Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland, with a population of about 600,000 in the city itself, or over 2 million if the surrounding towns of the Clydeside conurbation are taken into account. Located at the west end of Scotland's Central Belt on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow's historical importance as Scotland's main industrial centre has been challenged by decades of change and various regeneration efforts. The third largest city in the entire United Kingdom (by population), it remains one of the nation's key economic centres outside London.
The term “Glasgow” in itself can be ambiguous. Various boundary changes over the years have blurred the distinction between the actual City of Glasgow administrative area, and Greater Glasgow; the contiguous metropolitan area which occupies much of the lower Clyde Valley with the city itself at its core, and surrounding burghs such as Rutherglen, Bearsden, Milngavie and Clydebank, all of which still fall under the Glasgow postcode area and 0141 telephone code. Residents of these areas are often still fiercely defensive of their home towns and may or may not identify themselves as “Glaswegian”, but since many of the city's attractions fall within these areas, for the tourist, they may be considered one and the same.