my weekend in glasgow

:: by Lizzie
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Earlier this month Dan and I visited Glasgow for the biennial contemporary art festival, Glasgow International. My very good friend Sarah Strang has an art space in Glasgow named Civic Room and was showing work by Andre Komatsu for the festival. My brother (who went to Glasgow university) and my father, actually introduced Andre and Sarah earlier in the year and loaned work for the show. So, with many interested parties/family members ready for meet-ups, we made our way to Glasgow for a weekend of art, food, shopping, spa time and some of the most beautiful botanic gardens I’ve ever visited. Read on for my top tips and must-dos if you’re planning a trip to Glasgow any time soon.

 

W H E R E  T O  S T A Y  :

We stayed at the Blythswood Hotel in Blythswood Square. Nice hotel. Nice location. Lovely spa. The hotel itself was bit more corporate than I’d usually go for. Why is it that bigger hotels love using dark wood vaneer teamed with purple upholstery!? Purple aside, it was the perfect place for us to stay. The spa was stunningly lovely and really quite expansive. Seven different rooms/pools/areas of varying heats/scents/types of experience, ready for your relaxation pleasure. It’s fair to say that I LOVED it and spent a very long time both under the back massaging waterfall in the main pool and in the ginormous jacuzzi with Sarah, pressing the jets button over and over again for more bubbles. I think we must have been in there for at least an hour. Another notable piece of praise from me was breakfast related. The buffet table had, alongside the yummy fruit salads, pastries, juices etc that you’d expect, a pancake station with maple syrup and bacon. What more could you ask for!? However, should you fancy trying somewhere smaller, an alternative accommodation option is 15 Glasgow, the boutique b&b that mum and dad stayed at on the same trip and really enjoyed. I hear the breakfast was very good there too!

 

W H E R E  T O  E A T  :

The Ubiquitous Chip – A Glasgow classic, The Chip is remembered fondly from family visits  during my brothers university days. It’s a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike and well worth a nibble. We ate at the brasserie which is more reasonably priced and still utterly delicious but you might want to try the restaurant for a special occasion. Inspired by regional Scottish dishes and seasonal cooking, The Ubiquitous Chip is one of the best places to eat out in Glasgow.

Mother India – Utterly delicious Indian cooking. Mother India is a must visit for lunch or dinner. We were a large group (celebrating Sarah and Andre’s show) and so had a set dinner menu which was fabulous. You can also choose a more tapas-like sharing menu.

Bread Meats Bread – Fancy a burger? Bread Meats Bread is considered the best burger spot in town. Their award winning burgers and ‘proper poutine’ keep the queues lined up out the door. My fave eat was the sweet potato fries with maple cured bacon and chives. Delish.

Wilson Street Pantry – If you’re after something lighter then head to Wilson Street Pantry for lunch. Portions are large but you can choose from salads, soup, toasted sandwiches, cakes and the daily specials. Staff are very friendly and you’ll be pleased to support this local business by eating their fresh and tasty food.

 

W H E R E  T O  S H O P  :

18 Montrose – Newly opened designer mens and womensware store 18 Montrose is soon to open its second set of doors in London’s Granary Square. 18 Montrose Glasgow boasts a cool interior with great attention to detail including fridges housing sunglasses (why not?) and a stylish Aesop concession. I floated down the stunning staircase into womensware and purchased myself a summer weight YMC Paisley Jacket.

 

G L A S G O W  I N T E R N A T I O N A L  A R T  F A I R  :

Here’s the lowdown should you be interested in visiting Glasgow during the festival. The Art Fair runs for 2 weeks every other year and fills the city with contemporary art installations and a palpable buzz. Highlights this year were of course, Civic Room’s show of Andre Komastu’s work ‘Concrete That Makes Us‘ and Cosima von Bonin’s show at the Gallery of Modern Art – ‘Who’s Exploiting Who In The Deep Sea?

 

G L A S G O W  C A T H E D R A L  :

If you have time to visit the cathedral while you’re in Glasgow, I would highly recommend it. We went to the Sunday morning service so were able to experience the 14 person professional ensemble choir sing from above and behind us within the beautiful 12th century architecture. It was very special.

 

G L A S G O W  B O T A N I C  G A R D E N S  :

Danny and I have a bit of a tradition of visiting the botanic gardens of cities we visit and Glasgow was no exception. Set up in 1817 by distinguished Glasgow botanist Thomas Hopkirk, the Glasgow Botanic Gardens are historic and beautiful. My favourite part, as you may guess, was walking through the greenhouses full of cacti of all shapes and sizes. It was a gloriously sunny day and most of us ended up having a nap at some point along our walk. If you have time, take the heritage trail down to the Kelvin Walkway and the Gardens Arboretum. It’s just beautiful.

 

If you have any suggestions of must dos in Glasgow then please leave them in the comments below. I have a feeling we’ll be making weekend visits to Glasgow a regular thing.

 

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