A Short Guide to Exploring Glasgow

Glasgow is the perfect place for a short break, holiday or a day out exploring. It is home to internationally famous attractions, all of which are close together and easily reached. Lying right in the center of Scotland, Glasgow has superb transport links not only within the city itself, but also to and from the outskirts and countryside. From museums and art galleries to the best shopping outside of London, Glasgow has something for everybody.

Culture

Glasgow has a long association with the arts and its superb art galleries and museums reflect this. The Burrell Collection in Pollok Country Park should be at the top of your to do list. Sir William Burrell gathered thousands of pieces and gifted them all to the city of Glasgow in 1944. 9000 are on display. Since then, people from all over the world have flocked to see important works of European art by figures such as Degas and Rembrandt, artifacts from ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, tapestries, sculptures and architectural features such as medieval arches that have been incorporated into the building’s structure.

Also a must is House for an Art Lover. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and lying in beautiful Bellahouston Park next to Victorian walled gardens, it remains a unique and exciting venue. Each room contains design, furniture and color schemes from Mackintosh’s original portfolio, which gives a detailed insight into every aspect of his work.

No visit to Glasgow would be complete without a trip to the Kelvingrove Museum & Art Galleries. It is one of Europe’s most important museums and underwent a three year refurbishment. Opening again in 2006, many new features were added to the huge collection, such as the History Discovery Center and multimedia cinema. The most famous exhibit is Salvador Dali’s s Christ of Saint John of the Cross.

Shopping

Glasgow is one of the UK’s favorite shopping destinations, and only London offers a larger range of high street options. Shopping in Glasgow is easy as the main city center shopping district is largely pedestrianized. The three main shopping streets of Buchanan Street, Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street contain not only the familiar High Street shops, but also centers and arcades full of niche market shops such as the Argyll Arcade, which has been a focus for jewelery shops for nearly 200 years. Glasgow is also home to one of the UK’s biggest city center ventures – Buchanan Galleries. It has 80 shops ranging from retail giants such as Next and Habitat to smaller boutiques and specialist shops. With another huge shopping center – at St Enoch’s – and antique, second-hand and unique bookshops at Merchant City all within a square mile of each other it’s easy to see why Glasgow is the UK’s second most popular shopping destination.

Eating Out

As Glasgow is a very cosmopolitan city, its places to eat and types of food are varied. Although the city center has most restaurants and pubs, a ten minute trip the south side will yield some dining delights. One of the more unusual venues is the Battlefield Rest. A former tram station built in 1915 it is now a thriving Italian restaurant with a high reputation for authentic dishes and friendly service. Across the road is the very popular Tinto Tapas Bar. Its menu may be short but its blackboard seasonal specials such as crisp-skinned fillet of sea bass on a bed of creamed leeks and chorizo and red wine stew bring diners back again and again. Freshness of ingredients, friendly waiting staff and fair prices are what gives Tinto its good reputation. Glasgow is famous for its curries and has a wide range of “curry houses” from spacious to intimate. One little hidden gem is Shimla Pinks at the corner of Queen’s Park on Pollokshaws Road. Its traditional Indian food is popular with both locals and visitors alike and is known not only for its full flavor authentic meals but also for its stunning decor. As all these venues are close to Hampden Park, they are ideal for a pre-concert or match meal.

Sport and Leisure

The sports fan and outdoor lover can find a range of exciting and relaxing pursuits. Golfers have a few parkland courses to choose from such as Haggs Castle, East Renfrewshire and Williamwood, all of which are well-maintained, challenging, quick, and easy to get to from the city center. The municipal courses at Torrance House and Deacon’s Bank offer affordable golfing and welcome visitors and parties alike.

Football lovers always have a special treat when they come to Glasgow. Two of the world’s most famous clubs, Rangers and Celtic, lie at opposite side of the city and both offer well priced stadium tours. Match tickets can be hard to come by, so it’s a good idea to find match day packages (including a ticket) offered by a local hotel. Hampden Park houses the Scottish Football Museum, which is ten minutes from the city center. There are more than 2000 items on display charting the history of Scottish football from the 1800s to the present, cups and trophies, football art and memorabilia.

For those who prefer their day to be more relaxed, Glasgow has a number of parks in which to enjoy a relaxing stroll. Queen’s Park in the city’s south side has a range of features such as boating and nature ponds, a viewpoint from which to see the across the city and on to the mountains, a glasshouse which displays a wide range of flora and fauna, a Zen garden, exotic birds, fish and reptiles.

Public Transport

Glasgow’s excellent public transport network enables visitors to travel around the city with ease. Buses are regular and plentiful, and the subway system, known as the “clockwork orange”, is fast, frequent and stretches from the west end to the east end. For those who plan to travel a lot in and around the city, a Zonecard gives unlimited travel on trains, subway, most buses and some ferries. They are available at staffed train stations and transport centers.



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