I GLAS­GOW Loch, frock and bar­rel

There are mag­i­cal vis­tas, cut­ting-edge fash­ions and whisky ga­lore in Scot­land’s largest city

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - GAVIN BELL 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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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