What In The World Is This: A Day In Glasgow, Scotland

Let me tell you a story.

It was 2012 and I had just come to London. Naturally, I did what every ex-pat does in this situation and toured the hell out of Europe, starting locally, hitting the UK and working my way up to Scotland.

Ah, Scotland.

Aw, look at little Alex back in 2012.

I had gone to Edinburgh first and was enamored. As you may have seen in my previous Edinburgh post, I love that city. The castles on cliffs, the rolling hills, the beautiful greenery, the friendly people, the wonderful food. I figured every Scottish city would be just like this. So when I was brought to Glasgow to help out with a Yelp party, I figured it’d be exactly the same as Edinburgh.


Glasgow is… not like Edinburgh, from the moment you walk out of that train station. First impression, it seemed more industrial and grey, the people angrier, the city harder to navigate, overall just… not as good. To make matters worse, the colleague I’d come to see was a pretty terrible guide who didn’t want to show me anything (nice guy, but terrible guide).

And so I found myself on a Sunday morning, caught out in the rain, running into the only open spot I could find, a Wetherspoon’s, for a terrible breakfast and vowing never to come back to Glasgow again.

And I never did… for four years.

Party animals, we are.

Fast forward to now and Yelp (the company I work for) had a community manager and fellow-food blogger in Glasgow named Briony, an evil/wonderful Ozzy turned Scott after marrying into the nation and moving to Glasgow.

And she loves Glasgow.

Loves it. Really loves it. In a weird way I didn’t really know someone could love a city. And she continually threatened me with violence if I didn’t give her damn city one more chance.

I figured before she made good on that offer, I should get there.

So, during my last trip to Edinburgh, Shamaine and I made a day-trip to Glasgow, and hung out with Briony and her awesome husband Graeme, giving them less than 24 hours to prove to me that her city wasn’t the dank cesspool of despair that I have come to believe it was.

And you know what? They did.


I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into when I went to Glasgow. We came into Queen St Station, which is very pretty but is constantly under construction. And then, this is what we did:


  • Headed down the fun Buchannan Street, filled with shops and live music, and taxied to lunch.
  • Lunch at The Gannet which was incredible. Seriously, do check out this restaurant, the food, the atmosphere, the staff, all five stars.


  • Went into Kelvingrove Park, which was green and beautiful and made me think for the first time that there might be more to this city than grey and depressing.
  • Then into The Kelvingrove Museum, which was pretty damn awesome. Not only is the art there epic (see the flying faces pic below), but they have a great sense of humour. For instance, this.


  • After that, it was a walk through Ashton Lane, which is a lovely little street filled with shops and stores and cinemas and fun.
  • A drink at Ubiquitous Chip, which was fine, but the drinks were unbelievably low priced. Ah, getting out of London and remembering that not everything is trying to rip you off. These are good thoughts.


  • We took the Glasgow Subway, which was small but has free Wifi, so there’s something to be said about that.
  • Cocktails at the very cool Tabac, a dark little cocktail bar and had little touches a like fish tank in the old cigarette dispenser.
  • And a final steak at the truly incredible Alston Bar & Beef, which is located below Queen Street Station. Usually, you have to get far from the city’s main station to get a decent meal where the locals eat, but apparently not in Glasgow.


Just in case above wasn’t enough, here’s a little more…

Also, I just have to point out, the street art in this city is insane. INSANE!

And finally, you can see how Briony feels about me versus how she feels about my lovely fiancée.

In the end, this city did charm me. It took about four years and seeing it with completely new eyes, but I’d come back to Glasgow again. Just, let’s avoid the rain and the Wetherspoon’s, shall we?

ps. Look! I found this excellent photo! Years before I knew who Briony was, we were at that same Glasgow party together, although on the opposite side of the room. Adorable.