Lizzie PopeSee other travel guides written by Lizzie Pope
Sitting on the banks of the River Clyde is Glasgow, Scotland's largest city and a vibrant, exciting destination. In fact, caravan holidays in Scotland have a lot to offer whatever you want from your getaway – and Glasgow is no exception.
This is a city of great contrasts. From the 15th century university, Paisley Abbey founded in 1163 and the magnificent Glasgow Cathedral, to the striking modernity of the SECC, the Clyde Arc bridge and the SSE Hydro, not forgetting the smart and rather excellent shopping opportunities such as those at Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street, there are lots of things to do here – and, of course, Glasgow is hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Did you know that Glasgow is a UNESCO City of Music? The city is home to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera and also the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Key venues in Glasgow for music lovers include the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, City Halls and the Old Fruitmarket, or go to the Theatre Royal for everything from opera and musicals to comedy, or have an evening at the ballet – Scottish Ballet is based in Glasgow. Big names from the world of pop and rock also play at Glasgow's SSE Hydro.
Fancy some live music when on holiday in Glasgow but want something a little more low key? Then how about heading to the 13th Note. It's an independent music venue and vegetarian/vegan café, where you can catch gigs on almost a daily basis from established and up-and-coming DJs and bands.
Looking for cheap things to do on your next Scottish holidays? With so many free attractions, Glasgow will keep visitors of all ages entertained without breaking the bank. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is stunning inside and out. Or how about an award winning and visually striking building and, indeed, the 2013 European Museum of the Year, the Riverside Museum? Or the Gallery of Modern Art within an impressive neo-classical building in Royal Exchange Square, the People's Palace and Winter Gardens or the famous Burrell Collection?
Of course, for many, a holiday in Glasgow would be incomplete without paying tribute to Glasgow born designer, artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. In which case, on your caravan holiday, pay a visit to the Scotland Street School Museum – and, you guessed it, entry is free! And we bet you can't resist going to the delicious, world famous Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street. Maybe that will provide the refreshment you need after a day enjoying all the prime Mackintosh sights with the Mackintosh Trail Ticket.
In addition, there are in excess of 90 gardens and parks in Glasgow. The biggest is Pollok Country Park, this the only country park within the city, but you can also visit the walled garden at Bellahouston Park and enjoy breathtaking views from Queen's Park, to name just three of the city's many open spaces.
But if you really want to get out there on your caravan holidays in Scotland, Glasgow is a great place from which to base your outdoor adventure, or a top destination for a day trip or two back in civilisation away from the wilds of nature once you've pitched your caravan at a rural campsite!
There are a good number of campsites near Glasgow and the city itself is less than an hour by car to beautiful Loch Lomond. The biggest regional park in Scotland, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, to the west of Glasgow, will also take less than an hour to drive to.
Once settled at your campsite, Glasgow has a good network of car parks. And being such a well connected city, if you want to leave your car and caravan on site and head into town, whether you take the subway or hop on a bus or train, there are plenty of public transport options.
So if you're looking for the best destination for your caravan holidays in Scotland, choose one of the campsites near Glasgow as your base for lots of variety and the chance to explore both town and country.
Top five things to do in Glasgow
A trip to the Scotland Street School Museum will not be wasted and is a great day out for all the family. It tells the story of education in Scotland and is also one of the must-see Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed buildings. Entry is free, but it is closed on Mondays.
Just because your caravan holiday is based around a city doesn't mean it can't also be a walking holiday. Take time to explore Glasgow's many parks. Wander along the riverside or follow the Kelvingrove Park Heritage Trail in Kelvingrove Park, saunter through Glasgow Green, the city's oldest park, head to Pollok Country Park, the city's biggest park, or choose from one of the many other parks and open spaces in Glasgow.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which is one of the top places to visit in Glasgow. Free to enter, it is open seven days a week. Take time to enjoy the Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style Gallery, or perhaps you'd rather check out the 1944 Spitfire, see what's left of an early medieval satchel or meet Sir Roger the Asian elephant.
Take a guided tour of the University of Glasgow and get the inside story on one of the city's greatest and most famous landmarks.
Check out the Clyde Arc bridge by night. A more recent addition to the city's skyline (it opened in 2006), it's known locally as the Squinty Bridge and is one of 21 bridges across the River Clyde. It's quite a sight no matter when in the day you visit, but it is particularly impressive after dark.
When to visit Glasgow
Whenever you visit Glasgow on your caravan holidays, there will be something going on in this busy, bustling city – and the events that follow are really just the tip of the iceberg.
In January/February, Celtic Connections brings concerts, art exhibitions, workshops and more to the city, this followed by the Glasgow Film Festival in February/March and the Glasgow International Comedy Festival in March/April. Glasgow's book festival – Aye Write! – is in April, the same month that the biennial Glasgow International, a festival of contemporary art, comes to town.
The biggest multicultural festival in Scotland, Glasgow Mela, brightens the city's Kelvingrove Park in June, the Glasgow Jazz Festival another attraction in June, before SURGE arrives in July, an annual festival of street arts, circus and physical theatre.
For a taste of something quintessentially Scottish on your caravan holidays in Glasgow, why not go to Piping Live!, the Glasgow International Piping Festival, in August. And do you love Christmas? Then the seven-week Glasgow Loves Christmas event might be the perfect end to your year.
How to get to Glasgow
The city of Glasgow is a very accessible holiday destination. The M80 links Glasgow with Falkirk and Stirling to the north east, the M8 taking you to Edinburgh.
Towing to Glasgow from further afield? If you're travelling from the west or the Midlands, the M6 will take you to Carlisle, or from the east of England or East Anglia, a good route might be to follow the A1/A1(M) until you reach the A66, then follow that road to Penrith, at which point you will join the M6 to Carlisle. From Carlisle, the A74(M)/M74 will take you across the border into Scotland and north to Glasgow.