Thinking of a weekend or trip away? I had the chance to visit Glasgow last month for the first time and wasn’t disappointed. There’s a lot more to it than two big football teams.
Craft beer, a vibrant art scene and a host of foodie destinations – no, we’re not talking about Belfast, but our near neighbours over the water in Glasgow. Here’s a few reasons why Glasgow is a great spot:
1. Got 20 mins to spare?
Getting to Glasgow ain’t a problem. The flight only lasts around 20/30 mins, so short I only listened to about 3 songs on my phone and we were going to land! I had a great flight travelling with FlyBe so I’d recommend to choose them. You can check out their flights on their website flybe.com
Glasgow’s eating and drinking scene is vibrant, with food and drink available to suit all tastes and pockets. Popular travel magazine, Wanderlust, recently highlighted the city’s “impressive gastronomic scene”. And after going to a handful of restaurants, Glasgow lives up to its growing reputation for fine food and drink. Firstly, I destroyed an ox cheek steak burger at the Drygate Brewery Restaurant. It was fantastic and I’ve high standards as Belfast has an awesome burger scene.
Another place to check out is the ‘Ox and Finch’ restaurant, which serves its food tapas-style. I’m not 100% sold on tapas yet (don’t like sharing), but I was 100% sold on the delicious food. The quality was outstanding and the dishes were all full of great fusions of flavours. The tapas scene is pretty popular in Glasgow and is growing in Belfast too!
I was lucky with the timing of my trip as it was Burns night. For anyone going around the same time, try ‘The Gannet’ for the Burns night supper experience. I didn’t know what to expect. We have all heard the stories of haggis being awful and being yuck. However don’t listen… Go and try it. I loved it and can’t wait to try it again. It was also cool to see some crazy Scottish guy ‘address’ the haggis and shout crazy Scottish stories. I could barely understand a word, either because his accent was rough or because I had too many drams of whiskey. I forgot to mention it’s Scottish traditional to drink whiskey on Burns night, no problem for us…. as in Northern Ireland it’s traditional to have it every weekend. The main course was red deer loin which was also amazing.
Glasgow is a great spot for food and will always be the place I lost my haggis, ox cheek and deer food virginities to.
Explore Glasgow’s rich music history with a music tour run by the Glasgow Music tours company. I took a trip back in time and I was taken (with my own will) to the Britannia Panopticon music hall which made me feel like I was in the 1920’s.
The tour guide of the hall made the visit brilliant as she told us some mad stories about the music hall which at one point had a zoo in the basement and a freak show in the attic! Being an American Horror Story fan, I was really interested in the freak show but sadly the acts were no longer about. It was cool to know I was standing in front of the very stage Stan Laurel made his first ever live performance. (Google him. He was as big as Kanye West is to us. Only probably not as annoying.)
Every great city has a great museum… well Glasgow has two. Firstly I checked out the Riverside Museum, built in 2011 and designed by Zaha Hadid, which has thousands of objects of interest. It won European museum of the year 2013! The museum itself is built in the shape of a wave from the harbour it is beside. A cool thing about the museum is that it has two massive trains and a huge collection of vintage cars and motorbikes on the walls.
Another great exhibition of artwork is at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which was ranked in the top 15 most visited museums in the world. It has 22 themed art galleries displaying over 8,000 objects. Heaven for those who are really into their art and history. Any art student reading wouldn’t appreciate the way I describe the valuable paintings, so I won’t bother. However shout-out to the painting of Jesus that was bought for £8,000 and is now apparently worth £80 million. It’s not something they would sell as it is priceless. But just saying, for that price I’d have bought a mansion, an Audi R8 and told them to keep the change!
5. Hampden Park
Home to the Scottish National team and the stadium where Zidane scored one of the best Champions League goals ever in the 2002 final. Not into football? Rihanna will be performing there later this year. Very good tour through the history of the stadium, the dressing rooms, the tunnel and the dugout. It is a massive stadium and would be electric when it’s full of supporters.
6. Drygate Brewery
Drygate is the UK’s first experimental craft brewery, and produces some pretty crazy beers. As I mentioned earlier also has a brilliant restaurant.
Some of the beers I tried were sick. Some include ‘Ax man’, ‘Bearface’ and ‘Outaspace’ which was made with Apple juice! The tour of the brewery was really cool and even the bottles are designed by Glasgow art students. We can get Drygate in Northern Ireland so it’s definitely something to try! You can also arrange a package where you can create your own unique beer in the brewery and take it home!
7. Nae bother
Belfast is renowed for its warm welcome (most of the time), well I felt equally as welcomed in Glasgow. Scottish people have many similarities, I found we had a similar type of sarcastic humour, a passion for nice food and drink and a similar use of curse words when describing the weather.
We both have very rough accents although I’d say thanks to Jamie Dornan and Liam Neeson, ours is definitely sexier and they complimented my Northern Irish twang.
8. Sightseeing bus
A great option for seeing around the city and it’s attractions. You can hop on and off at any stop so it gives you great choice in how you want to spend your day. Also the relaxing, soothing Scottish tones of Neil Oliver describing the landmarks makes it more interesting. (You know Neil Oliver off Coast. Don’t lie….everyone likes Coast…. Everyone.)
Usually I don’t care too much about hotels, as I would stay in hostels and be happy enough. However hostels probably aren’t the best if you are going with your better half. There are a number of great hotels in Glasgow, in great locations close to the city centre meaning you don’t have to travel too far and can just walk around the corner. I stayed in the Hotel Ibis Styles near George Square and really didn’t expect it to be that trendy but it’s very modern and cool.
Let’s be honest, if you’re going on a holiday to go shopping you need to have a good look at your priorities. That said, Glasgow does have a great shopping scene with some shops we don’t have back in Belfast for example Kiehl’s skincare which I visited, although I walked out with nothing as I never pay too much for skin cream. Call me cheap but if having dry skin means I’ve extra dough for food and drink, I’m prepared to live with it.
Thanks to People Make Glasgow for giving me a warm welcome and showing me how great Glasgow is! Check out more about the city and what you can do here