Cyclist at Glasgow Science Centre   Getting to MobileHCI 04 in Glasgow

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Air - Road - Rail - Bicycle - Hints

Conference location

The conference is being held on Strathclyde's main campus on the east edge of Glasgow City Centre (postcode G1 1XH for route mappers such as RAC Route Planner). The University is just off the M8 motorway at junction 15.

Phyisical registration will take place on Monday from 0800 in James Weir building in Montrose St; from 0800 on Tuesday in McCance then 0830 on Wednesday and Thursday in McCance. On-campus signage will point to these venues.

Directions to campus once in Glasgow

If walking: go to George Square first then walk out eastwards on George St (if there is a church in the middle of the road ahead - you are going the wrong way). Once on George St take Second left into Montrose St then first right into Richmond St. By train or bus - find George Sq (Queen St station is on George Sq, Central station and bus station 5 mins away) the walk or just get a taxi.

Flights to Glasgow (including getting to the venue from the airports)

Important notes for international visitors to the UK

The UK is not part of Schengen
passengers entering the UK require a valid passport
( EU national identity cards may also be used - but check before you travel;
UK Visas have a quick guide to requirements for all nationals)

The UK is not part of the Eurozone
(The UK Pound or Pound Sterling (£) is the only legal currency in the UK,
although Euro (€) are becoming more widely accepted it is not an official currency)

No sharp objects may be carried in hand luggage

Glasgow is served by two international airports: Glasgow Airport is the traditional airport and lies about 15km west of the city centre (and conference venue); Prestwick Airport is used mainly by Ryanair and lies about 50km south-west of the city centre. See below for getting to the venue from the airport. Prestwick has the bizarre claim of being the only part of UK soil Elvis touched!

British Airways and BMI have regular flights from London Heathrow and other UK destinations to Glasgow Airport - these are often well priced from London. Heathrow is also an extremely big airport which means a lot of walking, congestion in the air and a big risk of delayed luggage - give plenty of times for changeovers and pack overnight stuff in hand luggage. Amsterdam can also be used for connections to Glasgow, with regular flights by KLM (and the occasional EasyJet), but late night connections are trickier.

London's Luton and Stansted airports provide regular low-cost services to Glasgow or Prestwick operated by EasyJet or Ryanair .

As well as flights from many UK airports (e.g. by BA, BMI, EasyJet, and Ryanair) there are at regular direct flights from/to:

Glasgow Airport Amsterdam KLM or EasyJet
  Chicago American
  Copenhagen BMI / SAS
  Cork British Airways
  Dubai Emirates
  Dublin Aer Lingus
  Jersey BMI
  New York Continental
  Reykjavik Icelandair
  Toronto Air Canada

Prestwick Airport

"Barcelona" Girona Ryanair*
  "Brussels" Charleroi Ryanair*
  Dublin Ryanair*
  Gothenburg Ryanair*
  "Frankfurt" Hahn Ryanair*
  "Milan" Bergamo Ryanair*
  "Oslo" Torp Ryanair*
  Paris Beauvais Ryanair*
  "Stockholm" Skavsta Ryanair*

* Ryanair typically fly from cheaper airports than the main airports serving a city - these are often quite far out but save a lot in flight costs and usually have much shorter air traffic delays.

Getting from the airport.

Glasgow is much closer than Prestwick but has no train line. A regular bus to the city takes 20 mins in good traffic but can be up to an hour (Scottish Citylink have timetables - enter your destination as Glasgow - you will go to Buchanan Bus Station which is 10 mins walk from the conference venue). A taxi from Glasgow Airport to campus will cost around 16 and will take about 20 mins in good traffic (or over an hour in a bad "rush" hour).

 Prestwick is about 45 minutes out of Glasgow by train; these run every 30 mins or so during the day (National Rail Enquiries timetables give train connection information) and are less delayed by rush hours (though the trains do get very busy for the last few stations). The airport is a 1 minute jog from the Prestwick Airport Station (not Prestwick town) and Glasgow Central Station is 15 mins walk from the conference venue in Glasgow. From Prestwick a taxi is about 40 taking about 1 hour. With a Ryanair ticket train prices are considerably reduced, however Ryanair is ticketless so its tricky to have proof of this, printing your web booking confirmation in colour makes it more likely to be accepted on the train.

Roads to Glasgow

Strathclyde's main campus is on the east edge of Glasgow City Centre (postcode G1 1XH for route mappers such as RAC Route Planner). The University is just off the M8 motorway at junction 15 amd the conference is in the McCance Building.

Maps: Campus - Area

Parking is not free anywhere near campus for cars but is free for PTWs and bicycles:

  • Cars: the best car park is probably the High Street Car Park with reasonable rates and large number of spaces.
  • PTWs (Powered Two-Wheelers: mopeds, scooters, Vespas and motorbikes): There is limited on street PTW parking very close to CIS - Richmond Street PTW Parking. These are busy but there is usually space. There is a large set of bays just off George Sq in George St, 3 mins walk away and closer to the town centre with security bars - George St PTW Parking.
  • Bicycles: there are some racks very close to the conference venue and plenty of railings around too. Have a good D-lock and a wire-lock for removable wheels/seats.

Glasgow does not have congestion charging (yet) but does have a lot of bus gates (roads barred to all except service buses, bicycles and taxies) that make it frustrating and difficult to drive across the city - come off the motorway as close to your destination as possible (for SU, Junction 15). The city centre rush hours are fairly short but fairly solid and the motorway goes through the city centre so is very busy.

Rail to Glasgow

The UK has a very privatised rail service: Network Rail maintain tracks, National Rail Enquiries overall timetables, ScotRail operates most services within Scotland and the sleepers to London, with Virgin and GNER doing most day-time services to England. The journal from London is about 5 hours 30 but can be delayed. Virgin have just started running Pendolino tilting trains which may speed up the journey by 30 mins before MobileHCI 04. Flights from London are often cheaper than rail - especially from the low-cost airports.

Bike to Glasgow

The national cycle routes go through the city and are nice fresh-air routes, even if a bit long and winding in places. Cycling in Glasgow is poor - the city appears to have spent a lot on cycle route initiatives but mostly for publicity rather than joined up thinking. Having said that, on a good day when they aren't dug-up/blocked/parked-on - there are a fair number of cycle routes around. Drivers have rarely been cyclists: hence are generally ignorant of cyclists wishes, needs and abilities but they are generally polite. (see by road for parking)

Other Hints and Tips

See my weather info page for details of Glasgow weather. This is variable, unpredictable and maritime in nature. The average rainfall per day in September is 3.5mm with an average 3.5 hours of sunshine and normal temperature range of 8C min to 16C max but can be in the low 20's daytime or sub-zero at night - as I said: variable.

The UK Emergency Services number is 999 or 112. To call abroad, the access code is 00. To be called from abroad, the UK country code is 44 (and you drop the initial zero of a UK phone number). GSM 900 and 1800 coverage is excellent around Glasgow.

The UK uses the EU standard 230v mains supply but a very different plug from most of the EU - adapters can be bought in the airport or most big newsagents in the city.

Scottish banks have the right to produce their own bank-notes - so you will see various versions of each banknote: Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and Bank of England. See and for too much information (the £50 and £100 notes are very rare). You should avoid taking all bar Bank of England out of the UK as they can be difficult to exchange, but BofE notes are rare in Scotland - any bank should swap no problem if you ask nicely...

EasyRentACar has a location near Glasgow Airport - at time of writing they charged from 3 per day plus a one off 10 charge for insurance. But you have to book early for the cheapest rates and they have tight regulations and limitations. The big rental companies also have desks at Glasgow Airport.

Finally, to clarify: you are visiting Scotland, which is part of the United Kingdom (UK). The UK is basically a union of countries into one country and a member of the European Union (EU). Roughly:

UK = United Kingdom = England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
GB = Great Britain = England, Scotland and Wales

Scotland has its own parliament in Edinburgh managing Scottish affairs, while the UK parliament in London manages UK-wide and English affairs (NI and Wales have somewhat similar setups to Scotland).

Pages edited by Mark Dunlop -- University of Strathclyde 2004