“The best thing about Glasgow is that if there’s a nuclear attack, it’ll look exactly the same afterwards,” jokes comedian Billy Connolly. Sure the greying Victorian mansions and art nouveau architecture give the city a historic feel, but it’s the spirit of Glasgow that truly defines its character.

Scotland’s biggest city is constantly buzzing with activity. Finding things to do and places to drink, eat or shop are easy – it’s the choice that’s difficult. A city that prides itself on hard work and humble roots, Glasgow has no pretension when it comes to showcasing local artisans and deserved achievements. Museums and galleries rub shoulders with ever-expanding restaurant and nightlife scenes, creating a modern, charismatic city.

Pub culture, live music and good food is at the heart of the city. Work your way through these top picks to explore Glasgow as it is intended to be enjoyed, complete with local favourites, cultural musts and quintessential Scottish experiences you won’t easily forget.

TO STAY

Blythswood Square Hotel

Overlooking a private garden, this hotel’s row of Georgian townhouses emanates style. Once home to wealthy merchants, today it’s spruced up for the 21st century thanks to a multi-million pound refurbishment. Experience true relaxation in the award-winning spa, with a choice of two relaxation pools, hydrotherapy pool, crystal steam room and a thermal suite. Afterwards, pop into The Salon for afternoon tea, before kicking back to watch a movie in the hotel’s private cinema. Sample the cocktails in the hotel’s restaurant or order one straight to your bedroom – nobody’s judging.

Hotel du Vin

Located in Glasgow’s trendy West End, Hotel du Vin is the perfect spot for a traditional Scottish stay. Set inside Grade II-listed Victorian house One Devonshire Gardens, its walls whisper age-old stories. Settle down on a leather sofa, whisky in hand, as the hotel’s bar staff regale you with tales. There’s a cigar shack too if that takes your fancy. If you manage to tear yourself away from glorious chandeliers and oak-panelled decor downstairs, head to your room to soak in a roll top bath before falling asleep in fine Egyptian linen.

Dakota Deluxe Glasgow

Formerly a 1960s Works and Pensions building, the Dakota Deluxe Glasgow has been transformed into a stylish boutique hotel. On arrival head straight to your room to freshen up under a monsoon shower. Choose between the cocktail bar or the Champagne Room for your pre-meal aperitif. For dinner, The Grill restaurant serves dishes made with high quality local and seasonal ingredients, including steaks, lobster and langoustines cooked over hot coals.

Malmaison Glasgow

Malmaison Glasgow can be found right in the middle of Glasgow’s action. A sanctuary in the bustling city, this former Greek Orthodox Church is now a modern boutique hotel. While the rooms are cosy and snug, the pièce de résistance is the restaurant, Chez Mal Brasserie. Make your way to this vaulted basement restaurant where a kitchen run by famed chef John Burns serves stylish twists on classic dishes, all made with seasonal ingredients. Round the evening off in true Scottish style by heading to the Chez Mal Bar, where you’ll find a vast drinks menu offering over twenty whiskys.

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