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Glasgow vs. London A Tale of Two Cities

Glasgow vs. London: A Tale of Two Cities

Both popular for their extravagant nightlife, Glasgow and London are one of the top cities in the United Kingdom frequented by tourists and that are great to live in. In this article, you’ll learn the differences between the two.  

In case you’re considering either city as a future home, this article might help you decide which place is better for you. 

Which is better, Glasgow or London?

Which is better, Glasgow or London
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In terms of cost of living, it’s 44% less expensive to live in Glasgow than London.

In terms of safety, Glasgow is safer than London. Glasgow has a rate of 54.53 on the safety scale, which is 17% higher than London’s 46.20.

In terms of education, London is better than Glasgow. London’s top university placed 10th on university world rankings, which is 157% higher than Glasgow’s top university at 82nd.

In terms of work opportunities, London is better than Glasgow. London has an unemployment rate of 8.1%, which is 39% lower than Glasgow’s 12%. 

In terms of culture, London has more establishments to offer and is home to three of the top ten museums in the world. Moreover, London has larger shopping districts, clubs, pubs and bars compared to Glasgow. 

Learn more about these considerations as we go on in this article!

1. Cost of Living

Cost of Living
Photo by Anna Urlapova from Pexels

It’s cheaper to live in Glasgow than in London. Its cost of living is 44% lower than London’s.

Below is a comparison table detailing key factors that affect cost of living. Data was sourced from Numbeo, the world’s largest cost of living database:

Cost RangeGlasgowLondon
Dining out£0.95 – £15.00£1.38 – £15.00
Market£0.76 – £12.68£0.85 – £13.00
Transportation£1.06 – 78.04£1.70 – £150.00
Monthly Utilities£0.10 – £188.53£0.11 – £250.05
Sports and Leisure£10.00 – £27.75£12.00 – £43.85
Childcare£791.00 – £11,375.00£1,512.49 – £17,695.24
Clothing and Shoes£27.25 – £69.41£33.21 – £86.97
Rent Per Month£610.21 – £1,415.62£1,442.46 – £3,322.29
Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment (One-Time Cost)£2,297.49 – £4,681.67£7,104.87 – 12,025.21

In terms of purchasing your own car, here’s the difference between the Glasgow and London: 

Cost RangeGlasgowLondon
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)£24,000.00£25,000.00
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)£26,125.00£24,485.25

Comparing the two, London comes higher in terms of most cost ranges.

2. Safety

Photo by leppäkerttu from Pixabay

On average, Glasgow is safer compared to London by 16.54% on the safety scale. Glasgow has a rate of 54.53, while London has 46.20.

In terms of walking alone at daylight and at night, Glasgow is also safer than London. Glasgow is safer by 6.54% at day, while 5.98% at night. 

In a nutshell, the higher the rate is, the higher the security a city has.

In terms of crime rate, London has a higher crime rate than Glasgow by 19.34%. Glasgow has a crime rate of 51.97, while London has 63.10. 

Other specific crimes such as property crime and violent crime, London is also higher in this department than Glasgow. London is higher by 3.58% in property crime, while 19.94% higher in violent crime.

In crime rate, the higher the number is, the higher the number of crimes in an area.

Numbeo also showed that Glasgow residents have less worries of being subject to any physical attack than London by 21.67%. Glasgow has a rate of 32.68, while London has 40.62. 

3. Size

Photo by Dominika Gregušová from Pexels

London is bigger than Glasgow by 159.93% in terms of area size. It’s 1,572km² big, while Glasgow only covers 175km².  

Population-wise, London is bigger than Glasgow by 140.14%. It is home to 9,648,000 million inhabitants compared to Glasgow’s 1,698,000 million residents. 

Below are the detailed demographics of each city:

Population Density3,298 people/km²5,518 people/km²
Median Age of Population34 years36.4 years
Female Population50.8%51.1%
Male Population49.2%48.9%

4. Education

Photo by Third Eye Traveller from Pinterest

Although both cities offer advanced education, we can’t deny the fact that London is better than Glasgow in terms of university rankings and variation of courses offered. 

London’s pride, Imperial College London, placed 10th on 2023 Times Higher Education Rankings, while Glasgow’s University of Glasgow only ranked 82th.

If you’re a student aspiring to study in either of these cities, we made it easier to compare the difference between Glasgow and London:

Average tuition fee per year£19,920£20,000
Student Population185,000400,000
Courses offered1,20330,000 
Other services offered• Public & private schools
• Homeschooling
• Special-needs education
• Tutor
• Has 18 universities
• Offers Free School Meals program
• Schools rated good to outstanding by Ofsfed

Education in Glasgow

Glasgow has the second-largest student population all over the United Kingdom — with over 185,000 students from 140 different countries.

It also has some of the most well-known colleges in the world, such as the University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University. 

As a matter of fact, the University of Glasgow placed 82th in the Times Higher Education Ranking 2023. It is included in the top 100 universities all over the globe.

Meanwhile, the Glasgow Caledonian University claims that 95% of its graduate students are in employment, just after six months of leaving the school’s premises. 

The city also has several public and private schools, which are well regarded in terms of quality education and are included in the best-performing schools in Scotland. Options such as homeschooling, special-needs education and tutor are also available.

On the other hand, the average cost for international students in Glasgow is around £19,920 per year, and can be higher depending on the program you choose. 

With these, we can measure that receiving quality education is not a problem in Glasgow as many top-rated schools can be found in the city. 

Education in London

On the other hand, London offers over 30,000 courses and has bagged 70 Nobel Prize Laureates. 

Similar to Glasgow, the capital also has reputable universities such as Imperial College London, University College London and King’s College London. 

In fact, Imperial College London ranks 7th in the QS World University Rankings 2022 and 10th in the Times Higher Education Ranking 2023.

In addition, London has actually been named as an academic hotspot, due to being home to 18 universities in the world. 

Compared to Glasgow, the average tuition fees for international students fall at £20,000 per year — which is quite higher in terms of educational expenses. However, the options are larger.

Furthermore, 94% of London schools have been rated as good or outstanding by Ofsfed, the office that inspect, regulate and report services to provide quality education for children. Schools have also enabled students to attain 60.9%, A* to C GCSEs. 

London also takes pride in their Free School Meals program, in which 48% of students that are engaged in it achieved five good GCSEs. 

Not only these, but the city also has a large student population with more than 400,000 people. Headed by University of London alone, the university has 45,715 students and is continuously growing per year.

From all the data above, we can denote that London is also a good place to study, specifically for international students, as many multi-awarded schools are located here. 

Although living and education costs may be higher, the benefits can lead students to an impressive future after graduation.

5. Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities
Photo by StarupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Glasgow has a higher unemployment rate than London. London has 8.1%, while Glasgow has 12%. 

Moreover, people in employment are 169.35% higher than Glasgow. And even the average monthly salary in London is higher than Glasgow’s. 

Below is the detailed comparison of the job markets between the two cities, as of 2022: 

Average monthly salary£2,423.83£3,190.43
Field expertise of a city• Technology
• Finance
• Industrial
• Finance
• Sciences
• Creative and media
Number of people in employment400,0004,820,000

Job Market in Glasgow 

Glasgow can support more than 400,000 jobs in the market, generating a whopping £13 billion per year. 

After tax deduction, the average monthly salary in Glasgow falls at £2,423.83. 

The city is also known as one of the biggest technology and manufacturing sectors around the globe. It offers various career opportunities respectively in the field of finance and industrial. 

On average, 1 in 4 people is employed in the public sector. 

Job Market in London

Compared to Glasgow, the average monthly salary after tax in London is £3,190.43.

On average, London has over 4,820,000 people in employment and has lots of job opportunities primarily in the areas of finance, sciences and creative and media. The city also offers various jobs in retail, tourism, transport and more. 

Additionally, London is home to numerous big multinational companies such as Unilever, HSBC and Royal Dutch Shell. 

Available jobs are also doubled than a century ago, whereas workers in healthcare, construction, retail, engineering and finance sectors are the most in demand nowadays.

Moreover, the capital has 60% full-time job positions while 40% for part-time. 

Although both cities assure huge opportunities for professionals and students moving into the area, the unemployment rate still remains as a huge indicator which city is better than the other in terms of career.  

6. Culture

Photo by Terrica with Cocktails & Details from Pinterest

Culture is usually the tie-breaker, especially when both cities are neck-and-neck in most areas. In this section, we have compared the diverse culture between the two: 

Glasgow Culture

Glasgow is considered as Scotland’s economic and cultural powerhouse. It is also home to 100 cultural organisations and has a great deal of museums and architectural buildings. 

The city has a mixture of traditional Scottish culture with contemporary influences due to being inhabited by many different nationalities over the years. However, the local dialect remains strong outside the city centre.

Furthermore, Glasgow also focuses on performing arts and hubs for creative industries.

Glaswegians — basically, Glasgow’s locals — are popular for their friendliness. They even consider themselves as warm individuals and their city as affable. 

Even expats who live in Glasgow can affirm this local’s characteristic. 

As a matter of fact, Glasgow has been acknowledged as the world’s friendliest city by the 2022 Time Out Index. 

What’s more fun is that Glasgow has numerous activities that are held every year!

Whether it’s music, festivals, art, shows, you can find lots of these in the city. 

Dive more into Glasgow’s culture below:

Cultural Hotspots 

1. Riverside Museum
Riverside Museum
Photo by charlieirvine1 from Pixabay

Firstly — Riverside Museum. 

It is the first museum built in the 21st century by Glasgow Life. The Riverside Museum is situated in the junction of Rivers Kelvin and Clyde, which focuses on showcasing the main industry of Glasgow such as shipbuilding, train manufacturing and engineering. 

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Photo by Kamyq from Pixabay

Onto the second one — Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. In fact, it is one of the many worth checking out museums in Glasgow! 

With 22 galleries inside, artworks vary from animals to ancient Egypt and more.

It is located on Argyle Street in the West End and was established in 1901. However, the original Kelvingrove Museum was actually opened in 1876.

3. Glasgow School of Art

Besides museums, Glasgow also takes pride in Glasgow School of Art.

It also became a popular cultural spot due to its captivating ambience. Glasgow School of Art is a higher education art school in Glasgow and was designed by the world-famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. 

Unique Areas

1. The Barras
The Barras
Photo from carolhyphenanne Instagram

The Barras is one of the most popular indoor markets in Glasgow. You can purchase some old pieces of art, cheap books, DVDs, and vintage pieces here. 

Fashion stores, furniture stores and antique stores are also some of the shops worth checking out in this indoor market.

2. The Glasgow Vegan Markets
The Glasgow Vegan Markets
Photo from theglasgowveganmarkets Instagram

An adventure is never complete without stuffing your belly with some mouthwatering food. 

Whether you’re a vegan or non-vegan, Glasgow’s The Glasgow Vegan Markets has everything in store for you.

This market usually opens every other month and is located at the Drygate in the East End. They offer sweet treats, vegan food pop-ups and even sell some sustainable products that can be used in everyday life.

3. Govan’s Saturday Market
Govan’s Saturday Market
Photo from getintogovan

From clothing to fresh produce food products and second-hand items, you can find everything at Govan’s Saturday Market. Some stalls are on sale depending on the season, while you can also bargain in most of them.

Restaurants / Food Cafes

1. Mharsanta
Photo from mharsanta Instagram

A restaurant and bar located in the heart of Merchant’s City, Mharsanta is popular for its delectable Scottish menu. There are also private dining rooms you can rent out for any occasion.

Indulge in the true taste of Scotland by savouring some of the crowd’s-favourite: Haggis Lasagne, Pork Medallions in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Mharsanta’s Homemade Steak & Sausage Pie.

2. Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery
Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery
Photo from twofatladiesatthebuttery Instagram

One of the most-famous restaurants in Scotland, the Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery, or often called just — The Buttery — started their operations in 2007, until they became one of the favourite go-to restaurants of Glaswegians in the city.

Starting from its interiors to its menu, The Buttery is filled with anything that symbolises Scottish culture. 

Check out the appetising dishes in house such as:

  • Pan fried fillet of halibut, sauteed red onion potatoes, creamed spinach, scampi bisque
  • Roast chicken breast wrapped in bacon, Macsween haggis, saute potatoes & red onions, haggis bon bons, peppercorn sauce
  • Fillet of Scottish beef, veg gratin, sauteed wild mushrooms, port jus & crumbled goat’s cheese.

Might be a little long title for a menu, but their taste could leave an impact on your palates! 

3. Ubiquitous Chip
Ubiquitous Chip
Photo from ubiquitous_chip Instagram

Ubiquitous Chip offers meals created by Scottish ingredients and palatable tastes. 

Established in 1971, Ubiquitous Chip is located on Ashton Street and has been headed by Ronnie Clydesdale who brought to life Scotland’s endangered cuisines into a restaurant.

There are a variety of cuisines to choose from whether you’re a vegan or not. Some of these include Laurent Perrier Tasting Menu – Vegetarian, Langoustine Custard, Seaweed Salad, Eyemouth Crab and Salt Baked Turnip, Hen of the Woods, Old Winchester Crumpet.

Clubs, bars, pubs

Clubs, bars, pubs
Photo by BuzzFeed from Pinterest

Glasgow is known as one of the best cities in the United Kingdom for nightlife. The club’s theme often varies from cosmopolitan cafe culture, underground rock gigs and theatres with Celtic music. 

There are also numerous bars in the city for LGBTQ+ community. Some of the places you can enjoy these are in The 13th Note, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and Metropolitan Cocktail Bar & Restaurant.

London Culture

As a city which embraced multiculturalism, the culture in London is diverse. It is home to music, comedy, theatre and festivals. 

Creative industries such as film, fashion, music and design, television and fashion are also prominent in the capital.

London also owns three museums included in the top 10 museums and galleries in the world. In fact, the capital spearheads the visual arts sector in the country with 30% global art accountability in the market. 

Since London is a multicultural city, there is no clear hierarchy among Londoners. However, since London’s population is huge, people from different districts can still vary. 

Researchers from Cambridge found out that most residents in the capital are extroverts and those who are more open to new experiences are people living in Islington and neighbouring Kings Cross. 

While these people are solely extroverted, these areas have wider religious diversity and larger crime rates. 

Meanwhile, residents of South West London and Wandsworth were proven to be more emotionally stable. The study also shows that Londoners are happiest when they live in districts or areas that suit them the most. 

Cultural Hotspots 

1. Natural History Museum

Onto the first cultural hotspot — The National History Museum.

The museum has a huge collection of 80 million objects, where only a few are displayed for viewing. Different kinds of artefacts, statues, and archives are available here. 

2. Imperial War Museum

Next, the Imperial War Museum. 

Founded in 1917, the Imperial War Museum has five branches all over England. It was actually built to commemorate the civil and military war effort and sacrifice of the UK during the First World War. 

In the present day, various collections of old photographs, films, video and even a large library can be seen inside. 

3. Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
Photo by Dominika Gregušová from Pexels

Aside from these notable museums, Westminster Abbey is also popular due to its historical past. 

It is a royal church and a World Heritage Site used for royal coronations and burials. 

On average, more than 3,000 people are buried in Westminster Abbey. 

Meanwhile, a total of 17 weddings have also been witnessed by the church which includes the tying of the knot of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.

Unique Markets

1. Berwick Street Market
Berwick Street Market
Photo by from Pinterest

Before Berwick Street Market became home to clothing shops, stalls selling vegetables, meat and fish, this used to be a favourite spot of Londoners to purchase vintage CDs and vinyl records.

Now, you can enjoy a variety of food along the street such as snacks, treats and dishes. It is located in Soho in the West End.

2. Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market
Photo by Sharon Hoerner from Pinterest

The Leadenhall Market has been operating since the ancient Roman times and is considered as one of London’s oldest markets.

Aside from this, it was also the filming site of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

However, due to the city’s urbanisation, the Victorian arches were the only reminders symbolising the past. 

Today, the Leadenhall Market offers a wide range of bookshops and boutiques where you can purchase your favourites. 

3. Camden Lock Market
Camden Lock Market
Photo by City Guide London from Pinterest

Camden Lock Market is home to various artists, record sellers and fashion designers as the market is buzzing with modernity. However, there are still artisan traders selling their handcrafted jewellery, gems and crystals until today. 

Restaurant / Dining Concepts

1. Coal Office
Coal Office
Photo by Wallpaper from Pinterest

Starting from the chefs, waiters and to the guests, everybody has their own role in preparing the dishes. 

The coal office is also known as the ‘food playground’ wherein you will be surrounded by two outdoor terraces, bakery, bars, dining counter, and a private seating setting during events. 

2. Sketch
Photo by Cassabdra LaValle from Pinterest

Step up your adventure by dining out in Sketch restaurant where teas are served in the morning, and cocktails become the highlight at night!

Tourists who have visited the restaurant also mentioned that even their toilet rooms are well-decorated, adhering to the restaurant’s theme.

The restaurant claims that their venue is perfect for any occasion, specifically during anniversaries or birthdays. 

3. Dans Le Noir?
Dans Le Noir
Photo by from Pinterest

Instead of enjoying food in bright lights, Dans Le Noir? offers the other way around. The restaurant is covered in pit dark, black and customers dig into their food in complete darkness. 

This will give you an opportunity to fully appreciate the taste of the meal, even without the need to see them. It is also a great experience since most restaurants in London, specifically the world, are operated with bright lights when eating.

Hence, Dans Le Noir is certainly worth a visit when you go to London. 

O2 Arena

O2 Arena
Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

London holds more than 22,000 music performances in a year, which are mostly held in the O2 arena — one of the most well-known music venues in the world.


1. Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House
Photo from Royal Opera House Facebook

The Royal Opera House is one of the major performing arts venues in London—specifically if we’re talking about opera. It is located in Covent Garden and was established in 1732. 

Well-known performances in the house include The Sleeping Beauty, The Fairy Queen and Bizet’s Carmen.

Pro tip: the front and mid-centre of the stalls are the best seats to get a full view of the performance. 

2. Young Vic
Young Vic
Photo from Young Vic Theatre Facebook

Young Vic is located in The Cut and has a capacity of 500 seats. It was built in 1970 and has been renowned for its notable productions. 

It hosts Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis and A Harlem Dream by Ivan Blackstock, to name a few.

3. Sadler’s Wells
Sadler’s Wells
Photo from Sadler’s Wells Facebook

Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading contemporary dance venue based in Clerkenwell, London. It was founded in 1683 and can accommodate 1,500 people in its main auditorium. 

Well-known acts include Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes and Pinero’s Trelawny of the Wells.

Extra Fun Facts: 

There are also other theatres that specialise in shows for kids such as Lyceum Theatre, Apollo Victoria, Cambridge Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre. 

Some of these shows include Matilda The Musical, Wicked, The Lion King and Marry Poppins. 

Tea Shops

Tea Shops
Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels

Just to give you a quick history, the British Tea Culture is not only popular because of its uniqueness, but also due to its historical past.

Drinking tea was first introduced by Catherine of Braganza, wife of King Charless II in 1662. It then spread throughout the aristocrats to lower classes, until the 7th Duchess of Bedford invented the ‘afternoon tea’ in 1840. 

It was held every 4 o’clock in the afternoon, until it became part of fashionable social events, where women would wear long gowns, hats and gloves.

Until today, the tradition remained popular. Hence, London has lots of bars, shops and rooms, specifically made for tea. 

Visit some tea shops worth checking out in London below: 

1. Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms
Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms
Photo from Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms Facebook

Experience a luxurious taste of London’s tea by dining out in Scoff & Banter Tea Rooms. It is located in Oxford St. and has a variety of teas, snacks and full meal choices.  

2. Mariage Frères
Mariage Frères
Photo from Mariage Frères Facebook

Located in Covent Garden, Mariage Frères is considered as the oldest tea house in France until it opened up its branch in London. 

This opulent tea house sits in a five-storey Georgian townhouse and offers a variety of tea variants such as vintage, fruit, herbal and more.

Clubs, Pubs, and Bars

1. The Grand
The Grand
Photo from designmynight

Considered as London’s nightlife centre, The Grand has a capacity of 1,250. In fact, it was first used as a music hall in 1900, until it became the capital’s icon of cultural legacy. 

Various programmes are held here. Whether it’s live gigs, comedy and whatnot, The Grand has it all for you. 

2. Ministry of Sound
Ministry of Sound
Photo from Ministry of Sound Club Facebook

With four large distinctive rooms, Ministry of Sound has been serving Londoners for 30 years and has become one of the most popular go-to clubs when going for a night out.

House and techno are the genres often played in this nightclub, while indie rock, and drum and bass are on a rare basis. 

FAQS on Glasgow and London

We hope that this article helped you figure out which city is a better fit for you. Got any other insider tips for your fellow readers? Drop them in the comment box below!

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