Everyone raves about Edinburgh (I do too, after visiting earlier this year) but Glasgow is a Scottish destination which often gets unfairly overlooked. When my mum turned sixty, I decided to treat her to a weekend trip. We managed to see so much in just a couple of days.
Friday 1st November – Evening Stroll
We arrived late (thanks to Easyjet) in the evening and settled into what would be our home for the following two days. We stayed in the Ibis Budget, just a fifteen/twenty minutes walk away from the centre of the action. Our accommodation was quite basic but the staff were friendly and the room, although small, has everything we needed for a city base and was well kept and clean. We strolled along the river Clyde and crossed the Clyde Arc bridge to walk around the city and get our bearings. Obviously, the local chippie was the natural place for dinner; I needed to test my Scottish friend Charlotte’s theory that Scottish chips were better than English ones. They definitely are.
Saturday 2nd November – Culture Vultures
We got up early and then promptly went back to bed when we realised it was chucking it down. When realisation set in that it wasn’t going to stop raining, we hauled ourselves out of bed across the road to Frankie and Bennie’s for a cheapo breakfast. The Ibis Budget has the advantage of being a few strolls away from any chain you can imagine; Harvester, Chiquito and Burger King all enjoy representation. After a feed-up, we were ready to see what Glasgow had to offer. We bought a day subway ticket (cheaper than the chips from the night before) and started with the highly recommended Kelvingrove Gallery (Kelvinbridge is the nearest Subway). I was excited to see the Jack Vettriano Retrospective exhibition, which was every bit as good as I had expected it to be. In 2009, Vettriano was commissioned by the Yacht Club of Monaco to create a series of paintings to mark the centenary of their world famous yacht, Tuiga. This series included some of my favourite Vettriano paintings. After a bit of shopping around Buchanan Street, we headed back to warmth (and welcome dryness) of our hotel room to change for dinner.
We ate at the Corinthian Club. The setting was incredible; very glamorous and the perfect place for an impressive first date, in my opinion. The food was good but the service didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I think it would be better to visit on a weeknight when it is less busy. I may have set unfair expectations for the food as the settings were what you would expect of a Michelin star establishment but it was still very good on the whole and very good value for what we ordered. Afterwards, we wandered up to the Blythswood Square Hotel to see where we would be spa-ing the following day. I tried one of the hotel’s famous ‘Daisies’, a delicious prohibition-inspired cocktail. Delicious.
Sunday 3rd November – Spa Day!
As suspected on sightseeing day, it wasn’t raining, but tired from all of the walking from the day before, we decided to treat ourselves to a taxi back to the Blythswood Square Hotel. It was with great relief that we greeted the friendly spa staff who guided us through the labyrinth of luxury that awaited us. We kicked off with a few minutes in the pomegranate-scented Laconium room for some dry, warm air (absolute bliss). We moved on to the crystal steam room which was heavenly with its glowing crystal ball and shining mosaic tiles – ambient and relaxing. I particularly liked the bubbling Hydro pool which relaxed our tired, aching joints with its massaging jets. We visited the Saunarium (a cross between a sauna and a steam room) and the sauna, swam in the pool and finally finished off a lie down in the Tepidarium room which had heated, curved benches. Somewhere in the middle of this relaxing ‘Thermal Experience’, mum and I found time for a back, neck and shoulder massage which was one of the best I have ever had. This is really saying something, because I like to have massages a LOT. After the massages, we relaxed in a comfy room packed full with the month’s glossy magazines.
The great thing about the Blythswood Spa is the space; so often city spas can feel a bit cramped. This certainly is not the case here, and it was lovely to feel like you could explore all the amazing rooms at your leisure, without feeling crowded (the very thing I look to escape when relaxing).
I can honestly say that I have never felt as relaxed, awake, as I did when I left the Blythswood Square Hotel. Easily the highlight of our trip.
Feeling a bit peckish after all the action (!) we headed a restaurant opposite the hotel called ‘Two Fat Ladies’. As this was recommended to me by my Glaswegian friend Lynne, we simply had to pop in for some traditional Cullen Skink which was delicious, as was the bread which came with it. We had the energy for a bit more culture after this, so headed to ‘GOMA’ (Gallery of Modern Art) for a contemporary art fix. I loved the bright Niki de Saint Phalle statues and drawings and the great graphics of Richard Harrison. Then it was back to London. Sob. I would recommend Glasgow (and especially the Blythswood) to anyone looking for a fun, stylish, cultural weekend break.
Get up and glas-go!
On our way to the Kelvingrove Gallery
Loved this reindeer
Mum relaxes in her throne at the Corinthian Club
Yummy Daisies at the Blythswood Square Hotel
The Hydropool at the Blythswood Square Hotel
The spa pool
The spa was gorgeous!
Me and Mummy!
Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition at GOMA
I learnt the bagpipes (sort of)