Glasgow has hosted upwards of 30,000 visitors in the past two weeks as people from around the globe have worked together to discuss climate crisis action. Our hotels, bars, restaurants and facilities have been scrutinised by conference attendees, support staff, celebrities and the world’s media. Here we provide a list of 26 of the finest things in Glasgow.

FOOD AND DRINK

‘Think Global, Eat Local’ is the mantra at Stravaigin. The name of the West-end restaurant is taken from an old scots word meaning ‘to wander aimlessly with intent’. Located at 28 Gibson Street (next to Kelvingrove Park) you can expect a menu that lives up to the mantra, with artichokes from Jerusalem and Hake from Shetland. The Festive Menu at £35 per person is reasonably priced for the wide range of sustainably sourced, global dishes.

Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery is a Glasgow institution. Originally called The Buttery, Two Fat Ladies took over in 2007. A menu of Scottish seafood and produce and an interior of oak and mahogany, tartan carpet and stained glass provides a traditional taste of Scotland. During COP26, Barack Obama was rumoured to have dined at the restaurant. The Buttery Grand Dessert at £32 is a popular selection of five desserts on the menu which includes crème brulee, pecan and walnut tart and apple and raspberry crumble.

The Ubiquitous Chip was established by Ronnie Clydesdale in January 1971. Located in Glasgow’s West End in Ashton Lane, the Chip has been the “go-to” place for anniversaries, graduations and any other excuse for a celebration. The Chip builds its menu from the best of Scotland’s larder and has held a five-star rating in The Good Food Guide since 1971 along with two AA rosettes. It’s not just about the food however - the Chip has some of the best bars in town including a rooftop terrace.

HeraldScotland: The Ubiquitous Chip, GlasgowThe Ubiquitous Chip, Glasgow

Cail Bruich, Glasgow’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, is located at 725 Great Western. The English translation of the restaurant’s title is “to eat well” and since opening in 2008, it has held true to that name. Quality does come at a price; you have two options at CB - a five-course or a seven-course chef’s tasting menu – at £75 and £105 respectively. Boasting the best of local, seasonal foods you will be treated to some of the finest dishes in the city.

High-quality, local food can be found at Le Chardon D’or cooked and overseen by a Scottish native from Ayrshire and renowned chef in Brian Maule, whose mantra is: “My name is above the door, so my guests have a right to expect me in the kitchen.” Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the restaurant offers a Celebration Menu comprising a six-course “feast for the senses” which features Scotch lamb, seafood and other delights. At £62.75 per person, this “tasting” portioned menu encapsulates Maule’s culinary talents and local food.

Eusebi Deli on Park Road in the West End of Glasgow has been opened for 40 years, offering some of the finest Italian delicacies and desserts. With ingredients sourced only from Italy, it provides both an eat-in and a takeaway service. The deli is so well known, it has been visited by many famous names such as chef Nigella Lawson who described the restaurant as “essential interval snackage”. Epicures, at 159 Hyndland Road is operated by the team behind Glasgow’s Michelin-star restaurant: Cail Bruich.

Kinder on the pocket than CB, Epicures aims to source incredible products and provide a dining experience that can be enjoyed at all times of the day. An epicurean is described as: ‘a person devoted to sensual enjoyment, especially that derived from fine food and drink’, if this speaks to you, a visit to this west end restaurant is essential. The Spiced Cauliflower Flatbread is a current favourite on their autumn menu and at £13.50 it won’t break the bank. Welsh actor, Michael Sheen, is a big fan and has been visiting Epicures consistently while filming and staying in Glasgow.

Oran Mor stands tall in Glasgow’s west end; the gothic spire of the old-Kelvinside Parish Church looming over the top of Byres Road. Built in 1862, the building now takes on a new life as an events venue which holds its founding principle as: ‘Arts for All, All Year Round.’ OM has hosted world-famous acts such as Amy Winehouse and Calvin Harris but also aims to support up-and-coming Scottish artists through their Billy Kelly Song Writing Award. A must-see is the fantastic ceiling mural by Glasgow-born artist, Alasdair Gray, in The Auditorium – it is one of the largest pieces of public art in Scotland.

Located in the centre of Glasgow, The Ivy Buchanan Street serves modern British and international inspired classics. This bright, upmarket eatery has a vintage vibe featuring a traditional menu and a robust drink list including locally-inspired cocktails. Classics such as The Ivy Shepherd’s Pie and Duck salad are regulars on the menu. The Morgan dining room is a tropical hideaway next to the first floor bar and dining room which features a striking onyx bar. DJs and musicians provide entertainment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

HeraldScotland: The Ivy, GlasgowThe Ivy, Glasgow

An enduring monument to Victorian glamour since the 19th-century, The Central Hotel is a city landmark. High ceilings, chandeliers and wood panelling embody a bygone elegance. The marble-clad Champagne Central bar, Tempus Restaurant and Grand Ballroom make for memorable celebrations. Famous visitors include William Morris, Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill while the world's first long-distance television pictures were transmitted to the hotel on 24 May 1927 by John Logie Baird. Hollywood star Roy Rogers led his horse Trigger up the stairs at the hotel in 1953.

Former cheese market turned Mediterranean-themed bar and club with party band, DJ and private rooms, Arta can be found on Albion Street in the heart of Merchant City. Home to a tapas restaurant, hacienda style main bar and club Canvas, call in on Saturday nights by 11pm to enjoy the Petal Drop, while club nights go on until 3am. The tapas menu offers lots of little dishes include pan seared scallops, classic patatas bravas and the chef’s signature dish, chorizo lasagne.

The luxury Blythswood Hotel is a B-listed building on the east side of Blythswood Square which was formerly the Royal Scottish Automobile Club. The club was established in 1899 to promote “automobilism” in Scotland. It bought up houses along the eastern side of Blythswood Square until it owned the whole row, and then commissioned James Miller to remodel the terrace as the club headquarters. The rebuilding work was finished in 1926, leaving the RSAC with an elegant and comfortable venue where “most of Glasgow's business community meets”. It even had its own small cinema. It was converted into a hotel in 2007.

This Glasgow hotel is set in a tree-lined Victorian terrace in the fashionable West End and is just 30 minutes from Loch Lomond. Hotel du Vin Glasgow at One Devonshire Gardens is a luxury boutique Glasgow hotel. With an enviable reputation for service and style, the hotel has 49 bedrooms and suites. Enjoy the Restaurant One Devonshire Gardens, a relaxing bar, an intriguing cigar shack and a well-stocked and comfortable whisky room. A regular host of luxury dining, breaks away, meetings and weddings in Glasgow.

The Citizen located just off George Square, at 24 St Vincent Place is one of the city centres most atmospheric venues. The old offices of The Glasgow Evening Citizen Newspaper are now adorned with a bar and décor to host a lively, well-poured pint – or a wide ranging pub grub menu. The bar claims to serve the best pint of Tennents in the city: at £5.45 a pint. During COP26, actor Leonardo DiCaprio was pictured in The Citizen, meeting with indigenous activists while sharing a drink and bite to eat.

THE ARTS AND DESIGN

 

The Celtic Connections music festival started in 1994, to fill a scheduling gap in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s post-Christmas period. Now featuring more than 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events and workshops in venues across the city, the 18-day programme offers traditional folk, roots, Americana, jazz, soul and world music. More than 100,000 people now attend the festival which has become a part of Glasgow’s must-see events in the two decades since its inception. Headline acts include award-winning singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph.

The Citizens Theatre, based in the Gorbals, has become one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres. Aiming to present a mixture of classic plays and new Scottish drama, the theatre works with writers, directors and companies that have a reputation for producing outstanding work. The building is currently undergoing a major refurbishment.

The Glasgow Film Festival which started in 2005, celebrates cinema from every corner of the globe and provides a fantastic showcase for the best of Scottish film. GFF has grown in recent years and is now considered as one of the top three film festivals in the UK – starting with 6,000 attendances and celebrating 43,000 in 2020. The festival takes place at the Glasgow Film Theatre, a purpose-built theatre on Rose Street in the city centre, which first opened in 1939.

In 1969, Peter Darrell set up Scotland’s own resident classical ballet company. Scottish Ballet is now one of the five leading ballet companies of the United Kingdom and performs regularly across Scotland, the UK and abroad. Notable former dancers include Leigh Alderson, Daria Klimentová and Noriko Ohara, while Dame Margot Fonteyn praised the dedication and enthusiasm of the Ballet’s dancers and management. Scottish Ballet is the first dance company in Europe to create dance audio-description for the visually impaired along with hosting on line adult dance classes for beginners.

Founded in 1962 by Alexander Gibson, Scottish Opera purchased the Theatre Royal in 1973 and has been performing there since 1974. The company has been in demand through the years to perform outside of Scotland, including Sadler’s Wells and the Royal Albert hall in London, in Portugal, Vienna and St. Petersburg. In 1990, it presented the world première of Scottish composer Judith Weir’s The Vanishing Bridegroom. Demonstrating the company’s inclusive approach to opera, they presented the first dementia friendly opera with a specially adapted performance of The Marriage of Figaro.

The Kelvingrove Bandstand opened in 1924 after it was built by architect James Miller. The first public park and open-air concert venue in Scotland, the original venue attracted more than nine million visitors each year when it was able to seat 3000 and house an additional 7000 standing. The bandstand received its listed building status in 2000 and underwent a £1.4 million restoration and has hosted performances from artists such as Van Morrison and Primal Scream along with the annual Summer Nights at The Bandstand Festival.

Based in Bridgeton in the city’s East End, Alis Le May is a tailor’s set up by the designer of the same name. A graduate of the London College of Fashion, since early 2015 she has been working as a bespoke tailor using traditional techniques. Alis Le May has also made costumes for film and TV such as the Netflix production Outlaw King the Ridley Scott movie The Last Duel. She also co-runs social enterprise Decent Projects, which explores clothes making and mending as a means of community empowerment. Timorous Beasties is a design-led manufacturing company based in Glasgow that specialises in fabrics and wallpapers. The company was founded in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, who met at the Glasgow School of Art. The shop at 384 Great Western Road in Glasgow’s west end showcases their collection of prints, patterns and motifs available across a range of fabrics, wallcoverings, cushions, lampshades, rugs and furniture. Timorous Beasties’ work embodies a diversity of pattern, ranging from design that echoes a golden age of copperplate engraving to examples of a distinctly edgy nature.

SHOPPING

 

Princes Square, located in Buchanan Street in the city centre, was first designed and built in the 1840s by John Baird and other architects. The version of the iconic shopping centre that we know today opened in 1988 and has since been home to more than 25 shops, 12 restaurants and some of the biggest designer brands from Ted Baker to Kurt Geiger. The ground floor houses eateries such as Zizzi, Il Pavone and Cranachan along with The Everyman boutique cinema.

The Argyll Arcade is one of Europe’s oldest covered shopping arcades and Scotland’s first-ever indoor shopping mall. The L-shaped arcade was built in 1827 in the Parisian style. The arcade was cut through old tenements and provides a link between Argyle Street and Buchanan Street. More than 30 jewellers and diamond merchants, including the Antwerp Diamond Company, Mappin & Webb and Gucci, as well as Laings, Omega and Rox, call it home. If all that glisters becomes too much, you can always drop into Sloans, one of Glasgow’s oldest bars, for a snack, meal or drink.

Royal Exchange Square, known for its Instagram-worthy canopy of pretty lights, is also home to a small selection of boutique stores such as Sweaty Betty, Lulu Lemon and Glasgow fashion brand Forty Clothing. Popular for outside dining, restaurants with outside space include The Social, Di Maggio’s and Zizzi.

It is also home to Art On Scotland, a progressive social enterprise which enables artists and makers to promote and sell their work directly to the public. If it is designer shops you are after, head to Ingram Street for high-end brands such as Mulberry, Ralph Lauren, and Emporio Armani. Also located here is the Cruise store which prides itself on providing a range of designer labels for men, women and children.

Here you’ll find shoes and trainers from Adidas to Valentino, bags and backpacks from Burberry to Vivienne Westwood and of course an entire wardrobe of luxury lines. The store was established in Edinburgh in 1981 and now also has outlets in Derby and Aberdeen.