THERE are definitely some eyebrows raised at the inclusion of the Burrell Collection – but largely everyone is in complete agreement.

Shawlands one of the coolest areas in the world? Of course.

The bustling retail and residential heart of Glasgow's Southside has just been ranked eleventh on Time Out magazine's list of the 51 most interesting and current neighbours. 

Glasgow is far from unfamiliar with appearing on the list but previous slots - looking at you, Dennistoun - caused furrowing of brows. 

Not so for Pamela Cunningham who, with her sister, owns the gift shop Paper Plane.

Opened 13 years ago, it sits on the eclectic Skirving Street, a cafe culture hub that is the backdrop for regular events organised by community groups and businesses.

"Of course it's cool," Ms Cunningham said, "In Shawlands people can just be themselves and we've got a big mix of people floating through.

"We've definitely seen a change in the past 10 years.

The Herald: Colin MearnsColin Mearns (Image: Newsquest)
"After lockdown we've seen a big influx of people coming in and there just seems to be more people around, it feels like a more community-based neighbourhood."

Shawlands ranked alongside areas of New York, Havana and Naples, just one of 19 places in Europe to make the cut. 

Surrounding communities of Langside, Strathbungo and Govanhill were namechecked in the Southside's relentless rise to eclipse the long-coveted West End as the most interesting and thriving area of Scotland's largest city.

Parks, art, coffee and dining were all listed as components of Shawlands's claim to cool with local eatery Cafe Strange Brew named... and the Burrell Collection, reopened this year following a multi-million pound refurbishment but definitely not in Shawlands.

On bustling Pollokshaws Road, visitor Zoe NairnThe Herald: Colin MearnsColin Mearns (Image: Colin Mearns) was headed to Cafe Strange Brew for lunch with a friend, drawn by "a really cool brunch special that we saw on Instagram".

She said: "We come here to catch up, have a wee coffee and look around the charity shops. 

"I live in Tradeston and there's not a lot to do in Tradeston. We had one coffee shop and it's closed now.

"I'm not surprised Shawlands has been named - it's come a long way, even in the past five years.

"I mean, I pay the £5 for the bus to get here."

Asked what she'd recommend to a new visitor to the area, Zoe had a one track mind.  

"Cafe Strange Brew," she said. "I'm loyal."
The Herald: Coin MearnsCoin Mearns (Image: Coin Mearns)
Back on Skirving Street and Barry Young of Young's Interesting Books is talking about how he came from Ireland as "this was the only place we wanted to set up shop."

He and his wife, he said: "Waited and this place came up and we haven't looked back since." 

Small, family-owned businesses are part of the Shawlands fabric and the area is about to see a long overdue change in the redevelopment of Shawlands Arcade, rebuilding the shopping centre but adding new office space and flats. 
The Herald: Colin MearnsColin Mearns (Image: Colin Mearns)
The Shawlands Business Improvement District (BID) has also helped to bring together around 340 local businesses, with its work overseen by My Shawlands.

Mr Young added: "Shawlands, one of the things we liked most about it, was the amount of creativity in the area, the amount of people who are doing things, bringing folk together, organising events.

"One of the things the book shop has been great for is it brings people together from different strata... film makers, artists, writers, fire eaters to drag acts, 

"Covid was terrible for Shawlands particularly, but things are getting back to normal again - or normal for Shawlands."

Mr Young praises the community spirit of the area and its diversity. 

He added: "Not to diss the west end of Glasgow but we're not a theme park here, we're very much a working area with a diverse population and everybody gets on really well."

His recommendation for visitors would be to walk around the area and soak in the architecture and atmosphere.

Well, only after "standing outside Young's Interesting Books and looking in the window."

Pete and Toni are out birthday present shopping in the local stores and "general mooching around" before going on a visit to Holmwood House, a nearby villa designed by the Scottish architect Alexander "Greek" Thomson.

They, also, love a visit to Shawlands but, like a true Southsider, Pete is loyal to his own neighbourhood.

It's great, he says, but: "It's not Pollokshields."