Travel in Glasgow in 2012

This blog is posted in three parts, each post a week apart.

Argyle Arcade

I’ve visited – Glasgow – before and been in transit through the city a few times. It’s one of my favourite cities, so when a friend came back from visiting Scotland and said she didn’t care for Glasgow, I was completely shocked.

When I went to Glasgow this time, I was conscious of what could have put her off.  My main reason for going to Glasgow was to do the – Great Scottish Run. The run was brilliant. Over ten thousand people ran the half marathon and it was a dream. No congestion, a course that isn’t ardous and takes you on a tour through the city.

Historically Glasgow was minding it’s own business as a regular medieval town for centuries. In 1707 a treaty allowing Glasgow to trade more freely, combined with it’s excellent loaction brought about rapid changes. Factories flourished and imports and exports as well as ship building on the River Clyde created massive employment opportunities and an influx of people. The city grew beyond recognition. Around the 1950’s trade and manufacture began to move to developing countries and much of the inner city fell into disrepair.

Glasgow Friendly City

Derelict chunks of the inner area were pulled down and tower blocks were built on the periphery to move and re-house large numbers of people. That proved to be a bad idea and many have since been evacuated and imploded. Read more – Red Road Flats – and – Bruce Report. The result of this is that Glasgow is the complete opposite of most cities. It’s been called a doughnut city because it’s hollow in the middle.

The exciting part is the planning and developing that is currently going on in the inner city. Essentially Glasgow is a city busy re-inventing itself. Old Victorian sandstone buildings and – Charles Rennie Mackintosh – architecture sit right next to glass and chrome structures.

Glasgow Cathedral

Although the poplulation of the inner city has shrunk, if you include the out-lying areas, Glasgow is home to 2.5 million people making it the biggest city in Scotland and third biggest in the UK. Edinburgh might be the capital city but Glasgow is the economic powerhouse and the hub of all activity. Glasgow is the biggest shopping destination in the UK after London. It’s crammed full of fun and funky places to eat, play or stay.

The quirky Glaswegians are a massive part of the character of the city. They call Glasgow – The Friendly City – and it truly is. Each time I have asked a passerby for help or directions they have just about taken me to where I want to go.

Modern art at GoMa

Glasgow has a massive art and music scene. In – this blog – I list Glaswegian musicians. And some of the best humour comes from Glaswegian comedians. Think – Billy Connolly – and – Frankie Boyle. Not to forget a new wave of fashion coming from the likes of – Louise Gray, Christopher Kane – and – Holly Fulton.

Tourism in Glasgow isn’t as obvious as in Edinburgh but that’s not to say it isn’t happening. The Commonwealth Games are set for 2014 and Glasgow is bidding for the 2018 Youth Olympics. Glasgow also hosts plenty conferences and exhibitions.

Glasgow Central Station

I guess if you are used to settling into an Alpine lodge or soaking up the sun on a tropical island, then you may not care for Glasgow. But if you love art, music, food, shopping and discovering fun quirky places and spaces then you will surely love Glasgow.

You need to get a map, divide the city into the amount of time you have on hand, and get cracking exploring. Next week I give my suggestions as to what to do.

Here are some handy links for more info on Glasgow –

The Lighthouse

Great Scottish Run

Willow Tearooms
Explore Glasgow
Glasgow Museums
Scottish National Heritage  
City Sightseeing Glasgow
Clyde Clippers
Clyde Cruises
Sail Scotland

Next week in – Part 2 – I make suggestions for a walking tour.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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