The freelancer’s guide to Glasgow

The freelancer’s guide to Glasgow


The city was once one of the busiest seaports in Britain. Its Clydeside shipyards, which built some of the most famous ocean liners, saw Glasgow become one of the richest cities in the world in the nineteenth century.

Today, aside from its distinctive Scottish dialect, most people associate Glasgow with being the home of football’s most intense rivalry: Celtic versus Rangers. But what they may not know is that Glasgow also hosted the very first official international match between Scotland and England.

Glasgow, a city steeped in history, is increasingly becoming a cosmopolitan and fertile ground for the UK’s growing self-employed population. Strathclyde, a region on Scotland’s west coast that stretches from the Highlands in the north to the southern Uplands, has 158,000 people working in solo self-employment, many of whom are based in Glasgow.

With the cost of living much cheaper than London, and Glasgow Airport just a 20-minute taxi ride or a short bus journey away from the city centre, it is no wonder freelancers find it an attractive place to work from.

Life as a freelancer

There are number of affordable co-working spaces around the city, many of which encompass Glasgow’s rich heritage.

Based in the Savoy Tower in the heart of Glasgow’s city centre is Clockwise. The space opened last year and has flourisehd very quickly. It offers a range of workspaces, from hotdesks and dedicated desks to private offices. It even has a 5,000 square foot terrace, for when the weather heats up.

For those freelancers who are just passing through, CitizenM offers more flexible options. A quirky co-working space-cum-hotel is free to use for all guests. Prices start around £63 per night. And even if you are not staying at the hotel, you are still able to use the space at no cost, as long as you buy a coffee.

Both Clockwise and CitizenM are a short walk from Glasgow Central and Queen Street stations.

Other shared workspaces include The Distillery; RookieOven – a space for tech start-ups; and Ninja Unicorn, which is aimed at creative freelancers. All are based a little further away from the centre, but are still only 15–20 minutes away by car or by the subway.

Where to stay

Generally, Glasgow is a fairly inexpensive place to live. The West End and South Side seem to be the two most popular areas, despite being very different from each other.

The West End has a somewhat Bohemian allure with trendy cafés, charity shops and art venues. Rent prices, according to Rightmove, are also rather reasonable, with a two-bedroom flat costing roughly £750pcm.

South Side, on the other hand, tends to appeal to families as it is a little quieter and also home to the city’s biggest green space, Pollok Country Park. It is also cheaper to rent compared with the West End, costing approximately £650pcm for a two-bedroom flat.

For short stays, aside from CitizenM, there is also Grand Central Hotel, which adjoins Central Station – a four-star establishment with prices starting from £100 per night.

The Z Hotel is an alternative, cheaper option. It is another four-star hotel located centrally, and prices start from just £60 per night.

Things to do

For football fans, there is the Scottish Football Museum, where you can discover Glasgow’s rich sporting heritage.

Buchanan Street is the place to head for a spot of shopping. As well as your usual high street retailers, it is also home to a number of designer brands in what is known as Glasgow’s ‘style mile’.

Near Buchanan Street there are also a number of trendy bars, pubs and restaurants. Ifyou are looking for something authentic, dine at La Lanterna in Hope Street, a family-run Italian restaurant, which was voted the best in Scotlandfor two years running.

If you are after a drink, overlooking the historic George Square is Georgics Bar, which has an extensive cocktail menu. For whiskey lovers, just around the corner in Cochrane Street is the Piper Whisky Bar, which stocks the popular spirit from every Scottish distillery.

Famous for its 104-foot long bar, the Horseshoe Bar in Drury Street is a pub with character and certainly worth a visit. 

If these pubs and bars don’t take your fancy, there are plenty of alternatives to the West End, just a short subway ride away.

So combined with the cheap cost of living, the various co-working space options and an abundance of things to do, there is no good reason not to freelance from Glasgow. The only difficulty will be deciding if you’re blue or green and white.