I’ve been afflicted most of my life. It comes and goes in severity but it is always there in one form or another, bubbling under the surface, waiting for the opportunity to strike. I’m talking about the travel bug. I’m sure most people reading this blog will be able to relate and have suffered a severe case of itchy feet themselves. Sometimes you can give into the whim and drop everything and hit the road, but other times other commitments and finances keep you where you are.
So what do you do when you get the travel bug but can’t hit the road? I recently read a Rough Guides article on how you can beat the travel bug if you can’t get away. One of the tips was to do something exciting at home. This inspired me to look at the city I currently live in, Glasgow, with the fresh new eyes of a tourist and explore all there is to do. So, here goes, a top 5 list of things to do in Glasgow from a perspective of a born-again tourist.
Glasgow has a huge number of museums; it was the European City of Culture 1990 after all. There is Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum for your stuffed mammals and impressive painting collections, including Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross. The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel for a bit of transport nostalgia, the highlight of which is the actual trip down memory lane in the recreated old street. The Burrell Collection is in a gorgeous location and houses the eclectic mix of Sir Williams Burrell’s private collection which he gifted to the people of Glasgow – expect everything from Chinese art to stained glass to sculptures to door frames. And the best bit – they are all free! Perfect for a rainy day.
And if the rain goes off, most of these museums are conveniently located next to parks. The Burrell Collection is located within Pollock Country Park, which is big enough that you can get away from the crowds and find a quite bit for a picnic. Kelvingrove Art Gallery is next to Kelvingrove Park, a huge park that has tennis courts, bowling greens, skate parks and good old expanses of grass for those that want to sit and chill. It links trendy Finnieston to the trendier West End and is a great place to people watch. If you like your walks a wee bit more creepy, head to Glasgow’s Necropolis to for a walk around this Victorian cemetery and reward yourself with an amazing view of the city. I went at sunset for some amazing photos.
Posh pubs, cheap pubs, theme pubs, pubs with beer gardens – Glasgow has the lot. Although I didn’t have to increase my pub usage for the blog post, I will share with you a few of my favourites. Blue Dog is my favourite posh pub, as they serve your standard cocktails as well as more unusual ones and all are amazing! Bar West wins for the best themed bar and beer garden for its take on a traditional German brewery, though if the sun makes an appearance you have to get there quick as it rapidly fills up.
City Tour Bus
To make visiting the best pubs, parks, and museums even easier, I tried out one of the hop on and hop off bus tours that travel around the city. It was really good fun, but make sure you go early. Later in the evening the guide is replaced by pre-recorded audio, which although informative really wasn’t as funny as the real guides on during the day.
Glasgow has some fantastic gig venues, from the new kid on the block, the monolithic Hydro to the shabby but much loved Barras. As few tourists will have booked a concert beforehand, for the purpose of this blog, I decided to go to a gig at random at King Tut’s. Although the music wasn’t particularly my bag, King Tut’s had a great atmosphere and it’s such a small venue I could easily see the band (I’m short so this makes a huge difference!) It was a great night and something I would do more often as Glasgow has loads of small venues where you can see bands for very little.
I had a great few weeks revisiting all the places I take for granted, but would probably appreciate as a tourist. What places would you visit in your hometown? Or if you’ve done this, what unknown delights did you find?