Scotland’s largest city sits proudly on the banks of the River Clyde. Once an industrial centre, these days Glasgow is a bustling hub of creative arts and cultural diversity. Grand Victorian buildings deliver a dose of old-world charm, though the city’s cutting-edge modernity is also reflected in key structures including the titanium-clad Science Centre and the spectacular silver-domed Hydro arena. There’s much to entice visitors to Glasgow, from historical sites and museums to the thriving live music scene and world-class shopping.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when visiting Glasgow – top attractions and must-see sites abound in this vibrant city. History buffs should make a beeline for Glasgow Cathedral. This impressive medieval church, an excellent example of Scottish gothic architecture, holds a significant place in the city’s history.
Culture vultures and curious travellers should head straight to The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Set inside grand buildings that date back to 1901, the art gallery and museum houses more than 9,000 objects including French impressionist paintings, a vast natural history section and one of the most impressive collections of armour and firearms in the world.
A traditional afternoon tea at The Willow Tea Rooms is sure to delight, not just for the sumptuous scones and cream, but for the surroundings too. Originally designed by famed architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903, it has since been authentically recreated for modern day tea and design lovers to enjoy.
Eat and Drink
You can count on getting a good curry in Glasgow – this place has picked up the title of Curry Capital of Britain numerous times. But homegrown fare is celebrated here too. The flourishing gastronomic scene in Glasgow makes excellent use of top Scottish produce, from seafood, shellfish and game to beef, cheese, fruits and vegetables. Tuck into a contemporary meal at one of the city’s gastropubs or fine dining restaurants. Or, for something heartier, try the surprising local specialty of deep-fried pizza.
For traditional eats, seek out a serve of Scottish haggis followed by local shortbread. International eateries are on the rise with authentic Italian dishes a favourite with the locals. Come nightfall there is no shortage of places to enjoy yourself – vibrant pubs, bars, clubs, live music venues and theatres pull out all the stops to put Glasgow on the map as a city of fun. Craft beers are big here, along with artisan gin and whisky bars.
Where to Stay
In the heart of the city you’ll find an abundance of hotels. Options range from affordable to boutique to 5-star luxury, and all offer a central location and easy access to attractions and nightlife. For those who prefer a more laid-back atmosphere, the bohemian West End offers excellent accommodation options and a close proximity to a number of museums and galleries as well as cafés, bars and shopping.
Get set to enjoy some of the best shopping in Scotland. Start your spree at Glasgow’s Style Mile, a busy pedestrian-only square that houses an all-in-one shopping hub of malls, boutiques and designer fashion houses. Just off Buchanan Street you’ll find Argyll Arcade where lovers of the finer things in life can empty their wallets at a number of gorgeous jewellery and diamond retailers. The trendy West End is the place to pick up niche and quirky items.
Glasgow Like a Local
To experience Glasgow like a local, sit down for a pint and a yarn with the locals in Glasgow’s oldest pub, The Scotia, which dates back to 1792. Take a leisurely walk around Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens. Get acquainted with Tennent’s Lager, the famous local beer, on a tour of the Wellpark Brewery. Or catch a film at the laid-back Grosvenor Cinema. If you’re in town on the 2nd or 4th Saturday of the month, head to the Mansfield Park Farmers’ Market for fresh local produce and a tasty bite to eat.