5 things you have to do in Glasgow
Take it from a local, don’t leave town without……
Visiting a Museum
Glasgow has an embarrassment of riches in the museum department, many of which are free to enter. Out in front comes Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. A magnificent Victorian sandstone building it is heaving with a plethora of artwork, exhibits and artefacts. A close second is the Riverside (Transport) Museum. As a wee boy, I was whisked off down to this place to stop my moaning. A colourful journey through the evolution of travel vehicles is now housed in the impressive Zaha Hadid building by the River Clyde. Be sure to drop into the accompanying Glenlee tall ship outside.
Art lovers will love Glasgow. From the Gallery of Modern Art in the city centre to the Hunterian at Glasgow University to Macintosh mecca at the School of Art, the quality and quantity is sky high. Of them all, Sir William Burrell’s Collection in the south side comes out top of my list. Need more? Here’s the full run-down of my top attractions not to miss in Cultural Glasgow.
It’s not known as the dear green place for nothing. Wherever you find yourself in the city, expansive green spaces are never too far away. They are particularly handy when the searing Scottish summer climate takes it toll. Kelvingrove Park in the west end, Glasgow Green just east of centre and Pollok Park in the south side make for a diverse outdoor selection.
My personal favourite though are the Botanic Gardens. Another spot where the wee me was banished when I was not behaving, the aromas and the tropical sights in the Kibble Palace silenced me sharpish. If you’re looking for a nice walk, drop down to the River Kelvin beneath the Gardens and follow the river all the way to Kelvingrove Park.
Getting mad wi’ it
Glasgow’s nightlife is legendary and, contrary to an ill-deserved reputation in some quarters, a night on the town need not be a health hazard. The Pot Still in the city centre has the lead when chasing the perfect dram, with a huge selection of whisky on offer. As a west ender these days, regular whisky alternatives for me include the atmospheric Ben Nevis, the self-explanatory Dram! and the converted church of Oran Mor. You can read more of my Scotland travel tips on drink and more to help narrow down your beveridge of choice.
Away from whisky, my suggested drinking spots are to be found in the Merchant City, Bath Street or Ashton Lane. Numerous choices abound in all. Beer lovers can also go straight to the source and the West Brewery itself for a great pint and burger on the eastern perimeter of Glasgow Green. Back out west, if immersing yourself in the life of hard working students sounds like a plan, try the Hillhead Bookclub. It may sound like a marvellous spot for a civilised glass of red but is in effect a glorified student union, offering a great atmosphere.
Enjoying the architecture
Glasgow was thrust into the spotlight during the 2014 Commonwealth Games and one of the recurring comments on the city was its spectacular architecture. With Macintosh and Thomson’s influence it’s little wonder. Amongst the best are the Gothic Glasgow University buildings, the medieval Cathedral and the ultra-modern River Clyde waterfront.
Other less obvious gems can be found dotted around the city. The Trinity College buildings, the Terracotta Fountain on Glasgow Green and, a personal favourite, Holmwood House in the south side are all stand outs. A masterpiece of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, its intricate and personal design make it well worth a visit.
Having a curry
Glasgow is not short of great restaurants but there is something particularly special about a Glasgow curry. Anytime I’m forced away from the city for an extended period, I’ll always relish my first curry when back. Even within this category of cuisine there are at least a dozen wonderful restaurants that spring to mind but some of my favourites are:
- The Wee Curry Shop in Ashton Lane – cosy and personal the quality is consistently superb.
- Charcoals in the city centre – they do all the classic favourites and they do them very, very well. Delightfully good value for a business lunch too….
- Dhabba and Dakhin in the Merchant City – sister restaurants offering fabulous monkfish (Dhabba) and ridiculous but divine telescopic dosas (Dakhin)
- Last but not least, Mother India. Oh dear me, what a place. With several restaurants dotted around the country now – given their success – I am still always drawn to the Mother India Café in Finneston, opposite the Kelvingrove Gallery. Order a melee of small dishes, naans, a pint or two, sit back and be grateful. Here is my full review of the best curry restaurant in Glasgow in all its glory.
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