Glasgow is home to grand architecture, trendy shopping streets, outstanding parks and even the odd rooftop bar. Famous for its bouncing music scene and cultural credentials, Scotland’s largest city is a fun, friendly and upbeat destination.
Art lovers will find museums dedicated to European art and history including the fabulous Kelvingrove in the city’s west end. You’ll also find vintage shops and high-street outlets side-by-side on pedestrian-friendly streets in the city centre.
This is a city with lots of personality – no wonder it has produced so many artists, musicians and comedians who we all know and love. So, pick a street, book a hotel and start exploring this amazing place. Here’s some inspiration to get you started.
1. Cathedral Square
One of several magnificent public squares in the city centre, Cathedral Square definitely has the wow factor. Don’t miss a trip inside the ancient Glasgow Cathedral with its gothic arches, one of the oldest buildings in the city.
Stay: Cathedral House Hotel, 28-32 Cathedral Square. Built in Scottish Baronial style back in the 19th century, Cathedral House Hotel is now a thoughtfully renovated boutique inn. Stay in one of eight unique bedrooms and enjoy time in The Green Room Café Bar. A relaxed and welcoming base for your city break.
Street Secret: When Cathedral House was built, it was used to hold prisoners who had recently been released from the neighbouring Duke Street Prison. Duke Street Prison was infamous for its terrible living conditions, and it housed – and executed – some of Scotland’s worst criminals. It’s said that the ghosts of some former prisoners still pay a visit to the hotel… if you believe that sort of thing!
2. Great Western Road
Stretching for over 3 miles through Glasgow, the Great Western Road is the city’s longest. Along this fine tree-lined street you’ll find terraced houses and villas, chic restaurants and bars, and quirky shops. Don’t miss St Mary’s Cathedral, a beautifully designed 19th century building. The Glasgow Botanic Gardens lie to the north.
Stay: Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor, 1- 9 Grosvenor Terrace. Just off the Great Western Road and within walking distance of Glasgow University, the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel is the perfect place to stay during your visit to Glasgow. Enjoy great local produce in the highly acclaimed Bo’vine Restaurant and cocktails in the award-winning Bobar.
Street Secret: Kibble Palace, the magnificent glass heart of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, was once an eccentric Victorian’s conservatory! In 1873, John Kibble made an agreement with the Royal Botanic Institution to have it transferred to the Gardens – on the condition he could retain the use of the glasshouse for entertaining his guests.
3. Blythswood Square
This luxurious corner of Glasgow’s city-centre dates back to the early 19th century and you’ll have shops, bars, museums and landmarks all on your doorstep.
Stay: Blythswood Square, 11 Blythswood Square. Well known for its elegant décor and outstanding service, the Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel continues to live up to the prestigious address it has held since the early 19th century.
Street Secret: In the 1950s and ’60s, the Monte Carlo Rally, a long-distance race, regularly started in Blythswood Square. Well-wishers would flood the square to bid the drivers adieu on their way to the French Riviera.
4. West George Street
If you fancy staying right in the heart of the city then West George Street is a great choice. This street is surrounded by shops, galleries and restaurants. In the morning you could go shopping on Sauchiehall Street and in the afternoon, you could stop by the Gallery of Modern Art. Who knows what the evening will have in store?
Stay: Malmaison Glasgow, 278 West George Street. This Glasgow hotel will provide a haven from the city centre – the perfect contrast to a busy day out exploring. If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury break, the Malmaison’s Duplex Suite is a gorgeous room with skylights offering unrivalled views over Glasgow.
Street Secret: The Malmaison Glasgow hotel was once St Jude’s – a Greek Orthodox Church designed by architect John Stephen and built in 1838. The building was converted to a boutique hotel in 1994 but retained the stunning Greek Revival façade.
5. Hope Street
Did you know that Glasgow is often used as a filming location for Hollywood blockbusters? The towering buildings and lively atmosphere of Hope Street is as close as you’ll get to New York City in Scotland. This is the location for you if you love the city lifestyle!
Hotel: Artto Hotel, 37- 39 Hope Street. Expect attention to detail and an emphasis on excellent customer service at this very pleasant and good value contemporary hotel.
Street Secret: The first place in the world you could watch TV was Glasgow. Scottish engineer John Logie Baird transmitted the first moving images in 1926 from London’s Royal Institution to the Grand Central Hotel beside the city’s Central Station.
6. Sherbrooke Avenue
Sherbrooke Avenue is in the Pollokshields conservation area on the southside of Glasgow. This garden suburb is full of attractive villas, terraces, tenements and parks. Nearby Bellahouston Park is home to ‘House for an Art Lover’ which was designed by the internationally renowned architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Stay: Sherbrooke Castle, 11 Sherbrooke Avenue. Crafted in rich red sandstone, Sherbrooke Castle is a magnificent baronial building with luxury bedrooms, a bar, and restaurant. Despite being located in a prestigious residential area and set in its own grounds, the hotel is only five minutes from the city centre.
Street Secret: During the Second World War, Sherbrooke Castle was commissioned by the Royal Navy and was used as a radar training centre.
7. High Street
One of Glasgow’s oldest streets, if not the oldest, High Street was the city’s main thoroughfare in medieval times. Before the West End existed, the High Street was home to Glasgow University, and buildings like the Old Tolbooth still impress today. Today the street is also famous for the mural of St Mungo at the northern end.
Stay: Moxy, 210 High Street. This stylish and affordable hotel has all the must-see places within walking distance. But if you feel like staying in, you will be very comfortable too, with chic rooms and a welcoming atmosphere.
Street Secret: Walk towards the Clyde to discover The Tolbooth Steeple, which was erected in the late 16th century. This was the place where witches, thieves and murderers met their fate.
8. St Vincent Street
If you love the hustle and bustle of the city centre with its restaurants, bars and music venues, then St Vincent Street is for you. Although temporarily closed, nearby King Tut’s is one of the city’s best loved venues for up-and-coming bands. The street runs westwards from George Square and Buchanan Street until it meets Argyle Street at Finnieston in the city’s West End.
Stay: Native, 14 St Vincent Place. This hotel in Glasgow city centre draws on the opulence of a 1920s ocean liner. You’ll see the original features kept intact with terrazzo flooring, timber wall-panelling, stunning fireplaces and the original safes. With two on-site restaurants it’s the perfect base to explore Glasgow.
Street Secret: St Vincent Street was home to the Edwardian Anchor Building built in 1905 and HQ for the Anchor Line Shipping company. This was the place you came to get your tickets to set sail across the globe on elegant ocean liners. Look closely at the building today which is still adorned with nautical emblems of seaweed, shells and sailors.
Inspired to visit Glasgow? Make the most of your time in the city with this 48-hour itinerary. What other local secrets will you discover?
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