A weekend break in Glasgow

Thursday 13 June 2019

Scotland's largest city, Glasgow is renowned for its vibrant arts, music and culture scene, rich architectural heritage and world-class shopping.

The city has the greatest concentration of creative industries in Britain outside London. Its architectural assets include the Victorian splendour of Glasgow City Chambers, the Art Nouveau style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's renowned Glasgow School of Art, and the ultra-modern spikes of Zaha Hadid's Riverside Transport Museum. And with more than 1,500 shops, this fashionable city is recognised as Britain's second largest retail centre.

A UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow (or ‘GTown' as it's known on the urban music scene) stages an average of 130 music events in the city every week. It's also considered a place to discover new talent: bands hailing from, or starting their careers here include famous names like Franz Ferdinand, the Fratellis, Belle & Sebastian, Snow Patrol, Travis, Texas and Paolo Nutini.

Glasgow

DAY ONE

11.00 Take in the Gallery of Modern Art

Discover an incredible collection of contemporary art right in the centre of Glasgow at the Gallery of Modern Art. Thought-provoking displays and temporary exhibitions pack the gallery, and building tours take place at weekends that can introduce the history of the building and the exhibitions within it.

12:15 Follow in the footsteps of great pioneers

The historic campus of the University of Glasgow is another edifying tourist attraction. Take a self-guided tour of Britain's fourth oldest university, and follow in the footsteps of renowned visionaries such as the pioneer of television John Logie Baird. Not to be missed are the Cloisters - these impressive archways have featured in several films.

13:30 Enjoy lunch along a cobbled backstreet

Ashton Lane is a treasure trove of bohemian bars and restaurants close to the university. With its rustic chic interior and a beer garden for al fresco drinking and dining, Belgian-style bar and restaurant Brel is a popular choice. Or try renowned Glasgow bar and eatery the Ubiquitous Chip.

14:30 Experience Glasgow's bohemian side

The neighbourhood that includes the University of Glasgow and Ashton Lane is known as Glasgow's West End. This bohemian quarter of ornate sandstone tenements and cobbled streets is well worth exploring. A fantastic range of vintage and design stores, cafés, bars and specialist delicatessens can be found here. It's also home to the picturesque Botanic Gardens and Kelvingrove Park, as well as Charles Rennie Mackintosh's distinctive and stylish Mackintosh House. 

16:30 Explore Scottish and world history

Also located within Glasgow's West End is Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Built in 1901, this grand red brick building displays one of Europe's greatest and most eclectic art collections, and is one of Scotland's most popular free-to-enter visitor attractions. Highlights include Salvador Dali's iconic painting Christ Of St John Of The Cross, plus Scottish history and archaeology, dinosaurs, Ancient Egypt, arms and armour, and Dutch Old Masters. Several stunning exhibitions relating to the centenary of the end of the First World War will continue in the first half of 2019 while visitors can take the Natural History Trail from late January to explore Scotland’s natural world.  

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

19:30 Dine in a cool up-and-coming quarter

Once an industrial area frequented by dockworkers, Finnieston is now a neighbourhood with a cool new vibe. Anchored by the SSE Hydro arena, a venue built for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the area has witnessed a change in fortune. Known as "The Strip", a stretch of Argyle Street is now lined with pop-up bars and eclectic restaurants, with top picks including industrial eatery The Gannet, tapas-style Indian food at Mother India's Café, or fish and shellfish at Crabshakk.

21:30 Sip a cocktail or a dram of whisky

After-dinner options along Argyle Street range from cocktails at Kelvingrove Café to a dram of Scottish whisky and traditional live music at The Ben Nevis

DAY TWO

9:30 Visit a champion transport and travel museum

Voted 2013 European Museum of the Year, the spiky Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum is Scotland's museum of transport and travel. Its collection includes a historic Tall Ship, an icon of Glasgow's shipbuilding heritage now moored at Riverside, while inside the vast free-flowing gallery space are trams, trolley buses, vintage cars, bicycles and motorbikes - each object telling a unique story. Discover the story of Glasgow’s telegram messengers throughout 2019 and keep an eye out for numerous one and two-day specialist exhibitions that are held across the year.

11:00 Savour a Scottish brunch break

Enjoy a delicious Scottish brunch at Cup, Glasgow's award-winning tea rooms. The tiled Victorian interior of Cup Tea Lounge is truly stunning. There's also Cup Tea Room in Glasgow's West End, and the Cup Tea Garden in stylish Merchant City. Cup's big breakfast includes Scottish cured bacon, sausages and homemade beans. Other choices include Eggs Benedict, Florentine, Royal or Stornoway - the latter two coming with either Scottish smoked salmon or Stornoway Black Pudding. Cup is also a great choice for afternoon tea.

12:00 Shop till you drop in Britain's second largest retail centre

With more than 1,500 shops, Glasgow is recognised as Britain's second largest retail centre, providing one of the best shopping experiences outside London. Glasgow's Style Mile is the city's central shopping district, with all the big high street brands. Tucked away behind the city centre is the Merchant City, one of Glasgow's oldest quarters and an area of huge architectural interest. Dating back to the 1750s, it was home to the warehouses of wealthy merchants. Those old warehouses have since become quirky designer boutiques, bars, restaurants and stylish loft apartments. 

Ashton Lane

14:30 Head out of the city to a grand old country house

In easy reach of Glasgow city centre, Pollok House is a grand country property built in 1752. Now part of the National Trust for Scotland, its lavish family rooms are packed full of period furniture and fine art, while downstairs are vast servants' quarters. Afterwards, hire a bike to explore the surrounding Pollok Country Park - look out for the Highland Cattle and Clydesdale Horses. 

19:30 Taste a crisp apple ale and hearty Scottish fare

Britain's first experiential craft brewery, Drygate produce a range of ales and IPAs, and is home to 26 rotating taps and a carefully curated bottle selection. Their Glasgow brewhouse is also home to Drygate's Craft Beer Bar & Kitchen serving seasonal Scottish produce, burgers and charcuterie-grazing boards.

22:00 Listen out for the next big thing in the City of Music

Glasgow is designated UNESCO City of Music thanks to its thriving music scene and multitude of live music venues. King Tut's Wah Hut is consistently named Britain's best small live music venue, or there's the legendary Barrowland Ballroom Glasgow in the east end of the city plus Saint Luke's, an exciting music and arts venue in a restored former parish church. 

Getting there:

Glasgow is in Scotland, six hours by train north of London, one hour from Edinburgh. Glasgow International Airport is just shy of 9-miles from Glasgow city centre with regular train connections that take around 20-25 minutes.

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