The healthy, age old rivalry and classic banter between Glasgow and Edinburgh is a fact of life in Scotland. Like mozzarella and manchego, both share similarities and yet they are wholly different. Edinburgh may be the capital with the castle, but Glasgow is a dark horse with its enchanting street art, epic nights out and multitude of museums. Here are the reasons why you should visit Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, over Edinburgh.
There’s no doubt about it, the street art scene in Glasgow is magical beyond belief. These massive murals are thanks to the encouragement of Glasgow’s people and can be spotted embellishing the city’s many buildings. Street artists like Rogue One, Smug and Klingatron add a smile to the city with masterpieces like The World’s Most Economical Taxi, a taxi drifting off into the sky by a handful of balloons, or Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, a gargantuan girl with a magnifying glass looking to pick up people from the street, and The Charing Croc, a meticulously crafted crocodile smiling knowingly. Those interested in marveling at every minute yet wondrous detail can embark on a mural tour.
Unbeknownst to many, good old Glasgow is the UK’s unofficial ‘Curry Capital’. All you have to do is embark on a wee wander to catch a whiff of the enticing aromas of Indian cuisine. Although the city is inundated with copious Indian eateries, many of which are a fusion of Irani and Indian dishes, there’s none quite like the Shish Mahal. A culinary institution, the founder and curry kingpin Mr Ali is accredited for inventing the dish we so love and adore, chicken tikka masala.
The prolific and multifaceted architect, designer, artist and water colourist Charles Rennie Mackintosh is Glasgow’s true pride and joy. His presence is everywhere, and his personality whispers across every edifice, piece of furniture, and sketch. From House for an Art Lover to The Glasgow School Of Art, Mackintosh House, and The Lighthouse, there’s a Mackintosh masterpiece around every corner. For those eager to soak up his distinctive style and signature flair, a Mackintosh tour of the city is available.
Whether a staunch trend abider or counter-cultural aficionado, there’s a shop for everyone in Glasgow. Famed for holding the key to the best shopping in the UK outside of London, Glaswegians are spoiled for choice with the Style Mile — the city centre’s square mile overrun with shops. Buchanan Galleries, St Enoch Centre and Princes Square are tailored for those who like a good mall and clothes at their fingertips, whereas the ‘Golden Z’ is where the retail party resides. Glasgow also has a stellar selection of vintage shops such as Starry Starry Night and Mr Ben Retro Clothing.
Edinburgh may be a UNESCO City Of Literature but Glasgow is a UNESCO City Of Music. Between the extensively rich art scene with institutions like the Kelvingrove, GoMA, The Burrell Collection, the many art studios and bouncing music spots like King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, the vibe is contagious. As the official home to the Scottish Ballet, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the National Theatre Of Scotland, Glasgow is not only a platform but a breeding ground for Scotland’s major arts organisations.
Indian is not the only cuisine common to Glasgow. In fact, the city is praised for being a foodie mecca, with its endless list of restaurants sporting an unexpected array of eats from across the globe. Take Stravaigin for instance — this hip spot uses the best Scottish produce with a twist. They play around with out-there ingredients like grey squirrel and sea urchins! Hanoi Bike Shop is a smashing option when craving Vietnamese food and Cail Bruich boasts some cracking contemporary dishes with a French and Scots flair.
A little more relaxed than those in Edinburgh and with sayings like ‘bolt ya rocket’ and ‘gaun yersel’, you can’t help but take a shining to Glaswegians. Generally a friendly, approachable, joyous bunch, folk from Glasgow may at times be madder than a box of frogs, but wow, are they fun! No matter where you go, they will be there, providing you with endless chat, laughs and first class banter. Visit the Duke Of Wellington Statue with the cone on his head and read about the flurry of petitions, campaigns and marches that took place to ensure the cone remains in it’s rightful place — that’s that incorrigible Glaswegian sense of humour!
Glasgow is a playground for those who live in a world of TARDIS and Daleks. This is all thanks to Glasgow born Scottish actor Peter Capaldi, the 12th Doctor Who. The Whovian Tour takes eager Time Lord fans on an epic expedition of Capaldi’s haunts and Doctor Who related locations, which are sporadically dotted across the city.
Home to more than 20 museums and art galleries, Glasgow is one giant cabinet of curiosity. From the Riverside Museum, a transport and travel museum designed by Zaha Hadid, and the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum, with its mesmerising art collections including works by Dalí, Rembrandt, Degas and Monet, to St Mungo Museum Of Religious Life And Art, the first museum dedicated to all the main worldly religions ever, the fun is never ending. Oh, and touring the perfectly preserved Provand’s Lordship, which happens to be one of few medieval buildings left in Glasgow, ironically, could never get old.
Home to two feuding teams, Glasgow boasts both Rangers and Celtic, each of which have a colourful sporting history. Whether green, blue or rainbow, it’s impossible not to latch on to the healthy camaraderie and sporting culture found within the city. Brush up on your football knowledge and visit their respective stomping grounds — Celtic Park, Scotland’s largest football stadium, and Ibrox, home to Rangers FC. Head to Hampden Park and absorb over 2000 football memorabilia items at the Scottish Football Museum.