Day Trip to Glasgow & Local Recommendations

Wednesday, 7 June 2017 Glasgow, UK


Having only visited Glasgow for shopping or concerts, I never fully appreciated the city, and even worse I occasionally dissuaded friends (who had never been) on visiting it. However, my recent trip to the city has completely changed mind, so much so that I find myself defending it when anyone speaks ill of it. So what changed my mind? Well, before the trip I asked my Instagram followers to send me their recommendations and that proved to be an invaluable source of information. So, I thought it'd be a good idea to document my day, and hopefully provide you with a few ideas if you are planning a visit.


Arriving
When my mum and I first arrived at Glasgow's bus station, both being not great bus travellers, we were in need of a cuppa. I spotted John Lewis and since we had free vouchers to use, we decided to make a quick stop there. I opted for berry tea and Victoria sponge cake topped with dried strawberries and rose petals. Feeling refreshed we headed off to the first recommendation I had been sent, St Andrews Square.

First Recommendation - George Square (City Centre) 
Thanks to modern technology, aka Google Maps, we found our way there relatively easily. It was a beautiful sunny day so it was just lovely to see the sunlight bounce off of the modern glass buildings in the square and reflect onto the older architecture. After walking around for a little while, we decided to head onto the next recommendation.

George Square Square

Second Recommendation: The Lighthouse (City Centre)
By far the most recommended attraction was The Lighthouse, which was odd since I had never even heard of it. When the first person recommended it and said it was easily reached, being located in the city centre, I was somewhat perplexed as I had imagined a traditional lighthouse. But after a quick search, I learned The Lighthouse was in fact Scotland's Centre for Design and Architecture with a wonderfully cool art gallery, and amazing panoramic views of the city!

The Lighthouse is very centrally located, despite this, it took my mum and I a little while to figure out where it is, as it is located down an alleyway called Mitchell Lane. When we finally found it, we were excited to see one of Glasgow's famous murals on the building opposite it (I will discuss the mural trail next)! Of course I had to stop for a quick photo with the large painted Panda. Upon entering the building, I was immediately intrigued by the architecture - it was a beautiful blend of modern and old architecture. I was also very excited to see the current exhibition, SAMPLE by Collect Scotland, which showcases contemporary printed textile design from Scotland (On show till the 18th June). It was such a pleasure to wander around the exhibition which aims to shine a light on the anonymous and hidden discipline of textile design, an industry where designers are not always credited for commercial work. After exploring the exhibitions on offer, it was time to check out the amazing panoramic views I had been told about. What makes it even more special is that The Lighthouse offers two views - one, accessible by the lift which leads to an enclosed glass viewing platform; the other only accessible from level three via the Mackintosh Tower, which leads to an external balcony space with panoramic views of the city (see first photo for an example of the view). Of course, we had to visit both! I liked both in their own ways and would highly recommend, if possible, to visit both. Lastly, we had a look around the gift shop before we left and if I wasn't put off by the thought of carrying my purchases around all day I would have been very tempted to pick up several things!

Mackintosh Tower Spiral Staircase

Third Recommendation: The mural Trail 
As briefly mentioned, my mum and I also spotted quite a few murals while we wandered around. I quickly came to the conclusion that I would love to dedicate a day to simply visiting every stop on the mural trail map. But, as for that day we spotted; the Giant Panda (pictured below), the Balloon Taxi, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Wind Power. It did also get me thinking, why doesn't Edinburgh have more murals?


Fourth Recommendation: Princes Square & Argyll Arcade
We left The Lighthouse, more than pleasantly surprised, and headed off to find Princes Square & Argyll Arcade - something I had added to the list myself. I had been once before and remember liking the architecture. If you're not keen on going inside, even the exterior of the Princes Square mall is impressively adorned with a massive Art Nouveau Peacock, which is worth seeing.

By this time, we were definitely feeling slightly peckish and despite having received plenty great recommendations for independent cafes, we decided to opt for one of the many restaurants at the Princes Square's food court - Obu pan Asian.

Princes Square (apologies it isn't the best photo - the sun was in my eyes!)

Fifth Recommendation: West End & The University of Glasgow
For the next recommendation, we headed to the subway. Several people had mentioned it was worth while paying a visit to the West End and even though we'd been before, I honestly could't remember much about it. So we bought our tickets (£3.10 each for a return) and set off to the West End. I had seen a few people post photos of Ashton Lane on Instagram and I knew I had to visit it if we were in the area. Turns out, the Hillhead subway station was right next to it! As well as visiting Ashton Lane, we wandered down Dowanside Lane (just opposite Ashton), where we popped in and out of vintage shops.

Ashton Lane

As we walked through Ashton Lane, my mum was fairly sure that if we continued in that direction we would end up at the University of Glasgow and she was right! Having never seen the university, I was blown away by how beautiful it is, I honestly couldn't stop taking photos. I wondered why the University of Edinburgh wasn't as picturesque as this - not including New or Old College, which are both stunning!

University of Glasgow cloisters

Sixth Recommendation: Kelvingrove Museum

Well, I'd been longing to visit the Kelvingrove museum for quite sometime now; every time I'd see a photo of one of their grand halls, or the floating heads I wanted to jump on a bus and explore it. Upon entering the museum, the main hall that greeted us was just spectacular, we spent a good wee while simply admiring the architecture. We then proceeded into the natural history section of the museum.Unfortunately, we didn't have tons of time to wander around the exhibits (after squeezing all the above recommendations in, you can imagine it was getting late!), but we did manage to see quite a few pieces that we specifically wanted to see. My mum suggested we visit the Salvador DalĂ­ painting "Christ of Saint John of the Cross", then we looked around some of the art galleries, and to my delight, finally, saw the floating heads (pictured below)! 

Floating Heads Installation by Sophie Cave

Overall 

As I think back on the day, I cannot help but think, you really don't need to travel far to feel like you've visited somewhere foreign/new - I hope that makes sense. I simply mean, I know quite a few people who are depressed if they don't get a holiday abroad (and don't get me wrong, I often feel the same thing) but I really want this blog to show that if you have the right attitude, you can easily enjoy a day out locally too! 

With regard to my favourite place I visited, if I was pushed to choose just one, I would have to say The Lighthouse, but the Kelvingrove is definitely a close second. But, there wasn't one part of the outing that I didn't enjoy! All in all, Glasgow is a city I must visit again soon and explore more. 

Bye for now!

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