It’s no wonder visitors are enchanted by Glasgow. By day, it’s home to world-class galleries and inspiring museums; by night, its bars, restaurants and music venues come alive with revellers. This is a city where new trends are born, history meets the present and locals are as quick-witted as they are hospitable. Make the Merchant City neighbourhood—full of swanky homes and former warehouses—your base and discover all this city has to offer.
Morning: Breakfast in Glasgow means one thing: square sausage. Try one of these beef patties at Rose & Grants, or go for a full sit-down affair, with Stornoway black pudding and a potato scone, at Cafe Gandolfi. After, head up High Street to see two of the city’s greatest sights: gothic Glasgow Cathedral (shown) and the Glasgow Necropolis, a hilltop cemetery.
Afternoon: Make your way to the Gallery of Modern Art, about a 20-minute walk away. The scale of the building, and its art, is extraordinary. So too is the statue of the Duke of Wellington on horseback outside the gallery. The duke’s head is topped with a traffic cone, a nod to the city’s madcap humour.
Evening: Shop Buchanan Street, part of Glasgow’s Style Mile, before turning onto Bath Street to bar-hop. For cocktails, check out The Butterfly and the Pig, or, for old-school glamour, stop in at The Griffin, opposite the historic King’s Theatre.
Morning: Board a subway train to the West End and explore the University of Glasgow’s Hogwarts-like cloisters, the stores along Byres Road and tree-filled Kelvingrove Park. Devote time to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which offers free admission.
Afternoon: A pub lunch rarely comes with a side of theatre, but it does at Òran Mór, a church-turned-arts venue that is packed for its A Play, A Pie and A Pint performances held Mondays to Saturdays at 1 p.m. After, cross the road and wander The Friends of Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
Evening: Grab an early table at the Hanoi Bike Shop for a steamy bowl of build-your-own pho, then return to the city centre for live music at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, or—if you’re brave enough—moshing at The Barrowland Ballroom Glasgow.
Morning: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of the world’s most celebrated Art Nouveau architects, lived in Glasgow. A short walk from Merchant City takes you to The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, housed in a building he designed. Explore the exhibitions and admire the beauty of the Mackintosh Tower and its external observation gallery.’
Afternoon: Take a break from the city, with a half-day trip to Glengoyne Distillery, 40 minutes to the north by bus, or on one of the small group excursions offered by Rabbie’s tour company. The drive is picturesque, and the insightful Wee Tasting Tour of the distillery begins and ends with well-aged drams.
Evening: End your day with a seasonal, six-course meal at The Gannet, a can’t-miss restaurant in Finnieston. Enjoy just-landed seafood such as Gigha halibut and Scrabster monkfish, plus an extensive whisky menu.
Where to Stay in Glasgow
One of the newest hotels in Glasgow, the focus is on easy access to the city’s best nightlife. The rooms are full of design touches, and the lobby—with foosball tables and big screens for sports—is as sociable as the city.
Once the address of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, the Kimpton (shown) is where to stay if you fancy an on-site luxury restaurant, bar and spa, with rooms overlooking one of the city’s finest Georgian squares.
[This article appears in the August 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine]
Where to Mark the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Queen Victoria in 2019
The second-longest-reigning monarch in British history, Queen Victoria's legacy continues to thrive and there are some great sites in Scotland and England to visit to mark this special anniversary, such as Windsor Castle, the Isle of Wight and the new V&A Dundee museum.