Travel Diaries: Glasgow April 2016

Botanical Garden

Hey, guess where I went recently? SCOTLAND! AGAIN! It’s almost like I love the place or something. This time around I was taking my girlfriend up to meet the parents for the first time and, as they live on an island at the other end of the country, it’s a pretty big deal which requires some proper planning. We chose the Easter weekend so we could make the most of our holiday days, because hey, free days off are handy, and this time I decided I was fed up of just “passing through” Glasgow every time I headed north. I wanted to give it a couple of days to try and sell itself to me. We booked early flights up on a morning and an early train out to Oban a couple of days later so we could make the most of the timings of the trip.

We originally planned to do one night in the Glasgow CitizemM (which I’d been recommended by a number of friends) and then a cheaper night in an EasyHotel (as we were getting such an early train we originally didn’t see the point in staying in a slightly more expensive place on that night) but we enjoyed the hotel so much we booked a second night there on a whim during our stay. If that’s not endorsement for CitizenM then I don’t know what is. After an early flight from Stansted (we had to get there earlier than usual as it was the day after the Brussels bombings) after a night of patchy sleep (my girlfriend is petrified of flying and I’d had some bad news about a relative) we popped in to our hotel at about 11am to drop our bags, which is a service they offer for free. What we didn’t realise, is that they also let you check in early if a room is available. So after all that travel and us being shattered, they let us check into our room a whole 3.5 hours early.

Riverhill Cafe - Pierogi

Glasgow Necropolis

After a quick collapse on the gigantic bed we popped out for lunch. Again, I crowd-sourced some recommendations for a few places to go eat while we were up there, so thanks Twitter and my ever helpful friends on Facebook, with a slight slant towards veggie places as I’d heard so much about Glasgow’s veggie & vegan scene. First up was the Riverhill cafe (which has a restaurant and around the corner a coffee shop), where I grabbed some Kimchi & Cheese Pierogi and Maddie grabbed a Chana Massala & Halloumi Flatbread. Both were well received if a little larger than we were expecting (I didn’t complain). After this we had a potter around the center, neither of us wanted to have a trip where we were desperately trying to fit things in so we only had a few bits and bobs we definitely wanted to do while in Glasgow. The first afternoon involved a couple of shops, a walk over to the Necropolis (which is a must for a Glasgow visit) to satisfy our teenage Emo needs, a well deserved Nap and then a meal at Veggie/Vegan cafe Mono. I opted for the Vegan Sausage pizza, and Maddie grabbed one of their Seitan burgers. Food was great and I’d happily go back if I’m in Glasgow again.

Glasgow Necropolis Glasgow Necropolis

Vegan Pizza

The Thursday morning started with us convincing ourselves it would be a great idea to book a second night at CitizenM instead of move over to Easy Hotel (hey it was payday) before we headed across to Glasgow’s West End for breakfast at Montgomery’s Cafe. Both of us opting for breakfast “stacks”. Mine being the meaty version and Maddie’s the Veggie. I personally felt it needed a tiny bit more sauce as the Melba Toast needed it, but that was just down to personal preference as it was otherwise a lovely meal, both well presented and tasty. After this we popped over the road to the Kelvingrove Gallery which I must say is the strangest collection of things in one place I’ve witnessed. You’d have to see it to understand, but the building is beautiful and it’s a fun museum.

Montgomery's Cafe - Breakfast Stack Kelvingrove Gallery

Braving the rain after the gallery we walked up into the West End proper. We went to have a walk around the Botanical Gardens (another must visit) & Ashton Lane before spending some time drinking our way through the incredible tea collection at Tchai Ovna, where I managed to beat Maddie at Disney Scrabble. We then opted for another nap (hey, adults need naps too) before meeting a couple of my workmates (Gemma lives up there and Nicole happened to be passing through at the same time) for a meal in the Drygate Brewery, which is across by the Necropolis and next door to the famous Tennents Brewery. Their beer menu was superb, with a host of their own beers and a number of carefully sourced guest beers. All of us had eyes bigger than our stomachs and chose starters as well as mains. I grabbed the Whiskey Smoked Salmon with Potato Pancakes & wasabi to start and the largest portion of Fish & Chips I’ve had in ages for the main.

Glasgow Botanical Gardens Botanical Gardens

The night concluded with us taking advantage of the surprisingly affordable bar at CitizenM (as well as our free drinks, which if you sign up to the site you get when you book any stay) and the ridiculous range of films they have in their rooms before crashing out early as we had to get up at 4am for our train out to Oban. This is starting to sound like it’s sponsored by CitizenM so I’m going to bring it to an end by saying that I really enjoyed having the chance to finally check Glasgow out properly rather than just passing through and grabbing a coffee or a burger between trains. And hey, I even briefly bumped into John from Everyday Man as we went on opposite escalators. It’s a small world.

Drygate Brewery - Pals

Have you been to Glasgow before? What were your top picks?