Travel

An Ode to Glasgow

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When I moved to Glasgow in 2010, several people told me to be careful not to get stabbed. Saying as I come from Northern Ireland, it is now hilarious to me that people from home thought that I would be in more danger over here.

Glasgow has often been slapped with a bad reputation: if you have seen this sketch by Kevin Bridges, you will know that it was once declared the murder capital of Europe. However, it also was voted the Friendliest City in the UK in 2014. In my experience, the latter title is definitely true.

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The slogan of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games was People Make Glasgow, which sums up the city perfectly. The people are warm, friendly and hilarious in equal measure. The architecture is stunning, the shops are great and the pubs are full of laughter. I love you Glasgow and I will be sad to leave.

If you ever get the chance to come to my favourite city, here’s a list of things to do that won’t break the bank:

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Ever wanted to go see the real-life Hogwarts? Admittedly as a Uni of Glasgow grad I am somewhat biased, but honestly how can you not love these beautiful buildings? JK Rowling was based in nearby Edinburgh when she was writing the books so she probably was partly inspired by the University of Glasgow. Rumour has it that Diagon Alley was based on nearby Ashton Lane as well.

Speaking of Ashton Lane, it’s lovely to visit in the summer and sit in one of the many beer gardens. Just across Great George Street from there is Cresswell Lane, which has several adorable little vintage shops. If you want to continue a Vintage Shop Tour, cross Byres Road to go down Ruthven Lane. It looks a bit dodgy at first, but when you get into Ruthven Mews a veritable treasure trove of antiques and vintage clothing opens up to you.

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is an obvious one but definitely worth a visit. It’s free, hosts concerts in the main foyer sometimes and is a beautiful building itself. If you manage to go at 1pm Monday-Saturday or 3pm on Sunday, the organ recitals are lovely. They even occasionally do themed perfomances – such as this one when David Bowie passed away. Also they have the above weird floating head exhibiton, if that’s your thing.

If you like tea, head to Tchai Ovna. It’s hidden away near Gibson St on Otago Lane and features a huge menu of various teas, a resident cat, board games and outside seating area where you can do Shisha. Also on Otago Lane is possible the best bookshop in the world; Voltaire and Rousseau.

I am a self confessed baby about heights, but even I love the viewing platform at The Lighthouse. It has stunning views of the city centre and is well and truly worth the climb.

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As I have lived in the West End for most of my time here, a lot of these are based there but I assure you this is only a snippet of the great things you can do. And if you ever needed more proof that the people of Glasgow are amazing, then simply go see the ancient statue of the Duke of Wellington at Royal Exchange Square: he has a traffic cone on his head. For a while the police persisted in removing the cone, but after a successful online petition it has now become a permanent fixture and emblem of the city. Like I said, I love you Glasgow.

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