A trip to Glasgow: art galleries, restaurants and cafes to visit

Recently, I had a four day weekend to play with, and with the allure of spontaneity, I decided that I wanted to escape to somewhere in the UK I've never explored before. After countless deliberations with myself and a few searches online, I settled on Glasgow.

I really enjoyed my time in Glasgow and I wanted to share with you some recommendations and tips from my time there. That way you can spend less time finding places/things to do and more time enjoying yourselves.

Where to stay

Originally I was looking around for a hotel but just to entertain the thought, I checked out what Airbnb had to offer. To my surprise, I found a place for half the price in Finnieston, which is in western Glasgow and very close to the University. It was perfect, and I can't recommend staying in that area enough.

One of the great things about staying in an Airbnb is the local recommendations and knowledge of the area which, when thinking about it, really made my trip as good as it was. I'll definitely be taking this into account for my next trip.

Places to eat

My Airbnb host Colin really excelled in this area and I'm extremely grateful that he took the time to send me over all of his recommendations. They're all worth checking out and I can guarantee that you will find something takes your fancy. Also it's worth bearing in mind that a lot of these places are in the west, near where I was staying.

Five March

Modern/Delicious

Five March was the 'local' place for where I was staying and I concur with the Herald Scotland, it was delicious and the whole aesthetic and vibe of the restaurant is pretty much everything I love.

I had the:

  • Mussels, chilli jam, coconut milk, peas, toast
  • Squid, chorizo, cider, cous cous, almond cream, garlic breadcrumb

Both extremely delicious but my firm favourite was the squid and chorizo cous cous, which was insanely good.

Singl-end

Breakfast/Brunch

For breakfast/brunch, Singl-end is superb. I went here for breakfast on the first morning and it lived up to high expectations. I had the meaty breakfast (I was in that kind of mood) and surprisingly polished it all off.

Paesano

Cheap/Tasty

If you like pizza, Paesano is great (and very cheap). I went to the Great Western Road branch on the second night and naively didn't book a table, thinking it wouldn't be busy (I was dead wrong). Luckily, I could grab a take out and strolled on back to the Airbnb, taking in the views.

I had the number 5 - Prosciutto cotto (Italian cooked ham) with mushrooms, tomato sugo, mozzarella and evoo and it was delicious.

Those were the ones I checked out personally in my short time in Glasgow, but Colin had many more recommendations that I didn't get chance to check out:

  • Mora serves very affordable good Italian food.
  • If you're wanting to spend a little bit more money, Alchemila is good (sadly closed at the moment)
  • The original chef/owner of Alchemilla has now set up her own restaurant, Gloriosa, which is also very good.
  • If you like steaks - Porter and Rye is the place to go for meat.
  • ...alternatively, The 78 is good for vegan and very cheap.
  • Also very good for vegan is Saramago, at the local Centre for Contemporary Arts
  • The Gannet is 'fine dining'! Expensive but very good.
  • Ox and Finch serves 'small plates' and can be very popular and hard to get a table, but the food is also very good
  • The Buttery is a Glasgow institution and has a wonderful wood-panelled interior to match the classic food
  • Glasgow's well known for good Indian food, and this is our best local Indian restaurant, Mother India
  • For lunch, Mackintosh at the Willow is a beautifully restored cafe designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh

Art Galleries and Museums

Glasgow has a huge selection of galleries and museums to visit and being the fine art graduate that I am, I tried to visit as many of them as I could (yes I did walk 40km over 2 days, and yes my feet were sore).

A breathtaking building with contents to match, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a superb place to visit if you enjoy art history, animals and Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egypt gallery in particular was a highlight for me, with incredibly interesting narratives and beautifully preserved artefacts.
Hosts a year-round programme of exhibitions, events, films, music, literature, workshops, festivals and performances. A super diverse space with a lot to offer. Also, home to the Saramengo Cafe which was mentioned earlier in this post.
Situated in the heart of Glasgow and a firm favourite for many that visit. Personally I wasn't all that impressed by the permanent display charting the history of the building but the rest was pretty good.
Created with a means to provide a platform for new artistic practices that were under-represented in the city at the time, Transmission houses some of the more exciting, experimental works in Glasgow. On my visit I got to experience Zinzi Minott’s solo exhibition Bloodsound.

The Modern Institute

Small Modern Space

If you're a fan of spaces with pristine white walls, polished concrete floors and modern art, The Modern Institute will be for you. A petite gallery which definitely adds a contemporary touch to the scene.

Cafe's

If you enjoy experiencing cafe's in cities you visit, you won't be disappointed by what Glasgow has to offer. I didn't get to spend as much time in cafe's as I usually would, but I'll write below all of the ones I visited and the ones I had on my list to try.

My first stop when I arrived into Glasgow and a great spot to have a delicious coffee served by a friendly team in a relaxed atmosphere. It was nice to sit by the window and take in my first impressions of Glasgow.

Perch and Rest Coffee

Friendly/Pastries

I stopped in here on my way to the Botanic gardens and got chatting to a couple of friendly guys who gave me a couple of ideas of where to check out nearby. I left with a cup of tea and a superb Pain au Chocolat (one of the better ones I've had).

Willow Grove Coffee

Relaxed/Vegan Cakes

I stumbled upon Willow Grove Coffee by chance on my way back from exploring the centre. The weather wasn't particularly fantastic at the time so I tucked myself away for half an hour or so with a coffee and a cake. I'm very glad I did and I'd definitely go again.

Some other places I had on my list:

This post ended up a little longer than first anticipated but if you do find yourself in Glasgow any time soon, I hope you enjoy your time there and the recommendations above become useful.

If you're a Glasgow local or someone who visits there regularly and I have missed some exceptional places to visit please don't hesitate to shoot me a message and I'll get it added with credit.