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Glasgow city guide: what to do, see and eat

·4-min read
 (Alamy Stock Photo)
(Alamy Stock Photo)

As world leaders descend on Glasgow this Sunday for COP26, they will realise what some of us have known for ages — Glasgow is one of the world’s most vibrant cities. It means “dear green place” in Gaelic but it has even more than that to offer. There are art galleries, shops, restaurants and bars, not to mention atmosphere. Glaswegians generally take themselves less seriously than their neighbours in Edinburgh.

Not invited to the main event? Head to the COP Fringe, which is full of events from workshops to open mic. It will be busy — Airbnbs are full — but that’s part of the fun.

Here’s your guide to Glasgow.

Green must dos

One thing’s for certain, the eyes of the world will be on the city. And if you needed any reminder about the pristine environment we need to look after, a short trip out of the city will bring you to beautiful islands like Skye, Mull or Bute — where the stately home Mount Stewart displays art inspired by the unique landscapes of the island. The West Highland Way starts on the outskirts of Glasgow and walkers can head to Ben Nevis and climb Britain’s tallest peak. Or for a shorter stroll just loop round Craigmaddie Reservoir.


The Bar

Mono ( is a two-decades-old East End institution. With tables outside and plenty of space inside, you can sip a craft beer brewed on site while listening to live music from Glasgow’s legendary indie scene and you can buy vinyl — there’s a record shop inside. The food is vegan and ethically sourced and they even do baby raves for toddlers. Check out their sister spot Stereo in a Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed building in the city centre.

The Restaurant

Forget the deep-fried pizza, haggis or Mars bars. Glasgow is sometimes termed the vegan capital of the UK and there are dozens of options here, from the cakes at Rawnchy ( to the dhals at Ranjit’s Kitchen ( For south-east Asian flavours head to Suissi ( and sample lotus root crisps with acar or classic vegetable spring rolls. They say no to MSG and food additives too.

 (Suissi Vegan Kitchen)
(Suissi Vegan Kitchen)

The Hotel

CitizenM ( is known for its ethical stance: sustainable building credentials, using technology to reduce energy consumption, fair treatment of suppliers and employees. Pocket-sized rooms come without throwaway thrills like disposable toiletries but with city views and a cool communal area downstairs. They also support World Bicycle Relief, which provides bikes to students in developing nations.

The Sights

Glasgow won’t fail to keep you entertained — live gigs and clubs are second to none and the music scene is legendary, having spawned everyone from Biffy Clyro to Belle & Sebastian. Alan McGee signed Oasis at King Tut’s ( With a cityscape that looks more like New York with its grid of streets, it’s no surprise Glasgow often doubles for American cities — many movies are shot here. For a taste of the life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the renowned architect and designer, head to the Hunterian ( where it looks like a brutalist monster has swallowed the old Mackintosh House.

For the best views of the city — and to clear a hungover head — stroll up to the Glasgow Necropolis where the graves of the rich, powerful and paranoid are laid out across the top of a steep hill overlooking the cathedral on one side and the Tennent’s Brewery on the other — aka heaven and hell.

CitizenM (Glasgow Citizen M)
CitizenM (Glasgow Citizen M)

Get there

Ditch the plane and take the train ( Pack your rucksack — nothing like travelling light to remind you how little you actually need — and cycle to Euston. Book a cycle slot and wheel your bike to the front of the train, where you can park it up and forget about it for the journey. Then it’s straight off at Glasgow Central and you’re ready for two-wheeled adventures around the city. Or it’s easy to take the bike on Scotrail ( services and then CalMac ( ferries to the islands.

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