Hi there! It’s Emily and I’m here with my debut post on the Indiana Janner blog 🙂 So, Glasgow… After a quick hour-long flight from Exeter, Liam and I landed in Glasgow Monday afternoon with plenty of time to do some day one exploring of the city. It was our first time visiting what many hail to be the cultural capital of Scotland and we were excited to discover all that it had to offer!
Promising first impressions
We got off the bus in Partick, the neighbourhood we would be based in. It turned out that Partick is in Glasgow’s West End, an area that is undoubtedly one of the hippest parts of the city. We were instantly surrounded by gorgeous dark brown sandstone buildings filled with various cafes, shops and of course, pubs.
Probably my favorite piece of street art to date! Love the lighting and the lovely Robins.
We checked into our Airbnb on Gardener Street (which, as it turns out, is well known for the steepest street in all of Glasgow) and met our Airbnb host Christina. On the bus ride into the city we kept seeing the cities slogan “People Make Glasgow” on various banners and signs, and as soon as we met Christina we realised how true this was. She went above and beyond in sharing her stories, advice and some of her delicious food with us during our time here and I could not be more grateful. This sense of openness and kindness seems to be something that is woven into the fibre of those who live in the city as we found Glasgow to be one of the friendliest places we’ve been.
Our home base for our time in Glasgow. Also a prime opportunity for some daily calf exercises!
The rest of our first night we spent walking. We set off to head towards the main street of the city, Buchanan Street. On the way we spotted Glasgow University and the neighbouring Kelvingrove park. Being the avid enthusiasts for green spaces that we are, we decided to detour off here. The park is sprawling, lined with spectacularly green shaded trees. Ample space to have a picnic, hang out at the duck pond, or if you’re a lot more hardcore than I am, join in at the family friendly skatepark. The lush views of the park are only made more enchanting by the gothic style University buildings in the background. I probably say this about a lot of buildings in the UK but it felt seriously like something straight out of Harry Potter. Magical.
After getting our fill of the park we found Buchanan Street and sat down for our first beer of the trip with the sound of a street performer playing the bagpipe off in the distance. Perfectly Scottish. We finished the night off grabbing some tasty NY style pizza and enjoying the impressive range of street art that lined the path on our walk back to the Airbnb.
For those of you who don’t know this about me, I really love cats. So this cute piece of street art captured my attention.
For our second day in Glasgow we had a little excursion planned. Read all about our visit to Loch Lomond here. What does anyone want after a wander through a National Park? Well for us, it’s beer! Lucky we had two spots on the Tennents Brewery Tour just waiting for us then, isn’t it?
Lovely day for a lovely pint of lager.
The Tennents tour was just under an hour long. We got to walk up and down various sections of the brewery, breathing in the lovely malted aromas as we learned some quick facts about the brewery’s evolving image.
Up until the late 80’s Tennents used images of the “ideal woman” on their cans to market it to men. If I was this lady, I would have drank the can myself, look my husband in the eyes and said “this is what we need to do to the Patriarchy” and then crush the can.
For me, the most stand out thing about Tennents was the last talking point on the tour: Tennents Training Academy. At the academy just across the street Tennent offers an array of professional certifications within the hospitality industry, and if you happen to be unemployed they offer the courses for the qualifications free of cost. The academy also provides cooking courses for the community including one where you can spend the night drinking beer, learning to cook a new curry and then heading out for a local comedy show. Which honestly sounds like a perfect date night out.
Tennents shows a bit of heart!
We finished the tour with two pints of tennents lager and for an extra £10 had “tasters” of their 6 other beers. We can safely confirm that the Whisky Oak beer is the nicest of the lot.
The full Tennents lineup.
We walked across the road to the beautiful Glasgow Cathedral, which has pretty much everything you’d want out a cathedral: incredibly tall arched ceilings, a silver towering organ taking up the length of the back wall, and the burial place of the cities founder and saint, St. Mungo. I’m glad we did the brewery tour or else we might have missed this beautiful sight!
While there are a lot of cathedrals to see in Europe not many are also the burial site of the cities founding Saint.
Wanting something to follow up all the beer, we decided to head to The University Cafe after discovering it on Anthony Bourdain’s Scotland episode of Parts Unknown. Liam and I have loved watching his show. Its honest, approachable and full of heart. Also he always features some incredible local dishes wherever he goes.We finished off our evening with traditional Scottish food here: A fish supper, battered haggis, and a fried Mars bar. For those of you sceptical of trying haggis, I’d say having a few beers before hand and having it battered helps get over any mental hang ups you may have. Im pleasantly surprised to say its actually pretty good.
Okay so not the most enticing picture, but take my word for it! It’s worth a try!
Waking up to day 3, we made a beeline for the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. After a wander around the vibrant floral beds outside we decided to head into the iconic Victorian glass grow house. Inside there was an astonishing variety of plants from across the world, no doubt gathered during the days of empire.
I’d like to think this statue is as impressed with all the green as I am.
A visit to the gardens is a perfect way to break up this city break with some peace and quiet time spent admiring the sheer range of plants that can be found around the world. Once you have found and spent some time with your favourite cacti, head down along the Kelvin riverwalk. A 20ish minute stroll along this forested riverside path and you genuinely almost forget you’re smack dab in the middle of a city!
According to a man we met on our walk, if you’re lucky, you can see Salmon leap and run in this river!
Once you walk up and rejoin the street level head over to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to enjoy hours of cultural and artistic delights from Scotland and beyond. To make the experience even better, the museum is completely free of charge (donations are of course, welcomed). As we walked in our ears were immediately greeted by a live brass band playing in the centre of the building. The beautiful tunes could be heard as we made our way from paintings by Scottish colourists to Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross, making the experience even more enriching.
What an incredible building! Also just take a moment to see how lucky we got with the weather! Blue skies in Scotland is a rare and beautiful treat.
A trip to Scotland would be incomplete without a bit of whisky. While Scotland’s distilleries are mostly located in the highlands, Clydeside Distillery was just a quick 10 walk from the museum and one of the only distilleries in Glasgow. Clydeside opened its doors in 2017 and although they started making whisky on day one, their products won’t hit the shelves until 2020 as it takes a minimum of three years and one day to make a true whisky. Although they didn’t have their own whisky they still provide a wonderful tour with great guides. After three whisky drams from three different regions I felt like we got a good sense of the distinctions between the regional profiles. At the end you get to keep your wee dram glasses. For £15 pounds it is a hell of a value.
Looking forward to trying a bottle in a years time!
Feeling a bit hungry after our whisky we decided to get some dinner at Kimchi cult, and wow. Holy Korean food. Let me tell ya, this was the first time I’ve had Korean food and it is delightful. In fact the gouchujang fried chicken is some of the best I’ve had. I will remember this last meal out as I do with our entire time in Glasgow: as something wonderfully unexpected that I will always look back on with a sense of satisfaction and joy.
Okay, so turns out I was way too excited about the chicken and didnt even manage to save a picture, but this beef Bibimbap is every bit as memorable!
Before leaving Glasgow we managed a day excursion to Stirling, which you can read about here. Glasgow really is situated near some absolute gems. An amazing city in its own right, combined with amazing access through rail for the whole region mean Liam and I can wholeheartedly recommend it as a weekend trip for anyone in the UK, or as a stop off in Scotland for anyone on a longer Eurotrip.
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St. George’s Square- A picture perfect last stop in Glasgow!