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Glasgow is a treasure trove of art and architecture. Home to contemporary artists like Jim Lambie and David Shrigley, Glasgow has made a name for itself in the international art world.
The Glasgow School of Art is famous for its prestigious alumni and its Charles Rennie Mackintosh architecture – a powerful influence for Art Nouveau and for the Modernist movement. If you are a fan of Mackintosh’s style, visit The Hill House, The Willow Tearooms, the House for an Art Lover and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – this houses one of the greatest civic art collections in Europe, including works by Botticelli, Rembrandt and Dali and many Scottish artists.
Glasgow is a shopper’s paradise. It is the second-largest shopping centre in the UK with arcades, open-air markets and shopping precincts. The main shopping area is in the heart of Glasgow and is for foot traffic only. Browse the shops at your own leisurely pace in Buchanan Street, Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street. If you are looking for the perfect piece of jewellery to add the finishing touch to your outfit, head to the Argyll Arcade. It has over 30 jewellery stores and is one of Britain’s oldest covered arcades. If you prefer to do your shopping all under one roof, the Buchanan Galleries is your best option.
For the latest fashion trends visit Exchange Square, Ingram Street and Princes Square. If you are shopping for antiques, visit the Barras open-air street market in the East End and De Courcy’s Antique Craft Arcade in the West End.
Where to go for a good time
You will never be short of entertainment options in Glasgow. A number of musicians, bands, comedians and entertainers have graced the city’s nightspots including Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand and Billy Connolly. If you fancy going to a gig or concert, the Barrowlands, Arches, Bartly and Glasgow Academy and any number of pubs and bars offer live entertainment.
Festivals are also popular in Glasgow. You can visit the Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow River Festival, West End Festival, Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival or Aye Write Book Festival.
A weekend escape
If you only have a long weekend to discover Glasgow’s magic, here is an itinerary to make the most of your time.
If you go in mid-July head for the Glasgow River Festival. The festival celebrates the River Clyde and you can enjoy boat trips, dingy rides and tall ship displays. If your trip does not coincide with the festival you can explore the riverside history of Glasgow on foot or by bicycle. Just follow the Clyde from the centre of town to Glasgow Green, stop off for a look at the People’s Palace social history museum and finish the day off with a fish supper at Roganos – a renowned Art Deco restaurant.
Hit the shops on Saturday or Sunday with an early morning visit to Barras Market. It has been selling a variety of bric-a-brac since the turn of last century. Some of the market stalls are set up under the Barrowlands – a famous musicvenue. After your visit to the market head into the city centre to trendy Ingram Street in the Merchant City. Take time out for a cultural experience at the Gallery of Modern Art. Round off Day 2 with a trip to the Uisge Beatha (meaning ‘water of life’) whisky specialist.
Time to visit the park but not just any park, Kelvingrove. Designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, Kelvingrove consists of 34 manicured hectares of pristine Victorian gardens. You can also visit the recently refurbished Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It houses a Rennie Mackintosh gallery, a collection of Egyptian treasures and over 8,000 works of art.
Travelling by road
If you plan to drive, the road links to Scotland are first rate, traffic permitting of course. If you are driving from Edinburgh the trip should take about one hour, from Manchester – three hours 50 minutes and London – seven hours.
If you do not mind sitting for about 10 hours, you could travel by coach. It is probably the cheapest option although it does take the longest.
Travelling by train
If you have the time, take the scenic route to Glasgow by train. Glasgow’s two main train stations, Central and Queen Street, connect you with Strathclyde, Ayrshire and Lanarkshire regions with First ScotRail, and London and other major UK cities via west and east coast routes with National Express and Virgin.
Travelling by plane
You can catch a direct flight to Glasgow from London airports, provincial UK airports and Ireland. Glasgow International is 10 minutes away from the city and Prestwick is 30 minutes away. Prestwick also has its own dedicated train station.
You can fly with BA, easyJet, BMIbaby, FlyBe, Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Loganair. For more flight options, visit FlightMapping dot com/UK/Glasgow/.
Glasgow travel information
For more information and holiday ideas visit VisitScotland dot com and Glasgow dot gov dot uk/en/AboutGlasgow/Touristattractions/.
Guidebooks are another useful source for ideas, suggestions and travel tips. Try:
• The Glasgow Footprint Pocket Guide
• The Rough Guide to Scotland
• Scotland Lonely Planet Country Guide
Unfortunately, Glasgow does have a reputation as a crime capital. However, the city is as safe as any other city in Western Europe so long as you are careful. Take care when visiting markets, tourist attractions and shopping precincts as pickpockets and thieves may be on the lookout for an easy target. Take extra care at night. For complete peace of mind, get travel insurance cover for all your valuables and personal possessions before you go. Whether you are planning a weekend break or a longer holiday, there are short and long-term travel insurance policies available to suit your needs. Most travel insurance companies offer quick and easy travel insurance quotes online. For a travel insurance quote and more information about the types of travel insurance available visit Direct Line Travel Insurance.
By: Direct Line