Our editor, Vicki Notaro, visited some less common tourist spots to get the scoop.
STELLAR Editor, Vicki Notaro, on where to stay, and what to see and do while in Scotland’s second city.
I love a good city break, and I’d been told that Glasgow’s recent hipster gentrification has resulted in some fab bars and restaurants. Aer Lingus Regional offered my husband Joe and I flights to either there or Edinburgh, but having both visited Scotland’s capital city before, we chose the edgier option.
I was a little nervous about the flight, as I get nervous up in the air and the Regional planes are smaller and have propellers. They don’t fly as high as your standard 747s, and they’re a little slower, but Glasgow was still only a forty minute hop away. My fears were unfounded, the plane actually felt more comfortable and less terrifying – and there was still time for a G&T in mid air.
Where to stay
Visit Scotland recommended the CitizenM Hotel, and they were spot on. I like to be as central as possible and appreciate a funky theme, and this hotel has that in spades. The rooms are almost pod-like and hyper modern but instead of wasting money and space on unnecessary furniture and pillow chocolate, the beds are huge. An iPad controls the whole room, from mood lighting to the telly and temperature. There are hundreds of movies to watch for free, and a buffet breakfast in their 24 hour canteen.
Where to eat
Bath Street is a bit of a hotspot five minutes way from CitizenM, and as it has a late license it’s home to a lot of cool bars and restaurants you can while the night away in. We went for dinner at 9pm in The Butterfly and The Pig, a bar slash gastro pub, and had a delicious meal. Then we handily just stayed there for the night – there was a full bar and live music, with a bit of a modern indie twist. It was totally reasonable and the menu is gas – try the Cilla Black Pudding salad and the good ol’ fashioned gammon steak.
Where to drink
The next evening we found ourselves in Brewdog, the Glasgow outpost of the popular Scottish brewing company. It’s not just beer – they have a gin menu, very reasonably priced Prosecco at £3 a glass and wine as well as some other spirits. The food is fab too – try the Cluck Norris chicken burger – and there are even vegan options, not what you’d expect in a boozer. We meant to just call in for dinner and a pint but found ourselves still there hours later competitively playing Scrabble.
Where to shop
Glasgow has the best shopping in the UK outside London, with shopping destinations sprinkled all over the city. Joe’s suitcase arrival was delayed (rage) but he wandered around to the Buchanan Galleries to get socks, jocks and a couple of t-shirts and was pleasantly surprised by the shops on offer. The pound isn’t too bad at the moment either, but that’s down to Brexit.
Any decent tours or attractions?
We did a private Saturday afternoon tour with Camillo from Once Upon A Whisky. He’s a Colombian former whisky brand ambassador who followed his favourite tipple to Scotland, and his company is only getting off the ground. We tried three different types of Scotch in three different West End pubs, and it was enlightening, if a little wet (it rained all weekend.) We also did the City Sightseeing tour on a big red bus, and stopped off at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery.
Close to Ireland, cheap as chips, good shopping and boozing.
The city lacked a little atmosphere, probably down to the rain, and in parts it felt a little rough.
Getting there and around
Aer Lingus Regional flies from Dublin and Cork. See aerlingus.com. For more on Glasgow, see peoplemakeglasgow.com
This article first appeared in STELLAR’s September issue. Our October issue is on shelves now for €1.95! Want to subscribe? Click here.
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