Good morning. This week we’re off to the friendliest city in the world.…Glasgow!
If you’ve never been to Glasgow before, you’re probably wondering what to expect. Well I can assure you, this is a city full of surprises. For example, did you know that Glasgow’s City Chambers contain more marble than the Vatican? 🤯 It’s also allegedly the birthplace of the classic British-Indian dish, Chicken Tikka Masala (yum!), and is home to the remains of St Valentine 💘.
Need to know…
🚆 Travel time: Despite its northern location, Glasgow is still a well connected city. Glasgow Central is the main train station, although there’s also Glasgow Queen Street for connections to Edinburgh and the North. If you’re arriving by train Glasgow is 5hrs from London, 3.5hrs from Manchester, or 50mins from Edinburgh. If you’re planning on taking a ferry there are ports at Cairnryan (where you can get a 2hr bus straight to the city centre), Newcastle (2hr 40min drive to Glasgow) and Hull (much further drive). There’s a good motorway network connecting to Glasgow and it’s also surrounded by 3 international airports (Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick and Edinburgh).
🌡️ Weather: Today, rainy with a high of 16°c
😋 Must try dishes: So as mentioned above, Chicken Tikka Masala was allegedly created in Glasgow, so this has to be top of your list of things to try. In addition there’s classic Scottish delicacies like a deep-friend Mars bar (so naughty, but so good), or a Lorne sausage (also known as a square sausage) made from minced meat, rusk and spices.
🚲 Getting around: Glasgow is a very walkable city, but there’s other options too. Rent an OVO bike and cycle around the city, or hop on the subway (running every 4 minutes at peak times). There’s also plenty of trains and buses if you’re heading further afield.
💬 Key phrases & slang:
Gies a swatch ay yer new tattoo? (Can I have a look at your new tattoo?)
A wee dunt (Lightly hit)
What to do?
See trees older than the dinosaurs!
🖼️ I thought it best to start this weeks suggestions with some culture (especially when you see what I’m going to end with 😅). When you arrive in Glasgow, you’ll quickly notice some magnificent murals adorning the sides of buildings. Luckily a mural trail has been created allowing you to explore the city and these great pieces of art. Having started with just one mural in 2008, there’s now over 30 to spot, and tracking these down is a great way of exploring the city centre. My favourite (and it’s tough to call) is ‘Fellow Glasgow Residents’.
🏞️ Heading just outside of Glasgow (well about 14 miles/45 minutes) is the Loup of Fintry. This spectacular waterfall on the River Endrick is one of the most spectacular falls in the Scottish Lowlands. It’s best viewed after a couple of days of rain, but then be prepared for a muddy hike. If you’ve got time spare in your diary to enjoy the great outdoors, then I highly recommend this.
🌴 Now bear with me on this next suggestion, as when I tell you to go look at some tree stumps, you’ll probably think I’ve lost it. Fossil Grove Glasgow is home to quite the remarkable discovery. In 1887 a path was cut as part of a new park. It was here that the first of 11 fossilised tree stumps were discovered. Dating back over 330 million years, these tree stumps are older than the dinosaurs, and present an incredibly unique Earth heritage site.
🪨 Sticking with the historic theme for a minute, another site you need to visit is the Govan Stones. At Govan Old you’ll find one of the most impressive collections of Viking sculptures found anywhere in Europe. Dating back as early as the 9th Century, the stones feature incredible carvings and markings (especially when you consider they’re over 1,000 years old).
🪢 Next up, if you’re after adventure then why not time your visit in order to ‘Zipslide the Clyde’. Next August and September, this thrill-seekers adventure is back, supporting Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland. Participants who sign up need to raise a minimum amount of sponsorship, but this gives you a completely unique experience and an incredible view of the city. Raised 100ft in the air via a crane, you’ll then be launched along a 1,000ft zipline.
🍻 After all that history and exploring, you’ll probably need a drink (and if it’s cold and wet a delicious steak pie?). One of our favourite pubs is the Inn Deep. Serving a great selection of craft beer (and decent cocktails too), this iconic pub set on the banks of the River Kelvin is a must visit.
🚇🍺 My final tip for the drinkers amongst you, is to embark on the famous Subcrawl! Just like a pub crawl, but utilising Clockwork Orange (sorry the Glasgow subway) is a great way to explore the city’s alehouses. “Sub crawlers” get off the train at each stop and have a drink in the nearest pub. There are 15 stops on the subway, so as you can imagine, finishing it can get rather messy 😂 If you do happen to take this on, then please send me some photos!
Where to stay?
Experience Scotland’s first snow shower
Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel - Snow shower
Our first option is the stylish Dakota Glasgow, created by Glaswegian hotelier Ken McCulloch. This modern boutique hotel is well located right in the heart of the city with pubs, clubs, restaurants and shops all on your doorstep. The rooms feature dark/neutral tones giving a cosy warming vibe. The rooms all come with Sky TV (quite unusual for a hotel), Nespresso machines and a minibar. There’s plenty of spots to relax at the hotel including a private library lounge and trendy cigar terrace.
Next up, (and actually very close-by) you’ll find a beautiful row of Georgian terraced townhouses, home to the stylish Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel. This beautiful hotel has a great range of amenities, including a cinema (with beautifully upholstered tartan seats), an recently renovated spa with multiple saunas, steam rooms, and Scotland’s first snow shower! The rooms are stylish featuring a chic grey colour palette, with very comfy beds. There’s also a great restaurant, perfect if you just want a cosy night in the hotel.
For our last suggestion why not consider citizenM Glasgow. This modern Dutch hotel provides a great range of homely living and dining spaces making you feel more at home than in a hotel. The hotel puts a big emphasis on getting you to relax and socialise in the communal areas rather than hanging out in your bedroom, so you’ll find loads of great areas to hang out (it’s a bit like the Ikea showrooms). There’s no restaurant here, but there is a canteen and bar, meaning you can still grab light bites and get a drink until the early hours of the morning.
The city formerly known as Linenopolis - Belfast
Next week we’ll be exploring the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, Belfast. Perhaps best known for its famous shipbuilding industry (notably building RMS Titanic), the city is also known for its beautiful cathedrals and being close to many filming locations for Game of Thrones.
We really want to leverage the incredible travel knowledge from the thousands of subscribers that make up our Porter community. Therefore, if you’ve ever visited Belfast, let us know the things you loved doing, or the places you stayed at. If we love your recommendations we’ll feature them in next week’s newsletter.