City Focus Glasgow
Citylens GLASGOW GONE are the days when Glasgow was just a struggling, post-industrial city – today Scotland’s largest metropolis is culturally rich and architecturally innovative! The city has successfully rebranded itself “Scotland with Style”, a powerhouse of cuttingedge fashion, design and culture. Take the dramatic £20.3 million Finnieston Bridge across the River Clyde (pictured). Completed in late 2006, the 169m-long road crossing is an instantly recognisable gateway into the newly flourishing Glasgow. Throw in fierce football rivalry, raucously energetic nightlife, the upcoming 2014 Commonwealth Games and enough sights to fill a month, and it’s no wonder that Glasgow is one of Europe’s fastest-growing city break destinations.
Citydays GLASGOW Hedonists will love Glasgow’s mix of culture, shopping and football GLASWEGIANS don’t like to waste time, so hit the ground running on GEORGE SQUARE, a lavish public space awash with grand Georgian architecture harking back to the “Second City of the Empire” days. Take a pew if you can get one as a flurry of events buzz through the plaza all year.
The best way to get an idea of the city’s layout is on a BUS TOUR from George Square. Brave the open top ones if you dare. This will show you how the main districts – the grid-like city centre, the raffish West End, the revamped Merchant City and the rapidly changing Riverside – all fit together. You can also hop on and off.
Time now for the city’s number one museum, the recently reborn KELVINGROVE ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM. It’s a cultural powerhouse that easily swallows up a day whether you are aged five or 50. Refuel at KG CAFÉ, housed within the museum’s glass atrium. Other key cultural sites include the world-famous BURRELL COLLECTION, a palatial retreat with sculptures, paintings and other treasures; the GALLERY OF MODERN ART and SCOTLAND STREET SCHOOL MUSEUM, a glowing testament to the city’s greatest architectural son, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Glasgow is also serious about shopping. The style-conscious Glaswegians like nothing better than a bit of Armani or Gucci, and prices are much cheaper than in London or Paris. The heart of the action is on Buchanan Street, a pedestrianised shopping oasis with the BUCHANAN GALLERIES mall and boutique outlets on PRINCES SQUARE. For lunch at the latter, try smooth newcomer STRIPED BASS, with its bounty of seafood treats.
Next make a beeline for the River Clyde, now home to designer flats, hotels and restaurants, instead of rusting shipyards. Look out for the Riverside Walkway, the brand new “SQUINTY BRIDGE” and the SCIENCE CENTRE, an unmissable high-tech attraction that also sports Scotland’s tallest freestanding structure. For lunch or a drink by the river, recline on the terrace at the suitably modern CITY INN.
For a touch of history and nostalgia, cruise down the River Clyde to the open sea on the world’s last ocean-going paddle steamer, the WAVERLEY. Enjoy a “poke of chips”, and the strains of the accordion as you head “doon the water”.
For a taste of fine whisky take a road trip 20 minutes from the city centre to AUCHENTOSHAN DISTILLERY, home to Scotland’s only triple distilled single malt and see how the subtle drink is made.
As crucial to Glasgow’s soul as whisky is football, so try to snare a ticket for a CELTIC or RANGERS game. Or take a tour of the national stadium, HAMPDEN, which also houses the Scottish Museum of Football.