Glasgow West End, Guide to Kelvinbridge and Hillhead
(There you have it, folks: Great Western Road at Kelvinbridge, third coolest street in the world. Time Out Global Ranking)
Travelling west along Great Western Road you will arrive at Kelvinbridge on the North side of Hillhead. The bridge is lovely at night when it is lit up and the view to the south is very unusual -beneath the bridge Inn Deep customers drink al fresco. This area is very lively and you can easily wile away a few hours pottering around – there’s a lot to see and something to suit everyone’s taste. You will find some of the most interesting and attractive shops in the West End and it’s a great place to head if you are shopping for gifts or thinking about treating yourself to some wonderful jewellery or fabulous art.
- The Lansdowne Restaurant
- Nancy Smillie’s Jewellery Studio.
- Blair and Sheridan – unique and desirable jewellery
- Websters Theatre
- Mika and Me Eyewear with a fun approach
- The Glasgow Vintage Co
There’s always plenty to do and see in Kelvinbridge with its wide array of independent shops, great cafes and restaurants, and super architecture. You can enjoy a stroll along Great Western Road or wander down to nearby Kelvingrove Park.
Blair and Sheridan is perfect if you are shopping for a special piece of jewellery or planning your wedding or engagement. Among the shops deserving of a browse are Caledonian Book Shop, Glorious and Retro, on Otago Street. Vintage shoppers will also love The Glasgow Vintage Co, where you can pick up a cashmere cardi for under £20. Mika and Me is a new eyewear shop in Park Road, providing a unique experience when buying your new specs.
Discerning cooks can be found seeking out their ingredients in Roots and Fruits, also good to catch a coffee and snack. There’s a great choice of exotic cheeses in Mellis’ the cheesemonger. Wafting through the air is the aroma of fresh coffee and the tempting array of breads and treats offered by the many local delis – Cottonrake Bakery at the corner of Bank Street and Great Western Road is very popular. You can also pick up dinner from an amazing selection of frozen foods at Cook, Great Western Road.
Restaurants, Bistros and Cafes, Kelvinbridge
You will absolutely love The Lansdowne Restaurant, a member of the Mother India family serving up mouthwatering food in very attractive surroundings. New Mother india Cafe Tapas Menu at The Lansdowne. (Review of The Lansdowne by Pat Byrne) Kothel, 536 Great Western Road, is another great choice with plenty of space outside when the weather is clement.
Pop in for a delicious Tapas Lunch or catch Pre Theatre at The Lansdowne.
Webster’s Theatre, Bar and Restaurant
WebstersTheatre, Bar, Restaurant, 416 Great Western Road, Glasgow G4 9HZ
Previously The Lansdowne Church, Websters has been restored to a very high standard. It’s a great place to catch up with friends, inside or outside, for a bite to eat, or to take in a show.
Eusebi at the 152 Park Road – just opposite Kelvingrove north entrance – one of my favourite west end restaurants. Giovanna Eusebi has recently won the award of Scottish Business Woman of the Year. (Listen to Pat chatting with Giovanna on our Podcast).
Sonny & Vitos in Park Road is very lively and the coffee and food is excellent. Sonny & Vitos on is also a deli so you can dine in and enjoy Mario’s fantastic soup and sandwiches, or take a treat home.
Another super Italian restaurant is La Lanterna West End on Great Western Road.
The Shish Mahal has been going strong in Park Road for decades– excellent Indian Restaurant. another iconic choice – watch out for interesting dining events throughout the year.
There’s always something new popping up. Watch out for fabulous Broken Clock Patisserie in Park Road – opened Summer 2019 by pastry chef Anna Medjanskaja and her partner Artem from Estonia.
The Doublet Pub in Park Road is a long established West End favourite, it has a very popular quiz night and great gigs.
I met up with Jackie and Rena, first time since the pandemic, was lovely to catch up at Sips and Baker. 521 Great Western Road. The milk shakes are glorious.
Kelvinbridge is perfect for a walkabout with some wonderful architecture to admire such as Caledonian Mansions and St Mary’s, Episcopalian Cathedral and the impressive The Cooper’s Building. It also has its very own theatre – Websters Theatre at the old Lansdowne Church. You can enter the fabulous Kelvingrove Park from Gibson Street or stroll along to Kelvin Way, one of Glasgow’s most beautiful streets. A short walk west along Great Western Road will bring you to Glasgow’s beautiful Botanic Gardens.
Gibson Street has always been a popular haunt for the student population and sits at the Eastern End of Hillhead very much in University territory with Glasgow University and Glasgow Caledonian, Park Campus nearby. It is a pleasant street with a bit of a buzz about it particularly in the summer with people heading into Kelvingrove Park.
It’s a great street to catch a coffee and Offshore Cafe is home to many regulars with their lap tops, students finishing their dissertations and the self-employed set up to work in this free wifi – friendly environment. ‘The Left Bank’ restaurant, which is a stylish addition to the street and Stravaigin Restaurant/Bar is a long standing favourite, which lives up to the Clydesdale family standards with its interesting menus and pleasant atmosphere.
Get your bike fixed at Gear Glasgow
The bike shop Gear Glasgow is also located in Gibson Street; a good place to go to get your new bike or get your old one fixed. They were very helpful when I had a problem with my own bike, so I’d recommend them.
Design Works, at the corner of Otago Street and Gibson Street is really fabulous and a must for window shopping and a visit.
Situated at the junction of Gibson Street, Kelvin Way and University Avenue is the Gilmorehill Centre – part of the University of Glasgow this Norman Gothic facade houses a new hi-tech cinema, theatre and conference centre.
Beyond Gibson Street you begin to move into University territory and most of the buildings in this area down to Byres Road are owned by Glasgow University. The wide sweep of University Avenue is inviting to walk along and has a lot to offer – here you have the main entrance to the University, the University Library ( adjoined by the Hunterian Gallery – don’t miss the replica of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s house you will find many interesting scientific, medical and zoological exhibitions.
The University of Glasgow is one of the jewels in the crown of Glasgow architecture and a great place to have a wander. You should also watch out for the university’s fabulous exhibitions, musical and literary events. Try to catch the fabulous Creative Conversations Programme, which takes place Monday lunchtimes in the University Chapel.
It’s also worth checking out the many courses open to the public at the University’s Centre for Open Studies.
There are many images of the West End in The Photo Gallery
Getting to know Glasgow – walks, facts, folk and historical development. by Ian Mitchell.