Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, may attract all the attention, but Glasgow – Scotland’s largest city – is happy to sit on its western shores mulling the perfect pint of beer or dram of whiskey and enjoying its own company. This is a city that prides itself on its hospitality and infectious conviviality after all – characteristics perhaps lacking over in the east. Add world-class museums and galleries, regal architecture and eclectic shopping options into the mix, and it’ll take you less than 24 hours in this western wonderland to have you saying Edin-who?
You’re going to need the energy to see Glasgow properly over the next 24 hours, so spring into Artisan Roast café in Glasgow’s West End. The coffee here is all bought direct from farmers and their lattes and flat whites are superb. You may as well grab one of their famous peanut butter bagels while there – simply delish.
Only a short walk from Artisan Roast cafe, escape the potential drizzle and spend a couple of hours at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Opened in 1901, the museum houses an impressive 22 themed galleries, including one of the largest collections of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art, as well as several masterpieces, such as Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross. In total, over 8,000 objects are scattered throughout the historic building, including artefacts from ancient Egypt and Scotland’s early history. Entrance is free.
A 20-minute walk from Kelvingrove Museum is Oran Mor in Glasgow’s vibrant West End. Formerly a church, the venue puts on entertaining lunchtime theatre performance A Play, a Pie and a Pint at 1pm every day of the week except Sunday. Ticket prices start at £12.50 and includes a drink (beer, wine or soft drink) plus a pie or vegetarian quiche. Bookings are essential.
Grab that credit card and shop ‘til you drop at Glasgow's Style Mile around Buchanan Street, Argyle Street and Merchant City. With over 200 stores, including independent boutiques and designer stores, Glasgow’s shopping mecca boasts the UK's best retail experience outside of London's West End.
Wander through the Glasgow Botanic Gardens in the city’s West End by the River Kelvin and visit one of the largest glasshouses in the United Kingdom, Kibble Palace. Built in 1873, this grand iron and glass structure houses an impressive collection of tree ferns. Make sure you have a wander through the medicinal herb garden and have a hot drink and a sandwich in The Tearooms before plunging back into Glasgow proper.
Get a gist of Glasgow’s artistic side by downloading the Glasgow Mural Trail app and spending a couple of hours following the City Centre Mural Trail past gorgeous Victorian buildings. Breathing new life into Glasgow, street art has been officially embraced by the city in an effort to inject colour and creativity into the city. And it’s definitely working. Artists such as Smug, Rogue One and James Klinge have all made their creative contributions, and new pieces are popping up all the time.
Forget about deep-fried Mars bars – Glasgow’s gastronomy scene is one of the best in the UK, flaunting a diverse range of culinary options to satisfy your taste buds and fill your belly. Head to Crossing the Rubicon for Indian tapas and a tasty collection of craft beers, Hanoi Bike Shop for authentic Vietnamese pho, or The Gannet for classic Scottish cuisine – which is more than just haggis by the way!
Night has fallen across Glasgow and now it’s time for a little musical entertainment. As one of only five UNESCO Cities of Music in the world, you won’t struggle to find the tunes in this legendary city, everything from rock, indie, folk, dance – you name it! Catch an up-and-coming act at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, check out a classic performance at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, or just wing it and wander through the West End and let your ears be your guide. You won’t be disappointed.