Spotlight on Glasgow

Spotlight on Glasgow


As far as Scottish cities go, it tends to be Edinburgh that gets all the glory, mainly thanks to its legendary Hogmanay celebrations and imposing castle. However, in recent years the spotlight has swung very much towards Glasgow, not least because it has been bestowed with accolades such as City of Culture and, more recently, UK City of Architecture and Design, as well as the fact that it is going to be hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Whether you’re planning a sporting visit, or you just want to see what this fascinating city has to offer, here is a guide to the destination the locals call the ‘Dear Green Place.’

From a city with a focus on industrialisation, Glasgow has transitioned to a place of much more refined pursuits, and now has a reputation as somewhere to visit north of the border for those with an interest in art, culture and design. You can see why the city has inspired such love from architecture fans by simply strolling around, as the Victorian legacy is strong, particularly in the commercial area of the city. However, Glasgow was not built on art and culture alone, and to understand more about the city’s past, take a walk along the edge of the River Clyde and the Clydeside Walkway to discover some of its maritime heritage, and visit the Clydebuilt Maritime Heritage Centre, which demonstrates just how the water made this city great.

If you’re not much of a walker or want to get out the city for a day then there’s a wealth of worthwhile day trips within a short drive of the city. Tour groups like Go Scotland Tours and Timberbush run daily guided tours from Glasgow to the highlands and the Lochs (including Loch Ness). You can also pick us a car in the city centre or at the airport to rent for the day.

As well as the history all around, Glasgow is awash with art galleries and museums, offering up everything from local insight to international masters. See the city’s history laid bare at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, visit the majestic Gallery of Modern Art to see some of the genre’s classics, or take a trip to the unique Scotland Street School Museum – housed in a former school built by Charles Rennie Mackintosh – for a genuinely historical Glasgow school experience.

Those interested in more commercial pursuits should head for Buchanan Street, which is one of the main shopping areas in the city and was founded by Tobacco Lord, Andrew Buchanan in 1777. Nowadays the road is populated by well known clothing brands, coffee chains, several shopping malls, including the designer filled Princes Square. When you’ve had enough of all the hustle and bustle of the city, then Glasgow has plenty of green spaces too (hence the nickname ‘Dear Green Place’). In fact there are more than 70 parks in total here, from the glorious Pollock Country Park in the south of the city to Glasgow Green in the East End. Whether you want to stroll with a coffee on a fresh winter’s day or laze in the sun in the summer, there are plenty of places to do it in Scotland’s largest city.

Given the size of Glasgow and its burgeoning status as a cultural hotspot, it’s not surprising that the range of drinking, dining and nightlife is quite spectacular – and growing by the day. Merchant City located just to the east of George Square, is one of the best places to find sophisticated dining, local and international, as well as some fashionable bars and pubs, and chic late night cafes. For night owls, the areas around Bath Street, Sauchiehall Street and Royal Exchange offer a fine selection of clubbing options, whether you’re looking to dance around your handbag or hear the latest techno tunes.

As Glasgow steps up for its time in the spotlight, it has much to offer visitors, from history and learning, to nightlife and fun. With the Commonwealth Games on the horizon and the city’s cultural drive on full throttle, there’s no better time to visit to see what the city has to offer you.

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