Glasgow Travel Guide

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Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral

Anne Chang

Glasgow is one of the largest cities in Britain, the third most visited city after London and Edinburgh (by tourists) and probably the friendliest city in the UK, thanks mainly to the warmth, vibrancy and energy of its inhabitants. Once "The second biggest city of the British Empire" and in the forefront of the industrial revolution, the city has undergone a transformation and rejuvenation bringing it into the 21st century, while still maintaining its history. It was the European City of Culture in 1991. Glasgow's carefully preserved Victorian architecture is the largest collection of its kind in the UK and is among the finest you will ever see and has earned the city the honour through 1999 as being the UK City of Architecture and Design. You will find yourself looking upwards and admiring the architecture in the first couple of days of your visit to Glasgow.

No trip to Glasgow would be complete without paying a visit to some of its priceless art collections which contain pieces from all over the world. Indeed the City's Kelvingrove (closed until 2006 for restoration, but much of the collection is still available for viewing in a city centre museum) is currently host to the world famous Dead Sea Scrolls and expects to receive over 2 million visitors in the coming months.

Glasgow is the only UK venue after it toured some of the major museums in the States, such as the Field Museum in Chicago.

The Burrell Collection on the South Side of the river features over 8,000 items from Chinese Ceramics to French Impressionist paintings, all housed within a purpose built gallery set in the scenic Pollok Country Park. The Hunterian Art Gallery in the West End is home to the James McNeill Whistler Collection. The Art Gallery and Museum at Kelvingrove Park houses one of Britain's most priceless and best art collections. Other unique collections include the Museum of Transport in the West End and the once controversial St. Mungo Museum of Art and Religion. A new addition to the range of galleries and museums is the highly popular Museum of Modern Art situated in heart of the City Centre. Many of the galleries and museums offer free admission, giving additional incentive for them not to be missed!

Glasgow boasts Britain's second biggest shopping district. The City Centre area is the largest shopping zone in Britain outside London and contains all the big high street chains as well as a wealth of the unusual. From designer clothes and lively cafe-bars at the Italian Centre or Princes Square to Europe's largest glass covered mall at St Enoch Square or Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street the city has it all. Another major shopping centre, Buchanan Galleries, hosts over 80 of the best high street shops and eateries. In the East End, just minutes from the shopping centres and cafes is the Barras - Glasgow's very own 'flea market'. Alive every weekend with colourful market traders the Barras is the original Glasgow shopping experience. In the West end of the city a host of unusual and specialist outlets can be found.

With 3 major universities and several colleges, Glasgow has a large young and cosmopolitan population. University of Glasgow, one of the 4 oldest universities in Britain (est. 1451) is located in the west-end of the city, and has one of the most beautiful campus areas in the UK. The university's main building is a magnificient gothic style structure located on the top of Gillmorehill, with its tower visible from many parts of the city. The Botanic Gardens are also located nearby- if coming from the University, find Byres Road and turn right.  Follow Byres until it reaches the end, and the gardens will be directly in front of you.  The greenhouses are spectacular, and a walk through the greenhouses is a nice activity in the Winter. University of Strathclyde which is located on the north eastern wing of the city centre has one of the most famous business schools in the UK, as well as the world famous Scottish Hotel School.

Glasgow's history is synonymous with many important figures in science, art and technology such as Lord Kelvin, James Watt, James Maxwell, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Frederick Soddy, Alexander Graham Bell, John Baird, Alexander 'Greek' Thompson, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh; who were either born and brought up in Glasgow, or did part of their research work in the city. Ship building was and still is a major industry in the city; huge ocean liners such as Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth 2 were built on the shipyards of river Clyde.

The Glasgow Subway (dubbed Clockwork Orange) carries more than 14 million passengers a year, and is Britain's 2nd oldest underground system after London (the world's third oldest subway after London and Budapest). It was opened more than 100 years ago in 1896.

One cannot visit Glasgow and pretend that football doesn't exist. there is an intense rivalry between the two major teams in Glasgow which are Celtic and Rangers. If you want to hear 60,000 versions of Billy Connolly in full flight then get a ticket to an "Old Firm" match. The banter or "patter" as it is called, between rival supporters and the comments about their own team members human failings etc. is what inspires comedians such as Billy Connolly to paint vivid verbal pictures of Scottish philosophies and their unique view of the world. Virtually every pub in Glasgow has an endless supply of mini-Billy Connollys the only difference being that the average punter runs out of "patter" and gets more involved in his drinking than does the unstoppable Mr Connolly.


December 07, 2004 change by giorgio

July 05, 2007 change by lpx

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