We visited Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. Our three-day visit gave us plenty ideas on what the city is all about. A thriving music scene with a multicultural feel, this city is a typical concrete jungle with pros and cons. Here are the highlights of our time here:
We stayed along River Clyde in city center, near the SSE Hydro arena. Our hotel faced the river and provided a good night rest away from the commotion.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Glasgow is known for its museums, so we scoped out the popular must-see Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. What I liked most about this free museum is its architecture, particularly the inside. While exploring the different galleries, we discovered everything from art to animals, Ancient Egypt artifacts to Dali’s most famous painting of Christ.
The Floating Heads installation is an eye-catcher. The fifty faces convey the myriad human emotions.
Hidden in a dark path, down a tiny cobbled lane was once a former stable that is now the home to Tchai Ovna, a funky vegetarian tea house set in the West End. Inside, the place feels like a dive, a place where people take their shoes off and get comfy, high off of some hallucinogenic drug. Though it is a veg place, Tchai Ovna is featured as a hidden-gem-of-a-place to visit in Glasgow.
In Merchant City area, old Victorian and Gothic buildings surround modern ones, clashing like the wild strokes of a chaotic painting. It was madness to the eyes, but in a good kind of way.
At Picnic, a health-based vegan restaurant, we both ordered the Raw Pad Thai salad with a customized oil-free dressing, paired with fresh juice and smoothie. This little place has a decent selection of wraps, sandwiches, curry-of-the-day, soup, and desserts. If you want a good range of healthy whole food options, then Picnic is the place.
Over in the West End, the neighborhood is a blend of bohemian, intellectual and trendy. It’s probably my favorite area of Glasgow and the most concentrated location for plant-based eats.
Not too far from the strip of shops and restaurants on Great Western Road, the Botanic Garden consists of several glasshouses. The Kibble Palace is the grandest of them all.
Serenity Now is a new vegan cafe that serves breakfast, brunch, baked goods, juices, and even baked treats for furry friends. The place is inspired by the show Seinfield. We LOVE the show, so I got a kick out of seeing all things from the comedy.
We both ordered the Serenity Now smoothie bowl, a blend of kale, spinach, mango, banana, and almond milk, topped with granola, berries, coconut shreds, and a mango popsicle made from and molded with just blended mangoes and water.
University of Glasgow
Our final stop was to the University of Glasgow. Founded in 1451, it is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities. I love architecture, especially Gothic, so we toured the campus.
The Cloisters, or the Undercroft, is a beautiful spot, with its impressive archways and fluted columns. Famous and widely visited, the Undercroft was filmed in Cloud Atlas and Outlander.
I got more Gothic fix by visiting Glasgow Cathedral. Founded by St. Mungo, the cathedral was built in the 1100s. It has survived the Protestant Reformation, boasting with honor and history in the East End.
On a hill above Glasgow Cathedral is Necropolis, Glasgow’s City of the Dead. The Victorian cemetery contains fifty thousand bodies buried, with some impressive gravestones, sculptures and monuments.
From the hill, the view of the city and the cathedral can’t be missed.
Three days in Glasgow is plenty to experience the city’s culture and vibe. It is one place in Scotland we felt was quite different from other areas of the country. A good visit, we enjoyed our time, but we much prefer the small towns, the countryside, and the smaller and laid-back cities like Edinburgh better.