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As with everywhere in the UK, the weather in Glasgow can sometimes feel unpredictable. It can be gleaming and sun-streaked one minute, then glowering and shower-filled the next. So we’ve rustled up an itinerary that offers you a fine day, whatever the weather. No matter what you use to predict the weather, be that the more unusual seaweed or pine cones or the more portable weather app, this guide on things to do in Glasgow will see you right.
If your pine cone is closed up like a fist and the rain is bulleting off the paving stones, one of the best things to do is go for an indoor browse. Now there are many things you can browse, but we like searching out a great long read for our next train journey – we like browsing books.
The name of Voltaire and Rousseau, a second-hand bookshop in Otago Lane, somehow manages to make you feel both smarter and less well read at the same time. But the experience of a good rummage in this unassuming building is what bookshops were invented for. Titles are piled high with old and new jostled together - the perfect conditions for a lucky find. What you’ll probably lose though is all sense of time. This is the kind of place where hours can disappear and you won’t even notice.
With your next great read sorted, you can get a head start on it by nipping around the corner to Stravaigin. Grab yourself a coffee and something exotic to eat. You could go for the deep fried octopus with black beans and wasabi or keep it hyperlocal and go for their unique take on haggis, neeps and tatties. It’s been keeping the locals fed and watered for some 20 years now, so let longevity be its recommendation.
Now it’s time to take the restaurant’s name to heart. Stravaigin means to wander aimlessly, and if the rain has stopped, you can do that through Kelvingrove Park, which is right next door.
From there, Kelvingrove Museum is only 15 minutes away and this is a place that likes to keep it surreal. Hosting Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross is one clue, but then there’s the spitfire dangling from a ceiling; and the elephant called Sir Roger. If your tastes are eclectic, then noodling around the 8,000 exhibits and 22 galleries will educate and entertain in equal measure.
If your seaweed is dry and friable – and the sun is out – then we say it’s time to commune with nature. And there’s no finer communing to be had than at Glasgow Botanic Gardens. Little ones (we’re talking children, not Borrowers) can flex their little green fingers in the Children's Garden while bigger ones can boggle their brains at the sight of the Kibble Palace. It’s 2,200 square meters of glass and iron that houses a fabulous forest of ferns, sinuous sculptures and even carnivorous plants – so if you have brought a Borrower, keep it safe.
There’s another big nature trip to be had on the last seagoing, paddle steamer in the world… that’s right, it’s the Waverley! The ship goes on day-long cruises to the Scottish isles or lochs. You can view the beautiful scenery above deck, while below, you can view the awesome power of steam-driven wheels and pistons.
Sadly the Waverly doesn’t sail in winter, but you can still enjoy the splendours of the Clyde year round. Jump on a speedboat with Powerboats Glasgow and witness the architectural revival of this historic district in a blur of water spray.
Ready to visit Glasgow? Check out our destination guide for more information - book your train tickets before you travel and you could save over 50%.