Glasgow for Culture and Speaking to People

It seems hard to believe now but it wasn’t too long ago that Glasgow was regarded as a smelly, impoverished, dirty city with huge crime problems. These days, it is an attractive and appealing place, although it still has an undeniably gritty feel to parts of it.

I was just a kid when Scotland’s biggest city was named as European City of Culture in 1990. It must have been a bit of a shock to many people back then, but now it is easy to see Glasgow as a cultural destination. So how can you pass a few days here?

Go for a Walk

My favourite way of getting to know a city is to walk around it. Since I spent 4 years working in Glasgow you can imagine how much shoe leather I wore out on my lunch breaks.

The city centre is now pretty smart, with gleaming shopping areas, trendy bars and fancy international restaurants. However, I always feel that even a short stroll takes you out into far more interesting areas.


The Barras weekend market is probably the easiest place to soak up the Glaswegian atmosphere without going too far. Street traders here offer clothing, food and all sorts of trinkets in a vibrant and noisy atmosphere.

My favourite long walk in the city was out to Maryhill, where I would sometimes go to watch Partick Thistle football games. For serious walkers the Kelvin Walkway offers a lovely way of getting around away from the busy streets.

Get Some Culture

The tough local accent and the industrial background here mean that you might not expect to find a lot of culture. Yet, Glasgow has a lot to offer to those visitors who want something more cultural.

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has long been a special place for me. I can still vividly recall coming here on a school trip and being blown away by the beautiful building and huge number of exhibits. It is the UK’s most popular museum outside of London and Scotland’s most visited free tourist attraction.

There are other places of cultural interest here, such as the Burrell Collection, the Riverside Museum and the Scotland Street School Museum.

Get Out and About

For me, the best thing about Glasgow is its terrific location. If you visit here then I can definitely recommend hiring a car and then getting out and about.

The amazing Loch Lomond is just a short drive away and shouldn’t be missed. Equally, Edinburgh is only about an hour along the M8. Smaller places worth a visit in the region include Callander, Stirling and down the coast to Largs and Ayr.

If you have more time to explore Scotland then the Highlands and Islands aren’t as far away as you might think. Glasgow is a huge transport hub and you can get a bus or train to just about anywhere in Scotland from this city.

Speak to the People

It is impossible to talk about Glasgow without mentioning the people. At first, you might find their accent impenetrable and their manners somewhat gruff.

However, there is a sense of humour and a sort of directness and honesty about the people here that you will love if you let them work their magic on you. You are likely to hear jokes, swear words, songs and who knows what else when you are on a bus here or just walking along the streets.

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