Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, has so much to offer visitors it’s difficult to know where to start. From historic architecture to shops galore, there’s plenty to pack in to a trip here. It boasts luxury hotels, 5 star restaurants and some fabulous shopping locations. It’s a great place to travel and tour in, with no time for dull moments. Over the past decade, Glasgow has seen a culture boom so you’re sure to have a fun-filled time here.
Doors Open Days is an annual event which allows you to explore Scotland’s architectural gems for free. This year’s event is going to be the largest yet as throughout September more than 1,000 sites are expected to welcome visitors across Scotland.
Glasgow-born architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh has left his mark on buildings all over the city. Take a trip to the Glasgow Art School or the Mackintosh House and be wowed by his Art Nouveau touches of brilliance. Alternatively, you can honour the temperance movement and sip tea and eat cake at The Willow Tearooms, designed by Mackintosh himself in 1904. Found on Sauchiehall Street, it’s a quaint setting and the style details continue right down to the little teaspoons.
Shop ‘til you drop
Glaswegians are a stylish bunch. To satisfy their demand for shopping, a wealth of centres and clusters of independent shops have sprung up around the city. The appropriately named ‘Style Mile’ around Argyle Street and Buchanan Street, offers a range of designer, high street and independent shops so you can indulge in some serious retail therapy.
If you’re looking for quiet contemplation and like to gaze at works of art then the GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) should be top of your list of things to do in Glasgow. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a grand statement on the city’s skyline. It’s an interactive space and you’ll be dazzled by suits of armour, engrossed in the rich Scottish natural history and taken on an impressive journey through its historic art collections.
A wander around the exhibitions at The People’s Palace will satisfy your curiosity for the story of Glasgow and its people. When you’re finished you can stretch your legs in the grounds of the Winter Gardens. You’ll also find a Victorian glasshouse where you can relax amongst tropical plants.
Need a breath of fresh air?
You can hire a car in Glasgow and head a few miles out of the city centre to Pollock Country Park. It has 360 acres of woodland and green space to explore so it’s a great option for a family day out. And, this is no ordinary park as it was voted Europe’s Best Park in 2008. It includes walled gardens, walking trails and of course the stately home of Pollok House.
Glasgow’s famed club, the Arches is a cavernous venue which hosts some of Britain’s biggest club nights and a massive variety of gigs. This place is still going strong and you’re sure to find a mixed crowd here. The city’s other nightlife options are abundant and Sauchiehall Street is where you’ll find the main hub of activity. As well as local pubs, you’ll find whiskey and cocktail bars, gig venues and clubs galore.
For other great ideas about luxury travel in Europe, check out our hotel reviews here.
If you weren’t able to get tickets for the Olympics, why not try your luck at those for the Commonwealth Games in 2014? Between the 23rd July and 3rd August 2014 the games will be held in Glasgow where you will have the opportunity to watch 17 sports, with competitors from 53 Commonwealth countries. Whether you hope to take in the athletics, swimming or gymnastics, the tickets won’t go on sale until 2013. Even if you aren’t successful in getting a ticket, there will be a fantastic atmosphere within the city, with plenty to see and do between watching events.
See the City
Glasgow has some fine architecture, both old and new, and there is no better way to appreciate it than exploring the city on foot. Although you can navigate the streets yourself, joining one of the walking tours is a good way to see many of the unmissable buildings in the city, while you learn more about their history from the knowledgeable guides.
Hit the Shops
After a wander through the city’s streets, turn your attention to the shopping opportunities available in Glasgow. Whether you are after clothing, a special gift or a memento of your stay, you won’t be disappointed, as there are shops to meet all your needs. For department stores and high street names, head to the Buchanan Galleries on Buchanan Street, where there are 80 shops under one roof. The nearby Argyll Arcade is home to 32 jewellers and even if you are just window shopping, stop by to admire the dazzling displays in the shop windows. Anyone seeking a bargain should take a walk to Barras Market in Gallowgate, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays; you never know what you might find. If on the other hand you are looking for designer labels, the Italian Centre on John Street is a good bet and one of the pavement cafes there makes the perfect place to rest your feet over a coffee. Glasgow might be famous for its battered Mars Bars, but you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding somewhere to eat, so whether you want to sample international cuisine or a traditional tea room, there is somewhere to suite every taste.
Although Edinburgh might be thought of as Scotland’s historic city, that doesn’t mean that Glasgow is lacking in museums, and you’ll certainly have plenty to choose from. A short bus, train or subway ride from the city centre is The People’s Palace, set within Glasgow Green, which tells the story of Glasgow and its people over the last 250 years. While there, stop by the Winter Gardens where you will find exotic palms and plants, marvel at the Doulton Fountain and relax in the surroundings of the largest public green space in Glasgow. If science is more your interest, Glasgow Science Centre has over 300 hands on exhibits, ideal for inquisitive children; it is also home to an IMAX cinema where you can be astounded by films in 2D or 3D on a giant screen. The Science Centre also hosts The Glasgow Tower, the world’s first tower able to turn in a full rotation and at 122m in height allows amazing views not just over the River Clyde, but for 40 miles in all directions.
If all the walking hasn’t been enough for you, Pollok Country Park, a mere three miles from the centre of Glasgow, is the perfect place to participate in further activities. Take your own or hire a bike to have a go at one of the three cycle trails that wind through the parks and nearby woodland; graded at different levels of difficulty, there is a trail to suit everyone. There is also a swimming pool and dry ski slope. For family and friends who aren’t so keen on active pursuits, they can enjoy the two art collections housed within the park and the beautiful formal gardens of Pollok House, while you cycle, swim or ski to your heart’s content.
Jenny writes on behalf of luxury medical health insurance and strongly believes in combining travel with activity to lead a healthier, more fulfilled life.
With the 2012 London Olympic Games wrapping up soon, the world is already on the lookout for the next big international sporting event. Luckily, it is only a scant two more years until we are graced with swimmers’ bodies on the big screen during primetime coverage at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. After beating out Abuja, Nigeria to host the games, the city of Glasgow in Scotland began gearing up for the influx of tourists and athletes to their stadiums and arenas. Many of their already-existing venues will be used for the games which means that, as tourists, it is fairly easy to map out a plan of attack, especially if you plan ahead.
Due to Glasgow’s size – it’s the biggest city in Scotland – the events are somewhat spread out across multiple neighborhoods, with some events even taking place outside of the city proper. The Opening Ceremonies will be held in the auspicious Celtic Park, the largest football stadium in Scotland, to mark the beginning of the events. From there, the majority of the athletics meets will be held in Hampden Park, the national football stadium of Scotland, located on the south side of the city. Both stadiums are fairly easy to access from the center of the city, so visitors can have the best of the both worlds by staying downtown near the tourist sites and going to events during the day.
All of the indoor sporting events like Wrestling, Judo and Gymnastics will be held in arenas on the western side of the city. The new Scottish Hydro Park will host the Gymnastics tournament as well as the Netball event, while the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center will be home to the Wrestling and Judo matches. In addition to these buildings, Kelvingrove Park will be used for Squash and Table Tennis, but not before undergoing a major renovation to improve the accessibility of the arena. In the east end of the city, not far from Celtic Park, Tollcross Park Aquatics Centre will play home to the many swimming events, while diving will be held just outside the city at the Royal Commonwealth Pool. Even if you cannot get tickets for some of the indoor park events, the marathon and some of the cycling will pass right through the center of the city so everyone should get a chance to see at least one event.
The year 2014 will be a great year for international sporting events with both the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup taking place, so fans should get the jump on everyone else by preparing for their visit now.
Written by the Marketing Department for Los Angeles car accident lawyer, Paul E. Lee
A stunning Scottish island tour from the comfort of a seaplane.
My sister-in-law had been booked flights on a seaplane leaving from Loch Lomond, and with her partner suddenly unable to go along for the ride, she asked me to step in and hold her hand…quite literally, seeing as how she is terrified of flying. It crossed my mind to ask why she’d booked the flight in the first place, but her white face and terrified expression kept me from rubbing it in.
The seaplane is run by Loch Lomond Seaplanes and is kept overnight on the Loch, making its way to the shore at Cameron House in time for each tour. I didn’t even know where we were going to be taken when I turned up and waited on the grassy slopes for my sister-in-law to arrive.
The seaplane seated around 10 people, including the pilot, but there were just five passengers for our trip, which turned out to be around the islands. For me, that was great because there was none of the usual tousle for a window seat, although I think my companion may not have been as pleased as I was about that.
The take off was surprisingly smooth, despite the water being a little choppy, and before long we were circling the lower end of Loch Lomond, taking in the distant view of Ben Lomond to the north, and looking out towards the Clyde in the south. It was surprising to see just how close the different bodies of water, from the lochs, to the rivers, to the seas, all looked from our new perspective. Distances that would normally take us an hour to drive were suddenly closed in a matter of minutes as we headed off in an easterly direction to explore the closest islands.
We passed Arran, Rothesay and Bute, before heading over areas like Garelochhead, Arrochar and beyond. And when we circled Ben Lomond from beneath the height of the summit, frantically waving to the isolated walkers trudging up it’s barren upper slopes, we were given a real feeling of the sheer size of one Scotland’s most famous mountains.
The landing was impressive, and no more bumpy than an Easyjet flight coming in to Glasgow International (at least, the last Easyjet flight I was on anyway), and by the time we stepped off the plane and onto the floating pontoon at Cameron House, even my sister-in-law had a smile on her face.
Loch Lomond Seaplanes offer a glass of Champagne at the culmination of the flight which is a nice touch and certainly adds an element of luxury to the occasion – although I couldn’t help but think that perhaps it would have been better to offer it to all the nervous passengers prior to take off!
The tours take in various places in a certain radius, but it is also possible to book them to fly you to some of the more remote locations of Scotland rather than take the train or drive. It’s certainly a novel way to get around.
Loch Lomond Seaplanes gets a seal of approval from candidtraveller.