Despite being born in Edinburgh, Glasgow has always had a very special place in my heart.
I worked there for many years, I married a Westie, and I just love the vibe of this fabulous city.
Recently the old boy and I went there for a weekend and it brought back to me just why I love this city with a passion. World-class design, fantastic shopping and vibrant nightlife. Yep, it’s got the lot.
The warmest and most fun inhabitants in Europe? Absolutely.
The Gaelic translation of Glasgow, Glaschu, literally means Dear Green Place a very appropriate name for a city which boasts more than 90 parks and gardens within its city boundaries. Along with its abundance of natural, open spaces, Glasgow is committed to environmental sustainability and is home to a range of attractions, venues, brands, stores and eateries that share these values.
On my agenda for this trip was the Burrell Collection and Pollok House, and The Transport Museum. At the latter visitors can enjoy 3,000 exhibits from cars to trams and ships and at the former there’s a staggering 8,000 objects given to the city by Sir William Burrell. Enjoy Chinese Art, early Renaissance works, tapestries, stained glass, Dutch paintings and Islamic Art to name a few.
Pollok House, in Pollok Country Park, is one of Glasgow’s most elegant family homes. Built by the Maxwell family, the magnificent rooms have a fascinating collection of paintings, silver and ceramics. Don’t miss the marvellous tea room in the former servants’ quarters.
Glasgow is Scotland’s best shopping city. You can find high street favourites, malls and popular department stores on the city’s Style Mile, an area which includes the shopping thoroughfares of Buchanan Street, Sauchiehall Street and Argyle Street. Designer delights can be found in the chic boutiques of the Merchant City and if you’re after something a little more quirky, take a look at the great vintage stores on offer in Glasgow’s West End.
Food-wise, well where do we start? One place I can thoroughly recommend for excellent fresh Scottish cuisine is Citation, a fashionable restaurant and bar on Wilson Street in the Merchant City. It offers great value and has friendly staff. Enjoy live piano on Thursday and Friday nights and Sunday lunchtimes. I stayed at the Glasgow Hilton, another venue for fine food. Their Morblas restaurant offers excellent seafood and grills, and the Ocean Rooms Spa offer a very comprehensive menu of treatments (ask for Zara if you need a deep tissue massage for a bad back she’s excellent!).
Another thing that Glasgow is known for is music. The city hosts an average of 130 music events each week (more than any other Scottish city) and it is estimated that music businesses generate some £75 million a year for Glasgow’s economy.
Glasgow’s legendary music scene stretches across the whole spectrum from contemporary and classical to Celtic and country. Its venues are equally varied and include King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (consistently voted the top live music venue in the UK), the Barrowlands, O2 Academy, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow Royal Concert Halls and many pubs and clubs throughout the city. And don’t forget the new multi-purpose venue, The Hydro, designed by Foster and Partners of London’s Gherkin fame, which opened last month.
It will be a major venue for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow in 2014, and is expected to attract one million visitors each year to more than 140 music, entertainment and sporting events.
It is set to be in the Top 5 busiest indoor venues in the world, alongside iconic places such as Madison Square Gardens in New York and London’s O2 arena, with major world tours for artists such as JLS, Peter Gabriel, Gary Barlow, The Arctic Monkeys, Barry Manilow and Justin Timberlake already planned for next year.
Glasgow is home to five of the six National Companies Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, National Theatre of Scotland, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Music aside, no matter when you arrive in Glasgow you’ll find live performances, festivals, exhibitions, sporting fixtures and entertainment all year round.
Find out more at seeglasgow.com