GLASGOW

Food and Travel (UK) - - City Breaks -

Scot­land’s largest me­trop­o­lis is go­ing through a rev­o­lu­tion. It also wins big on stylish restau­rants, di­verse ar­chi­tec­ture and a thriv­ing creative scene, says Mark San­som

Why go? Wel­come to Glasgow, Scot­land’s re­nais­sance city. Its light-speed trans­for­ma­tion from eco­nomic de­cline to boom in all as­pects of city life has been me­te­oric. As ship­yards rust into an­tiq­uity, the city has given birth to fu­tur­is­tic ar­chi­tec­ture, a thriv­ing cul­tural scene, chefs who make the most of fine Scot­tish pro­duce and a peo­ple that are (of­fi­cially) among the friendli­est in Europe. Mon­day 7 August marks the re­turn of Pip­ing Live, a huge bag­pipe con­ven­tion. Ei­ther join in the pa­rade at Yorkhill, or pop in the earplugs and steer clear of the tar­tan-clad West End.

What to do Glasgow’s orig­i­nal name, Glaschu, roughly trans­lates as ‘green place’ in Gaelic and as such, means you’re never too far from a park. Start a late sum­mer morn­ing in Kelv­in­grove Park, also home to Kelv­in­grove Art Gallery glas­gowlife.org.uk. It’s the first hint at the city’s var­ied ar­chi­tec­ture, with its prof­li­gate Span­ish re­nais­sance frontage and fan­tas­ti­cal spires. In­side, there’s a bumper 8,000 ex­hibits on dis­play in over 22 themed gal­leries. The rest of the city’s build­ings re­veal Italian palazzo-style fa­cades, Gaudi-es­que twists and clas­si­cal Greek and Ro­man tropes. For strik­ing con­tem­po­rary de­sign by Zaha Ha­did Ar­chi­tects, head to the River­side Mu­seum, ris­ing like alpine peaks over Point­house Quay in the Glasgow Har­bour re­gen­er­a­tion district. For lunch, Ge­orge Square is your best bet; a 19th-cen­tury beauty with the City Cham­bers at its east­ern end. There are al­ways per­form­ers in the main pi­azza and the trib­u­tary roads are packed with in­de­pen­dent shops and restau­rants. If it’s shop­ping you’re after, Glasgow’s Style Mile has you cov­ered. It’s the largest re­tail des­ti­na­tion in the UK out­side of Lon­don, with ev­ery­thing from vin­tage cloth­ing to an­tiques and big brand flag­ship stores. Start on Buchanan Street and am­ble your way through, with a pit stop at Cafe Wan­der cafe­wan­der.com for cof­fee. As night falls, catch a con­cert at SSE Hy­dro thesse­hy­dro.com – the world’s eighth busiest arena. Where to stay In tune with the city’s ar­chi­tec­ture, Glasgow’s ho­tels have enough va­ri­ety to suit all tastes and bud­gets. Blythswood

Travel in­for­ma­tion

Get­ting there easy­Jet op­er­ates daily flights from Stansted, Lu­ton, Gatwick and Bris­tol air­ports to Glasgow In­ter­na­tional. The jour­ney time is around 1hour 20min­utes. easy­jet.com

Vir­gin Trains run a num­ber of direct rail ser­vices from Lon­don Eus­ton to Glasgow Cen­tral sta­tion through­out the day.

Travel time is around 4.5 hours and tick­ets start from £30pp one-way. vir­gin­trains.co.uk

AV­ER­AGE DAILY TEM­PER­A­TURES AND RAIN­FALL

Square blythswood­square.com is one of its gems, set in a quiet Ge­or­gian square with 100 rooms decked out in Har­ris tweed and mar­ble. It’s five star and comes with per­sonal touches from staff and a con­ti­nen­tal-lean­ing break­fast. The city has no short­age of classy B&Bs, with our favourite 15Glas­gow 15glas­gow.com set a stone’s throw from the West End. All five rooms have orig­i­nal fire­places, in­tri­cate cor­nic­ing and mod­ern bath­rooms. Ho­tel du Vin’s prop­erty One Devonshire Gar­dens hotel­du­vin.com is set on a Vic­to­rian ter­race with 49 rooms and all the idio­syn­cratic touches you ex­pect from the wine-fo­cussed brand, with a bistro serv­ing solid French clas­sics. Ci­ti­zenM ci­ti­zenm.com is an­other good bet, with some of the best-look­ing, best-value rooms in the city. Where to eat and drink With fan­tas­tic seafood, fa­mous lo­cal dishes and, of course, ac­cess to the world’s best whisky, there’s a good rea­son why Glasgow is great for gour­mands. The Ubiq­ui­tous Chip ubiq­ui­touschip.co.uk has been the city’s lead­ing restau­rant since it opened in 1971. The name is a hu­mor­ous nod at the city’s pen­chant for fast food, though ex­pect noth­ing of the sort: it serves tra­di­tional Scots dishes with a Euro­pean twist. Think ox cheek with dauphi­noise and sautéed cab­bage, or Shet­land cod fil­let, gnoc­chi, lemon­grass and lan­gous­tine bisque. Ox and Finch oxandfinch. com does a fine job of mod­ernising lo­cal favourites too, serv­ing ‘Scot­tish tapas’ by chef Jonathan MacDon­ald from £4. Sea trout, ap­ple, lime and green chilli, and slow-roast pork belly with sam­bal are stand out. Craft beer cul­ture is also strong here. The Butcher Shop Bar & Grill butch­er­shop­glas­gow.com serves well-sourced hunks of meat from a char­coal grill paired with lo­cal brews.

Time run­ning out As a Unesco city of mu­sic, Glasgow never misses a beat. Bar­row­lands Ball­room has been pro­vid­ing a stage to nur­ture lo­cal tal­ent since 1934. glasgow-bar­row­land.com

Trip tip It just wouldn’t be right to come to Glasgow and not sam­ple a few drams. Head for an ed­u­ca­tional whisky tast­ing at Glasgow Wine School (£27.50pp). glas­gowwineschool.com Re­sources

Peo­ple make Glasgow is the tourist board’s web­site. It’s packed with handy in­for­ma­tion for your trip. peo­ple­make­glas­gow.com

Fur­ther read­ing

Night Song of the Last Tram by Robert Dou­glas (Hod­der, £9.99) is a won­der­ful mem­oir of grow­ing up in Glasgow after the Sec­ond World War and gives a great view of the city.

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