Alternative Guide to Glasgow and Edinburgh – Issue 16

So you’ve been to the Castle and done the Royal Mile in Edinburgh; visited Kelvingrove Museum and stomped up and down Buchanan Street until your feet hurt in Glasgow.
   Scotland’s two main cities may be packed with tourist attractions but there are so many hidden gems worth seeing and unusual activities to try.
   ALICE CRUICKSHANK checks out some of the places you should visit the next time you’re looking for something a little bit different…


Dungeons, Dinner & Daquaris

If you really want to make a day of it then this is the option for you. Start off with priority entry to Edinburgh Dungeons, one of Edinburgh’s top tourist attractions where you will be scared silly by ghosts and ghouls from Edinburgh’s past, including the inhabitants of Mary King’s Close and the infamous Burke and Hare.
Then be treated to drinks at the Hard Rock Café followed by a cocktail-making session and a buffet meal.
To round off the day you also get free entry into a George Street Nightclub.
The package is available only for groups of 10-25 people but would be ideal for birthday/graduation parties.

£38pp. Contact 0131 240 1012  for details

Camera Obscura

More of the weird and wonderful (but thankfully not gory this time!) can be found at this landmark on the Royal Mile.
Camera Obscura comprises an assortment of baffling optical illusions, hands-on activities great for all ages and, of course, the camera obscura – a projection of the city through a periscope onto a viewing table that allows you to ‘pick up’ people on the street and ‘divert traffic’ over paper bridges.
The situation of the beautiful tower housing the exhibition allows for stunning panoramic views over the city that are definitely worth seeing.

Admission: students (with ID)- £9.95. Castlehill, The Royal Mile.

Surgeons’ Hall Museum

If you’re more into the macabre then be sure to check out Scotland’s oldest museum, dedicated to the history of surgery and dentistry.
While this may initially sound a little dry, the museum is anything but. Brace yourself (and be prepared to lose your breakfast) as you wander round exhibitions including a gangrenous foot, the tattooed skin from a man’s chest and numerous disease-ridden body parts in jars. Not for the faint-hearted!

Admission: £5/ £3 concession. Nicolson Street.

Cocktail Class at LOLA LO

If your wallet can’t quite stretch to the Dungeons experience then you could alternatively enjoy a cocktail- making class at one of Edinburgh’s finest nightclubs.
Located on Frederick Street, Lola Lo is designed as a Hawaiian tiki bar and is renowned for its exceptional cocktails.
Their professional staff will have you and your friends shaking up Blue Lagoons and making perfect Pina Coladas in no time at all.

Price on request.



Sub Crawl

Fed up of the usual pub crawl? Then try a Glasgow subcrawl!
The idea is to purchase a Discovery Ticket for the subway and get off at each stop, having a drink in the nearest pub to each one.
With 15 locations on the subway route, this could be the ultimate student challenge although it’s best to attempt this on a weekend when Rangers aren’t playing.
There are guides and directions to the pubs en route available on the internet.

Discovery Ticket for all day travel costs £2.60 from any Subway station.

Glasgow Necropolis

At 37 acres, Glasgow Necropolis is not only one of Glasgow’s oldest cemeteries but also the city’s second largest green area.
Learn about the history of the graveyard and some of its 50,000 inhabitants by taking one of the guided walking tours.
Alternatively, you could take a wander round the grounds yourself and take in some of the wildlife and beautiful architecture while you walk.
A beautiful, interesting, peaceful place to visit on a lazy day.

Tours are free but all donations greatly appreciated. 50 Cathedral Square.

Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry

If you’re really in the mood for something different then Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry could well be the place.
This venue recreates the Wild West right in the Central Belt.
During the day a variety of line dance and jive classes are on offer or you could attend one of their cowboy-inspired gun club meetings. At night the Grand Ole Opry features live country and blues music acts to really encapsulate that Western feeling.

Entry to classes and events ranges from £4- £5. Visit

A play, a pie & a pint

There are few better ways to spend a lunchtime than at Oran Mor on Byres Road.
Enjoy a pie and a drink while watching some contemporary Scottish theatre designed to last no longer than the standard lunch break.
Each year Oran Mor commissions 38 new plays from well-known writers and up-and-coming stars.
There’s even a season ticket available so you can come watch all the shows of the season – and eat a LOT of pie!

Admission: Students between £8-£10. Season Ticket- £120 for 14 plays.

Science Centre

If you’re more interested in passing a lazy afternoon than a wild night out, be sure to visit the Glasgow Science Centre.
The hands-on museum has plenty of activities for children, adults and those in between spread over three floors.
There are creepy-crawlies to examine, thermal imaging cameras to play with, mini earthquakes to create and myriad other activities to keep you occupied for hours.
Why not round-off the day by watching the latest blockbusters or wonderful science feature films in the adjoining IMAX cinema?

Admission: Students (with ID)- £7.95