The Burrell, Kelvingrove, Mackintosh, lots more free galleries/museums, amazing architecture, sensational shopping, vibrant culture and cafes and a suburban transport network that takes you to the shores of Loch Lomond and the slopes of the Arrochar Alps - where else but Glasgow?
It’s not quite a trip to the jungle, it’s not a tour through sparkling snowy waste, but exploring the side streets of Glasgow can be just as much a life-changing experience. It’s the music that does it, as I discovered on trips to the city in the last year. Live music happens in every street; not just in grand concert halls but in basements bars and attic clubs, in ageing art deco cinemas and old variety theatres, in subterranean tunnels where gigs are punctuated by passing trains, in vegan (yes vegan) cafes which would not look out of place in San Francisco. Live music transforms even the most battered parts of the city into an unforgettable experience – O2 Academy stands like a beached liner, a defiant dazzler on Gorbals edgelands. Barrowland is a beacon for rock bands the world over, The Arches and Sub Club rock the city underground and even the Apollo, long gone, absolutely refuses to die. All adding to the gritty, almost industrial strength of Glasgow’s cultural life. No wonder this is the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music. I explored Glasgow with the help of Walking Heads audio tours who have just produced Glasgow Music Tour as a free app.
City sightseeing tour with live guide or multi-lingual commentary. It is amazing! Takes you on a huge sightseeing tour of the city and we hopped off at the People's Palace and Mitchell Library which were superb. Recommend also visiting Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow Cathedral, University West End area of Byres Road. Fantastic value for money. Interesting. Breathtaking architecture. Your ticket is valid for two consecutive days.
www.citysightseeingglasgow.com or Tourist Information, George Square also Buchanan Bus Station. You may also pay as you get on the bus.
This music shop has a comprehensive selection of musical instruments, accoutrements and accessories with a very good postal service and large selection of strings for traditional, folk and acoustic music.
It's a wee shop lurking round the back of St George's Cross in the West End and it's packed with books, instruments and recordings to thrill any folkie. The staff are very friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Magic.
22 Clarendon Place
Loads of buses and just across the way from St George's Cross subway station.
Monorail is an incredibly cool, independent record shop, with a loads of vinyl alongside the racks of hard-to-find CDs. Especially good for underground Japanese music and European jazz, it stocks a really varied range of music plus magazines/fanzines. The shop is situated within vegan bar/restaurant Mono, which also hosts live music and album launches etc in conjunction with the record shop.
12 Kings Court, King Street, Glasgow, G1 5RB, UK
Tel: 0141 552 9458
A whole day could be spent in this street alone with its huge range of shops. The Buchanan Centre in Buchanan Street makes Castlecourt (Belfast) look like a corner shop. Here is everything. Shop for shirts. Look for lingerie. Scream for skirts. Drool over dresses. Shiver over shoes.
Half way up Buchanan Street an arched doorway beckons through into a huge open expanse of an Atrium stretching upwards for four stories. What was once a large court, surrounded by brick-faced offices that stored documents for the legal firms in Glasgow, is now a variety of small specialist shops and eating places. The Atrium is criss-crossed by scissors of escalators that rise without visible support through the space.
Princes Square, elegant with its Art Nouveau wrought iron, is a welcome haven populated by a plethora of tiny restaurants and intriguing nooks of shops. A great place to browse for an hour or two, or if it’s raining! The Rennie Mackintosh Museum nearby is worth going to if you’re at all interested in the Arts, especially considering the influence he had on design.
Nothing sums up 'Gallus' Glasgow better than a Saturday morning trip to the Barras. Here, Glasgow's answers to Del boy and Rodney make their Southern cousins look like shy introverts, as they sell anything not bolted down, from fur coats to football strips and computers to car parts.
The market has expanded from its humble beginnings to include hundreds of stalls and shops selling everything and anything. Barras are rented out on a daily basis, meaning an ever-changing stock and providing an ad-hoc sales channel for anyone with stuff to shift.
Never one to miss a trick, the Barras has evolved with the times, reflecting the changing needs of a varied clientele. Nowadays, Maggie's original fruit barra has evolved into a farmers' market, which takes place on the last Saturday in every month from 8 am (but get there quick, because stock sells out by lunchtime), and the modern market does a roaring trade in computer software of perhaps dubious origin. Never mind, it's all yours for a tenner.
The Barras was there long before Versace and the Italian Centre, and despite constant raids from overworked and frankly exasperated trading standards officials, it will still be there a long time after they're gone too. Margaret Russell would be proud.
Near Bell Street
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