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24 Hours in Glasgow

Edinburgh may be the historic capital, but for a real taste of the urban and cosmopolitan side of Scottish life, look no further than the city of Glasgow. Since the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the independence referendum, Glasgow has seen a resurgence in its reverence to the country’s culture. From Rennie Mackintosh to Alasdair Grey, from Irn-Bru to Tunnocks Teacakes, just walking through the city streets you’ll find endless traditional architecture, décor and graffiti laced with that well-known Scottish humour.

Morning
 
Glasgow’s subway recently underwent a huge revamp and remains the perfect way to hop around the city. It forms one circle; so don’t panic if you get on the wrong side! First stop; Hillhead, where you’ll be greeted with a beautiful mural from Alasdair Grey depicting Glasgow’s West End, a place he holds dear. Make your way up Byres Road to the Botanical Gardens. You’ll witness a number of stunning glasshouses, including the Kibble Palace, which houses all manner of exotic plant life. Venture deeper into the back of the gardens and you’ll come across the River Kelvin with a charming walk full of nature and history that will lead you to Kelvinbridge subway station.
 
Before you hit the train, grab a coffee and have a quick stroll down Otage Lane, a hidden gem of Glasgow’s West End. There you’ll find Voltaire and Rousseau, the most disorganised bookshop in Glasgow, if not the world. Be sure to visit T’chai Ovna as well, a teashop that could be lifted straight from the pages of Tolkien.


Glasgow Botanical Gardens. Image Credit: Michael Hawkes via Flickr. 
 
Lunchtime
 
It’s back on the subway to Buchanan Street subway, the heart of Glasgow’s city centre. Take a short walk around the Style Mile and the lavish Princes Square, through to Royal Exchange Square. Here you’ll find the stunning neoclassical columns of Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art, the city’s most popular contemporary gallery and museum. Keep an eye out for the Duke of Wellington statue, as well as the notorious traffic cone on his noggin!
 
Take a walk east into Merchant City, where it’s time for lunch at The Wilson Street Pantry, a beautiful lunch spot with charming cakes, pastries and excellent coffee. But don’t sit for too long; from here, we’re heading further east, via the University of Strathclyde and towards a delightful trio of historical landmarks.


The Wilson Street Pantry. Image Credit: Ashley Baxter via Flickr. 
 
Afternoon
 
First off, have a mosey around the Provand’s Lordship. The oldest house in Glasgow, it was built in 1471 by then bishop of Glasgow, Andrew Muirhead. Make your way to The Cathedral of St. Mungo next, a breathtaking pre-Reformation church constructed in the late 12th century at the site where St. Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, first settled with his mission in the late 6th century. Next, take a short walk to the Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery with its stunning monuments against a glorious backdrop of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the city beyond. Don’t mind the smell of malt in the air; that’s just the Caledonian Brewery, home to Glasgow’s revered Tennent’s Lager.


Glasgow Necropolis. Image Credit: Anne Salmela via Flickr. 
 
Evening
 
Make your way back to the city centre and it’s time for a quick drink in Sloans; Glasgow’s oldest pub and restaurant, with a terrific grand ballroom, a venue for ceilidhs and weddings of a distinct Scottish nature. Are ye dancin’?!
 
Head back to Hillhead via the oldest of the subway stations, St. Enochs, where it’s time for dinner at one of Glasgow’s most celebrated Scottish restaurants; Ubiquitous Chip. Nestled on the famous Ashton Lane, savour the delights of local Scottish cuisine whilst keeping an eye out for the fabulous mural by local artist Michael Lacey, an idiosyncratic celebration of Glasgow cultural history.
 
As the sun sets and by some miracle the rain holds off, take a walk down University Avenue where you’ll be greeted with the stunning Gothic architecture of the University of Glasgow, or ‘Hogwarts’ to the locals (fun fact: it was initially the key desired location by the producers of the film series).
 
It’d be rude not to end a day in Glasgow with a couple of traditional malt whiskies at Dram!; a traditional Scottish pub situated on Woodlands Road by Kelvingrove Park and the perfect place to hole up. Unless, that is, you were lucky enough to bag tickets for a show in the Kelvingrove Bandstand, a recently reopened amphitheater which has hosted both local and world-renowned mainstream talent, including Belle & Sebastian to the Pixies.
 
Finally, round off the evening with a taste of Glasgow’s vibrant, alternative music scene and have a pint in Nice 'n' Sleazy on Sauciehall Street. The drinks are cheap and you may just bump into some of Glasgow’s most celebrated songsmiths known to frequent the joint, from Stuart Braithwaite to Aidan Moffat.


Nice 'n' Sleazy. Image Credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan via Flickr. 
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