When I ran daytrips last year, the final question on the evaluation form was ‘Where else would you like us to run a trip?’ and the answer that came up most frequently, and most surprisingly for me, was Glasgow. Sure it was the City of Culture and the Commonwealth Games were approaching, but to me it had always seemed just the second biggest city in Scotland, so I was fairly intrigued to visit a friend who had just moved there. 5 and a half hours on the train later and my first surprise was that it wasn’t much colder than Nottingham!
As boring as it sounds, one of my favourite things to do is just wander about. You can google and plan all you like but often it is the views you chance upon that are the best. While she was at work, I took Friday to get my bearings and get a feel for Glasgow. The riverside was not as interesting as I expected, in most cities it seems to be the place for new developments and public spaces, but in Glasgow it seemed very much something still in development with lots of wasteland car parks running alongside. I went as far as the famous Finneston Crane (which a bit bizarrely plonked behind a Hilton hotel!) before making my way back to the city centre. After a visit to the City Chambers which was absolutely covered in Christmas decorations, we ended the day at the impressive Glasgow School of Art. You can’t seem to escape Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow so I would have loved to see his famous library, but unfortunately that was not to be.
On Saturday we had a full tourist day planned. First we visited the Lighthouse, the view from the top of which proved how much Glasgow was still in progress with cranes aplenty. However the best view and definitely my favourite part of the weekend was the Necropolis, Glasgow’s Victorian cemetery.Surrounded by modern buildings as well as the historic cathedral such an impressive, monumental graveyard is just so incongruous in the middle of a city. Situated on a hilltop, it overlooks Glasgow and is oddly peaceful bar the hum of the nearby roads.I can’t fully decide what about it I found so amazing, I think partly the intrigue of such a unique place and partly the beauty of the elaborate monuments. Either way, for me it seemed to define Glasgow, a city with unexpected beauty.
Although I’m still not sure it is an amazing tourist destination, I could definitely see myself living in Glasgow (if it was a bit closer to home!), it’s a happy mixture of new and old, with enough happening to keep you entertained as well as many exciting things to come.