Often overlooked in favour of Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, Glasgow’s appeal lies in its eclectic music scene, buzzy nightlife and the friendliness of its people. Grittier and edgier than its famous neighbour, visitors can expect a city brimming with creativity and culture. From the charm and vibrancy of its West End to the rich history of the city’s waterfront, the individuality of Glasgow will have you at hello.
Blythswood Square Hotel
For the perfect blend of history and heritage look no further than the luxurious 5 star Blythswood Square Hotel which, despite its urban location, feels very much like a country retreat. Situated in the epicentre of Glasgow, it is an ideal base for a weekend of exploring the city. Expect stylish suites kitted out in modern fabrics and Insta-worthy bathrooms complete with marble surfaces and sunken bath. For the ultimate indulgence why not visit their decadent spa – try the “Ishga Experience” and enjoy the benefits of 100% organic products made with Scottish seaweed hand-harvested in the Isle of Lewis.
Grand Central Hotel
This stunning hotel – “Glasgow’s Most Loved” according to some – was refurbished in 2011 and is housed in one of Glasgow’s most prestigious Victorian buildings. Relax in the traditional and elegant rooms, which have welcomed the likes of Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill over the years. Adjoining Glasgow’s Central Station, it will suit well-heeled visitors given its proximity to the “Style Mile”; Glasgow’s shopping paradise. If you’re in the mood for an evening of people watching and cocktail quaffing head to the opulent Champagne Central bar where you can enjoy a fabulous cocktail or two – be sure to try The Flying Scotsman.
The Village Hotel
Located next to the banks of the River Clyde, the Village Hotel is a smart, comfortable hotel with striking, contemporary architecture. Boasting a well-equipped gym, steam room, sauna and even a spin studio, guests can work up a sweat before wandering around the City. A stone’s throw from the SSE Hydro – Scotland’s largest entertainment venue which plays host to national and international music megastars – it is perfectly situated for those in town to catch a gig. After the show, follow the crowd to one of the many bars and restaurants in nearby Finnieston – you’ll be spoiled for choice.
A relative newbie to the Glasgow eating scene, this bright, contemporary cafe is the ultimate
in pared back Scandi-chic: think white tiles, bare wood and dashes of greenery. Open from morning to late the extensive menu has all bases covered from savoury protein breakfast rolls to hearty main meals (try the “Not so KFC” burger) and is a go-to for nutritious meals allowing you to “eat with pleasure, not guilt”. With a dedicated “protein parlour” and a wide selection of delicious, wholesome versions of your favourite foods, you’ll be in foodie heaven! For those looking to grab a healthy bite on the go, a takeout menu is also available.
Wilson St. Pantry
Run by husband and wife duo, Neil and Laura, this ultra-stylish eatery brings a touch of New York chic to Glasgow’s Merchant City and is the ultimate daytime destination. Brunch is what they do best – ask to sit at the much loved “big table” and try their sourdough toast with avocado, smoked salt and lemon, washed down with a speciality Papercup coffee. Or perch on the diner style seats at the window and enjoy a glass of wine from the hand-picked menu. With a relaxed vibe it is the ideal place to spend a lazy afternoon after a morning of sightseeing.
The 78 Café Bar
Nestled in the ultra-hip neighbourhood of Finnieston, the 78 Café Bar is spearheading the Glasgow vegan food movement and is the epitome of shabby chic. Don’t be fooled by the no-frills décor as this hugely popular restaurant is serving up tasting vegan comfort food that is sure to delight even the most ardent carnivores. With a fully licensed bar, a DJ spinning the decks every Friday and Saturday and live jazz on a Sunday, grab a seat in one of the vintage armchairs and prepare to spend a chilled evening with friends.
Say goodbye to boring lunches thanks to this buzzy lunch spot offering “healthy, whole, plant based food” which is 100% vegan. The playful menu includes delights such as the “Glasgow Green” smoothie (a nod to the nearby park of the same name) and the “Pastramheat Salad Sandwich” (award-winning, locally sourced, vegan “pastrami”) as well as a selection of hot drinks, juices and wellness lovers’ drink of choice; kombucha. For those looking to indulge their sweet tooth, try the “Snowball”, a healthy take on the Scottish classic coconut covered sponge with a delicious jam filling. If that wasn’t enough, the focus is on local ingredients from ethical, sustainable sources and the packaging is recycled or biodegradable to boot. If “your vibe attracts your tribe” this café with a conscience is sure to appeal to those looking to do good by their body as well as the environment.
The Club Gym
This boutique gym is the brainchild of 3 local personal trainers where the focus is very much on its members with experienced, motivating staff and a real community vibe. Recently crowned “Glasgow’s Best Fitness Venue 2017” at the Glasgow Awards, don’t expect to find uninspiring, run of the mill fitness classes here. Instead choose from varied 30 minute offerings including “All About that bASS” (get ready to plate up and squat and lunge ‘til you drop!) and “Square Go” (a killer boxing-based cardio workout). Between 5.30-7.30pm Monday-Friday they up the ante and you can work out to the sick beats of their resident live DJ Chrissy who turns out club classics. With thoughtful features such as darker lighting and a protein bar where you can refuel after a tough workout, this gym is making waves for all the right reasons.
Merchant City Yoga
A fantastic yoga studio for people who have “better things to do than yoga” – it has garnered a squad of loyal followers thanks to the refreshingly, no-nonsense approach of studio owner and experienced teacher Judi Farrell. The varied timetable caters for all levels, from hard-core yogi enthusiasts to those who don’t know their downward dog from their sausage dog. A thriving haven of tranquillity, you’ll emerge from class feeling lighter, brighter and more balanced. Check out the website for details of their weekend workshops, events and special guest instructors and be sure to book in advance as the hugely popular classes tend to fill up. Namaste!
For those looking to get their (free) cardio fix with a side of culture, head to the Necropolis, a multi-faith Victorian garden cemetery steeped in history. Set atop an impressive hill and next to the Glasgow Cathedral, it is a stunning example of Glasgow’s architectural brilliance and offers a viewpoint over the city. Spanning some 37 acres, an afternoon spent exploring this spooky site of remembrance will get your heart racing for more reasons than one!
words by Danielle Kidd
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