Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette
Rock aye the noo
A city break exploring the rich musical heritage of Glasgow is a big hit, with FFION LEWIS
WHETHER it’s a charming bar in the West End, an intimate nightclub in the city centre, a muddy festival field, or a spectacular concert at the OVO Hydro arena, Glasgow – Scotland’s biggest city hits the top note every time for music lovers.
Named the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music in 2008, the metropolis that spawned the likes of Lulu, Deacon Blue, Primal Scream and Simple Minds is still alive and kicking.
WHAT TO SEE
Make tracks to the Riverside Museum on the banks of the Clyde. The award-winning transport museum is currently host to a fascinating exhibition that pays tribute to the golden era (1980-1995) of Glasgow’s remarkable record shops and the important part they played in the creation of the city’s diverse music scene. Gold discs from Simple Minds and a Lambretta scooter bought by Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, after signing his first record deal, are among the 134 items on display.
Avid collectors can try their hand at ‘crate-digging’ – browsing an interactive record rack of around 100 LP and 12-inchers (until March 2023, admission free, glasgowlife. org. uk/museums/venues/ riverside-museum).
Hop on to a magical Music Tour from George Square, for a spin around some of Glasgow’s landmark venues, from King Tut’s and SWG3 to the Royal Concert Hall.
Multi award-winning singersongwriter Eddi Reader provides an entertaining narrative, with insider knowledge on the stars who started their careers busking, and tales of David Bowie at the famous Barrowland Ballroom, plus there’s live commentary from knowledgeable guides (adult £16/child £9, citysightseeingglasgow.co.uk/tours/ musictour).
WHAT TO DO
First-time visitors to the city should swing by the National Piping Centre – it’s almost a rite of passage. Take a tour of the Centre’s Museum of Piping for an interesting insight into 300 years of piping heritage and to admire its priceless collection of the iconic Celtic instrument that includes a set said to date back to the 18th century.
And if it’s whetted your whistle, you can even have a go at playing the pipes yourself (admission is £4.50pp, thepipingcentre.co.uk/ visit/museum/ visit-the-museum).
Get delightfully lost in the winding, cobbled lanes of the city’s bohemian West End, packed with precious and quirky places of interest. For trinkets and tearooms head to The Hidden Lane in Finnieston.
Antique collectors will adore Ruthven Lane, and if you’re looking for that special gift you’re sure to find it in artsy Cresswell Lane.
The West End is also known for its leafy parks and Kelvingrove is one for all ages, with bowling greens, tennis courts, a skatepark, the restored Kelvingrove Bandstand and beautiful city views from the top.
Follow the Kelvin Walkway along the River Kelvin and you’ll end up at Botanic Gardens, home to a rose garden, tree trail, woodland river walks and the Kibble Palace.
This is a listed Victorian building considered to be one of the world’s finest glasshouse structures, and houses the national collection of tree ferns along with classical marble statues (entry free, glasgow botanicgardens.co.uk).
Tucked down Otago Lane, Mixed Up Records has built up a reputation over more than 25 years as a treasure trove of great vinyl covering almost every music genre, that ranges from new releases to secondhand gems.
With around 130 gigs and music events every week, music lovers are spoilt for choice but for a unique venue, St Luke’s in the East End is hard to beat. Converted from a church, the Grade B-listed building retains stained glass windows and a pipe organ display dating back to the 1800s, providing a spectacular backdrop for live music, comedy and theatre and bar and kitchen the Winged Ox (stlukesglasgow.com).
WHAT TO EAT
For a casual lunch, converted warehouse Dockyard Social, a short walk from the Hydro and SEC, is home to some of the city’s favourite food vendors and offers a global menu. In the evenings live bands and DJs provide dinner entertainment (dockyardsocial.com). Stylish West End wine bar Brett is ideal for a pre-gig dinner and drink of high quality fare and natural wines.
Grab a table at the bar to watch the chefs work their magic (barbrett.co. uk). For modern fine dining with an international flavour that celebrates Scottish produce, reserve a table at Glaschu on Royal Exchange Square. The restaurant takes its name from the Scottish Gaelic word for Glasgow, meaning ‘Dear Green Place’ (glaschurestaurant. co.uk). Head to The Duke’s Umbrella, just a stone’s throw from Glasgow’s Central Station, for a hearty Sunday lunch. The gastropub serves a great selection of real ales, fine wines and signature cocktails too (dukesumbrella.com).
WHAT TO DRINK
Enjoy an intimate drink at The Hug and Pint on Great Western Road. Hidden in a basement, this tiny but atmospheric bar is also an up-andcoming music venue for local and international artists.
At lively basement punk bar Bloc+ on Bath Street, bands and DJs perform every night of the week (bloc. ru). Round off the evening at whisky bar Òran Mór at the top of Byres Road. This former church is the perfect venue for a quiet drink (oranmor.co.uk).
Also on Great Western Road, Munro’s has re-opened as The Bull with a drinks menu that includes a handpicked selection of 26 craft, draught and local beers (thebullglasgow. com).
WHERE TO STAY
We checked into one of the 64 spacious art deco apartments of Native Glasgow. Near George Square, it’s ideal if you want to be in the heart of the action, as main shopping thoroughfare Buchanan Street is close by, it’s just a 10-minute stroll to St Enoch Shopping Centre, and the OVO Hydro arena is a half-hour walk away.