the city. There are daily direct flights from Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Halifax (in Canada), Paris, New York, Reykjavik (a good transatlantic option!), Toronto, most of the main UK airports, and a bunch of remote Scottish islands. The easiest way to get into town is the Airport Shuttle service 500. It takes about 15 minutes and costs GBP 9.50 for a return ticket; buy the ticket from the driver. It stops at Central Station, Queen Street Station, and terminates at Buchanan Bus Station. The frequency is every ten minutes during the day; it goes all through the night but at reduced frequency. A taxi will cost about GBP 25 if you pick it up from the taxi rank; if you call a private hire cab and meet it in the car park you will pay significantly less.
Next best option is Edinburgh Airport (EDI). It has direct flights to a bunch of places Glasgow airport doesn't, and sometimes more convenient times to the same places. There is no need to go to Edinburgh itself! There is a direct bus from the airport to Glasgow: once you find the rank for the shuttle to Edinburgh just walk past it another 50m or so and you will see the (unspectacular!) stop. The return ticket costs GBP 18.60 and the journey takes 55 minutes, terminating at Buchanan Bus Station; buy the ticket from the driver. It goes every 30 minutes during the day (less frequently at night and on Sundays) and the last one is at 23:30.
Last and least is Prestwick Airport (PIK). It used to be an important airport: the only place in Scotland where transatlantic flights could take off and land, and blessed with extremely reliable strong winds, planes can still land at Prestwick when every other airport is closed due to fog or snow. Supposedly it's the only location in the UK Elvis Presley ever visited. Today it is mostly used by tour operators and budget airlines to destinations around the Mediterranean. There is a direct train from the airport to Glasgow Central. It runs three times an hour and takes 43 minutes. The last service from the airport to Glasgow is at 23:07. Beware: many operators schedule flights so early in the morning it will not be possible to get there by public transport unless you leave the night before: the first train from Glasgow arrives at 06:43. A standard fare costs GBP 9.60 but if you show your plane ticket you get half-price. Buy your ticket from the conductor.
For the masochistic, there is also a direct train from Manchester airport (MAN). It takes 3.5 hours, and it's not particularly cheap, so I'm sure you can find a better option than flying into Manchester.
In the centre of Glasgow there are two main line stations: Glasgow Central, which mostly serves destinations to the south and west; and Glasgow Queen Street which mostly handles the east and north. They are less than 10 minutes apart on foot, and both are within easy walking distance of the venue.
Travelling from the south of England by far the best train service is Virgin Trains from London Euston to Glasgow Central. There are faster and slower versions, taking 4.5 and 5.5 hours respectively. Alternatively, from London the Caledonian Sleeper is an old fashioned treat you don't find on the British railways much anymore. Joining either of these to the Eurostar is not a terrible option for those who hate flying and/or want to take a significant quantity of whisky home with them.
Coming from Edinburgh
the fast trains (about 50 minutes'
journey time) go to Queen Street; look out for the ones that only
stop in three or four places. Due to works at Queen Street
station, train services from Edinburgh are running a different,
slower route. Journey time from Edinburgh to Glasgow is now
1h13mins on the "fast" train, which is only 5 minutes quicker than
the slow train. The trip from Glasgow to Edinburgh now takes about
an hour; you need to use the Dundas Street entrance
to the station. There are also slow trains to both
Queen Street and Central. Beware that at rush hour (before 09:15 in
the morning and between 16:42 and 18:20 in the evening) "off peak"
tickets are not valid and you will need a more expensive "anytime"
From other UK destinations National Rail is your friend.
On all long-distance routes buying tickets in advance is much cheaper than on the day.
Driving is quicker than you might expect. Coming from the south, head for Birmingham, pay the M6 toll to avoid Birmingham, then M6 -> M74 -> M8 will get you to Glasgow in under six hours starting from London. Don't forget to stop at Tebay services and enjoy the Lake district scenery!
At rush hour, traffic in Glasgow is very bad. Try to avoid these times!
Getting Around Town
The city centre is pretty compact so walking is a good option.
Glasgow has a good suburban rail network, the world's dinkiest subway system, and a plethora of buses. Unfortunately there is no common ticketing between these things: you need a separate ticket for each mode of transport, unless you get a one week zonecard.
For travel between the city centre and the West End, the subway is probably best. If you buy paper tickets, it's GBP 3 for a return ticket. Better to get the smart card; you can either register online in advance, or pay a deposit in person at the station.
From further afield the suburban trains come into Central or Queen Street stations. If you are coming from the East End of Glasgow then High Street is probably the most convenient railway station for the venue. The difference in price between a single ticket and a return ticket is minimal, so I would always buy a return. If you are taking the train after 9am you can use an "off peak" ticket which is cheaper.
The city's roads have a very confusing one-way system, and at times very heavy traffic, so driving is not recommended.
On the other hand, taxis are pretty reasonably priced. If you are three people a taxi will probably be cheaper than public transport. You can hail one in anywhere, or if you have a little time to wait call one from a private hire firm for a cheaper fare.
The nearest hotel to the University is the Premier Inn on George Street. You know what you are going to get. It's going to cost about 80 GBP per night.
There are many many hotels in town. Two high quality, reasonably priced options are the Z Hotel and citizenM (24 hour bar!) use this link for a slightly discounted rate. If you want 5 stars there is the Blythswood Square hotel. You can stay in a room above Babbity Bowsters' pub. Otherwise you can find a list of hotels near the University here. Here is Tripadvisor.
Personally I always use Airbnb.
Things to see and do in the area
Since you've come all the way to Scotland you may as well see some of the country no?
- Glasgow Cathedral; big old medieval church less than 10 mins walk away from the QPL venue. Right next door is St. Mungo's museum of religious art and life.
- The Necropolis, a big old cemetery on a hill overlooking the East End of the city. Right behind the cathedral.
- Tennents Wellpark Brewery is about 15 mins walk from QPL. It is not some trust fund folly run by two skinny guys with beards: Wellpark produces millions of litres of beer. I'm told the tour is pretty good: £7.50 or £5 for students.
- The People's Palace is a kind of socialist museum + greenhouse on Glasgow Green. Well worth a visit before stopping in at ...
- West Brewery micro brewery with beer garden housed in a spectacular old carpet factory.
- Glasgow Science Centre for when QPL is all getting a too technical and you want your science on a level a four-year-old could digest. Warning: four-year-olds will be present in numbers.
- Museums! GOMA - contemporary art. Riverside Museum: historical stuff in a pretty crazy building. Kelvingrove Museum : some natural history, some art, some other stuff, next to a nice park. Glasgow School of Art still has some Rennie Mackintosh exhibits although much of it burned down in 2014. If you buy a ticket it helps them rebuild.
- If you venture across the Clyde you could visit Pollok Park and the Burrell Collection. Inside: ancient artefacts and impressionist paintings; outside a huge forested park with Highland cows. Get the train from Central to Pollokshaws West.
- Auchentoshan, distillery of pretty good whisky. Might technically be outside Glasgow, but you can get there on the suburban rail. Take the train from Queen St to Kilpatrick, and then it's a 10 minute walk.
- Loch Lomond. If it's a nice day you could do worse than visit Loch Lomond. The easiest way is to get the suburban train to Balloch, but that might be a bit crowded. Balmaha is a nice spot on the east side of the loch, ideal for climbing the Conic Hill if you want some views. Other nice spots are Luss or Tarbet on the West side (which are easier to get to be bus or train. Nearby Arrochar is a good starting point for hill walking.
- Go up the west side of Loch Lomond and keep going, and eventually you end up in Glencoe. Aside from being the site of an infamous massacre, it's one of the most picturesque places in Scotland. You can get there by bus, but it's probably better to drive. Takes about 2 hours.
- Islands. Arran is the easiest one to get to from Glasgow. You could just about visit on a day trip. Get the ferry from Androssan. For most of the rest you'll need to travel to Oban from where CalMac will sort you out. Those with more time could try getting the train from Glasgow all the way to Mallaig and hopping over to Skye. I would rent a car for this -- public transport is very patchy.
- Fort William and Ben Nevis. If you want to see the Highlands proper, it takes about 4 hours to get to Fort William on the train. There you will find Ben Nevis, the highest point in the UK. It can be climbed (up and down) in a day. It may not be tall by Alpine standards but people die on it every year.
- Or you could go to Edinburgh I suppose.