The Burrell Collection
As spectacular outside as it is inside, the Burrell Collection is an extraordinary place to spend not one...The Burrell Collection
Scotland’s biggest city has something on its mind: music, loud, live and in as many genres as it can get its hands on. Glasgow’s come a long way since it first became a major centre of British industry. The grimy, sootstained Clydeside buildings of yesteryear have been spruced up and filled with cutting edge bars; the city’s hundreds of respected live venues attract bands, virtuosos and singers from all over the world; and what were once shabby Victorian townhouses now gleam with regenerated beauty, and shelter some of the most artistically minded people in Britain.
Visit Glasgow and you’re as likely to run into ecstatic rockers celebrating the vibrant live music scene as you are sophisticated opera buffs waiting for the fat lady to sing. And you’ll be doing it all in the company of Scotland’s most representative crowds: youthful, hip, but still definitively impish. Squares beware: Glasgow has earned her UNSECO Creative City title well.Read more
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The power and might of Glasgow’s shipbuilding history are everywhere still: museums and monuments line the spectacularly regenerated banks of the Clyde, and the city’s long-term residents will wax enthusiastic about past and future glories at the drop of a hat. Unlike other major conurbations, though, there’s no front to the Glaswegian style – with irreverent humour and a healthy dose of perspective, your average Glaswegian likes to tell it like it is!
There seems no end to Glasgow’s regeneration, which has been rolling onwards since the latter half of the 20th century. In recent years, injections of cash and architecture have made significant alterations to the city’s appearance – which led the town to be awarded City of Architecture and Design status in 1999. Its attractiveness doesn’t stop with its buildings, either. In addition to reformatted Victoriana, the shabby chic of the old industrial buildings and gleaming modern aspects of its newest elements, Glasgow is richly blessed with parks and open public spaces. Combine the green portions of Scotland’s “other” capital city with its Clydeside walks and you’ve got a town that loves to be discovered on foot.
Close enough to the Atlantic to have a marine climate, and supplied with its own waterside real estate thanks to the rivers Clyde and Kelvin, Glasgow can be truly beautiful when the sun is shining: perhaps one of the reasons why more tourists flock here than most of the other cities in the United Kingdom.
Its undeniable attractiveness is tempered with a good dollop of urban realism, making it a more authentically Scottish location than rival Edinburgh. Ask a Glaswegian about the posh town down near the border with England and they’ll scoff heartily. To a Scot, Glasgow’s the real capital of the country, no matter what it says on tins of tourist rock.
The city where Oasis were discovered; a town of science and industry; jumping off point for the Highlands; one of the most uncompromisingly alternative places to live in Britain. Call her what you like: Glasgow doesn’t care. She’s far too busy staying out late, listening to loud music, and finding new ways to have fun.
Glasgow is served by both Glasgow and Prestwick International airports. Glasgow airport handles long haul transatlantic flights and domestic transfers, and accepts regular business flights from London. You can also get in via Edinburgh airport, which is only 40 miles away. Just don’t tell any Glaswegians where you’ve been!
Glasgow Central train station handles all rail traffic coming from south of the city, including long distance services from London. Queen Street station takes care of trains from Edinburgh and the north.
Glasgow has a suburban train network (the biggest in the UK except for London’s) and an underground train system. The subway will take you to all major points in the city centre, and has a ring out through the near suburbs.
By bus and car
National bus services call at Buchanan bus station.
Glasgow is connected to England via the M74 motorway. You can also get to Glasgow by driving up from Edinburgh on the M8.
Getting around Glasgow city centre in a car is a relatively normal affair by metropolitan standards: lengthy, annoying and expensive if you want to park. Using local buses is far preferable – you can take advantage of speedy bus lanes, which fine private vehicles if they’re photographed using them, and a local service that goes all over the city. Going in to the centre of Glasgow is simple: any bus pointed towards the city centre is likely to end up there, and there are so many routes you can get one on average every 10 minutes. Be careful coming out of the centre, though: you will need to find the route that takes you where you want to go.
Modern Glasgow started life in the late 18th century, not long after author Daniel Defoe wrote that it was the most beautiful and well built city in the British Isles after London. The town had already been in existence for some 800 years – there have been settlements in the Glasgow area since at least Roman times – but it wasn’t until the sudden expansion brought about by the Industrial Revolution that its modern geography fell into place.
Glasgow’s fortunes began to rise when the Monkland Canal was built, which linked the city (via the Forth and Clyde Canal) with iron mines and coal mines in the Lanarkshire area. Soon after, the Clyde was dredged thoroughly to make it possible for ships with large draft to travel into Glasgow’s docks – and so one of the most successful shipbuilding industries in history was born.
The Glaswegian shipyards became the beating heart of the British Empire – so much so that the city in its heyday was thought of as second only to London in Imperial importance. Glasgow added locomotive engineering to its industrial mix, and with both shipyards and rolling stock yards in full smoky swing it was responsible for an astonishing output: half of all the ships in the British Empire, and one quarter of all the trains on earth.
Like many industrially important cities, Glasgow suffered a change in fortunes in the second half of the 20th century. As British engineering and manufacture began to decline generally, Glasgow entered a period of economic collapse. A huge, radical regeneration initiative, started in the 1950s and still carrying on today, demolished the town’s slums and built housing estates and suburbs. By the 1990s, the centre of Glasgow was largely gentrified and the city’s status as a UNESCO Creative City was just around the corner.
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