Glasgow City Guide: Stay, eat, drink and shop in Scotland’s cool cultural capital


W.Often overlooked by tourists seeking the thrill of Harry Potter in neighboring Edinburgh, Glasgow is undoubtedly the cultural heart of Scotland with the best local music scene in the country. It is Scotland’s largest city with 800,000 inhabitants – but the clear, manageable network of a center is easy to traverse on foot and you are never too far from your destination. Edinburgh may be the seat of Scotland’s royal, romantic history, but Glasgow is where artistic, bold and musical things are happening right now.

The industrial revolution was good for the city – a veritable treasure trove of grandiose Victorian architecture – and is currently experiencing another sociocultural and financial boom as more and more creative people move there for their affordable housing, good vibes and closeness to nature. It’s only a short drive to Loch Lomond while Central Station is your gateway to the West Highlands.

What should I do

Explore the dynamic art scene

There are a number of quirky contemporary art galleries in Glasgow, a good group of which are in Merchant City near Trongate. Start with The Modern Institute, a long-established space that features works by big names like Jeremy Deller and Simon Starling. Around the corner, South Block is a multi-purpose organization with artist studios and a large gallery space that always brings the merchandise. Street Level Photoworks is also not to be missed, showcasing the very best of Scottish photography as well as international talent. On the other side of the center is the Center for Contemporary Arts, or CCA for its friends, a center for art exhibitions, performances, concerts, and art dealers like Aye-Aye Books and Welcome Home.

(© Glasgow Life)

Lose yourself in the crowd at a gig or club

Whatever your favorite sounds, there is something for you in Glasgow, whose clubbing music scene is thanks to indie legends Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, Belle and Sebastian and Deacon Blue, as well as house and techno connoisseurs Eclair Fifi, Nightwave and Optimo is. Head to an iconic venue like The Barrowlands, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, or the O2 Academy for anything guitar related. or if you fancy a late night check out the club night deals in SWG3, Room 2 and Sub Club. These joints are full so book tickets in advance.

Stroll through the past

It is easy to transport yourself back to the 19th century by just looking up in this city, but its museums and tour guides can really bring these amazing facades to life. The best time jump in town is The Tenement House: a perfectly preserved apartment from 1911 in a tenement, a historic building from Glasgow’s housing stock. The equally enchanting Kelvingrove Museum is home to 22 galleries displaying everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to Charles Rennie Mackintosh designs. However, if you want to delve deeper, book one of Glasgow’s budget-friendly walking tours that include daily walks around the city center, street art, dark history, the West End, or filming locations.

Eating out at Fanny Trollopes, Glasgow

(Fanny Trolls)

Where to sleep

If you’re looking for cheap and chic, Glasgow’s Motel One, an outpost of the large German chain, is conveniently located next to the main train station. It has colorful interiors and a bold design in the bar, lobby, and 80 guest rooms, making it a very appealing and well-placed option. Double and twin rooms here start at £ 69 a night.

For special occasions at reasonable prices, head straight to ABode Glasgow – a refurbished grand Edwardian building converted into a boutique hotel with rooms that exude style and elegance. There is a delightful selection of period features such as stained glass windows and original tiled fireplaces, as well as a delicious modern restaurant and on-site bar. Double rooms start at £ 114 a night.

When a bit of luxury is okay, Dakota is your Glasgow dream; a decadent, classy, ​​modern hotel right in the city center, full of eye-catching design and layers of fabric – the perfect place to relax after a busy day. Also worth seeing is the tasting menu in the in-house grill restaurant, which presents art rather than food. Doubles start at £ 210.

Where shall we eat

Glasgow is wonderfully multicultural and its restaurants are as diverse in cuisine as in any cosmopolitan metropolis. The robust chain Mother India first opened its doors in 1990 and in its five branches serves real, authentic (read: non-westernized) Indian food in a cozy, cozy environment that delights customers, including the late great Anthony Bordain. Go to her Finneston branch on Westminster Terrace for work. However, if you are looking for some South Indian cuisine, Madras Cafe is the place for you, where Dosa, Idli and Malai Kofta are inimitably delicious and the Kerala monkfish is unbelievably delicious.

But it would be criminal to skimp on Scottish cuisine while you’re in town: the West End is home to the Art Deco-themed Fanny Trollopes restaurant. This team specializes in seasonal fish, seafood, Scottish beef and lamb, poultry and game, but vegans don’t despair – the finest falafel you’ve ever seen is up for grabs too.

Cross the city center past the Trongate galleries to find Mharsanta, a true gem in many ways. An impressive menu of Scottish favorites including haggis and veggie haggis (yes, veggie haggis!) To showcase its sustainable ethos, the restaurant also participates in Plate up for Glasgow – a campaign promoting food waste and its impact on our environment and highlights the local economy.

If you’re looking for lighter bites that are just as tasty and local in focus, the multi-award-winning Scran is the café. Classic, cozy brunch favorites from Egg Benedict to Toasties and Rolls dominate the menu, prepared with fine Scottish ingredients such as Stornoway Black Pudding and Corrie Main’s free range eggs – all with their own loving touch.

Just across the river, in the undeniably cool Southside neighborhood, Bar Vini receives an Honorable Mention for serving the best Italian food in town. with a changing seasonal menu (pray for homemade ravioli) and a selection of cocktails so sweet you’ll want to try them all.

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut performance venue

(© Glasgow Life)

Where to drink

Caffeine fans, start your day at Laboratorio Espresso, an authentic Milanese espresso bar that uses the best beans from around the world. Or if you’re enjoying goodies baked with your cup, head to the Riverhill Coffee Bar, whose shortbread is utterly irresistible.

In the evening it is easy to be overwhelmed, as there are many pubs vying for the title of “best bar in town”. However, The Laurieston is the ultimate Glasgow vibe. With a 185 year history (the current incarnation is from the 1950s), this adorable retro place is a real foothold, somewhere between a workers’ club and a tavern, with memorabilia on the walls guaranteed to attract you and friendly locals, which you will feel welcome.

Another front runner is The Allison Arms, affectionately known by locals as Ally. Like The Laurieston, you can find it on the cool Southside. While you are also greeted here with great Glaswegian warmth, it is the incredible selection of German and artisanal beers that you will visit again and again.

If you enjoy serving your drinks with live music or a sinuous dance floor, don’t miss a night out at Nice N Sleazy, a delightfully dingy bar, club, and small venue that has more bands performing than you have warm dinners had . Probably.

Where can I go shopping?

Glasgow is brilliant for interesting independent retailers, and you can find community-minded, eco-conscious little shops in every corner of the city. The local institution Monorail Music is just around the corner from the Trongate Art Rooms and is the best place to go shopping for records and, with a bit of luck, catch a gig in the store. From there, cross the Saltmarket and walk one block to find the doors of Good Press, a bookstore that stocks independent and self-published printed matter, as well as events and a bookmaker’s studio.

Vintage Magpies have to go to the West End, where The Glasgow Vintage Co, West Vintage and Starry Starry Night are the standout clothes and the tiny (but impressively overcrowded) relics are the ultimate for knickknacks and collectibles. Just around the corner, the decidedly more modern Hoos has Nordic and Scottish design and housewares. Don’t worry if you fall in love with more items than you can carry – they have home delivery anywhere in the UK. Another great Scandinavian style homeware store is Aume on Southside, which tastefully curates the arts and crafts on display.

If you are self-sufficient, Locovore is a great social company that is committed to building a more sustainable local food system where you can find high quality local groceries with offices in different locations across the city (Govanhill, Garnethill and Partick).

(The Glasgow skyline with the Clyde Bridge)

Architectural highlight

What’s left of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art can’t be seen after the devastating fire of 2018, so in the meantime slip into his small but perfectly formed Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street – a piece of Art Nouveau happiness from 1902.

Glasgow nuts and bolts:

What currency do i need?

GBP (but keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the Scottish versions of pound notes)

What language do you speak?


Should i tip?

At least 10 percent

How should I get around?

On foot, bus or local trains.

What’s the best view?

The view over the city from the Glasgow Necropolis offers wonderful panoramic views, but if cemeteries aren’t your thing, head to the top of Mackintosh’s Lighthouse Tower.

Insider tip?

Bring an umbrella. With an average of 170 rainy days a year, you have about a 40 percent chance of showers.

How should I get there?

The train from London, the connection point for many places in the UK, takes 5-6 hours and forges an incredibly scenic route through the Lake District. There are also strong train connections from cities like Edinburgh, Birmingham or Manchester.


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