Alice Roberts shares her secret to finding a different side of Glasgow.

The grungy understated charm of Glasgow can be reached via a two hour coach journey on the X25 – making it the perfect location for a weekend trip. As Scotland’s largest city, there are many reasons to visit Glasgow, but perhaps its most distinctive (and attractive) feature is its diversity. There is a thriving artistic scene, contributed to by the McIntosh School of Art and the Kelvingrove Gallery, which is clearly shown in the city graffiti – some of which is quite beautiful. Or, if you prefer the antiquated serenity of a tearoom, there are many to choose from, including one featuring McIntosh’s original design. Six universities dotted around the town give Glasgow a strong student presence –and more bars, pubs and nightclubs than most youth could hope for.

Glasgow’s lineage can be traced back to Celtic Druids who inhabited the area in the first century AD. There are a few medieval buildings dotted around the city – notably the cathedral, built in 1119. However, much of the city is now modern and industrial, with large shopping malls and high rise buildings. So, without further ado, here are some tips for the best to see in Glasgow:

  1.  Sloan’s Market – Sundays on Buchanan Street are the best for street food and gifts, wire-beaded cats and amaretto infused coffee beans. 
  2. Kelvingrove Gallery – With its baroque architecture and high ceilings, Kelvingrove Gallery itself would be worth visiting–even if it had no artwork. The permanent (free entry) exhibits include: the French Gallery (featuring Monet, Renoir, Pissaro and Van Gough), The Dutch Gallery (containing old masters works), and the Christ of St John the Cross – a famous painting by Dali. Also, from the 25th of September until mid-February there is a paid exhibition on 19th Century clothing.
  3. Tchai Ovna – Undoubtedly the best tea-house in Glasgow. They have hundreds of tea blends to choose from, shisha, and occasional live music. Located in the west end on Otago Lane (by the university gym).
  4. Cottiers – A bar, restaurant and theatre on Hyndland Street. It is set in a refurbished church and very atmospheric. If you want more food recommendations, check out Samantha Evans’ article ‘Travel Adventures: Tastebud Travels in Glasgow‘. 
  5. Abandoned railways – A blue lattice work of abandoned railways stretches across the city, initially built for and used by Scotrail until the trains were modernised. These railways give the city a three dimensional look, lending to Glasgow’s grungy charm. 
  6. Aimless wandering – The vibrant nature of Glasgow makes it an ideal location for wandering the streets. You will most likely find something more to your taste than I have mentioned here, be it a pub, vegan restaurant, nightclub or pawn broker. Over the past few years, there have even been sightings of a mysterious cart drawn by horses around two in the morning. 


Alice Roberts


Featured Image: Glasgow Cathedral – amateur photography by michel