Steeped in history yet defined by innovation, Glasgows breathtaking Victorian architecture and traditional welcoming embrace have provided a stately inheritance for the citys commercial resurgence and cultural vigour.
Reiterating its status as one of the worlds most desirable destinations to work, study or simply enjoy a weekend visit, Scotlands thriving central metropolis is developing and recasting itself to meet the challenge of hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Hailed as the dear green place, Glasgow; has plenty of attractive, well-maintained parks, but its aesthetic standing truly rests with its buildings. Charles Rennie Mackintosh's fame draws visitors from far and wide and his distinctive style can still be appreciated in the award-winning refurbishment of The Lighthouse, Scotlands centre for architecture and design, with its panoramic views of the city centre, as well as the Scotland Street School Museum and the aptly named House for an Art Lover, a contemporary edifice built from the Art Nouveau architects original blueprints.
A cultural treasure trove, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, with its eclectically arranged, eye-catching exhibits, recently welcomed its five millionth visitor and remains one of the largest museums in the UK. Further afield, the Burrell Collection contains a wealth of Egyptian, Chinese and Islamic artifacts, while the Hunterian, attached to the 15th century University of Glasgow, is the oldest public museum in Scotland, its gallery housing the largest display anywhere of James McNeill Whistler.
Seasoned clubbers swear by the ever popular Optimo at the Sub Club, or one of the Art Schools idiosyncratic indie nights, but Glasgow is also home to Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera with their impressive credentials attracting an international following. Cutting-edge theatre can be discovered at the Tramway and the Centre for Contemporary Arts while the Citizens has become a nursery for new talent and the Kings and Theatre Royal present big name touring productions. The art deco Glasgow Film Theatre continues to project the most acclaimed in arthouse and European fare, while the gargantuan, 18-screen Cineworld and the Science Centres impressive IMAX cinema by the River Clyde are the settings for watching Hollywood blockbusters.
Glaswegians enjoy a bit of retail therapy and the city has cemented its reputation for offering the UKs best shopping outside London, from the Italian Centre in the Merchant City, to the exclusive, designer label parade of Ingram Street, right through to the delicatessens and boutique shops of the fashionable West End, where the weary and shopped-out drag a chair onto the Ashton and Cresswell Lane cobbles at one of the countless bars and cafes.
Scotland is a fascinating destination for all: Wildlife and nature walks can be easily reached from Glasgow and numerous historical and touristic attractions can be found in the area. Detailed information can be found at Visit Scotland (Scotland's national tourism organisation). Some typical activities are listed below:
- Outstanding natural beauty: Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Isle of Skye, Cairngorn
- Historic Cities: Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth
- Haunted (or not) Castles: Edinburgh, Stirling, Urquhart, Eilean Donan and many more
- Neolithic sites: Skara Brae, Callanish Stones, Ring of Brodgar
- Piping: unavoidable on Buchanan Street, or to be found at the Piping Centre.
- Wools and kiltmakers: many available in central Glasgow, including MacGregor and MacDuff and Slanj.
- Distillery visits and whisky tasting: Auchentoshan.
- Golf: The Old Course at St Andrews, Royal Troon, Turnberry