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When you first arrive in Glasgow, your first impression is of an earthy, dignified city, with a wealthy industrial past that’s clearly evident in the solid and impressive Victorian architecture.
But scratch a little below the surface of Scotland’s largest city and you’ll discover an endlessly cosmopolitan and friendly place packed with top-notch restaurants, stylish bars and some of the best live music in the UK, with a gritty urban edge that is distinctively and proudly Glaswegian. In 1990 Glasgow was named European Capital of Culture, and this prompted a huge investment in the city which, 25 years on, is now a cool and sophisticated metropolis that will surprise and delight you at every turn. Whether you're visiting for a short stay or a longer term business trip, you'll find Glasgow never ceases to entertain.
Restaurants in Glasgow
Glasgow’s restaurant scene is diverse, distinctive and authentic – much like the Glaswegian people, dining out is about taking pride in your menu and keeping it real, without fancy frills or any of that hipster nonsense you find down in London.
You’ll find impressive eating places throughout the city, offering everything from worldwide cuisine to local specialities like porridge and haggis, along with an abundance of outstanding seafood restaurants that give a nod to the food eaten by Glasgow’s earliest settlers.
For great bars, clubs and live music venues, head for the Merchant Quarter – many of the bars also serve great food, so it’s an ideal place to eat, drink and relax before heading off to a gig.
Shopping in Glasgow
The best thing about shopping in Glasgow is how many shops they’ve managed to cram into such a compact shopping area – it’s known as the Style Mile, and is home to all the major retailers, as well as a fabulous selection of independent boutiques, designer stores, and quirky speciality shops tucked away in historic arcades.
Glasgow shopping is famously unstuffy and inclusive – you’ll be made as welcome in the designer boutiques as you are in M&S. If you love jewellery, head for the Argyll Arcade, which dates back to 1827 and includes 32 specialist shops selling everything from antique pieces to unique contemporary styles.
Glasgow has a rich ship building, manufacturing and brewing history, which still continues today in the form of two naval shipyards run by BAE Systems Maritime, and a number of manufacturing firms including Weir Group and whiskey manufacturers Whyte and Mackay and the Edrington Group.
In more recent years, Glasgow has become home to a growing number of financial and business services companies, and is now one of Europe’s top financial centres. Glasgow has a big call centre industry too, with call centres for companies like Lloyds TSB and Direct Line based in the city.
Transport in Glasgow
Glasgow is just an hour’s flight from London, or 4.5 hours by train from Euston. The city itself is built on a grid street system, so it’s easy to navigate once you leave your serviced apartment, with a nicely compact city centre that’s lovely to explore on foot.
If you get caught out by the infamous Scottish weather, you can easily jump on one of the 100 bus routes around the city, or head for the subway, which runs every five minutes on a circuit of 15 stations around the city centre and west end.
Glasgow cabbies are some of the most friendly and chatty in the world, and you can flag their black cabs down in the street if the yellow light is on.
Facts about Glasgow
Like any big city, Glasgow has its fair share of crime and areas that you probably wouldn’t want to find yourself alone in late at night. The usual rules apply – stick to the well-lit areas and make use of the abundant cabs and buses to get home safely.
We’d also recommend women avoid walking alone in the Anderston/Blythswood Square area, as this is Glasgow’s red light district.