I went to Glasgow expecting to see the scenes of Trainspotting. I have never been more wrong. I was greeted by delightful people, a huge selection of contemporary and traditional art galleries, incredible food, and, most importantly, fantastic beer and coffee. Sold.
Coffee first. Laboratorio Espresso in the centre of town does an exceptional brew, with a selection of different roasts from across the globe to choose from. Proper artisanal coffee.
Ashton Lane is the place to go for an absolutely swell selection of food and drink. The cosy cobbled street had huge variety, from Brel, the Belgian beer bar, to Ubiquitous Chip, a brasserie specialising in open sandwiches. Hanoi Bike Shop is also just round the corner, serving Vietnamese sharing platters. Glasgow Byres Road, the main road next to both these little streets, has an array of excellent charity shops and little independent stores. Well worth a visit.
We plumped for Doing it Dixie for lunch, and weren’t disappointed. It’s a simple concept. Fried chicken. But done bloody well. A burger and a plate of loaded fries to share and we were on the cusp of a diabetic coma, and all for under a tenner. The loaded fries though. I need to take a moment. Skinny fries. Cheddar. Jalapenos. Crispy bacon. Maple chipotle. And that’s their most basic dish. You get the picture.
For drinks in the evening, Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen did the trick. Locally brewed good ol’ Scottish beer sent us right through the night, grinning broadly and staggering with grace.
Ashton Lane could genuinely be your base for a full 24 hours in Glasgow. Not only is the food and drink scene ridiculous, they also have a lovely wee cinema. It is worth booking ahead though, because it’s very small. Alternatively you could wing it and spend a few extra hours at the bar waiting for the next showing as we did, but I’m not sure I now remember a single moment of Death of Stalin.
The Necropolis is well worth the hilly walk – it’s about a 40 minute walk from town, but is really lovely. It’s basically an incredible cemetery on a hill, which may not sound like much, but was bizarrely one of my main highlights of Glasgow. It’s right next to the cathedral too, so pop in for a few Hail Marys before trekking up to the cemetery, which, incidentally has the best views of Glasgow and its surrounding countryside.
Riverside Museum is designed by Zaha Hadid so it’s worth heading to even just for the building. The museum inside is a little strange – when we were there it was just a selection of old cars and fire engines, but it is unsurprisingly an incredible space.
It’s hard to go past the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. It’s right in the centre of town and has a wonderful collection of modern and contemporary Scottish artwork, with a visiting exhibition on the ground floor, and, most importantly, all completely free.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery may resemble your average run-of-the-mill natural history museum, but it’s such a lovely building in a really beautiful location by the river. It’s, again, a thoroughly pleasant walk from town. I’d recommend not bothering with any public transport in Glasgow, because it’s a really easy city to navigate, and even the outskirts are reachable. Plus, you may as well get in the steps and tone those butts.