24 Hours in Glasgow, Scotland

Fri, 21 August 2015

With the Fringe Festival well under way, all eyes are currently on Edinburgh. But while thousands wander its cobbled streets, Scotland’s edgier sister is throwing a rave.

Glasgow is without a doubt Scotland’s coolest city. Gritty, raw and energetic, it is home to one of the best art schools in Britain, Glasgow School of Art, and a host of live music venues which ignite the streets with an excitable energy. The city is filled with cool bars, trendy restaurants, contemporary art galleries and a unparalleled nightlife.

It’s beautiful too, you just might have to dig a bit deeper. Head to the West End, Glasgow’s ‘posh’ area, and discover charming Victorian churches and Edwardian terraces. Or wander in South Side’s Pollock Park, the old estate, where wild woodland drastically contrasts with the manicured gardens of Pollok House.

Here’s how to spend 24 hours in the city:

SLEEP: Conveniently located next to Central Station, The Grasshopper Hotel is one of our favourite hotels in Glasgow. If in need of any proof that Glasgow has its finger on the design pulse, head here. All pale greys and whites, the rooms are simple, light and airy with wooden floors and handmade wallpaper. The bathrooms –  trendy wooden pods fitted with power showers – would not be out of place in a Copenhagen hotel, nor would the hipster branded city guides on display in the rooms. A hot breakfast is served in the small kitchen along with dinner on weeknights (but not weekends, due to the numbers of guests who travel here on business) and free tea and coffee is served at all hours of the day. 

EAT: For breakfast head to Cottonrake Bakery in the West End. Freshly baked goods change daily – from fresh croissants and scones with Scottish honey to toasted spice fruit sourdough with homemade jam. Crabshakk in Finneston’s West End is a must for lunch or dinner – a tiny seafood joint which manages to pile in cheerful diners for fresh oysters, crab and a great wine selection. Also located in Glasgow’s West End, Ubiquitous Chip has been the go-to dining spot for special occasions or romantic dinners for over 40 years. A far cry from the stereotype of deep-fried Mars bars, the Chip serves seasonal Scottish fare in a magical dining room covered in fairy lights and hanging plants. But on a Friday night, you’ll find all those in the know at Ranjit’s Kitchen, a new family run local famous for home-cooked Panjabi food.

DO: Glasgowis  home to one of the most prestigious art schools in Britain and hosts a variety of cultural events year round. (Our favourite this year was the Open House Festival that took place in homes and open spaces and was started by two art college graduates). For contemporary art, check the exhibitions at CCA (The Centre for Contemporary Arts); Tramway, the contemporary art centre with two galleries and performance spaces or The Common Guild, a visual arts organisation started in 2006.

Rain or shine, take a trip to South Side’s breathtaking Pollok Park. The park is home to Pollok House (Scotland’s answer to Downtown Abbey) and the Burrell collection, a large permanent art exhibition. 

DRINK and DANCE: Indulge in one of Scotland’s favourite past times and drink at The State Bar, where a charming mix of students, graduates, and artists meet for an evening, lunchtime or even a morning pint. For a good whisky or classic cocktail, we love the dimly lit bar at the Stravaigin restaurant in the West End. The two best clubs/venues in Glasgow are The Art School and Sub Club. The former was set up by the The Glasgow School of Arts Student Association and hosts a number of gigs and nights with local talent and up-and-coming musicians. The latter is Glasgow’s longest running underground club with the largest body-sonic dancefloor. You come here to party.

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