Glasgow literally means 'dear green place', and that's what it means to me. It's a place that I will always call home, a place I always feel comfortable in, and a place with plenty of public parks located throughout the city, perfect for those (however rare) summer days.
Once the second city of the Empire, Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland. Glasgow in days gone by was a highly industrial city, built around the River Clyde where shipyards flourished. However in recent years, the city has changed beyond recognition, with service industries now flourishing, and the Lonely Planet guide has named Glasgow as one of the top 10 cities in the world, the only UK entry.
Allow me to give you some background to the city. Glasgow is situated in the west of Scotland, and has a population of approx 620,000. The roots of the city can be traced back to medieval times, when the city was an important religious site established by Saint Mungo around the 6th century. The city grew in terms of size and importance due to its location on the River Clyde, which allowed the city to flourish through fishing and later shipbuilding. In more recent times, the city has become a major financial sector.
If your only knowledge of Glasgow is from television programmes such as Taggart, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the city is a place best avoided. The truth is that the city is very cosmopolitan, a friendly and vibrant city that doesn't stand still.
In recent years, Glasgow has underwent a massive transformation, demolishing the old shipyards and docks and replacing them with new office buildings, colleges, apartments, museums and leisure facilities. From a largely derelict area, new life has been breathed into the Glasgow riverside.
The city of Glasgow will play host to the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Most of the Games will be focused in the east end of the city, which has suffered from severe deprivation over the last 20-30 years; however the whole area is due for a massive upgrade in time for the Games. Building work has already started in the east end of the city to demolish old factories, and remove the effects of years of heavy industry on the land. There will be a new National Indoor Sports Arena and Velodrome and a new athletes village, which after the Games will be converted into a mix of social and private housing.
If its retail therapy your after, take a stroll along Buchanan St, Argyle St or Sauchiehall St in the city centre for the high street stores, or visit Ingram St or Princes Square for the more upmarket designer stores. For smaller, independent stores, take a trip to Byres Road in the West End. Or visit one of the out of town shopping centres, including Silverburn, Braehead, the Fort or the Forge.
If you're visiting the city for culture, be sure to pay a visit to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Kelvingrove is housed in a very impressive building, which was recently returned to its former glory in a massive £26m refurbishment. Kelvingrove houses several major works of art, including Salvador Dali's 'Christ of St John on the Cross', while an original Spitfire hangs suspended from the ceiling. Be sure to visit Kelvingrove at 1pm to hear the sounds of the organ being played, echoing throughout the building.
Just across the road from Kelvingrove is the Museum of Transport, which has cars, buses, trams, and boats as well as a mock up of a traditional Glasgow street, complete with underground station. The Museum of Transport will be relocated in the next few years to an iconic new building on the banks of the River Clyde, the Riverside Museum, where a number of historic ships, including the Glenlee, will be moored along with Museum.
If you're more into modern art, stop by at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in the heart of the city centre, where the exhibitions regularly change.
Whilst in the city, catch a concert at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) or for a more intimate gig, visit King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, where Oasis were discovered.
Think everyone in Glasgow just eats deep fried Mars bars? Think again. Glasgow has many great restaurants; my favourite being the Corinthian, voted as one of the top 100 restaurants in Europe. This beautiful restaurant is situated within a Grade A building, featuring reputably one of the finest stained glass domes left in Britain. The food is always of a very high quality, and the menu is regularly updated, but surprisingly the restaurant is always very affordable.
So now you know about the city, how do you get here? Well the city is served by two airports, Glasgow International and Prestwick. Glasgow International airport is well served by frequent coach services into the heart of Glasgow, or jump into one of the airport taxi's for the short 10 minute ride. Prestwick is further away, approx 30 minutes on the train, but there is a train station right beside the airport.
The city also has two main train stations, Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen St. Train services from England and the west coast of Scotland arrive at Central, whilst services from northern and eastern Scotland arrive at Queen St. Transport around the city is made easy by the network of public transport, including the Subway, the third oldest underground system in the world.
Of course, like any international city, Glasgow has a wealth of hotels, covering all budgets, from the cheap and cheerful to the 5 star Radisson and Hilton hotels. The majority of the hotels are located within the city centre, meaning that visitors are never more than a short walk from the majority of attractions.
So hopefully I've given you a feel for Glasgow and have hopefully changed any misgivings you may have about the city. So, what you wanting for - get here now!
Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland but you can pretty much stay pretty central you won't get lost with all the shops pretty close together. In the centre of the city the River Clyde runs, you can get a boat from here out to Braehead shopping centre, this is a nice change from getting a bus,train or driving a car. It takes 20-30mins which is very enjoyable and drops you off right outside the shopping centre.
I usually take the bus down to Glasgow as I don't like the thought of getting lost in the car! It takes you into Buchanan bus station which is also very central with a couple of hotels across the road from it and the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre right next to it which is always good so you can go shoppign whilst waiting for your bus. I've only been on the train once to get out to Hampden for a concert and it was very reliable but busy.
There is plenty to do in Glasgow and you won't get bored on a holiday. It's not my favourite city in Scotland as I'm not really that fond of large cities but is good for a weekend trio and concerts.
Most people's image of Glasgow is of slums and razor gangs, and while it can still be a colourful city, these days it is far better known for it's shopping and culture.
Scotland's largest city, GLASGOW, has a colourful past and is now a diverse, modern cosmopolitan city, full of contrasts.
Situated in West Central Scotland, it is just an hour away from the Capital, Edinburgh in the East. From stylish restaurants to Continental style pavement cafes, from lively modern clubs to quiet wine bars, theatre, cinema, opera.....Glasgow has it all!
Since being named as European City of Culture during 1990 the city has reinvented itself and is now probably as well known for its art and architecture. During 1999 Glasgow was named as City of Architecture and Design.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery, holds one of the UKs finest art collections and was the only UK stop on the recent world tour of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls.
Glasgow's tourist sights are spread over a wide area. The city centre is built on a grid system on the north side of the River Clyde. The two train stations (Central and Queen St) and the Buchanan St. Bus Station are within a couple of blocks of George Square, the main city square.
Running along a ridge in the northern part of the city, Sauchiehall St. has a pedestrian mall with numerous High St shops at its eastern end, and pubs and restaurants at its western end. Argyle St., running parallel to the river, and pedestrianised Buchanan St, at right angles to Argyle St, are important shopping streets. Merchant City is the commercial district, east of George Square.
A BRIEF HISTORY
The history of the City of Glasgow stretches back to the 4th century AD when the ground on which Glasgow Cathedral now stands was consecrated by St. Ninian.
In 1451 Glasgow University, the second university to be built in Scotland, was fo
unded by Bishop Turnbull and in 1568 Mary Queen of Scots staged her final bid for power at Langside (near Queen's Park) after her escape from Leven Castle.
Unfortunately, with the exception of the cathedral, virtually nothing of the medieval city remains. The city has always been a victim to progress.
The first great surge in the population of the area occurred in the 1600s with the importation of tobacco, sugar, rum and cotton from the Americas.
The American War of Independence proved a major setback for the city's trading activities, although many merchants, having foreseen the dangers, had already diversified their business interests so that Glasgow continued to flourish.
With the onset of the industrial revolution, the region continued to grow and prosper into the 1800s, excelling in the production of textiles, iron, chemicals, engineering and coal mining. Evidence of this bustling economic prosperity can be seen today in the shape of some stunning Victorian architecture.
Once famous for its shipbuilding and steelmaking industry, producing such famous names as the QE2, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, Britannia and the Cutty Sark to mention a few. Clyde-built ships were world renowned for their quality and ground-breaking technology.
The new industries created a huge demand for labour, and peasants poured in from Ireland and the Highlands to crowd the city's tenements. In the mid-18th century the population had reached 17,500. By the end of that century, it had risen to 100,000. After 20 years, that figure had doubled and, by 1860, it was home to 400,000 people.
The outward facade of prosperity, however, was tempered by the dire working and living conditions for the masses, particularly for women and children. In the second half of the 19th century the city experienced four major cholera outbreaks, and life expectancy was a mere 30 years.
Meanwhile, the textile barons and shipping magn
ates prospered, and Glasgow could justifiably call itself the second city of the empire. Grand Victorian public buildings were constructed, and fortunes were spent amassing the large art collections which now form the basis of the city's superb galleries.
In the first half of the 20th century, Glasgow was the centre of Britain's munitions industry, supplying arms and ships for the two world wars. By this time the population had reached well over a million. After those boom years, however, the heavy industries began to decline and by the early 1970s, the city looked doomed. Glasgow had always been proud of its predominantly working class and industrial nature, but, unlike Edinburgh with its varied service industries, it had few alternatives when recession hit and unemployment spiraled.
By this time, the name Glasgow came to be synonymous with unemployment, economic depression and urban violence. It was known for the bloody confrontations that occurred between rival supporters of the Protestant Rangers and Catholic Celtic football teams, and as the home of the Glasgow Kiss (a particularly unfriendly head butt). Over the years, however, the city has reinvented itself, rediscovering its rich cultural roots and proclaiming a new pride through a well-orchestrated publicity campaign.
Glasgow has the reputation of being one of Europe's most colourful and cultural cities, and rightly so. Renowned for the range and quality of its fine art museums and galleries, it is a city teeming with heritage, culture and a vast array of arts and entertainment to suit all tastes.
ARTS, MUSEUMS and FESTIVALS
The city houses some of the finest arts treasures in the world. No-where is this more obvious than at Glasgow's top attraction, The Burrell Collection which was amassed by wealthy industr
ialist Sir Will
iam Burrell before it was donated to the city.
It's now housed in a prize-winning museum in the Pollok Country Park, 5km (3mi) south of the city centre and includes everything from Chinese porcelain and medieval furniture to paintings by Renoir and Cézanne.
** Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum **
Opened in 1902, this grand Victorian edifice of culture should not be missed, particularly for its excellent collection of Scottish and European art. The impressive central hall is dominated at one end by organ pipes; recitals are an integral part of the museum program. The museum is on the lower floor and mostly concentrates on the natural history of Scotland.
The art gallery upstairs houses the city's art collection of 19th and 20th century works. Scottish painters of landscapes and still lifes well represented and other paintings include works by Rembrandt , Botticelli, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.
Located on the edge of Glasgow Green, the People's Palace relates the story of Glasgow from 1175 to the present day.
The rise of the Tobacco Lords, who built fabulous mansions in the City, and the conditions of the poor, forced to live in their Single Ends, are both graphically illustrated.
The museum also features the elegant "Winter Gardens" where visitors can stroll through lush tropical vegetation.
The Transport Museum, has a popular collection of Glasgow Trams, locomotives, an exact reconstruction of a 1930?s Glasgow street, and the city?s new Museum of Football.
Pride of place in St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, is given to Salvador Dalis's masterpiece - Christ of St John of the Cross.
The Hunterian Art Gallery in the city's West End boasts the James McNeill Whistler Collection.
One of Glasgow's most famous sons - designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh - whose intriguing Art Nouveau style is still much admired almost a century aft
er it appeared. If you are in the city centre, Glasgow School of Art or the Willow Tea Room are an excellent examples of his work.
Glasgow is home to many national arts organisations, including Scottish Opera, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish Ballet.
Mayfest is now the UK's second largest arts festival and is complemented by the International Jazz Festival.
The city offers some of the best shopping facilities in the country, second only to London in the UK. From elegant malls to small boutiques, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. If you are looking for sophisticated top-quality designer names, visit the Princes Square, with 6 floors of exclusive shopping and dining, or the Italian Centre - a conversion of a handsome Merchant City building.
The St Enoch Centre is the largest glass building in Europe with 80 stores and Scotland's largest food court.
At the other end of pedestrianised Buchanan Street is the Buchanan Galleries, another large indoor mall.
By contrast, hundred of traders sell their wares at the huge Barras Market - part flea market, part entertainment and an intrinsic part of the Glasgow shopping experience.
A DEAR GREEN PLACE
The name Glasgow means "dear green place", well named as Glasgow has over 70 parks and open spaces, more than any other city its size. Many of them contain some of the city?s main galleries and attractions, recreational activities, and many fine examples of Victorian sculpture.
Among the many features are:
The exotic Victorian Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens and the Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green .
Victoria Park?s Fossil Grove, a fascinating display of fossilised tree trunks more than 300 million years old.
The newly completed Hous
e for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh almost a century ago, and recently built using his original drawings
The International Rose Garden in Tollcross Park.
Highland cattle and Clydesdale horses in Pollok Country Park and Glasgow Green, and a Riding School in Linn Park.
Some of the most spectacular views of the city are from Queen?s Park.
For more information:
This is an excellent site with lots of information and plenty of images.
Thanks for reading
Picture living in Scotland's central belt. To the West of you is Greenock, a scenic drive into an admittedly run-down area. South-West of you is Ayrshire, full of beaches and short breaks to wonderful places like Millport and Arran. To the North-West is Loch Lomond, North of you are the Trossachs, North-East of you is historical Stirling. Traveling East takes you towards Edinburgh, South-East into the Clyde Valley and places like New Lanark, while the road South can get you anywhere pretty quickly. Yes, Scotland is a fantastic country with lots of beautiful attractions. However right in the middle of all this is Glasgow, to me the fly in the ointment. Now admittedly I am more than a touch biased having worked in Glasgow for four and a half years, but to me it shows some of the worst of what Scotland has to offer. However there is a lot of good to it as well. So starting with the bad... 1 - Sectarianism Think it only exists in Ireland? Sorry, the Catholic/Protestant divide exists in the West of Scotland too. It is over the entire region, but with Rangers and Celtic at the heart of it I'm afraid it is concentrated in Glasgow. If you have never experienced it before it will shock you, even if you only hear about it through "light-hearted" tales at work. Also I personally feel that there is a higher proportion of anti-English feeling in Glasgow. Although I have only received a few jibes personally a collective loathing does exist, especially when a World Cup is taking place (I cannot even begin to describe the "fun" that takes place). 2 - Traffic Want to get somewhere by car? Glasgow really isn't the city to do it in. On occasions when my wife has asked me to pick something up I will try and do it during a lunch hour during the week, rather than having to bring the car in. Admittedly traffic isn't as bad during the weekends, but if you leave at the wrong time getting caugh
t up in the post-match traffic from either Ibrox or Parkhead isn't any fun at all. In the week I quickly found out after moving here that taking the car into work is best avoided. This is for two reasons. i) If you do not have access to free parking it will generally cost you at least a pound an hour. ii) The M8 (which I would normally need to use) is a nightmare in the mornings. From one point after junction 13 (traveling westbound) when it is effectively five lanes wide it bottlenecks into being just two lanes wide going through the city centre. If there is a crash of any kind along the way the delays are considerably worse - I personally rate the M8 as being worse than the M25 for traffic and delays (although admittedly I've not had to use the M25 very much). Looking on the bright side both traffic and parking regulations/costs are a lot better at night, and to be fair it is marginally more car-friendly than Edinburgh. 3 - Grey and depressing On its day, when the sun is shining, Glasgow can look fabulous. However when the clouds come over the high proportion of grey buildings really do make it feel grim and depressing. There is not a lot of greenery around the city either, something I especially miss in the summertime. George Square (approximately ten minutes walk from where I work) does have some lawns to relax on, but unsurprisingly they are very busy in the summer. 4 - Weather It is not just the clouds that I mentioned earlier, it is not just the cold, the weather is just generally bad. There are some days when I am commuting into work that the weather progression seems like this: Get into car at home - seems like a nice day. Get onto bus in a nearby town (Wishaw/Motherwell) - a bit worse, breezy and a touch overcast. Arrive in Glasgow - where did the gusty wind and dark skies come from? Just after moving up here I was warned, "Don't go into Glasgow wit
hout an umbrella." When it rains here it can very quickly turn into a deluge, which is not a lot of fun! In addition to this during the winter you walk around a street corner and are greeted with a significant gust of wind, the type which sends a chill right through you. It makes Glasgow feel significantly colder than it probably is during the winter. It would be easier if we got nice summers, but at the moment we are struggling through a second consecutive year of terrible summer weather. Not funny! 5 - Hilly Perhaps not significant to everyone, but the City Centre is surprisingly hilly. If you catch a train to Central Station and never leave Argyle Street you won't see it, but if you explore up Buchanan Street (and towards either the bus station or Queen Street railway station) you will quickly become aware of it. You do not want to venture up Montrose Street to Strathclyde University either, as it is possibly one of the steepest roads I have ever seen! Again, it is not something you may consider, but walking around the city can be more strenuous because of it. Glasgow does have a good side (honestly!), and here are some of those for you to consider: 1 - Public transport Probably the best use of public transport I have seen in Britain outside of London. I have commuted into Glasgow by coach for almost as long as I have worked here, and it really is the best option to take. Express buses into Glasgow seem to run from just about everywhere, and if they are anything like the one I take they are probably very affordable (I currently pay £11.50 for a ten-journey ticket). Trains are also very popular. Along with mainline expresses the two City Centre stations (Glasgow Central and Queen Street) are well served from all directions, although a popular topic on the METRO letters page is how overcrowded many of the services are. In my opinion (based on personal experiences and hearing f
rom workmates who actually live in the city) Glasgow is one place where you can easily survive without a car. However once you get outside the city it is a little bit different, and a car is (in my opinion) essential. 2 - Shopping I have to admit that because I work in Glasgow five days a week I like to see as little of it as possible at other times, and will generally only go into Glasgow on weekends if I am dragged kicking and screaming by my wife. Being fair though, the shops in Glasgow are excellent. If you only count indoor centres you have three main choices: BUCHANAN GALLERIES (Buchanan Street, City Centre): Very clothes orientated, somewhat up market, big branch of John Lewis, over 70 shops. (www.buchanangalleries.co.uk) ST. ENOCH CENTRE (just off Argyle Street, City Centre): More of a mixture of stores, less up market, nicknamed "The Greenhouse" as it has a colosal glass roof (which leaks in the winter and traps heat in the summer, not a good combination), over 80 shops. (www.stenoch.com) BRAEHEAD CENTRE (off J25, M8, west of the city): A lot of clothes shops, but a good mixture, excellent food court and free parking (6500 spaces). Personally I find it a bit out of the way and end up thinking that it always disappoints me slightly. Over 100 shops. (www.braehead.co.uk) Further to that if you're prepared to venture outside there are countless other big stores on Argyle Street, Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street, including large branches of chains such as Marks and Spencer. Tip of the hat to Glasgow here, for shopping it is superb. 3 - Restaurants I have to admit to being positively biased here, as Glasgow has a few of my favourite restaurants. There are not many places that you will find two superb Mexican restaurants, but you can in Glasgow. Driftwood (formerly "Los Borrachos") on St. George's Road and Cantina Del Ray in King's Court are both super
b. On a more general scale I really like The Crystal Palace on Jamaica Street, a Wetherspoon's pub where food is both cheap and of good quality. Glasgow seems to have a good mix of various national restaurants. A number of Tapas bars have sprung up recently, and I have also seen a Sushi bar to go along with the more typical choices (Chinese, Italian, Indian, etc.). There is also a good choice of higher market places, which I have to admit are not my kind of thing. Still, whatever your choice of restaurant, you are likely to be able to find it in Glasgow. So overall Glasgow gets a grudging 3/5 from me. I am not a fan of it, but see what it has to offer. I would perhaps enjoy it more if I saw it on my own terms - time to search the job ads I think!
Gosh, I am bored this afternoon. It's a holiday, and I feel I should be doing something, however my hubby is working all afternoon, and so I have been a little lazy. I even watched the Brazil Turkey match this morning, without being forced to. Anyway, continuing in the theme of Travel reviews, I would thought I would write about a town that is a little more closer to home that my last few opinions! I live on the West Coast of Scotland, and it is about 45 minutes drive on a good day, to reach the town of Glasgow. I first moved to Scotland in 1993, and so I have had plenty of opportunity to sample the shopping, nightlife and culture in this town. Getting to Glasgow ----------------------- Well, if you like you can fly in. Glasgow International Airport is about twelve miles west of the city, and has great links via the M8 motorway. You can use budget airlines like Easyjet, but if you are coming on a weekend, then you can get good deals with British Airways and British Midland too. Alternatively, you could use Ryanair, and fly to Prestwick, which is then about fifty minutes by train to the Centre of Glasgow. Ryanair have offered flights in the recent past for as little as £0.50 each way plus taxes! Alternatively you can use rail links. Glasgow Central Station is well served with links to the South. Virgin often have good deals, and you do see tickets for as little as £9, if you book early. My sister does the route fairly regularly from Cornwall, god help her! Glasgow Queen Street Station typically serves cities and towns North of Glasgow, and you can also get the Edinburgh shuttle from here. Finally, and probably the most recommended if you are in the North of England, or indeed in Scotland, is just drive. Manchester to Glasgow takes about 3.5 hours, and it is a real easy drive, with pleasant countryside and hardly ever any congestion. Shopping ----------- Ok, let's start wi
th the shopping. I truly believe that Glasgow has got the widest range of shopping outside of London, and I think that is now official. One of the newest areas is the Buchanan Galleries Shopping Centre. This houses John Lewis as well as other High Street stores, such as Next (on three floors), Boots, Link, Lakeland, Anne Harvey, Thornton's, Ottakers, Comet, you get the drift. It isn't a huge shopping centre, but it is modern. It opened in about 1999. The car park runs to about eight levels multi-storey, and like most city parking, does incur charges. However, I never find it that offputting, for a typical day's shopping. There is an eating area at one end of the shopping precinct, although it is only fast food outlets predominantly. There are two restaurants/café's in John Lewis itself, and Habitat has a nice café too. One of the things I like about this shopping centre, is that if you go up to the top floor, of John Lewis, which is generally just an admin desk, there is usually a local Art Display, and you can purchase originals if you so desire. The Galleries Shopping Centre is at the top of Buchanan Street, at the corner of that Street and Sauchiehall Street, a quite famous shopping area in Glasgow. To be honest, Sauchiehall Street isn't that different from anywhere else in the country, and I always head down Buchanan Street to the shops there. However, if you do head down Sauchiehall Street, you will find one of the town's two Marks and Spencer's. Part way down Buchanan Street, you will find an entrance to Royal Exchange Square, which contains a few shops. It also meets up with Queen Street, on the other side, and leads through to the Merchant City eventually. One of my favourite galleries of all is the Princes-Square shopping centre, which is adjacent to Buchanan Street, prior to reaching St Enoch Street. Princes Square is full of designer shops, so make sure you have plenty
of cash, or plenty of credit cards. If you don't, it is still a good place to visit. There are plenty of restaurants and bars from which you can people watch. You also find plenty of stalls selling art work, and jewellery. It is also a good place for a more unusual gift for someone. I could spend hours in here. On the other side of Buchanan Street to Princes Square, you may or may not spot a little eating place called the Willow Team Rooms. These tea rooms were opening at the turn of the last century. They were designed by Charles Mackintosh for Kate Cranston. So if you want to go and sit in a real Mackintosh chair, go here! I don't think you can book however, and there is often a queue for a table, so I recommend you try this place on a week day if possible, or out of the normal rush hour for dining. It is reasonably priced, and you can purchase a little bit of Mackintosh memorabilia too. Crossing over Argyle Street, with Central Station back on your right, you will arrive at the St Enoch Shopping Centre. This is the largest undercover shopping area in Scotland. It opened about twelve years ago. To be brutally honest, since the opening of the Buchanan Galleries Shopping centre, I hardly ever go here. It does contain larger branches of Boots, and contains the Debenhams and BHS stores though, as well as a whole host of smaller shops. It is famed for its glass roof, but other than that it is nothing special. The shopping centre is at the start of the main shopping area of Argyle Street, where you will find the other Marks and Spencer's branch, amongst other items. Further along, you will link back up with Queen Street, and the Merchant City Area. The Italian Centre is another area full of designer stores, and café's. A trendy part of town indeed. There are plenty of old buildings in this area too. Phew, are your feet hurting yet? You have now done full circle. However, if you want to sample so
me real culture, go to the Barras Market in the East End. All the cheap knock off goods you ever wanted!.lol! Somewhere to Drink ------------------------- Let me tell you, there are plenty of good bars in Glasgow, and some nights it felt like I had been in all of them. So here are just a few of my regular haunts: The Counting House, is one of the JD Wetherspoon Chain. It is worth going here as the food is cheap, and the drink is reasonable. It is absolutely huge however, and if you want to find someone in here, best to meet them outside first. Waxy O'Connor's, talking about meeting someone outside, that leads me to this haunt, Waxy O'Connor's. It is on Dundas Street, close to Buchanan Tube Station. The bar has lots of different levels, and sometimes you can see someone you know, but it is hard to actually negotiate your way to them, because of all of the confusing levels. It is an Irish themed bar, and the food is once again, pretty good value. The Drum and Monkey, on St Vincent Street, is very hectic at the weekends, with business people, as are most of the bars for that matter! Vroni's is my favourite choice of wine bar, but you can also find the All Bar One chain in the city. The Pitcher and Piano, on West George Street is another favourite location, too convenient for my old office, and once again does great food. Bar 38, across the road from the Pitcher, has great Happy Hours, and wonderful, tapas style dishes. The toilets in here are a little unusual too. The new Aussie bar, Walkabout, only opened about six months ago, and is situated near the UGC cinema. Finally the Horseshoe Bar continues to draw in the crowds, whether they are tourists, business people or shoppers. The bar is in the Guinness book of records as the longest bar in Britain. When you go in you will be stepping back in time, as nothing has changed in here. If you want to eat, you can get a "
three" course lunch for about £3! Fine cuisine it ain't, but its ok. Somewhere to Eat ---------------- Well if it is curry you want, it probably should be at Crème de la Crème, which is just out of town at Finnieston. This opened in the early nineties, I believe, and it is one of the largest restaurants in Europe. It is housed in an old cinema. The other curry house I frequent is the Killermont Polo Club, although this is just out of town. Bombay Blue on Hope Street are also pretty good, and will be cheaper than Killermont. OK, now for Italian. You could try Leonardo's, which is a chain of restaurants in Scotland (and maybe England, I am not sure). My regular branch is on Bothwell Street, which is just as you come off the M8, Eastbound. Here you can get great pasta dishes as well as Pizza. It is reasonably priced and they do half price pasta and pizza before 6.30pm. If you want more upmarket Italian, then my favourite has to be L'Ariosto, which is down Mitchell Street, close to Buchanan Street. Alternatively try Sarti's and the café, which is fabulous and has tables in the actual Deli part. Di'Maggio?s, just off Buchanan Street, is another great spot for lunch. My favourite Chinese restaurant is Ho Wong, which is down York Street. This is the other side of Argyle Street, towards the Clyde. The area has been run down for years, but don't let that put you off. However, the area is being renewed anyway. I have been frequenting this place since 1994, primarily for Business Lunches, but we have visited in the evening too, for their set menu. It certainly isn't the cheapest Chinese food in town, however. I think it will be about £25 for the set menu, and lunches are about £8 for two course. Cheaper Chinese Restaurants are the China Sea and China Palace, or mid range, try the Amber Regent, or the Peking Inn. Another great restaurant which is a combination of Asian cooking styl
es, is Café Mao, close to the Merchant City area. We ate a great two course meal plus wine there a few weeks back, and it came to about £50. On to Thai Food. If it is luxury you are after, then you need to go to the Thai Fountain, on Woodside Crescent. On the other hand, if you are just after something a bit cheaper, try the Thao Royale on Argyle Street. I have eaten in both, and would gladly do so again. While you are in Woodside Crescent, you could try Nairns. This is the restaurant belonging to Nick Nairn, the TV chef. The cuisine here is Modern Scottish. The restaurant is in an old town house. My only grumble here, was that the table for two was very close to another table for two, to the point where I didn't feel we could chat that openly. It would be worth booking in advance, and specifying your table requirements, so as not to spoil your evening. The menu changes every few weeks. You will pay about £30 for a three course dinner. There is also a cookery school here. Another expensive option is Rogano's in Royal exchange Place, this serves seafood, and has a nautical feel to the place, based on the Queen Mary. "Yes", on West Nile Street, is a slightly more down to earth option, and a favourite of mine is Papingo's. Continuing on the Modern Scottish Theme, and 78 St Vincent Street is worth a try. It caters mainly for Business customers at lunch time. I had my 30th Birthday party in here though, as they have a private function room. The food is reasonably priced. The building itself was formerly an old Embassy, not sure which one. A little way out of town on the A77, is a great favourite restaurant of mine, The Cook's Room. This opened in about 1996, and seats about 24. It is so cosy, and the food is great. If you go, please tell Tom I sent you! And if you really must, you can go to TGI Fridays on the corner of Buchanan and Gordon Streets. A good source for
deals in restaurants is the website www.5pm.co.uk which has offers on for tonnes of restaurants in Glasgow, as well as other locations in the UK. Nightlife ---------- Now, before you base your evening entertainment around my recommendations, I cannot say I have night-clubbed in Glasgow often. This is because: 1) I haven't night-clubbed anywhere that much, 2)I am not the nightclubbing type, and 3) If I don't get the 1130pm train home, then it costs me £50 in a taxi, which is rather too much for a night out! Definitely my favourite nightspot is Arta. It costs about £7 to get in, but is an upmarket spot. It has several different dance floors and bars with different Mediterranean themes. Another option is Corinthian, which is just off George Square. This is similar to Arta's in that there are several different bars and dance floors. It is a little more expensive to get in. Note I am over 30 (you would already know that if you are paying attention) and married so bear this in mind too, as this might reflect on the type of club I prefer! Phew, that's over 2200 words and I have only covered eating, drinking and shopping. What else is there to do in Glasgow, I hear you ask? Museums and Art Galleries --------------------------------- One of the best things about Glasgow is that many Art Galleries and Museums are free to enter. The Hunterian Art Gallery is situated near Glasgow University, and contains paintings by Hunter, but also a replica of Rennie Mackintosh's Town House. The University is located beside Kelvingrove Park. You will also find the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum here, and this is Glasgow's Main Gallery. The Museum of Transport, is dedicated to .. err, Transport, whether it be car, motorcycle or train. There are plenty of restored carriages and the like in here, and it is definitely worth a visit. Glasgow Green is a park
which is adjacent to the Clyde on the East Side of the city, and it is here where you will find yet another museum, this one contains exhibits which are social and economic history, which personally I find the most interesting types of museums. Back to Queen Street, and you can visit the modern Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, which only opened about six years ago. The Tenement House, is a National Trust Property, and there is an entry fee of about £3, unless you are an NTS Member. This tenement flat has been left exactly as it would have been a the turn of the last century and it has four separate rooms to view. Other Things to Do ----------------------- Well, as it is football season, you could go and visit the Football Museum at Hampden Park. You can also follow that up with a Brewery Tour, of the Tennants Brewery in the City. The Botanic Gardens are also very popular, particularly if your accommodation is up in the West End region, and you can go for a Sunday Morning stroll around the grounds. You can also visit the Museum of Piping if you want to learn everything there is to know about Scottish Bagpipes. A favourite museum of mine is the Scotland Street School Museum. It is like stepping back in time, and the museum is dedicated as you might expect, to education. It reminds me of my old junior school, so I know now when that was last modernised! The Scotland Street School opened in 1906. And finally, coming right back to the present day, you could visit the Glasgow Science Centre, on the banks of the Clyde. It is part of the Millenium Project for Glasgow, and costs £6.50 for adults. There is also an IMAX Theatre located here. Where to stay ---------------- Dominating the City's skyline you will find the Hilton Hotel. This isn't likely to be the best location for your stay however. The Marriott is also in this area, and probably best avoided for the same reaso
n. On the other side of the water, you will find the Moat House. This is quite a luxurious Hotel and is close to the Science Centre, but once again not the most ideal location for City Centre shopping and dining. At the more budget end of the scale, the Express by Holiday Inn is well located and brand new. The Kelvin Park Lorne Hotel is situated at the top end of Sauchiehall Street and advertises rates of £29 single. I was up there the other week for a lecture, it is pretty reasonable overall. The Thistle Hotel has now been bought over by the Holiday Inn. This is slightly more convenient than the Hilton and is about a five-ten minute walk to the main shopping areas. Continuing the theme of hotel buyouts, what was the Glasgow Grosvenor, is now owned by the Hilton Chain. This is well located at the West End and opposite the Park. I have stayed in here on several occasions and many of the rooms were a little dated, although I believe it has had a face lift since changing hands. We booked a suite in here more than once, and I believe we paid £109 for a fantastic bedroom and living room, so maybe this is the way to do it. Other big hotels include the Copthorne, the Millenium, and for my money, the Malmaison. Further Afield ----------------- Well, as you are so close, you really should try and take a trip to the Loch Lomond Area, which is about half hour from Glasgow City Centre. You can enjoy the peace and quiet here after your frenzied weekend. Edinburgh itself takes about 1 hour on the train from Glasgow Queen Street and I would certainly recommend the train, over the care any time. Stirling is also less than one hour away, and it is worth driving into this area. This is William Wallace country and you can visit the Wallace Monument, and Bannockburn, the site of the famous battle. South of Glasgow and you will reach Ayrshire, which is where traditionally the Glaswegi
ans would come for their holidays in days gone by. From Ardrossan, you can catch the ferry to Arran, which only costs about £5 for a foot passenger. Ayrshire is a golfing mecca with great courses including Troon and Prestwick. Oh, and you could pop in and see me and I?ll give you a cup of tea! Failte gu Mor Ghlaschu
I love Glasgow very very much, and as far as the Glasgow/Edinburgh debate goes , I have no difficulty in choosing which side of the fence I'm on. I lived in Edinburgh for about a year in total, but it just cannot compete with the character of Glasgow. It's true that Glasgow just isn't as pretty as Edinburgh, but it has so much more to offer than that. The trick with glasgow is that you really have to get to know it, to become well acquainted with all the best nooks and crannys, the best people, the best shops and the list goes on. The architecture in Edinburgh is stunning, and Glasgow has it's fair share as well, eg. Glasgow University, but I think that the real beauty of Glasgow has to be experineced and not just seen. It's like buying a bottle of wine based of the bottle and finding out that it actually tastes awful. Whereas in our city, the bottle has maybe been through the wars several times over, but you can guarantee that it's full of flavour. The most striking thing about Glasgow is that it has it's own personality, it's made for and by Glaswegians. A night out in Glasgow is good no matter what your tastes are, since it has become so diverse in what it offers, and there is really something for everyone. In recent years the bar and restaurant industry has taken off completely and now there are more restaurants per square mile in the city centre than in any other British city. The music scene is also excellent in Glasgow, with a big funky/soul/hiphop/bongo thing going on at the moment, gathering pace as we speak. So, visit Glasgow, but if your coming then come with an open mind to get the most out of it.
Who ate all the pies, deep-fried Mars bars, chip butties and black pudding? Glasgow did, and smothered them in gravy. Glasgow came out on top of a recent survey to find the fattest city in the UK. Not known for its healthy habits you could have predicted that Glasgow would score highly on the table of lard, but I just wouldn’t have predicted it would do it in such style. With points in every category but one, and high scores for lack of parks, bad eating habits, incidents of fatal heart disease and numbers of fast food restaurants. Glasgow gave itself an impressive 12-point lead over its competitors. Surprisingly, it was the number of health clubs that let is belt-breaking record down. The city is teeming with them, it has the largest number in the UK - if only they would actually use the things. Despite boasting one health club for every thousand people there are only about 7,170 resident gym members. ONLY 7,170 members out of the 688,600 city residents despite the city having roughly 690 gyms. This could also be why Glasgow residents have the lowest life expectancy in the UK - just 68.5 years for men and 75.4 for women. The biggest killer in Glasgow is surprise surprise, coronary heart disease, which has claimed 5573 citizens over the last few years. And doctors are suggesting a further 26% of the population to be at risk of having and early death by heart attack. The Scottish government is well aware of the problem facing the city and realize this city of fat will be no pushover. Last year it appointed a 'fat tsar' (whatever that is) and set up a Physical Activity Task Force to give advice on fitness issues. Michael Lean, professor of nutrition at Glasgow University and author of 'A Diet Action Plan for Scotland' points out that 'obesity is a very complex problem that cant be solved by just the health service giving out advice'. Ill drink to that! He is obviously worried and right
ly so, the problem cant be left alone because its just going to get fatter, yet its so hard to do anything about it. Even if its ironed out in the short term, the problem is as likely to come back as a Glasweigen is to his half eaten 'chip butty,' still they can but try. I say lets just count ourselves lucky, our fattest cities pale in comparison to some of the statistics coming out of America. Now I dont know about you but i suddenly fell a lot thinner, so im of to stuff my face down the local kebab shop! Uk's fattest Cities Glasgow -72 Plymouth -60 Cardiff -56 Liverpool -53 Sheffield -52
That's how Glaswegians describe it and although I haven't lived there for years, I still know it's pure dead brilliant. People think it strange that I still refer to it as home - I left when I was nine - but I know someday I'll go back to stay. Maybe it's because we Scots are so patriotic. Perhaps it's because my childhood in the city formed me into the person I am. Maybe it's because Glasgow is the kind of place you never forget. But it seems that each time I go back something new and exciting has sprung up from nowhere and I long to be part of it again. When I was younger I used to listen to my old aunts and uncles sell the city to one another, reminiscing about growing up there. It was obvious to me then how much they loved the place and they in turn passed their enthusiasm onto me. They told me that Glasgow means 'beautiful green place' and even though it's generally known as an industrial city, Glasgow does have some stunning greenery around. It may not be strewn with meadows, but the city itself is a visual treat and has been variously named the 'Design Capital', 'City of Architecture' and 'European City of Culture' within the last ten years. The city was crammed with shows and exhibitions when I was growing up and it was a good chance for me to see that a lot of what relations talked about really was true. It injected a whole generation with a new passion for the city, a generation that is helping to make Glasgow the thriving business and cultural centre it is today. From an early age I went to exhibitions, museums and historic homes in and around Glasgow. Take the People's Palace for example, set on Glasgow Green in the heart of the city. Now that I'm older, I can appreciate the building itself, its surroundings and the history of Glasgow portrayed inside. But as child the highlight had to be the cafe downstairs in the glass roofed garden, it really was a speci
al place. Mainly because - and I hate to put a dampener on things - it's often cold and wet in Glasgow, so being all toastie warm inside the glass garden made me forget the rain... for a while anyway! I was in Glasgow just a few months ago and found myself turning into a tour guide for my husband, feeling ever so proud of myself when I managed to find my way around, no problem. I took him to see the Burrell collection, a wonderful museum set in green surroundings. The grounds offer lovely walks no matter what the weather and of all the galleries I have ever visited, this has to be my favourite. Its glass walls mean you get to experience the outside inside, and that's definitely my kind of thing. We found another of my favourite childhood haunts, the art gallery in Great Western Road, which was built back to front. When you're standing on the front steps (which are actually at the back) you'll see the university at the top of the hill which houses a reconstruction of work done by Sir Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of Glasgow's most famous sons. Both architect and artist, he was one of the biggest influences in my own work at art college. You can see evidence of his legacy all over Glasgow. Visit the Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street and you can sit on a Mackintosh chair while having a cuppa. Go downstairs and you can look at the jewellery shop full of stunning pieces influenced by his designs. I don't know whether it's because he was Glaswegian or maybe it's because he could produce anything from a watercolour to a sculptural piece of architecture like the Glasgow School of Art, but I'm a big Mackintosh fan. You could quite easily walk straight past the Glasgow School of Art, where students constantly drape over the decorative railings, but if you ever do visit Glasgow (and you really should you know), keep an eye open for the Mackintosh designs, which creep up everywhere. Not only is Gla
sgow a stunning place to sightsee, it was also voted the coolest city in Britain in a recent nationwide survey by The Big Issue. So even if you're just going for a day or two, there's plenty to look at, and plenty to remember. I just know that you'll come away feeling that it's pure dead brilliant too.
Visiting Glasgow. It gets a bad name, probably from the No Mean City tag, but is a city certainly worth a visit. Having lived almost most of my life there I can give you a whirlwind tour if what you can do if you find yourself in this city for a weekend. Okay- first things first, translation. The Glasgow accent can be quite strong, Rab C Nesbitt, isn't as much as an exaggeration as you might think. Most people don't speak like that- but there is an element that does- similar to every big city/regional dialect, you have a great variety. The reason that I am mentioning it is that I, as a Glaswegian have been known not to understand what people are saying to me. Secondly- the accent can sound aggressive, it generally isn't meant but somebody saying hello can sound like an invitation to a punch up, relax- it usually isn't. So, you arrive on Friday teatime- what do you want to do, eat? Well like any big city there is a great variety from the very expensive like The Rogano in the town centre- or the Ubiquitous chip in the West End. Both could probably cost you around £30 to 40. If you want something less exclusive there are numerous pizza, pasta, American style ,Chinese and Indian restaurants around. Glasgow is particularly well stocked for Indians, the Koh I Noor in North Street being my particular favourite Again- a little more downmarket- but there are plenty of pubs that sell food, 'caffs' and chippies. Depends on your budget and your taste. So you re now fed and want to be watered. Nore pubs that you can shake a stick at. The two main places that people go out are generally the town centre and the West end. First night, take the subway to Hillhead and check out the West End. This is where one of Glasgow's 3 universities is, so if you have a student card, you have the choice of two unions the GU (debating, rugby and beer, quite traditional) and the QM (Music and Fashion- historically the women
9;s union).If you don't have access to anything of these opportunities, Byres road is full of bars, Whistlers mother, Tennants....varying from young trendy pubs to somewhere more appropriate for all. The subway closes at around 11 and the buses run til about 11.30 There is a taxt rank on Byres Road if you stay late . There is also a late night service that runs from George Square in the town centre. Where to stay? Varies from the Hilton Hotel, to youth Hostels. Plenty of B&B everywhere. So you wake up on Saturday. The best way to see the city is walking although you can take the subway and buses for longer journeys. If you are a football fan- there are three stadia you may want to visit. Ibrox (Ibrox Subway), Parkhead(the east end- loads of buses go out there) and Firhill for Partick Thistle- this one is in Maryhill, not Partick and many buses (inc 61) go up there. For the frantic shoppers amongst you, the city centre should service all your needs- from the 'Armani centre' to 'What Every Woman Wants' you'll find something you want. There are a fair amount of shopping centres, St Enoch (Debenhams, Sports Shops...and an Ice Rink) The Buchanan Galleries, (Gap, John Lewis, Habitat, and loads more- this is the biggie)and the most refined of them all is in Buchanan Street. It has more 'exclusive' shops. There is a huge centre in the East End- called Parkhead Forge and the west end has some more interesting shops. After you are all shopped out, there are plenty of museums to visit- the Cathedral is excellent and close to that is 'the oldest house in Glasgow - 1550s or thereabouts. Also in that corner of town is the museum of religious art- complete with Zen Garden. Further afield is the Burrell Collection- a huge collection varying from paintings and sculptures to tapestries. You could easily spend a day there- the building itself is quite special- based in Pollok Estate. The Art G
allery in Kelvingrove (Kelvinhall subway) is also large and impressive, and has a great supply of Egyptian artefacts. Evenings can be busy too, there are plenty of clubs- varying from the very trendy to the downright scabby. Some are in unusual settings- for example the 'Renfrew Ferry' used to be cross the Clyde ! If you aren't sure where to go most clubs employ people to go the pubs with flyers- generally offering free or reduced admission. There are many cinemas and theatres- and plenty of live concerts too. The Royal Concert Hall for classical tastes and The SECC for more popular music. There is a healthy Jazz scene too, with lots of bars having groups in weekend afternoons and most evenings. If you like unusual film the GFT in Rose Street is the 'arts cinema' where you can see less mainstream offerings. If, after all this activity you are fit to do anything on Sunday, there's still loads left. Two main contenders for the day as I see it. Firstly you could go out to the East End to the 'Barras' street market. It's within easy walking distance of the town centre and sells everything from mobile phones to sausages- with clothes ,toys and computer software in-between. As they say, it's not like it probably used to be-but it's still good to see the stall owners shouting out their wares to the passing public. An other option- depending on the weather (Glasgow is inclement to put it mildly) would be to take a walk in one of the cities parks. There is a great variety, Bellahouston, Elder, Kelvingrove(with the Botanical Gardens) , Glasgow Green (also visit the Peoples Palace) Queens Park?. After all that you should sleep well.
Glasgow Green is a public park in that used to be the jewel in the crown of the Glasgow Council. It stands on the north bank of the River Clyde and was approximately 136 acres. In recent years, it has fell into decline like most public parks in the city, but there is now a program of rejuvenation and the Glasgow Green is being transformed to much of its former glory, albeit that it has lost some ground due to redevelopment. No doubt that it is this small sacrifice to the encroaches of modern life that is helping to pay for the renovation of Glasgow Green. When I walk along the paths in the Green, I can sense vaguely the sound of past voices, the voices of people who tread the same paths many years ago. If I unbridled my imagination and visualisation, I could almost 'see' translucent figures walk beside me, each wearing different period clothing, voices chattering in strange local slangs - words never passed on by generations. For here in Glasgow Green, many important events took place. It was here in 1568 that Moray mustered his troops to fight against Mary Queen of Scots' supporters at Langside. In 1746 Bonnie Prince Charlie camped his troops here and held Glasgow to ransom, threatening to ransack the town if food and clothing were not supplied for his men. (The town merchants later successfully recouped their losses with the help of the London Parliament). In 1777, well-heeled gentlemen played golf here. In the 1920s, John MacLean, part of the Red Clydeside movement, gave stirring speeches here. That famous football club, Glasgow Rangers is reputed to have started in the football fields of Glasgow Green. In recent years, Glasgow Green has been host to a Michael Jackson concert and many other pop concerts and exhibitions and the Glasgow Fair (which starts usually the 2nd Monday in July) brought the fairground to the Green, which until recently had been coming here since the 19th century. The People's Pal
ace stands on the edge of the Green and this museum of Glasgow has its' own story. It houses many artefacts of Glasgow and has modern displays, Scottish comedy being one of the themes, with artefacts donated by Billy Connolly, etc. Facing the People's Palace is the Templeton Building, designed by William Leiper in 1888. It made the famous Axminster carpets and it was home to two horrible tragedies. The terracotta facade was modelled on Doge's Palace in Venice and its' garish beauty hides a sad history. I sometimes hear the voices of screaming women when I am in close proximity to the Templeton Building. Imagine that you are at the Central Railway station. Just walk along Argyle Street, head for the Trongate. On this occasion, keep walking, because I can tell you many stories about places along the way - but we don't have time for that. Past Trongate and you are at Glasgow Cross, which is said to be the true centre of Glasgow. Now you can turn right into Saltmarket, keep walking, for I would only delay you further with more stories - and to your left, is the gates of Glasgow Green. It's just 136 acres of grass, maybe less. It's not a safe place to walk through at night, but what park is? It's not beautiful. But it's special.
Before our latest visit the only other time I had been to Glasgow was when we drove through it on the way to a wedding at Loch Lomond. I must say that on that drive we were not very impressed with Glasgow. But, on our recent mid-week break we found Glasgow to be a very interesting city with plenty to see and do. One of the things that sticks in our minds was just how many places there are to have a meal out in Glasgow city centre. It seems that you could not walk more than a few yards without coming across another restaurant or cafe and the variety was outstanding with cuisine from all around the world. The prices were also all very reasonable. The River Clyde obviously is a major feature of the city although now it is more of a tourist attraction and not the centre of a great ship building industry and cargo handling port that it was in the past. Now there are pleasant riverside walkways winding their way along the banks of the river. The city is building on its reputation as a centre of culture and there are now a whole collection of thriving theatres, concert venues, museums and galleries being established throughout the city. The newly opened Glasgow Science Centre (with the Glasgow Tower and Imax Cinema) is just across the river from the Exhibition Centre and there are plans to develop this area into a large cultural and leisure complex. The city has developed a very comprehensive public transport system, with a large rail network, the underground, buses and taxis. Altogether this makes Glasgow a very easy place to get around and the prices on all of these systems are very reasonable. We found the people of Glasgow very friendly and helpful, often going out of their way to help us, or give us directions. Our whole experience of the city was very enjoyable. I am sure that like all large cities there are probably areas that are not so pleasant, but all of the parts that we saw were very clean, well ca
red for and interesting. I am sure it will not be long before we return to this very pleasant city.
I've been to and lived in various cities across the world: London, Sydney, New York, Paris, and yet still I feel that Glasgow is the greatest city of them all. No other city can offer its inhabitants and residents such a wide range of facilities, friendly faces and access to the stunning scottish countryside. Ignore the unfair comments made by some that Glasgow is a violent and dirty place and come visit the true jewel in the crown of Scotland. What I like best about Glasgow is the way everything is centralised. The city centre basically takes around half an hour to walk from the Barras market to the top of Sauchiehall Street, and within this area are all the shops, pubs, clubs and beautiful architecture you could ever wish for. In terms of shops, Glasgow has it all, from the big high street chain shops through to the independents. Most importantly for me, there are a number of excellent little clothing, video and record shops where all kinds of oddities can be picked up. Perhaps best of all, I have found that goods in Glasgow are oftern significantly cheaper than down South. The nightlife in Glasgow is unsurpassed. With pubs and clubs and cinemas spread all across the city, when you are bored of Glasgow, you are bored of the world. There are a huge variety of pubs and clubs, which cater to all tastes, the young, the old, students, executives, it's all here. My favourite area would have to be towards the top of Sauchiehall Street, where there is a great concentration of excellent pubs, such as 'Nice 'n' Sleazys', 'The Gate' and my all time favourite bar, 'The Brunswick Cellars'. In terms of clubbing, Glasgow can boast a high number of venues, with a great range of music, from rock to rap to dance. Again, it's way cheaper to drink in Glasgow than anywhere down South, or indeed in Edinburgh, and Happy Hours are common in pretty much all of the bars. I have always found the people to mu
ch friendlier in Glasgow. Unlike in other places, it's pretty usual to end up talking to complete strangers in the pubs. It's not to say that Glasgow is crime free, and like most cities, there are areas best avoided, and certain songs best left unsung. For some reason, whenever I tell people down South that i'm from Glasgow, their first reaction is that it's a violent, hardcore city full of drunkards. This is not the case at all, and in all my time in Glasgow I have wittnessed very few fights, and have certainly never felt threatened whilst walking the streets. The city itself is truly magnificent. The architecture is stunning, and there are great sights to be seen such as George Square, Glasgow University and the Catherdral. Despite what some would have you believe, the city is reasonably clean, and it is not noticably polluted the way I have found many areas in London to be. Another great thing about Glagsow is it's location regarding the rest of Scotland. From the city centre, you are only 30 minutes drive from the beautiful Loch Lommond, and it's a great starting place to explore the Scottish Highlands. Overall, I would definitely recommend Glasgow as a great place to visit. Obviously, most tourists who come to Scotland will immediately head to Edinburgh to see the castle, the Royal Mile and so on. But if you don't come to Glasgow, you will be missing out on one of the most friendly and vibrant cities in the world.
The name Glasgow means dear green place and, as far as I'm concerned, it couldn't be more accurate. I've lived in Glasgow most of my life, except for a 10 year period during which I worked in France, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Tunisia so I know a good thing when I see it and Glasgow is definitely one of the nicest places to live in. For a start it has more green area, i.e. parks, than any other city in Britain but for me one of the best things about it is that most of the museums and places of interest cost nothing to visit. I've had many foreign friends over to stay in Glasgow and they are always amazed by that (and the free toilet facilities!). It used to be quite expensive to get around Glasgow using public transport but now that First Bus have introduced an all day ticket, which costs as little as £1.80 at the weekend and can be used on any First Bus service, there is really no excuse for not getting out and about. My favourite museum in Glasgow has always been the Art Gallery and Museum in the grounds of the Kelvin Grove Park in the west end of the city, but as time goes on I am starting to prefer the Museum of Modern Art in Queen Street, just off George Square in the city centre. Although they house completely different styles of art I prefer them because they have such a variety of artefacts, anything from prehistoric dinosaurs to kinetic sculptures and statues of Elvis Presley. The Museum of Religious Art is also a must for visitors to Glasgow. It has a great selection of religious artefacts from all over the world but its most coveted item is the Christ of St John of the Cross painting by Salvador Dali. Right next door to this museum is the beautiful Glasgow Cathedral and directly across the road from there is the Provands Lordship which is reckoned to be one of the oldest houses in Glasgow. Another favourite of mine is the People's Palace museum which is in the east end of th
e city beside the famous Glasgow Barras market. The People's Palace appeals to me so much because it is a museum that even people with no interest in art can enjoy because it concerns the way people lived in Glasgow from the medieval times through to modern day. The beautiful Botanic Gardens at the back of the museum are often used for weddings nowadays. Although I'm not a big fan of Rennie Mackintosh he has designed many beautiful buildings in Glasgow. My favourite is the Scotland Street School, probably because every time I've been there hardly anybody else has been in the building. The classrooms remain just as they were when it was functioning as a school with all the old fashioned desks and blackboards. A little known museum called the Tenement House, in Charing Cross at the edge of the city centre, is another favourite of mine. This is a house which, when it's owner passed away at the beginning of last century, was preserved exactly as she left it and is a typical example of a 'single end'of that era. You are escorted, by a tour guide, throughout the tiny apartment where you can see, amongst other things, the bed recess and the old range used for cooking meals and heating the house . It's like taking a step back in time. As well as its many 'free entry' museums Glasgow also has a great variety of bars, nightclubs and restaurants (and, of course, the friendly people) making it one of the best places to come to for a city break, in my opinion!
O.K. Upfront, this one’s a wee bit‘Scottish’ orientated, or to be more precise, ‘Glasgow’ orientated, because that’s what it’s about - Yes - Glasgow. It’s a new website dedicated to the Dear Green Place. Dooyoo live in or around Glasgow, if so, you might well want to add this site to your browser. If you are thinking of paying a visit to Glasgow, then this site is well worth a look as a sort of ‘tourist’ guide ! The site has not been up and running for long, but already, it’s packed with many very useful features. While on- site you can access an overhead aerial map view, taken from the South Side of Glasgow, showing the general layout of the Centre of Glasgow and the immediate surrounds. One very interesting feature of this map is that you can click on different well known landmarks and take a ‘walk around’ - showing many famous places in Glasgow. There are also links to all of the main Glasgow newspapers including the Evening Times, The Scotsman and the Daily Record. There is a section for detailed addresses of Pubs, Clubs, and where to find the best ‘ Grub ’ in Glasgow and a very detailed section giving the history of the town, and a very interesting revolving camera shot which has constantly moving panoramic views of the city. There’s also the ‘Glasgow’ forum where all sorts of related things are under discussion and an interesting place where you can ‘Find an auld acquaintance’ lest those should be forgot ! As I say, the site is still in it’s infancy, but is well worth a look and I’m sure that any expatriates reading this won’t even take time to rate it :-) Just stagger on over to : http://www.glazgow.com Yes - That’s Glazgow - with a ‘ Z ‘ and tell them auldmac sent you.
Glasgow is not my birthplace, but it may as well be as I love the “Dear Green Place” like I was a native born daughter. The story of Glasgow is a history to bring wonder and a smile to even the coldest heart and the surrounding countryside is quite breathtaking, especially on a sunny day, when the birds sing and the breeze is of the Clyde estuary. Once a town which traders travelled to from across Scotland, the realisation that the river could bring in even more trade led the city fathers to attempt various schemes to deepen it, thus making it more accessible to ships from around the world. They built quays to assist nature in this task and, after several false starts, they found a system that worked, in the dredging of the Clyde from the tail of the bank near Greenock to the city centre itself. One particularly difficult area saw them blasting away rock from the river bed; that must have been quite a sight. The steam dredger was a success and there followed a vast expansion in the trade on the river. The ships were built here too. The quays provided a starting point for the building of docks all along the riverside at Glasgow. Soon, Glasgow had some of the finest facilities in the world and the world beat a path to our door, bringing goods from all over the world. Not only did we have the finest facilities in the world, one anomaly of Glasgow’s position on the world map is that it is many hundreds of miles shorter a journey to go from Glasgow to the USA than it is from any other port in Britain. It also became commonplace to take the people of Glasgow and of all of Scotland to their new homes in countries as far away as Australia and New Zealand. The shipyards were the best in the world too, with the biggest and best at one time leaving the slipways of the Clyde yards on an almost daily basis. Times change and demands fluctuate and Glasgow witnessed some of the worst repercussions; as trad
ing patterns changed so to did the usage of the river and as trade routes dried up so too did work for the shipyards. Docks closed and lay unused for decades. But a new age was coming and Glasgow was to be at the forefront yet again. The old warehouses are now wonderful apartment, which can command ‘funny money’ simply because of where they are sighted. Glasgow is now one of the finest shopping cities in the world, with something for everyone from flea-markets to the latest in Italian ‘designer gear’. I could spend the rest of the night writing about the city I love. But, I can do better than that. I can say to you all, if you have not been to Glasgow, give it a visit. You - like myself forty years ago this winter - will find the people and the place to be the best in the world, bar none. It is with some pride that I sign my name to this piece, Glasgow Girl