A Treasure Trove On My Doorstep

13/05/2016 Off By Deborah Welsh

A travel writer rediscovers her love for Glasgow… 

Glasgow City - Scotland
Glasgow City, Scotland

It’s been said that Glasgow’s streets are some of the toughest in the world. I’m going to let you into a secret…they’re not. It’s one of the friendliest places on earth where it’s just one big party and I want to invite you!

It may be known as the Second City but this place is simply FIRST class.

Whether it’s a girly weekend, a family holiday with the kids or a romantic city break you certainly won’t be bored. 

River Clyde - Glasgow City - Scotland
River Clyde, Glasgow City, Scotland

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and nestles on the banks of the River Clyde in the country’s west central region and easily accessible with fantastic rail and road networks in and around the city.

I was born a few miles south east of the city and have lived within easy reach of Glasgow all of my life. I am the first to admit that I’ve taken my heritage for granted and I’ve been guilty of not taking advantage, or appreciating, the cultural delights right here on my doorstep. Recently, I decided to open my eyes to what is on offer and, boy, what a treasure trove it is! 

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum - Glasgow
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow

A wealth of fascinating museums and attractions are dotted around the city, some of which I have walked past without as much as a second glance. Each one is filled with priceless art and history.  I hang my head in shame and feel truly sorry that I didn’t educate myself sooner. Most people go on holiday and fall in love with exotic, far-flung destinations. I’ve done the same but right now I’m having a passionate affair with my homeland and my heart is bursting with pride. 

St Mungo Museum - Glasgow
St Mungo Museum, Glasgow

One attraction that surprised me was St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. This oasis of calm and tranquillity in the heart of the noisy city is a gorgeous place to spend an hour or two. The museum is named after Glasgow’s patron saint that brought Christianity to Scotland in the 6th Century. Today, Glasgow is a diverse, multi-cultural society and many faiths are represented in the city’s places of worship. This museum explains each and every one of them, offering a fascinating insight to Glasgow’s spirituality. The museum is perfectly placed within the Cathedral Precinct and a visit to Glasgow’s Cathedral is a must. The Cathedral of St Mungo is the only major cathedral on the Scottish mainland to survive the Reformation. 

Buchanan Street - Glasgow - Cornfield
Buchanan Street – Glasgow – Cornfield / Shutterstock.com

From the divine to the decadent, I wandered deeper into the city and embraced Glasgow’s ‘Style Mile’. As any fashionista will tell you, Glasgow has the best shopping outside of London.  It really is the perfect choice for some retail therapy and here are just some of Glasgow’s shopping outlets to get your fashion fix:

Buchanan Galleries – Home to over 90 high street favourites such as John Lewis, H&M, Next, Oasis, Hollister, La Senza and Accessorize. There’s even a Build A Bear for younger shoppers!

For those of you with big pockets…head to House of Fraser and Princes Square on Buchanan Street or wander along to the Merchant City and feed your haute couture habit at Cruise or Emporio Armani.

Feeling the pinch? Head for TK Maxx and Primark on Argyle Street for a touch of glamour without the hefty price tag. 

Glasgow Cafe
Glasgow Cafe

Glasgow really has become synonymous with style, good food and culture and this is apparent today as Armani-clad ladies sip coffee (or cocktails!) in the many elegant cafes and bars across the city. Glasgow is awash with quality eateries too with top chefs now feeding its inhabitants. Jamie Oliver, Brian Maule and Nick Nairn are just some of the elite adding their names to some of Glasgow’s finest restaurants. Another interesting area, which will tick many boxes, is the vibrant Merchant City. This little pocket was formerly the residential district of wealthy city merchants. Today it is home to luxury dwellings, top quality bars and restaurants as well as high-end boutiques and upmarket stores. 

SECC Glasgow
SECC Glasgow

Music lovers will also be able to feed their habits with the city’s array of arts venues. You will be spoilt for choice with The SSE Hydro, SECC, Theatre Royal, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to name but a few. These landmarks have been attracting some of the best concerts, musicals and performing artists for years and there’s always something going on to put your evening in. 

Modern Art Gallery - Glasgow
Modern Art Gallery, Glasgow

Here’s some of Glasgow’s must see – attractions if you decide to visit:

  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
  • The Burrell Collection 
  • The Riverside Museum of Transport
  • Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art
  • St Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • George Square and Glasgow City Chambers
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park 
    House For Art Lovers - Rennie Mackintosh - Glasgow
    House For Art Lovers – Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow

This September, look out for Doors Open Day, Glasgow’s free heritage festival which allows visitors and locals alike to explore the city’s buildings, parks, architecture, history and people with a programme full of walks, tours, talks, events and more than 100 buildings open for anyone to visit.

It has been a joy to reconnect with Glasgow after years of travelling abroad and working in other cities and I want the world to know how great this place is. I am blessed to be able to call it home and I’m sure I will continue to discover more of its hidden gems in the future. Visit Glasgow, you’ll love it and you may well come home with a few more friends than you had before you went.