Glasgow: tips from an insider

Debbie’s insider tips on Glasgow will ensure you don’t waste a minute in the city.

Although Debbie has lived in Melbourne for over 10 years, she is essentially a Glasgow girl at heart, and thanks to her annual trip home, she still considers herself a local. So, if you’re planning trip to this dear green place, here are her insider’s tips.

Best coffee
If you’re a fan of chain coffee stores such as Starbucks, then your coffee fix is covered in Glasgow. However, if you prefer your coffee to be drinkable and come in sizes you can actually finish drinking, then you may struggle. There are a couple of places worth hunting down, and they’re both in the West End. Meadow Road on Dumbarton Road is the best – it even serves a flat white – and Avenue Coffee, at the corner of Byres Road and Great Western Road, roasts its own beans and the coffee isn’t bad.

Best cocktail
Unlike good coffee shops, cocktail bars in Glasgow are in abundance – you’ll be spoiled for choice. When home, I head straight for The Corinthian Club on Ingram Street, parallel to George Square. Kir Royal is the cocktail worth having – it even comes in one of those delightful 1960s champagne saucers.

two champagne saucers on a table in the corinthian bar in glasgow 

Best breakfast

Seriously, Glasgow does a cooked breakfast better than anywhere but it’s not for the faint (or poorly) hearted. Traditionally consisting of fried eggs, sliced (square) sausage, bacon, potato scone and black pudding, with mushrooms or tomato as extras, it’s a dish that will set you up for the day. Although you can get a variation all around the city and for as little as just a few pounds, The Piper’s Tryst at the National Piping Centre offers breakfast from 8am, and if you don’t fancy a full fry-up, you can try a dish of kedgeree.

Best local view
Glasgow is a hilly city so it’s not difficult to get a great view. Although slightly morbid, the Glasgow Necropolis is a graveyard next to Glasgow Cathedral that winds up the side of a hill and offers great views of the city. It has the added attraction of being able to read the stories on the headstones along the way.

One fun thing you can do for free
You’ll be spoiled for choice, as all museums in Glasgow have free entry. Whether it’s the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art that takes your fancy or the more traditional Kelvingrove Art Gallery, art in the city is a major attraction. However, for a real taste of what the city is all about, treat yourself to a pint (yes, you’ll have to pay for the drink) in the Horseshoe Bar and hear what the colourful locals have to say – the chat is free.

horseshoe bar glasgow 

Something only a local knows about
A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Òran Mór (a converted church on the corner of Great Western Road and Byres Road) is a fun way to spend a lunchtime. Head there on a Wednesday and you’ll only pay £10, rather than the usual £12.50, for some theatre with, as the name suggests, a pie and a pint thrown in.

A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Òran Mór 

Favourite thing to do in and around the area
Technically speaking, my favourite spot is actually a 45-minute drive outside of Glasgow – or you can get a bus that takes about an hour. Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond is so peaceful and picturesque, and is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Go on cold day and enjoy a hot chocolate by the open fire at The Lodge on the Loch.

Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond Glasgow 

Why do you love this town?
Honestly, I love this city because it’s home – no matter how far you travel, you’re soon reminded of your roots when your feet hit the pavements of Glasgow. Although it may have blossomed from a working-class city famous for its docks and merchant history to a truly cosmopolitan destination, the self-deprecating humour of the locals ensures that it never gets any ideas above its station.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    5th Mar 2016
    I've always found that it's worth the expense of getting an interpreter as Glaswegian is a very hard language to understand.
    5th Mar 2016
    Another great place to see is the Town Hall. The longest marble staircase (featured in Dr Zhivago) and also one of the court rooms is made of lovely Australian woods. The whole place is very interesting. Also really interesting is the old cemetery near St Mongos Church. Amazing reading some of the headstones and how many famous people are from Glasgow.
    5th Mar 2016
    My wife and I had a wonderful time with the friendly locals at the Harp Hotel, near the Sunday Market
    6th Mar 2016
    The People's Palace on Glasgow Green is very special, as is the Green itself when the vandals haven't been too active!

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