#Innsider’s guide to Glasgow
Scotland’s biggest city has it all going on. Don’t tell Edinburgh or Aberdeen, but Glasgow is Scotland’s main party city; it’s home to one of Britain’s best live music scenes and is packed with stylish bars, superb restaurants and electrifying clubs. But much more than that, it boasts striking Victorian buildings with a glitzy Style Mile made up of the best designer shops, and its former wealth is clear in its top-drawer museums and galleries. Read on for our top #innsider picks to feed your wanderlust.
The good ol’ Duke
Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, put his life on the line to defeat Napoleon’s army then twice became British Prime Minister. But in Glasgow, this fellow is best known for the traffic cone perched on his head. This famously ‘decorated’ statue in Royal Exchange Square is now one of the best-known emblems of the city and perfectly represents its fun spirit. After it was originally ‘crowned’ by students as a prank, the council had to do a dramatic U-turn with its plans to remove the cone after an uproar from many Glaswegians who had grown to love this iconic sight. Go to have your picture snapped with Arthur in winter, wrap up warm and have a hot chocolate under the Square’s magical fairy lights; arguably the prettiest Christmas decorations in Scotland.
For a cracking little pocket of Glasgow nightlife, head to the up-and-coming Finnieston quarter. This manageable area packs a big punch with some of the city’s coolest new eateries, great craft beer pubs and cool secret bars.
#Innsiders try out some boat-fresh seafood to share at Crabshakk, or for a more laid-back vibe head to trendy Old Salty’s, the self-styled traditional “chippy” for all things battered with chips. Known as “The Strip”, the bars of Argyle Street are worth checking out. The Ben Nevis for its 180 different whisky varieties and The Park Bar for its Gaelic pub quiz are particular favourites.
A glimpse of a wealthy past
Not far from Finnieston and located in the trendy West End of the city is the University of Glasgow. Harry Potter fans listen up: dating back to 1870, this imposing Gothic structure looks remarkably like Hogwarts and is even supposed to have inspired the setting for JK Rowling’s bestselling novels.
For something a little different, but no less intriguing, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the political heart of Glasgow. The City Chambers building overlooking George Square stands as a symbol of a past of wealth and power and has a stunningly lavish interior. See its ornate vaulted ceilings, carved archways and marble staircases on a free guided tour, departing twice a day at 10.30am and 2.30pm.
Bargain bin chic
You can flash some serious cash at the city centre’s Style Mile of designer stores and high street flagships, but #innsiders know that the best Glaswegian retail experience is of the vintage and retro variety. Among the best, you’ll find supermarket-sized Saratoga Trunk, containing thousands of items spanning from Victorian to the 90s. Mr Ben is great for wearable 70s and 80s finds, big names such as Chanel and Moschino have been found for sale at Vintage Guru and The Glasgow Vintage Co has new stock on its well-organised racks each week. For those who are after a serious bargain, hit Dumbarton Road, known as the Rodeo Drive of charity shopping.
A place to stay
Our Park Inn by Radisson Glasgow hotel is conveniently located in the city centre and just minutes away from attractions like the Pavilion Theatre and The Hydro Arena. See http://www.parkinn.co.uk/hotel-glasgow
What are your favourite tips on seeing the best of Glasgow? Share your #innsider tips on Twitter @parkinn to help others when planning a visit!