European travel and lifestyle
What if you got on a train and kept on going?
Glasgow was a spur of the moment trip. A friend and myself wanted to see what was at the end of a seemingly endless trainline. Determined and armed with an unhealthy amount of prosecco, we arrived in Glasgow 5 hours later. Little did I know that it would become one of my favourite British cities of all times. Great food, art and shopping all make Glasgow one hell of a city. Want to see the best it has to offer? Here’s the lowdown:
Although we wound up here for breakfast, Merchant City is much more than a place to curb your appetite. Tucked away behind the city centre, this is where Glasgow’s 18th tobacco lords had their warehouses in the city’s trading heyday. If you walk through Merchant City today, you’ll see that the old warehouses are now home to cool boutiques, bars, great restaurants and loft apartments.
Sadly, enriching architecture isn’t enough for a hungry stomach. We ventured to Cranberry’s on Wilson St for some eggy treats. If you like cosy cafes, yummy mummy spotting and instagramable coffee, you’ve come to the right place. Did I forget to mention that the food is amazing?!
If you’ve been out and about in Glasgow City Centre recently, you may have notice the impressive large scale street art adorning the city’s brickwork. There are many of them scattered around the city, making up the famous City Centre Mural Trail, which lets you see the best you see all of them in one simple walking route.
It was hard to choose a clear favorite, but I’ve highlighted some of the most impressive ones below:
Fellow Glasgow Residents
Head towards Ingram Street car park and you’ll find all manner of Scottish wildlife bursting from a spray can canvas. Take a look and you’ll be immediately transported to memories of mushroom picking and autumn strolls!
You can’t miss this huge mural of Scottish badminton player Kieran Merrilees in the heart of Merchant City. This one isn’t here by channce. Commissioned to celebrate the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, it now stands as a testament to Scotland’s sporting success.
Art with a splash of humor comes from the hands (literally) of artist Rogue-One. Taking inspiration from the Beastie Boys and Run DMC, Hip Hop Marionnetes on John St. This piece is a testament to how the variety of tastes running through Glasgow artists, livening up the brickwork’s bleak exterior.
Since its opening in 1996, the gallery has hosted several million visitors. Glasgow’s Museum of Modern Art isn’t just an iconic city landmark, but one of the most important ones in Scotland. Millions of visitors flock to it every year, and that’s no surprise once you see what awaits inside.
The fun starts even before heading in. In front of the gallery, you’ll see a statue of the Duke of Wellington sculpted by Carlo Marochetti in 1844. The statue could easily go unnoticed if it weren’t for the orange traffic cone on the duke’s head.
What first started off as a prank became a regularly occurence, where the authorities regularly removed cones, only for them to be replaced. Ever since then, it’s come to represent, particularly in tourist guidebooks, the city’s light-hearted attitude to authority – making it a permanent feature.
The gallery is housed in an iconic building located in the heart of Glasgow, which it shares with the city centre library. It plays an important part in the city’s rich heritage which continues today.
Its ever-changing exhibits include works by David Hockney, Sebastiao Salgado, and Andy Warhol as well as Scottish artists such as John Bellany and Ken Currie. There’s plenty to keep you enthralled for hours!
As you enter, don’t forget to check out the mirrored pediment on the exterior of the building is by artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The same artist also installed the mirrored vestibule to the gallery. Perfect time for fractured selfie.
The Lighthouse in Glasgow is Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, opened as part of Glasgow’s status as UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999.
With interesting exhibitions on design and creative pursuits, one of its key features is the incredible view over Glasgow from the Mackintosh Tower. To get to the top, climb the helical staircase from the third floor (a fascinating design in its own right).
Whether its high end or saavy thrifting, Glasgow is a shopper’s paradise. To that end, it’s also the ideal place for some vintage retail therapy.
My personal by far was Mr Ben Retro Clothing in Merchant City (I know, it’s hard to leave the area!). Having established itself as one of the most well stocked vintage stores, there’s classic, designer and labelled clothing and accessories from a variety of decades, meaning you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Just across the street from the Kelvingrove Museum, The Gannet is, undoubtedly, one of Glasgow’s best places to eat. If you want a good deal, go for the Champagne Sunday lunch t– three good courses and a glass of bubbly, all for £30. From fish to chocolate fondant, there’s no skimping on great ingredients and flavors at this restaurant.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Scotland’s most popular free attractions. It has been a city favorite every since it first opened in 1901 and, once you’ve visited, it’s sure to become one of yours!
The museum has 22 themed galleries displaying 8.000 objects (and that doesn’t include the pieces in storage). Kelvingrove isn’t afraid to mix things up: you’ll find Rembrandts alongside Renoirs and armour getting cosy with Ancient Egypt. Best of all, it’s free – you won’t find a better cultural deal than that.
The museum also has a magnificent organ, initially housed in a temporary concert hall for the duration of the 1901 Glasgow International Exhibition. When the exhibition ended, it was then moved to its permanent home in the north end of the Centre Hall in 1902. Performances are also free and take place at 1pm from Monday – Saturday and 3pm on Sundays.
If you’re on the lookout for fish, you’ve come to the right place.One of four, Two Fat Ladies in The City is strategically located close to Glasgow’s bustling nightlife. This restaurant is big on fresh produce and its portions – you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. Once you’re done, you’re close enough to continue your night at the city’s trendy bars and theatreland. The perfect way to wrap up a busy (but fun-filled) day!
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