Things to do in Glasgow’s West End
Google “Glasgow’s West End” and you’ll be greeted with so many hits you’d be forgiven for wanting to click straight off again. This vast and bustling neighbourhood has so many attractions for all interests and ages it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list for you of must see attractions. Thank us later.
The newly refurbished Kelvingrove bandstand transforms the beautiful sprawling green space into a live outdoor music venue. The 2500 capacity venue with all the modern facilities has played host to acts like Idlewild, Van Morrison and Primal Scream. Be sure to keep yourself in the loop to make sure you don’t miss out on tickets for you or any music lover in your life for a unique concert experience.
Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery
The majestic Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery may seem an obvious choice to visit during any trip to the West End but it is truly a must see. The spectacular facade of the gallery is perfect for a wander round on a sunny day or even a crisp autumn afternoon. There is something for everyone in the historic permanent collection from Renaissance paintings to some of the largest stuffed wildlife outside of a London museum. There are plenty of fascinating touring exhibitions with each season also so don’t miss out.
The Hunterian Museum
Often overlooked for the much better known Kelvingrove, The Hunterian Museum is a lovely option for an afternoon visit if you’re keen on exploring the university campus itself. You’ll find it half way up the fondly named ‘library hill’ (just before the University of Glasgow Library incidentally). The extensive collection includes an exhibit on Lord Kelvin, Glasgow’s Greatest Scientist. The Mackintosh House, a reassemblage of the Glasgow home of famous Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald is a real treat for an art lover as a first hand example of his distinctive style.
The Botanic Gardens at the top of Byres Road and Great Western Road are a sight to behold whatever the season. In spring and summer you can wander alongside students skipping lectures and busy young families and in autumn and winter you’ll be joined by a vast array of dog walkers and frostbitten runners. The flora and fauna growing here is extensive and unique and even if the weather isn’t playing ball you can escape inside to the Kibble Palace and admire the tropical flowers and plants that have made their home in its humid environs.
Another stalwart of the Glasgow West End but another not to be missed. Whatever the season, Kelvingrove is a spectacular green space to rival many in Scotland and beyond – and it’s right in the middle of the city. You can wander for hours in its leafy environs, stopping at numerous park benches for a wee rest and admiring the vast city scape beyond. It’s particularly beautiful in autumn where the red and golden hues of fallen leaves are a wonderful sight. Take your camera.
The Grosvenor Cinema
You’ve come to explore the West End of Glasgow, why would you want to be stuck inside at the cinema? The Grosvenor Cinema in the West End’s cobbled Ashton Lane is a picture house with a difference.The cosy independent cinema is a tiny version of its big chain counterparts allowing a much more intimate film experience. It’s licensed, so you can take in your alcoholic beverage of choice to enjoy with your movie. Plus, there’s squashy couches you can book out in every screen – providing the perfect balance between a night out and evening in!
A Play, A Pie and A Pint
West End institution Oran Mor is a fantastic bar and restaurant itself but it’s also a unique cultural venue. The refurbished church regularly hosts A Play, A Pie and A Pint which offers exactly what the name suggests – entertaining live theatre, a pie and a pint for you to enjoy. Culture vultures must tick this one off their list.
The West End is full of quirky gift shops and trendy boutiques and none more so than Ruthven Lane, the cobbled winding alley off Byres Road is home to the area’s impressive collection of vintage and antique shops. Perfect for a cheeky rummage around on a Saturday you’re sure to find a unique bargain or unusual gift for a great price. “Darling, it’s vintage!”
University of Glasgow
Whether you’re a student, a graduate or just want to ogle the beautiful site of Glasgow’s very own ‘Hogwarts’ a trip to the University of Glasgow Main Building is essential for any visit to the city’s West End. The impressive Gothic style building with its cloisters, courtyards and arch ways is a photographer’s dream, great for kids to run around or a dramatic setting for a romantic stroll.
The Stand Comedy Club
The Woodlands area of the West End is home to Glasgow’s The Stand Comedy Club, where some of the country’s funniest stand ups learned and honed their craft. If you’re looking for an affordable and fun night out, look no further. Grab a drink and be prepared for some giggles. Good for a cheeky celebrity spot especially during the Edinburgh Festival where stars will often perform warm-up gigs.
The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel
Head over to Partick and you can enjoy The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel. The building reopened in June 2011 and in 2013 was announced as European Museum of The Year. It’s easy to see why – the unique building designed by Zaha Hadid forms a dramatic panorama on Glasgow’s skyline. Inside, it’s just as good. Kids and adults alike will love exploring the displays of cars, trams and locomotives. There’s over 3000 objects on display – we reckon that’s enough to fill more than a couple of hours!
Voltaire and Rousseau
Are you a self-confessed book worm or know a keen wordsmith? A visit to bookshop Voltaire and Rousseau on Otago Street is a must. Just off Gibson Street in Kelvinbridge this quirky, often chaotic bookshop is an amazing sight. Filled from ceiling to floor with books of all ages and genres, there is something for everyone here. Our tips? Look out for the resident cat and be careful when pulling out your favourite from the stacks – don’t say we didn’t warn you.