I GLASGOW Loch, frock and barrel
There are magical vistas, cutting-edge fashions and whisky galore in Scotland’s largest city
THE Gaelic version of Glasgow is Glaschu, taken to mean ‘ ‘ Green Place’’. Surprisingly, given its industrial past, the city has more than 90 parks and public gardens. The biggest is Pollok Country Park, voted Europe’s Best Park in 2008, where highland cattle roam by a river among woodland glades. Highlights include the Burrell Collection with works by Rodin, Degas and Cezanne, and late medieval, Chinese and Islamic art. By the river stands Scotland’s answer to Downton Abbey, Pollok House, a grand country residence with Britain’s finest collection of Spanish art, including paintings by El Greco, Goya and Murillo. There are restaurants in both. More: glasgow.gov.uk. A WORLD War II Spitfire flies again, a dead elephant walks and Salvador Dali’s iconic Christ of St John of the Cross gazes down at the world from his cross in the heavens. These are among 8000 exhibits in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, a sprawling Victorian masterpiece housing dinosaurs, medieval armour and collections of Dutch Old Masters, French Impressionists and Scottish Colourists. Good fun and, like most Scottish museums, free. The Riverside Museum of transport is a nostalgic step back in time to an era when tramcars and bone-shaker buses rattled through the cobbled streets. The prize exhibit is the Glenlee, a threemasted barque launched in 1896 and one of only five sailing ships built locally on the River Clyde and still afloat. More: glasgowlife.org.uk/museums. THE Ubiquitous Chip, a courtyard restaurant with a glass roof, is a venerable mecca of fine dining in the West End. Dark cobblestones are all that remain of its origins as a cow byre; tables are set in a hanging garden by a fountain tinkling in a rock pool, and illuminated by fairy lights and crystal decanters. The effect is magical, like the traditional Scottish fare with creative twists emanating from the kitchen. Anextensive wine list is complemented by 150 malt whiskies. A lively and informal place, pricey for dinner, but a two-course set lunch for £15.95 ($ 29) is good value. A moderately priced menu is available in the brasserie upstairs. More: ubiquitouschip.co.uk. GLASGOW hides many of its attractions in obscure alleyways. Worth seeking out are three cobbled lanes around Hillhead Underground station. Ashton Lane is a hub of action in the bohemian West End, with wall-to-wall bars and restaurants in old stone cottages (including the Ubiquitous Chip), and an art house cinema. Nearby Cresswell Lane has art and craft boutiques and popular Spanish tapas and Italian restaurants. On the other side of the main Byres Road, Ruthven Lane leads to Scottish and Vietnamese restaurants with lots of character and good food, an arcade of small shops selling vintage clothes, comics, records and bric-a-brac, and a mews of antiques stores. THE so-called Style Mile is the largest retail centre in Britain outside London’s West End, with hundreds of independent boutiques, international designer outlets and flagship stores of every major British retailer. The main artery of the city’s shopping heart is Buchanan Street, a pedestrian boulevard lined with architectural gems, busking bagpipers and stores such as Russell & Bromley, Diesel, Bench and Zara. The House of Fraser boasts Scotland’s largest beauty hall in a galleried atrium, and in-store boutiques for Hermes, Gucci and Prada. Buchanan Galleries has more than 90 outlets on four floors, and Princes Square is a stylish mall beneath an ornate glass roof with restaurants for lunch in a bright, buzzy atmosphere. For bargains try TK Maxx in Sauchiehall Street. More: glasgowstylemile.com. GLASGOW is renowned for live music, from Celtic folk to urban and hiphop, indie and classical. The Park Bar in Argyle Street is a home away from home for highlanders and islanders, who pack the place for weekend dancing to ceilidh bands, and the Ben Nevis across the road is a haven for lovers of fine whiskies. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in St Vincent Street is a legendary showcase for new and emerging bands, and is repeatedly voted Britain’s best live music scene. The Arches is a cavernous performance venue with bars and a restaurant beneath the central railway station that stages an eclectic range of contemporary music, theatre and nightclub events. More: peoplemakeglasgow.com. HE was the talk of the town in the early 20th century when he embellished Scots baronial architecture with art nouveau flourishes and Japanese simplicity. Charles Rennie Mackintosh — architect, designer and artist — is now an icon of his native city, where his work is widely preserved and celebrated. There are guided tours of his masterwork, the Glasgow School of Art, and the nearby Willow Tea Rooms he designed in 1903 are arguably the most stylish tearooms in Britain. Don’t miss House for an Art Lover, inspired by a portfolio of drawings he submitted as an entry for a German design competition. More: crmsociety.com. FOR a bird’s eye view of the city, the surrounding hills and sea lochs, take off in a 10-seat seaplane from the banks of Loch Lomond. The half-hour Glasgow skyline flight takes in Commonwealth Games venues, including the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, and all the city’s major cultural, historical and architec- tural features. Athree-hour tour flies to the Trossachs, the highland heartland of Rob Roy MacGregor made famous by romantic poets. Lunch is served at Monachyle Mhor, once a remote farm and now an award-winning restaurant by the shores of Loch Voil. More: lochlomondseaplanes.com. OLD districts of Glasgow have gone through a dramatic regeneration in recent years. The Merchant City, formerly an area of warehouses and food markets, has been transformed into a lively entertainment quarter. The Old Fruitmarket stages theatre events, jazz concerts, comedy, rock and world music gigs as well as ceilidhs and fashion shows. Blackfriars pub has real ales and live music; Boteco Do Brasil rocks to a latin beat with tapas and salsa classes; and Cafe Cossachok dishes up Russian cuisine with live folk, jazz and world music. Babbity Bowster’s is an oldfashioned hostelry offering homecooked Scottish food, beers and rooms at moderate prices. Cafe Gandolfi is a stylish but cosy eating house in an old cheese market. On a cold day it’s like a warm hug — just like Glasgow, one of the world’s friendliest cities. More: merchantcityglasgow.com.
Clockwise from above, the River Clyde flows through Glasgow; the striking Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre will be a focal point of the Commonwealth Games; despite its industrial past, the city has more than 90 parks and public gardens, including Kelvingrove Park and University
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