Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Ultimate Guide To Glasgow


Guide to Glasgow City

After recently travelling to New York and getting a lot of tips, advice and ideas from reading blog post guides on that city, I thought that it could be helpful to others, who are thinking of making a trip to Glasgow, to write a similar post on my hometown and that's what inspired today's blog post. I've already got one on New York in the works for next month but until then, here is the ultimate guide to Glasgow;

I thought that I would break it down into four separate sections to make it that bit easier to digest and follow at the same time, starting with where to explore and experience the best that Glasgow has to offer.

Virgin Trains also wanted to know how I spend my free time and what you could do in Glasgow with that free time as part of their Free Me campaign. They've recently conducted a study which found out that the average Brit has just 17 days of free time a year. Compare that to the 103 days a year we spend sleeping or the 9 days a year that we spend on social media. I never really thought of it like that and it definitely gives you that added bit of motivation to spend your free time doing the things that you really want to do and maybe a trip to Glasgow or another city here in the UK, could be the perfect way to spend some of your free time. You can use their Free Me calculator to see exactly how many free days a year you have and then think how you'd most like to spend them. And here's how I would spend mine here in Glasgow;

Exploring

When it comes to exploring Glasgow, the easiest, quickest and most cost-effective way to do so is by Subway. An all day ticket costs just £4 and with that ticket you will be able to visit all of the touristy spots and hidden gems in the city without having to worry about taking different modes of transport or spending an extortionate amount on taxis or Ubers. Alternatively, you can also get a Smatcard which you can top up during your stay.

Subway Station St Enoch

You can go from the West End to the City Centre and across the river in minutes and also dodge some of the notoriously unpredictable weather that we often have here in Glasgow in the process. A tip for anyone thinking of visiting Glasgow, always carry an umbrella with you if can, as even the sunniest of days can result in rainshowers and I always regret it when I've left my brolly at home.

Visit Glasgow

The first place that I would recommend exploring in Glasgow would have to be the West End. You'll find the beautiful Botanic Gardens, Glasgow Univerity and one of my favourite spots in the city; Ashton Lane, all by getting off the Subway at Hillhead.

Glasgow West End Must See

Ashton Lane Glasgow

Pretend you're a student at Hogwarts by wandering around the breathtaking Glasgow University campus and if it does start raining, head to the Grosvenor Cinema located on Ashton Lane to see either a recent release or a cinematic classic.

Riverside Museum Glasgow

At the next Subway stop, Kelvinhall, you'll find my two favourite museums in Glasgow; Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and Riverside Museum. You could honestly spend hours in both of these brilliant museums and still not see everything.

Best Museums in Glasgow

If you're a fan of comics, Kelvingrove currently have the Frank Quietly; The Art of Comics exhibition running until October 1st. And Riverside see the popular Blue Light Festival return on September 16th and 17th.

Glasgow Riverside Museum Tall Ship

You'll also find The Tall Ship located directly outside Riverside and it's also definitely well worth a visit. It's also free to visit. I used to spend most school holidays exploring the Glenlee.

Where to see Highland Cows Glasgow

Pollok Park, which is only a short walk or bus journey from the Ibrox Subway station, houses another one of Glasgow's great museums; the Burrell Collection. It is currently undergoing redisplay and refurbishment but once it's open again it will be well worth a visit. If you're here when it's closed, they have moved many of the exhibits to Kelvingrove so you can still see some of the stunning pieces there. The park also houses a fold of Highland Cattle so if you've always wanted to see one of them in the flesh and check it off your bucket list, this is the place to do it. The park truly is a beautiful place to spend the day.

Glasgow Mural Trail

And if you really want to explore the city, why not undertake the Glasgow mural trail. Even if you're not actively searching for them, you'll probably stumble across a few of them just by making your way around the city and I have to admit, even as a born and bred Glaswegian I've only ever seen a few of them in passing but I've now got dedicating an entire day to following the mural trail on my to-do list this year. You'll also get to see some of the newly commissioned murals of Glasgow legend Billy Connolly too.

Now let's hop back on the Subway to do a bit of a retail therapy and to pay the Glasgow Style Mile a visit.

Shopping

Where to shop in Glasgow

I like to start by disembarking at Buchanan Street and heading straight to Buchanan Galleries. Not only does it house the only John Lewis in Glasgow but you'll also find shops like River Island, Mango, The Whisky Shop, Next, Flying Tiger and the LEGO shop. After shopping up a storm in Buchanan Galleries I then head down Buchanan Street towards St. Enoch, stopping off at Princes Square and stand alone stores such as Urban Outfitters, New Look, Zara and House Of Fraser (to pay Glasgow's only Charlotte Tilbury counter a visit, of course!) on the way. They've also just opened a brand new H&M, which now includes Glasgow's first H&M Home (hallelujah!) across from Buchanan Galleries and it is well worth a visit, I mean just look at that sign!

H&M Glasgow Buchanan

If you've been reading Ellis Tuesday for a while now, you will have seen me share my adoration for Glasgow's shopping options time and time again, so be sure to check those previous posts out for more details as well.

Where to shop in Glasgow

After all that exploring and shopping, you'll surely have worked up quite an appetite and there really are endless options when it comes to going for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner in Glasgow.

Eating

When it comes to grabbing a bite to eat in Glasgow you truly are spoiled for choice. I have so many different favourites but I thought that I would break it down by cuisine to make things a little bit easier for those looking for somewhere to eat based on their tastes.


Fish and chips and macaroni pies from Old Salty's - Dishes from The Hanoi Bike Club & Chaakoo Bombay Cafe

When it comes to Indian food Chaakoo Bombay Cafe is easily the best I've tried. Located on St Vincent Street, a few minutes walk from Buchanan Street Underground, Chaakoo is my favourite place to go with a big group or if you're a fan of sharing, which I have to admit, I'm not normally ('Joey doesn't share food!') but I'm always eager to try as many different bites that I can whilst at Chaakoo. Be sure to order a side of Shakahari (crispy vegetable pakora) or Masala fries or both with your dinner. Trust me, you won't regret it. It also doesn't hurt that everything in that restaurant is just so Insta-worthy as well.

Hanoi Bike Club Glasgow

Old Salty's on Byres Road, steps away from Hillhead Subway station, is my absolute favourite fish and chip shop. Their chippy chips are to die for! They're also not your traditional greasy chippy chips, as my body just can't take that kind of thing. They also perfectly accompany the traditional suppers, as well as starters that you won't find at your local High Street chippy such as salt and pepper calamari and haggis balls. Also located just off Byres Road is the highly rated Hanoi Bike Shop. Known for it's Vietnamese street food, you'll find plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options there too.

You're also spoilt for choice when it comes to burger joints in Glasgow, particularly in the City Centre but the best for me has to be Bread Meats Bread. I mean who doesn't want traditional Poutine, maple bacon sweet potato fries or fried cheese curds with their burger? I'm salivating now just thinking about them. They also have a West End location as well. I'm also always impressed with a trip to Byron as am I when I head to Ad Lib or Steak Cattle And Roll to get my burger fix.

Where to eat in Glasgow

Burger & Poutine from Bread Meats Bread - Pizza from Paesano Pizza - Pizza from Baffo

For pizza, my favourite place has to be Baffo, mainly due to the fact that they do a pizza with potatoes on it, aka. the dream for a potato addict like me. It's also located directly across the road from Kelvingrove, making it a great place to head over to after a couple of hours spent wandering around the museum. Paesano Pizza is another great option and is located both in the West End and steps away from another fantastic museum, GOMA. Both do fresh woodfired artisan pizzas like no one else.

You'll also find a food court like no other in Buchanan Galleries of all places. Forget what you know about traditional food courts and forgo the Burger King to check out some of the great street food that they have to offer at Taste Buchanan. And they regularly change up the line up so there's always something new to try.

And last but not least, if you're not lucky enough to live in Glasgow and are just visiting, you'll need somewhere to stay and here is where I would stay if I was visiting or even just enjoying a little staycation.

Where to stay

CitizenM Glasgow Review

If you read the blog post that I dedicated to CitizenM at the end of last year, you already know my thoughts on CitizenM Glasgow and it would easily be the first hotel that I would recommend to anyone thinking of staying in the city. I had another incredible experience at their Times Square hotel, which I will be reviewing next month but spoiler alert, I loved it even more (hello rooftop bar!)

If you're looking to treat yourself on your trip to Glasgow, Blythswood Square Hotel and Malmaison would be where I'd head. Blythswood have an unreal looking spa, one I've always wanted to visit and have heard great things about and Malmaison is all about that boutique style without having to fork out an arm and a leg to experience it.

Village Spa Glasgow

Another hotel that I've enjoyed visiting, mainly to enjoy their spa and gym is Village Hotel. It's also located on the River Clyde, minutes from the Hydro, SEC Centre and Glasgow Science Centre, so if you're visiting Glasgow to take in a concert or show, this could well be your best option.

If you've travelled to Glasgow by train, Grand Central Hotel would be another place to consider and even if you're not staying there during your time in Glasgow, their champagne bar is well worth a visit.

So there you have it, my ultimate guide to Glasgow.

Have you ever visited Glasgow? If so, what was your favourite thing to do? Would you like to see more ultimate guides in the future, possibly Edinburgh as well as New York? And how many days free time a year do you have?

Written in collaboration with Virgin Trains & SPT
Glasgow Mural Image Credit (People Make Glasgow) - Food Image Credit (Each restaurant provided own imagery)

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