Why Visit Us?
As a Glasgow girl born and bred, I’m a little bit biased when I tell you that this city is worth a visit. Forget everything you might have heard about the “Four seasons in one day” weather and the deep-fried, cholesterol busting diet. Glasgow is a city rich in heritage and culture and if you’ve never been, we are well worth a visit.
Even though we’re not the capital of Scotland, we are her largest city and also we like to think, her friendliest. Glasgow is also a city of industry and creativity, from her days as one of the major shipbuilding cities in the world, at one point producing more than half the total tonnage of Britain’s shipping, to the many innovative examples around the city of engineering and architecture, such as the Mitchell Library, Kelvingrove Art gallery and our very own subway system, the affectionately nicknamed “Clockwork Orange”.
How to Get to Us
Getting to Glasgow is easy, we enjoy good transport links to and from the city, and Glasgow Central Station is the main northern terminus of the West Coast main line, and the shortest journey time from London is about 4.5 hours. If you book in advance you can get a ticket for around £55 one way. Alternatively you could fly into Glasgow International Airport, there are several domestic and long haul flights arriving daily. Flight time from London Heathrow is around 1hr 20mins.
Finding Your Way Around
If you have come to the city via train, then Central Station itself is a fair way of getting your bearings in the city. It’s located right in the heart of the city and gives you direct access to the main streets of the city centre, Argyle Street, Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street. Native inhabitants of the city may invoke you to traverse these streets according to the old Glaswegian saying, “up Sauchie, doon Bucky and alang Argyle” – for those unfamiliar with lilting Glasgow tones all this refers to is the age old method of getting from one end of the city centre from the other, walking the Z shaped route up Sauchiehall Street, down onto Buchanan and finally turning left along Argyle Street.
Looking along the city centre skyline you will also see the steeple of the old Tolbooth at Glasgow Cross. Although the tolbooth itself is no longer standing, the steeple is a reminder of times past in the city, as it was among other uses, the site of the city prison where thieves, murderers and even witches were dispatched to the hereafter.
Resting Your Head
Glasgow is known for its “Style Mile” and so it’s only appropriate that visitors to our fair city stay in somewhere that befits our reputation as a style capital. There are few hotels in the city as stylish as the Glasgow Malmaison hotel. Based at the top end of the city it’s housed inside a former Episcopal church. The location is ironic because this Malmaison is one of the most decadent hotels in Glasgow’s city centre, with 72 rooms to tempt you. Rooms start from £89 and there are special offers throughout the year.
Things to Do
There are so many sights to see in Glasgow that it’s hard to narrow it down, every area of the city has its own attraction which demands to be seen, but I’ll try and narrow it down to a few of the classics.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery – this is a must see for anyone who visits Glasgow. Based in Kelvingrove in the west end of the city, the baroque style building is in itself a masterpiece. Once you get inside there’s a wealth of treasures awaiting you, from the natural history exhibits, via the grand collection of arms and armoury, through to the art collections on the top floor, where you’ll find a stunning collection of works by, among others, the French Impressionists and works from the Dutch Renaissance.
However, the gallery’s most famous work is the Dali painting Christ of St John of the Cross. Bought in the 1950s for £8,200, a price which included the copyright to the painting, it’s one of the most evocative works of art in the world. Loved and loathed in equal measure throughout its lifetime, the painting was moved to the St Mungo Museum during the renovation of Kelvingrove, but returned for the gallery’s re-opening in 2006.
For anyone who has never seen the painting, it is a depiction of the crucifixion, but devoid of the usual motifs which are usual in this subject. It’s also a painting which is very close to my heart, I still remember the very first time I saw it, way back in the 1980s, and I fell in love with it. Dali said that the perspective of the picture came to him in a dream, and to this day, it retains a dreamlike, ethereal quality that is quite simply beautiful to look at. Another tip, due to the angles in the composition, if you move to the side of the painting and stand roughly at 45 degrees to it, the figure of Christ will still face you head on. To me when I was young, this seemed like magic, as I got older I realised this was simple maths and geometry, but that did nothing to diminish its power. Still doesn’t.
You could also take a trip out to the south side of the city and visit the Burrell Collection. Situated in Pollok Country Park, the collection was amassed by shipping magnate Sir William Burrell, who then gifted it to the city in the 1940s. The collection contains a vast amount of medieval, Islamic and Chinese art and also paintings by Rodin, Cezanne and Degas. Perhaps the most famous item in the collection is the Warwick Vase, which dates from the 2nd century AD and was discovered at the villa of the Roman emperor Hadrian. Positioned in the central courtyard of the museum, it is surrounded by several bronzes by Rodin.
A million miles from the peace and tranquility of the museums, visitors to Glasgow should definitely sample the nightlife. Glasgow is not short of bars and clubs and whether you want a massive club night or a smaller, more intimate bar we have something for everybody. Visitors should definitely try the SubClub or the Arches for a big night out, or head up to the top of Sauchiehall Street for Chinaski’s and the Berkeley Suites for something a bit more chilled.
I know I said at the beginning of this post that you should ignore the deep fried cuisine, but to be honest, sometimes there’s nothing better at the end of a good night out in Glasgow than a fish supper! I’m not going to tell you who does the best one in the city, you’ll have to visit us and find out for yourself.