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If you’re going to have a full day wandering the streets of Glasgow then you’re going to need a pretty hefty amount of scran. Enter Cafe Strange Brew stage right.
Serving amazing cuisine from around the world (Turkish eggs anyone?) this is a fantastic place to fuel up before you uncover the secrets of the city. It's independent, it's a local favourite and it's got great food – what a way to start the day... Cafe Strange Brew, Pollokshaws Road, G41 3XA
Buchanan Street (a three-minute stroll from Glasgow Central Station) is your starting point, this is the main shopping thoroughfare in Glasgow’s ‘Style Mile’. Here you’ll find posher high street brands and half way along the street there’s Princes Square, an ornate glazed mall with restaurants, coffee shops, a cinema and even more shops.
At the end of the street nearest to Queen Street Station, you’ll find Buchanan Galleries with 80 more shops (as well as a Boots for all those toiletries you forgot to pack).
To rummage through some independents, jump on the subway to Hillhead and you’ll find Cresswell Lane that connects to Ashton Lane. These little ginnels have all the vintage and retro shops you’ll need.
Glasgow has plenty of places for a lunch stop and all your regular brands can be found here… but, this is your weekend away, so why not try a local's favourite.
Right around the corner from Hillhead station ‘The Chip’ has a bar, restaurant and brasserie and has been filling Glaswegians with amazing food and drink for 40 years. In the restaurant, the food is heritage veg, local fish and Aberdeen Angus beef. Most mains are in the £20 bracket while (at the time of writing) the steaks start at £30. The Ubiquitous Chip, Ashton Lane, G12 8SJ
First up, head to Kelvingrove Park. Here you get 85 acres of beautiful public space that gives the river Kelvin a hug before it hits the Clyde. It’s also home to a bandstand that plays live music in the evenings… not like that, we mean actual music (this year sees Spiritualized, Burt Bacharach, Suede, Patti Smith, Father John Misty and more scrape-your-jaw-off-the-floor acts besides).
Once you’re done with the park (and by aiming your meander in a specifically circuitous direction) you'll be right outside Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (Argyle St, G3 8AG). Here you’ll find 22 rooms filled with 8,000 fascinating artefacts from ancient Egypt to, well, now.
There are more galleries and museums in Glasgow to scout out including the incredible Gallery of Modern Art that you’ll find in the centre of the city. This is the most visited gallery in Scotland with an amazing standing collection and a vibrant exhibition list too. However, that traffic cone on the statue outside, that isn't officially art... yet. It started off as a hijinks and has now become a tradition, so it’s surely only a matter of time before it’s fully canonised.
When it comes to time for a tipple... let’s just say Glasgow knows what it’s doing. There are whisky bars, gin bars, raucous live music venues, genteel pubs and, well, think of a drinking establishment. Yep, they've got that. These are a couple of our favourites:
This place is a real find and has been since 1896 when it first opened its doors. It does very well on the food front but for now, we’re here for the cocktails. They are as bold, elegant and eye-catching as the surroundings. Kelvingrove Cafe, Argyle Street, G3 8TB
Glasgow does pretty well in the ‘old man’ pub stakes too, and The Allison Arms stands out in the field. It looks, well, interesting from the outside and is a steadfastly old-school pub, so probably not one to try if you’re after a quiet night chatting about Proust. The Allison Arms, Pollokshaws Rd, G41 2AD
Named for Jacques Brel, the famously sonorous Belgian – Brel specialises in beers from Europe. They also serve fast and fun foods and even have an outdoor space with a fire pit. Brel Bar, Ashton Ln, G12 8SJ
We’ve talked about Ox and Finch as being one of the best places in the country before, so it goes without saying you won’t go wrong there. And we also mentioned the Ubiquitous Chip (just up there). But Glasgow is as brilliant with its evening meals as it is with everything else, so you could also consider:
It describes itself as a ‘neighbourhood favourite’ but Number 16’s fan club stretches further than that. Sophisticated food in a relaxed atmosphere is the story here and just perfect for swapping tales and forkfuls of food over the table (depending on the company, of course). Number 16, Byrne Road, G11 5JY
On a Sunday morning, it’s always good to go for an amble and, incredibly, Glasgow has one walk that snakes right through the middle of the city, takes in stunning views and also has a potential (and legitimate!) opt-out even before you start.
The Kelvin Walkway starts at the Riverside Museum (100 Pointhouse Rd, G3 8RS) and leads along the Kelvin’s banks through to the countryside. However, you could easily just take the walk until you get to The Botanics, frolic through the fancy foliage and then double back and head down to the city again through Hillhead. Or, you could plan the route, have the best intentions, and then spend all Sunday morning at the Riverside Museum.
When you want a Sunday roast, you really want a pub – and The Drake is a great one. Geographically it sits between the independents and students of the West End, and the sophistication and shopping of the city centre. What about the food? It performs the same balancing act. The roast is down to earth yet out of this world, and it’s the perfect meal to get you set for a relaxing train journey back home. The Drake, Lynedoch Street, G3 6EF
And that's it, that's one plan for an amazing time in Glasgow. But you'd be hard pressed not having a brilliant time here whatever your peccadillos. This is one of the North's greatest cities and rewards visitors in spades. Seriously, book your ticket today.