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The modern art, the buzzing nightlife, the second-to-none architecture: everyone has a different reason to come to Glasgow, but it makes sense to choose your location wisely. There’s no better way to experience the best sights, attractions and landmarks of Scotland’s second city like Buchanan Street, George Square, City Chambers or Kelvingrove Park than swaggering around at street level, seeking out in-the-know hotspots and must-see locations in between. Here’s Culture Trip’s pick of the best accommodation in this Scottish city.
No wonder artists, musicians and writers are obsessed with Glasgow – there’s a real sense that everyone is having a better time here. That’s easy to see if you stay at this former-church-turned-creative-hotel. The unmissable Mitchell Library is nearby, as is King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (aka the best bijou live music venue in Britain), the fiercely independent GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre) and the CCA, Glasgow’s chief creative hub. In fact, it’s such a highlight that before planning a stay, check out its listings for poetry, film nights, gigs and gatherings to ensure your arts schedule is aligned.
Plum in the city centre – in the heart of Glasgow’s mini theatre land – this hip hotel is brimming with all sorts of life hacks. Once you skip through the self-service check-in terminals and open-plan canteen, you can duck outside to see what you really came for. Glasgow’s “style mile” Buchanan Street and swish Princes Square Mall are close at hand, while you’ll find a raft of restaurants and burger joints in all the arterial blocks in between. Afterwards, either the Theatre Royal or Pavilion Theatre beckon, or glam-up for a one-off special at the Royal Concert Hall.
Kelvingrove Park is to Glasgow what Hyde Park is to London. It’s for jogs, strolls, picnics, biking and daily musing, no matter what the season. You can feel its non-stop buzz from behind the shuttered sash windows at this boutique guesthouse tucked away at its southeast corner. After a bespoke breakfast in the company of the house cat and dog, beeline to the baroque Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum nearby. Fancy fact: it’s the most-visited museum in Britain beyond London.
City-centre nightlife: that’s why you’ve come here. You might even have heard the old adage that you can have more fun at a Glasgow funeral than at an Edinburgh wedding – and you’d be right. Start with a quick rendezvous over cocktails in the hotel’s Dakota Bar, or a flute of bubbles in the Champagne room, before venturing out under the bright city lights. Both Sauchiehall and Bath Streets are jammed with cocktail bars and clubs. To get you warmed up, try the Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn, Slouch, Firewater, old-school pub The Griffin or legendary indie Shangri-La, Nice N Sleazy.
Power showers, hairdryers, mood lighting, a jukebox and even an ironing room to help you look your best. Every little helps when there are so many sociable cafes, restaurants and bars oozing good-time vibes in this part of the city. Post-brekkie, take a walk to explore the city’s daytime dark side: start at Glasgow’s granite-stone Cathedral to see the tomb of Saint Mungo, the city’s patron saint. Then, continue to the Necropolis, a city of the dead regularly voted among the world’s most stirring cemeteries.
A key feature of this former railway hotel inside Central Station: plenty of space to stash your shopping swag. Start with a spree at the gold-plated jewellery boutiques of the nearby Argyll Arcade, then circle back via the modish boutique in the Gallery of Modern Art to the hotel’s Champagne Central bar. Over sharing-board nibbles, see out the day in style with a bottle of Brut.
Towering over Central Station, this good-looking address is rammed with industrial railway romance and close to an abundance of Glasgow city-break essentials. Start with a bracing walk along the Clyde riverside to the People’s Palace and the urban lung of Glasgow Green, before returning via Royal Exchange Square and the unmissable Gallery of Modern Art. You could stop off in the thriving Merchant City along the way, or beeline your way back to the hotel for a beer or a brew in the sociable cafe-lounge on a vintage train-style quilted bench.