Tips from 35,000 Feet: Glasgow

By: Katie Manning

January 10, 2013

Touching down in Glasgow, the first stop from the airport for us is often the Stravaigin Cafe on Gibson Street. We have a culinary crush on the Scottish staples from their main menu: the Jamaican pimento-spiced haggis, neeps and tatties are a must for those seeking Scottish fayre with a bit of bite. If we fly in early, their good value Sunday brunch offers everything from a Full Scottish Breakfast to the Asian-inspired Nasi Goreng with a Scottish twist; their “˜Pick Me Up Refreshers’ menu, which includes a lip smackingly good “˜best in the West’ Bloody Mary rounds things off nicely.
Stravaigin Cafe | Glasgow
Stravaigin Cafe © Stravaigin

No trip to Glasgow would be complete for us without heading to some of the city’s live music venues – which double up nicely, incidentally, as some of the Glasgow’s most interesting drinking wells. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and the Barrowlands are undoubtedly two of the best known institutions, but for something a bit more low key, we can’t better Distill (formerly Ivy) on Argyle Street, with its vast rum menu, weekend DJs and live music nights. Its in close proximity to The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (the most visited museum outside of London, folks) makes this an all round great spot. A short subway ride away and also worth a jaunt is The Horseshoe Bar, on Glasgow’s Drury Street, famed for making the Guinness Book of Records for having the longest bar in the UK (31.4 metres, if you’re curious). We make our escape before the nightly karaoke kicks in, though…

Distill | Glasgow

Distill Glasgow © Distill

We never tire of the Riverside Museum, Scotland’s Museum of Transport and Travel. This amazing piece of architecture by Zaha Hadid sits on the Clyde, across from the old Govan dockyards. The recently acquired South African locomotive is the largest exhibit in the Glasgow Museums’ collection. On a sunny day, the museum cafe’s a great spot to sit and people watch.

The Riverside Museum | Glasgow
The Riverside Museum © Glasgow City Council (Glasgow Museums)

When it comes to where to stop the night, we’re a bit smitten with Glasgow’s recently refurbed Grand Central Hotel. Sitting adjacent to the city’s Central Station, the hotel was originally designed by Scottish architect Robert Rowand Anderson. In a nice twist, it can boast to playing its own part in history, being the venue from which the world’s first long-distance television pictures were transmitted by John Logie Baird in 1927.

Grand Central Hotel | Glasgow
Grand Central Hotel © Grand Central Hotel

Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places