When you've lived in a city your whole life, it's easy to overlook some of the best activities that are right on your doorstep.
Given that we've only been in a Glasgow a year, although being fully settled in, we are still very much tourists; we want to explore and squeeze every last drop of excitement out of the city that we've now made our home.
Having a whole city to explore can be daunting, especially one as big as Glasgow and I've found during my time here, I've still not seen everything. In fact, many Glaswegians I've spoken to haven't seen half of the city themselves and so our next activity offers a fabulous way to gain an in-depth overview of the city itself, whether your a tourist or a native.
Found in most city's worldwide, City Sightseeing bus tours offer a relaxed and informal way of exploring the highlights of a city in comfort.
City sightseeing is one of the most well known and well-recognized tour brands in the world and with their distinctive red buses, they certainly stand out from the crowd. Established in 1999 in Servile Spain, the franchise now spans over 100 countries and operates in six of the seven continents.
It is a well-trusted brand that is known for its friendly service and informative tour guides and that is certainly what we found here in Glasgow.
The tour runs as a hop-on-hop-off service so you are free to come and go as you please. Your ticket (which costs £15 for a full paying adult; see website for concessions and child pricing) is valid all day so you really can make the most of this service by exploring each stop on foot, in greater detail if you should choose to.
There is an English speaking tour guide on the bus however, you can choose from one of the 8 language audio descriptions on board and there is even a children's commentary that is age appropriate and adds an extra element of fun for slightly older children.
We joined the tour at stop one George Square, to really make the most of our trip. We were told the tour would take around an hour and a half, depending on traffic and that there were 21 stops - these included Glasgow cathedral, St Vincent's Place and Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
We were lucky that the weather was on our side, so headed to the top deck to enjoy the open-roof section of the bus. I must admit that I was a bit worried as to how I would handle a toddler on the top deck by myself, especially when the safety warnings state no standing up and leaning out etc, but I let Joseph kneel on my lap (sitting, he couldn't quite see over) and held him very tightly. If you have reins, I would advise using these with a toddler on the bus, just so you have the extra security as there are no seat belts.
As the bus began, Joseph had the biggest smile on his face as the wind blew in his hair and he instantly began waving at people and cars down below. Any worries of the tour being too long for him melted away as I knew he was already enjoying every minute. The beauty of the hop-on-hop-off service also means that if for any reason you do need to get off with a fussy toddler then you can quite happily; this took the pressure off for us, knowing that we weren't restricted.
Our tour guide was absolutely fantastic; he was so knowledgeable about the city as well as being funny and off the cuff – nothing seemed stiff or rehearsed and he was great at filling in potentially awkward times, during traffic jams as well as answering any questions we had.
I learned so much about Glasgow during the tour, including that it has more green space than any other European city, that it has the third oldest underground system in the world and that the Cineworld building on Renfrew street is currently the tallest cinema in the world.
The bus tour took us all around the main parts of the city, as well as visiting areas out towards Partick and Hillhead. It gave us a real idea of scale and just how much there is to see and do in and around Glasgow.
Another great thing about your bus ticket is that it offers discount into some of the paid attractions along the tour, for example, the science centre (see website or ask your tour guide for full details) so you can make further savings on a day out; plus these attractions are conveniently situated in conjunction with the stops, so you'll never have to walk too far; great with kids or on a rainy day!
If you live in Glasgow but have never taken the bus tour, I would strongly recommend it – it's well worth the money as you really can spend an entire day making the most of your ticket and if your a busy parent, its a great way to entertain the kids while essentially having your feet up!
Throughout the tour, it is so easy to see where Scottish patriotism takes root; the city is not only breathtakingly beautiful but also steeped in a colourful and rich history that makes the city what it is today; a place filled with a pride that is infectiously evident from the tour guide's snippets of colloquiums and witty folk stories.
An activity that's easily overlooked but shouldn't be missed right our your doorstep; something which will be sure to please the whole family.
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