Getting Around: Glasgow
Orientating yourself around any new city can be a daunting prospect but help is at hand, as Lindsey Johnstone takes you area-by-area through Glasgow’s finest haunts and cherry-pick the top spots you cannot afford to miss
The West End is Glasgow’s student heartland, and as such equally beloved and vilified by Glaswegians, stretching from Charing Cross out to Hyndland. Byres Road is its main artery, and is lined with the bars, delis and vintage shops which give the West End and its residents (Wendies) their distinctive character. Highlights include foodie haven Heart Buchanan, old-skool pub Tennents, the very traditional University Café, and the aptly-named Vintage Guru.
At the other end of town is Dennistoun, the reformed bad boy of Glasgow neighbourhoods, and probably the only part of the East End you are ever going to see as a student. The area is still in the process of gentrification, and as such is where you’ll get the best flats for your money. Main thoroughfare Duke Street is where you’ll find highlights Tapa, one of the best bakeries in the city; Italian café Coia’s, family- run since 1928; and Tibo, a tiny but exquisite eaterie that does great breakfasts.
A short walk away is the achingly hip Merchant City. This is Glasgow’s Soho; replete with warehouses that have been transformed into gallery spaces and over-priced loft apartments, and poser’s paradise bars like Blackfriars, Mono, and the Brunswick Hotel. The area is also the heart of Glasgow’s LGBT scene; this is where you’ll find the city’s premier gay club The Polo Lounge.
Glasgow City Centre has been branded The Style Mile by the city’s marketing bureau and they’re not wrong. Buchanan Street, Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street are the holy trinity of high street heaven. The city centre is also home to countless bars and restaurants, including gastronomic landmark Rogano (get the parents to pay when they visit), and the best clubs in the city. The Sub Club and The Arches host nights that are essential components of student life in Glasgow (best not to take the folks along to these though).
The South Side is a cheaper, and some say less clichéd alternative to the West End. Laid-back and cosmopolitan, it’s fantastic for foodies, owing to the plethora of Halal supermarkets. South of the river you’ll also find the infamous Shed nightclub, edgy arts centre Tramway, and beautiful Queen’s Park, which hosts the best farmers’ market in the city.