A colorful day in Glasgow for the ultimate lover of everything: nature, art, history, beer, and really tasty Scottish food.
Four years ago, I went to Scotland and unexpectedly fell in love with Edinburgh. So much so that I almost cancelled Glasgow. Scotland was rainy and dreary in the middle of June; within an hour, I found myself wet as a dog, looking for a warm plate of haggis at The Old Bell – a neighborhood pub on the south side. Within an hour, the staff behind the bar became my new best friends: Jack, Lewis, Nate, Euan, Rob and I hung out almost every night. Since I was planning to spend two days in Glasgow and Rob was from there, so he wrote a few things down on a piece of paper at the bar. As I leaned in, he scratched his head a few more times. “There isn’t that much to do there,” he said.
“Seriously?” I was shocked, “Isn’t the university super famous?”
“Yeah,” he responded, “But are you there to see a school?” He was right, so my expectations for a mini solo trip westward wasn’t spectacular.
As it turned out, Rob’s scrappy paper with simple recommendations stamped by a few stains from pints of Guinness was outstanding. There wasn’t a whole lot to see in Glasgow, but the city radiated an up-and-coming energy. The thrill was apparent during an early evening stroll down Ashton Lane’s row of restaurants and bars that sparkled upon cobblestone streets lit by fairy lights bordering the university. I indulged in phenomenal art during the day and made new friends during a brewery tour later in the afternoon. The Scots are probably the absolute nicest strangers I’ve ever encountered throughout my travels. Even if Glasgow didn’t boast a novel of landmarks to see, a sweet conversation with a cab driver not only highlighted my day, I was – and still am – inspired to visit other cities in Scotland. Next up, the Highlands!
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG, United Kingdom
Situated in the West End neighborhood, Kelvingrove Museum is one of the most popular stops in Glasgow. It boasts 22 glorious galleries, featuring masterpieces by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Gauguin, Dalí…and so many more. The main hall features a concert organ pipe constructed by Lewis & Co, one of the most important organ makers in the world. One of my personal favorites is the Floating Heads by Sophie Cave, located in the East Court. There are 50 heads displaying various human emotions, from misery to joy.
As one of the main plazas in the city, George Square was named after King George III. Today, it features historical statues honoring: James Watt (Scottish inventor,) Robert Burns (Scottish poet,) Sir Walter Scott (Scottish playwright,) and more. Today, many parades, ceremonies, concerts and events are held at the square.
To truly inhale the history of Glasgow, head over to Cathedral Square for a stroll where Glasgow Cathedral’s Gothic architectural beauty, Provand’s Lordship (a Medieval house which now hosts as a museum,) Necropolis (Victorian cemetery,) and other monuments will reel you right back to the Medieval era. Cobblestones, tranquil alleys and serene gardens make Cathedral Square an idyllic area for a delightful wanderlust moment. If you see a café, this is where you can rest your feet with a traditional plate of fish and chips.
161 Duke St, Glasgow G31 1JD, United Kingdom
After sightseeing, who’s ready for a drink? Stop by Tennent Brewery which only requires a 10-minute walk from Cathedral Square. Since 1556, the Tennent family has been producing lager, making it one of the oldest commercial businesses in Glasgow that still exists today. The brand originated with stouts and export ales, but eventually expanded to lager which has since become Tennent’s most iconic beer. It is at this location where Tennent’s Lager – Scotland’s leading pale lager – is produced. At the Tennent Brewery, book a tour so you can walk through the factory with a guide then end with pints of various unique blends.
12 Ashton Ln, Hillhead, Glasgow G12 8SJ, United Kingdom
For the best eateries in town, head over to Ashton Lane where Glasgow’s most trendy yet artisanal restaurants can be discovered. Among these gems, Ubiquitous Chip is a tasty jewel serving beautiful dishes featuring Scotland’s freshest ingredients. The meal may begin with Knockraich Farm Crowdie Tart, Toasted Yeast, Beetroot Kombucha, leading to a hearty Borders Beef Shortrib, Black Garlic, Fermented Kohlrabi, Oyster Leaf that concludes with White Chocolate Parfait, Blueberry Sorbet, Milk Crisps. The restaurant’s rustic chic ambiance is accentuated by high-ceilings draped with gorgeous indoor trees, plants and exquisite lighting; making Ubiquitous Chip a memorable and satiating experience.