Glasgow, with its endless charm and extensive list of attractions, is one of those places you just can’t get out of your mind. It never fails to make an impression. A unique hub of culture, banter and variety, here are some top tips for visiting Scotland’s largest city.
Never underestimate the salt and sauce debate
Salt and sauce. What a personal thing. When it comes to enjoying a chippy, it really can make or break a bite. If you remember one tip when visiting Glasgow, it should be never to ask for salt and sauce when in a chippy or fish and chip shop. Just don’t. A grueling age-old debate — which only heightens the facetious rivalry between Edinburgh and Glasgow — the two cities just can’t let it go. Folk from Edinburgh favour salt and their own signature brown chippy sauce, whereas Glaswegians prefer vinegar and occasionally the odd dollop of ketchup. Widening the scope akin to the whole ordeal, a Glaswegian chap tried to sue an Edinburgh chippy when they charged him extra for ketchup! Sacrilege.
Get ready for architecture overload and pre-plan your tour
It doesn’t take an architect aficionado to notice the splendid array of edifices in Glasgow. Prior to visiting, map out a desired route or book an official guided tour to make the most of it. From the Scottish Gothic Glasgow Cathedral and the Carrara marble in the City Chambers to the Spanish Baroque exterior of Kelvingrove, futuristic Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum or buildings by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, expect an infusion of all things architecture. In this vein, embrace the whisperings and notable stamp of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whose buildings and works infiltrate the city.
Aim to indulge in some serious retail therapy
Before visiting, save up like there’s no tomorrow. Upon arrival, go absolutely wild along the ‘Style Mile’, a square mile of retail overload smack bang in the city centre. From swanky delights and high-street trends to bespoke tailoring, trendy home accents and avant-garde knick-knacks, there’s a shop for one and all. Those who favour all things pre-loved and retro will praise the insane amount of vintage shops.
Don’t question the ‘taps aff’ mentality
Although practiced across Scotland, no other place is as pro ‘taps aff’ as good old Glasgow. Whether sunny, sultry, rainy or pure baltic, Glaswegians have a penchant for getting rid of those top layers. This custom is also practiced when something positive happens, like highly exciting news or a favourite sports team winning. And so, the moral of the story goes — don’t question it. Embrace it!
Expect to eat your way across India
As the prominent ‘Curry Capital’ of the UK, it would be rude to visit Glasgow and not indulge in the thriving Indian cuisine scene. Seriously. From the legendary Shish Mahal, the place which claims to have invented chicken tikka masala, to the Chaakoo Bombay Café, a divine fusion of Irani and Indian food, and The Little Curry House, you can quite literally eat your way through India by sampling the vast selection of dishes displayed.
Know that Loch Lomond is a stone’s throw away
Glasgow is made all the more glorious by the fact that it’s a hop, skip and jump away from Loch Lomond, one of Scotland’s many jewels. This otherworldly loch, situated in the Trossachs National Park, is an appealing pilgrimage for avid Culture Trippers overcome with the ‘exploring bug’. A mere 47 minutes away from Glasgow, it provides the perfect example of Scottish scenery and a chance to bag a Munro in Ben Lomond.
Accept the munchy box for what it is and try it
Not only that — enjoy it! A rather genius invention when you really think about it, the ‘munchy box’ is a pride and joy of Glasgow. Picture a takeaway pizza box filled to the brim with all the good stuff. Kebab meat, chicken tikka, pakora, coleslaw, pizza, fried chicken, onion rings, garlic bread, a never-ending supply of chips and whatever else they can conjure up — that’s a munchy box! Estimated at around 3000 calories, what’s not to love?
Be prepared to have art coming out of your ears
Edinburgh gets all the arty credit for the Fringe, but Glasgow is also a breeding ground for the arts. Headquarters of the Scottish Ballet, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Opera and the National Theatre of Scotland, there are a whole host of creatives casting a spell on this city. In turn, nowhere else in Scotland will you set eyes upon so much street art or art galleries. Between the GoMA, The Burrell, Kelvingrove and the swathes of independent galleries inundating the place, it’s safe to say that Culture Trippers will never feel starved of artistic medicine in this badass creative portal.
Choose your team
Glasgow takes its football scene very seriously. When exploring, so should you! An ongoing rivalry, this city is home to two opposing teams: Rangers F.C. and Celtic F.C., which together are referred to as ‘The Old Firm’. Both teams are perhaps the most successful and raved about in Scotland. Just be warned — locals do not take their teams lightly, so make sure to mind your P’s and Q’s!
Brace yourself for the cracking sense of humour
There’s no need to fret about an unwanted ‘Glasgow Kiss’— the place is pinned as one of the friendliest cities in the world! Not only are Glaswegians an incredibly approachable bunch, but they have a sense of humour like no other. Whether enjoying a pint at a local, asking for directions or mingling away, just be prepared to laugh until your sides hurt with their incorrigible ways and jokey tones. You may not fully understand the local dialect known as The Patter, but you can always translate a smile.