Written by Emilee Morehouse
Scotland is like the quiet kid that sits in the back of the classroom. They don’t get as much attention as their loud hotheaded island friend, or have as much clout as their posh neighbor. But, if you took the time to really get to know them, you’d probably find out they have a lot more to offer than you might think.
Originally, when I decided to take a solo-backpacking trip around the UK, it was never in my plans to visit Scotland. The glamour of London, and the rustic beauty of Ireland had always been first and foremost in my mind. Scotland seemed a detour that wasn’t worth spending a lot of time thinking about. It wasn’t until my mom saw my plans, that she asked the obvious question, “Why isn’t Scotland on the list?” Since my Scottish heritage comes from her side of the family, it was a little embarrassing.
As soon as I corrected my mistake, there came the next question: Where in Scotland are you going? The obvious answer seemed to be Edinburgh. Highly popular for it’s castles and city history, it’s the most popular destination for visitors to the country. But after looking at photos, and researching the city, it just didn’t feel right. I had no interest in castles or droves of tourists. So, I started to look up other Scottish cities, and that’s when I found Glasgow.
The three days I spent in Glasgow were the best days of my trip. I fell in love with the quirky city; the mixture of art, dramatized fashion, architectural brilliance, and the mixture of traditional pride and modern industry. Somehow, it just felt like home.
Since Glasgow was such an amazing experience for me, I thought I would share some of my favorite spots I visited while I was there. The city has a lot more to offer than many would think. And it was well worth the trip to experience a different part of Scotland than most.
Gallery of Modern Art:
Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow G1 3AH, UK
As an artist, I always try to visit museums and see the art that is associated with a city. One of my favorite parts of Glasgow was the celebration of both the masters, and the modern contemporaries. Visiting this space really challenged me to think about my role as an artist, and what it means to be a storyteller within my art. This museum is also famous for it’s cone hatted Duke of Wellington statue.
TARDIS Police Box:
In the middle of Buchanan Street there lies a big blue box. This one is for the slightly geeky, but The TARDIS (or Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) is the time machine for one of BBC’s most beloved characters, Doctor Who. Most people who watch the show grow as attached to the iconic blue Police Box, as they do to the main characters, so to see even a model representation is fun for anyone who has watched the show.
16-18 Blackfriars St, Glasgow G1 1PE, UK
This was one of the cutest restaurants I’ve ever been to; a true representation of what I would expect in the setting of some kind of romantic comedy. With the traditional feel, antique structure and great food, this is a perfect lunch stop for your trip to Glasgow. Try the Haagis (traditional dish of sheep intestines) if you’re feeling brave. It’s really not as bad as you might think.
University Of Glasgow:
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
It turned out that I really didn’t need to go all the way to Edinburgh to see amazing architecture. Making a stop over at the University of Glasgow shocked and awed me just as much. And if you visit on a weekend, you get to enjoy the university all to yourself.
70-76 Argyle Street Glasgow Strathclyde G2 8AG, UK
Of course, while in Scotland, I had to buy a tartan skirt. And day two of my visit landed me at Argyle Street, which is the perfect place for all kinds of shopping opportunities. Since I wasn’t looking for a designer skirt, I jumped into “Next” (equivalent to H&M) and got matching skirts with my Couchsurfing host. It was one of those quick little things that doesn’t cost a lot, but makes the best memories.
Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG, UK
This is one of my favorite museums. The museum is arranged according to where each art piece was created. This museum is free, which makes it an absolute must see for anyone traveling to Glasgow. It was here that I got to see my first Van Gough, Rembrandt, and Monet paintings. It was absolutely magical and the building structure of the museum makes it even more worth the trip.
94 Queen Street GlasgowG1 3AQ UK
I always love any city that celebrates artists, so I was thrilled to find art stores all around Glasgow. One that I stopped into was located across from the Museum of Modern Art. Their prices were reasonable, but my favorite thing was the miniature canvases they sold. When I Couchsurf, I always make sure to “give back” to the amazing people who let me stay with them, so I bought a canvas and painted the Kelvingrove museum for my host as a way to say, “thank you.”