Glasgow, Cultural Capital of Scotland
Glasgow is Scotland’s biggest city, a capital of business but also culture. Scotland may be famous for tartan, whisky and the grandeur of the Highlands but Glasgow has a modern, energetic cultural scene similar to London’s. Art and architecture, fashion and music, food and drink are all here to be discovered in Glasgow.
Breakfast in Glasgow
Leaving the comfort of your city centre hotel – perhaps Citizen M with its retro-modernist interiors, or the stylish Grasshoppers - you may be tempted by the idea of a cooked breakfast. Around Glasgow’s West End there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy cooked Scottish breakfasts featuring locally-sourced sausages, black pudding and eggs at popular and down to earth cafes such as Café Gondolfi or the Wee Guy’s Café (‘wee’ means small), or something lighter such as muesli and fruit smoothies at Martha’s on St Vincent Street. Alternatively, try brunch at Café Hula on a weekend.
A walking tour of art and history
The imposing streets and architecture of Glasgow are a legacy of its success in Victorian times. If you’re a keen walker or you simply feel you want to work off your breakfast, a visit to the Necropolis Cemetery on a hill overlooking the centre will offer an encounter with some classic Victorian design and views across the city. The name Glasgow, which is sometimes translated as ‘the place of the grey rock’, may be derived from this site; adjacent to it is the medieval Glasgow cathedral.
Back in the city centre, Glasgow’s museums and in particular its architectural heritage, are not to be missed. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow’s most renowned architect and designer, fused nature and modernity to create Art Nouveau designs that are immediately recognizable. Examples of his work are the thriving Glasgow School of Art, the Willow Tearooms, and the Lighthouse Building which also contains a permanent museum dedicated to Mackintosh, are all centrally located. A little further away across Kelvingrove Park are the art collections of the Hunterian Gallery or the Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum.
Shops, and more shops
When it comes to shopping, Glasgow’s West End is second only to London in the UK for choice and convenience. Affordable clothes and cosmetics can be found in popular high street shops such as Next, Primark and Boots. For higher quality but still affordable purchases there are the all-natural cosmetics of Lush, chic style at Warehouse and, as with any city of Glasgow’s stature, an Apple store. However, you might want to head straight for the department stores of House of Fraser and John Lewis or the Buchanan galleries where you’ll find iconic British brands such as Fred Perry and Burberry. Whatever you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed.
Down by the river
For a taste of contemporary art drop in at the warehouse-based gallery SWG3, also a venue for live music and djs. Heading on to the River Clyde you will find the Riverside Museum of Transport housed in a spectacular building by architect Zaha Hadid. The museum has been commended for its innovative and interactive displays combining actual artefacts with touch screen technology.
Allowing for a couple of hours in the museum, catch the river bus back to the city centre passing the impressive national exhibition centre, SSE arena and Glasgow Science Centre on the way.
Time to relax
By now you will want to give your mind and feet a break. Glasgow may be on the edge of Europe but it offers an amazing variety of food, from traditional Scottish to Indian. Popular at the moment is American slow-cooked meat which can be found in funky restaurant-bars such as NiceNSleazy and Burger Meat Bun. For quieter dining, consider the Ubiquitous Chip for a more traditionally Scottish menu or Café Cossachock for a Russian experience. The Amber Regent or Mother India offer high quality Chinese and Indian food respectively. For the always reliable option of an Italian meal, La Lanterna or the pricier Barolo come highly recommended.
It’s fair to say, the Scottish like to drink and nowhere more so than in Glasgow. Make your way to the Pot Still for a diverse and ever-changing choice of British ales and of course Scotch whisky. The Irish influence on the city’s culture is evident in its pubs and from the live Ceilidhs at Sloan’s on Fridays and Saturdays. For something more refined and as a suitable place to meet clients consider the upmarket Corinthian which has a stylish public bar but also private areas. Venturing into the small hours there’s dance and electronica at the Sub Club, or jazz and cabaret at Swing.
Glasgow’s reputation as a city of culture and entertainment is well-deserved and by spending just a few days here on a business trip or city break you’ll see why.