Wandering the streets of Glasgow, one would hardly recognize the industrial city of the past and since I only had 10 hours here, I left my bag in a locker at Buchanan bus station and headed out. After London, Glasgow has become the largest and best shopping city in the UK, with the main shopping areas located along Buchanan Street, Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street. If you are searching for the perfect diamond or a lovely piece of jewellery to remind you of your time in Glasgow, The Argyll Arcade, found in the shopping district, hosts over 30 jewellers and diamond merchants selling a mix of modern and vintage pieces.
As I walked along, I came across a highlander band, with gruff looking men in kilts playing the bagpipes and drums.
They were incredible and I spent quite a long time standing there listening, taking pictures and video. The random events you come across while traveling are definitely my favourite part of being in a new country.
As well as being a shopping city, Glasgow is also a theatre city. The Royal Scottish Academy of Drama and Music is found here, as well as, Royal Concert Hall, King’s Theatre, Citizens Theatre, Theatre Royal and many more.
This city also has a number of movie theatres, one of which I ended my day at watching ‘Eclipse’ with a bunch of Glaswegian teenagers! From the top of The Lighthouse’s sixth story, you get a great view of the city and a much deserved break after climbing up the last 3 flights of circular stairs to the Mackintosh Tower.
Built in 1995, The Lighthouse was created in anticipation of Glasgow’s role as UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999. The tall, thin building, in the alley off Buchanan Street, was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the back of the old printing office for the Glasgow Herald.
One of the most famous buildings in Glasgow is the Glasgow Cathedral, finished in 1197, this was the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to survive the Reformation virtually intact. A wedding was taking place in the front part, but the room at the back was open and inside were some of the most beautiful stained glass windows I had ever seen.
At the back of the Cathedral, you can wander down into the crypt, where St. Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow, is buried. Outside is the Necropolis, a large graveyard surrounded by lush green trees and bushes.
While in Scotland, I seemed to spend a lot of my time wandering around these big, old cemeteries looking at the beautiful old monuments and tombstones scattered amongst the hills here.
George Square, which stretches out in front of the city council buildings, has statues of famous Glaswegians like Robert Burns, and offers the perfect place to stop for a coffee at one of the independent coffeehouses nearby. The Gallery of Modern Art is located nearby, with intricate mosaic art decorating the front entrance and a Starbucks if you are craving a taste of home!
Glasgow Harbour is found at the other side of town, with its famous tall ship docked there for all to enjoy. The Science Centre and Imax theatre are also found here, along with Glasgow Tower, the tallest tower in Scotland and BBC Scotland. Clyde Auditorium, an interesting piece of the city’s architecture (better known as the ‘Armadillo’ due to its appearance), is also located here and hosts most of the city’s major music events.
With Glasgow’s mix of classical and modern architecture, beautiful green spaces, rich history and ever growing shopping district, this city’s appeal captures both the backpacker looking for fun and the sophisticated traveler in search of culture.