PAT'S WEST END BLOG: Glasgow Commonwealth Games – things to do
Glasgow is a brilliant city to visit at any time but with the 20th Commonwealth Games kicking off on the 23rd July the city is more vibrant than ever. Our many thousands of visitors will add to the atmosphere and, apart from the games, they’ll find plenty to do and see.
With its wonderful architecture, parks, galleries, cafes, bars and restaurants, it is an excellent tourist destination. Shopping is also a major attraction.
See frequently updated information about What’s On during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
- Shopping in Glasgow
- Parks in Glasgow
- Glasgow Galleries
- Eating and Drinking in Glasgow
- Cultural Programme
Shopping in Glasgow
Outside of London Glasgow is the UK’s main shopping destination. With its many designer boutiques and popular high street shops the City Centre, particularly the style mile around Buchanan Street and the Merchant City, is a popular draw. Please don’t miss out on a visit to the wonderful Princes Square which has won several design awards.
If you like to get away from the crowds Glasgow’s West End offers a more relaxed shopping experience. It is also easy to get to on the Underground. With its many independent shops, stylish boutiques and intriguing lanes, it’s a brilliant place to wander and browse. Visitors seeking souvenirs and gifts will be spoiled for choice, whether they’re looking for some sensational jewellery, a Glasgow mug with a humorous message or a painting or print showing an iconic Glasgow image – there’s every chance that they will find what they’re looking for.
In Cresswell Lane, (five minutes from Hillhead Underground) you’ll find Nancy Smillie’s Shop and Gallery .– a very attractive shop with a great selection of jewellery, gifts, prints and home accessories. The Hoodie Stop in De Courcy’s Arcade, is one of Glasgow’s hidden gems and here you will find some very cool souvenirs, Janet and John, upstairs in De Courcy’s has a brilliant range of Scottish crafts and perfect little handmade gifts to tuck in your case, handpainted cards and prints. Including paintings and prints by Glasgow artist Alan Richardson.
On Byres Road, Stevenson’s Jewellers with their extensive range of Sheila Fleet, Orkney Designer Jewellery is not to be missed.
Kelvinbridge is another great area for shoppers. If you want to celebrate the success of your country or favourite athlete Blair and Sheridan with their wonderful bespoke jewellery and beautiful items in stock could be your perfect destination. Nancy Smillie Jewellery Studio is also a great place to browse. Look out for some fabulous designs by their resident jeweller Genna Miller. (Both shops are on Great Western Road, Nr Kelvinbridge Underground). For wonderful prints, paintings and gifts also check out Christo’s Gallery 595 Great Western Road.
Glasgow West End is a perfect shopping target for lovers of retro and vintage. At Handbags and Gladrags, Partick Cross (Kelvinhall Underground) – you are sure to pick up great designer bargains. If you appreciate retro and preloved this is the place for you. Also check out Glasgow Vintage, 453 Great Western Road, and Vintage Guru, Byres Road.
The meaning of Glasgow is Dear Green Place and with its many wonderful parks the city is very deserving of this description. Glasgow Green, at the East of the City Centre, has been transformed for the Commonwealth Games. Between 24 July–3 August 2014 it will become Glasgow Green Live Zone – Glasgow’s biggest home and everyone is invited to this spectacular FREE house party. There will be music, family activities, comedy, dance, craft, ceilidhs, medal ceremonies, food and much more.
Entry is free and unticketed at all times, aside from the Opening and Closing Ceremony Parties.
When you visit Glasgow Green be sure to check out the People’s Palace Museum and The Winter Garden.
In Glasgow’s West End you will find the beautful Botanic Gardens, with its famous Kibble Palace. Also in the West End is Kelvingrove – Kelvingrove Park Lawn Bowls Centre must be the most beautiful setting among all the Commonwealth Games venues. Situated beside Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, it’s one of Scotland’s main visitors’ attractions, Nearby sits the University of Glasgow – founded in 1451, the university is one of the oldest universities in the English speaking world – it moved to the current site at Gilmorehill in 1870. It’s wonderful wandering in the cloisters and you can also investigate the beautiful University Chapel and The Hunterian Art Gallery and Museum.
Entry to the city’s fantastic Art Galleries is free, apart from special temporary exhibitions. Kelvingrove has many fascinating permanent exhibitions including The Glasgow Boys and The Scottish Colourists. The temporary exhibition, ‘How Glasgow Flourished (1714-1837)’, will run until 17 August, 2014, and at The Hunterian Gallery, University Avenue, there’s a fantastic new exhibition – Mackintosh Architecture.
The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Royal Exchange Square, City Centre has many events and exhibitions – currently showing is: Generation, 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland
Eating Out and Drinking in Glasgow
You’ll be spoiled for choice by numerous restaurants, cafes and bars throughout the city. In particular Glaswegians love their curries and the city regularly wins the accolade of Curry Capital of the UK. The award winning Mother India is among the favourites and reckoned to serve ‘The best Indian food in Scotland.’ Some of other popular restaurants include The Ubiquitious Chip, Ashton Lane, Cafe Gandolfi in the Merchant City and Two Fat Ladies, Dumbarton Road, Partick. Good places for lunch in the West End include Enjoy, Kelvinbridge and Sonny & Vitos, Park Road. Avenue G and Little Italy on Byres Road are great for coffee and snacks. OranMor is a popular bar and restaurant and if you get a chance go along to lunchtime theatre at A Play, A Pie and A Pint
Finnieston is also a very vibrant area and popular for dining out – if you enjoy fish and seafood The Finnieston and Crabshack on Argyle Street are both attractive destinations. The Ben Nevis pub, also on Argyle Street, is a good choice for whisky lovers and at The Lismore in Partick you could catch some spontaneous traditional Scottish music. If you fancy some real ale then you should head for The Three Judges at Partick Cross.
The East End of the city has been transformed for the Commonwealth Games and other interesting areas include High Street and Townhead, with Glasgow Cathedral, the Necropolis and Glasgow’s Religious Museum.
In George Square in the City Centre you will find the City Chambers, and the Square is also the place to hop on the Tourist Bus.
Glasgow’s Merchant City is a great place to wander and here you will find some of the best designer shops and most beautiful buildings in the city. Bar/restaurants worth checking out include, Babbity Bowster and Cafe Gandolfi. This year the Merchant City Festival , with its fabulous programme of events, is part of the Commonwealth celebrations.
There are always plenty of musical and literary events in Glasgow and you will find information about these in my Gig Guide and and What’s On in Glasgow Books, Talks and Poetry Events check out my What’s On.
During the Commonwealth Games there is a Cultural Progamme with events of all types in Glasgow and throughout Scotland.
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