The Vibrant West End
Glasgow's West End is a thriving and vibrant area of the city which is a must-visit if you spend any length of time in Glasgow.
The West End is home to Glasgow University
, which means there is a large student population in this part of the city, which also houses multicultural communities and an eclectic mix of working class and middle class areas side by side, in a district which has escaped the ravages of redevelopment. This means the West End contains a large number of traditional Glasgow tenement-style homes
and buildings which are a delight to the eye and, like other similar areas across the city, are a treat for architecture lovers. This diversity has led to the area becoming a magnet for those in search of good restaurants, specialist shops, some great pubs, cultural institutions and night life.
The area generally referred to as the West End encompasses that part of Glasgow on the north bank of the River Clyde
, to the west of the major motorway which bisects the city, and which lies between Maryhill Road in the north and Argyle Street/Dumbarton Road nearer the Clyde, stretching out as far as Partick, Hyndland and Kelvinside, with Byres Road being its main north/south thoroughfare.
Within this fairly limited area there are a plethora of entertainment opportunities and, given the diverse nature of the population, much of this entertainment can be had for the price of a drink in some of the many and varied pubs to be found within its somewhat nebulous boundaries.
In the same pub you'll find students arguing about the spin on their quarks, wee Glesga men discussing the merits, or otherwise, of 'thon big diddy' recently signed by Rangers or Celtic or concerned middle-class parents mulling over whether Tarquin's soon-to-arrive sister should be named Pandora or Moonbeam. There's never any shortage of entertainment in a Glasgow pub and this is especially true in the West End.
Pubs worth a visit include The Lismore
, Curler's Rest
, The Aragon
, Jinty McGuinty's
, the Park Bar
and many, many more. A number of these pubs also feature live music and nearly all show major sporting events.
For those more interested in cultural pursuits there are three major museums and quite a few other attractions within the West End. The most well-known and most popular of these is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery
and Museum. Set back from the main road, and just off the banks of the River Kelvin below Glasgow University's imposing main building, this red sandstone Victorian building houses a wide ranging collection of artefacts and exhibitions on the lower floor and an extensive collection of fine artworks in the upper galleries, including the amazing 'Christ of St John of the Cross' by Salvador Dalí. Entry is free and this helps Kevingrove attract over 1.25 million visitors every year.
Hardly less popular is the Riverside Museum
which, strangely enough, is located by the River Clyde in a recently constructed building designed by the world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid. This houses the Glasgow Transport Museum in a purpose-built environment and the exhibits include locomotives, trams, buses, vintage cars, bicycles and more.
Right outside the Riverside is the Tall Ship, the fully restored Glenlee, a Clyde-built sailing ship which provides a fascinating insight into what life was like for those aboard a sailing vessel on the high seas in years gone by
Architecture buffs will enjoy the neo-Gothic splendour of the main building of Glasgow University which is situated not far off Byres Road and a further short walk will bring visitors to the Hunterian Art Gallery and Museum
. This houses a collection of historical artefacts, paintings, sculptures, zoological exhibits, anatomical and scientific instruments and a faithful reconstruction of the former home of world-renowned architect, designer and artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
After a wander around some of these attractions and a couple of drinks in a West End pub, visitors would be forgiven for feeling a little hungry and Glasgow's West End has a little of everything to offer in this department as well. From the usual run of the mill fast food places to fine dining there is something to suit everyone in the West End.
Among the restaurants offering high quality traditional Scottish ingredients cooked by some of the city's best chefs are Stravaigin
', The Bothy
and the Ubiquitous Chip
. For those with something spicier or more exotic in mind there is no shortage of Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisine on offer at places such as The Ashoka
, Mr Singh's India
, The Dumpling Monkey
, Thai Siam
and many more. There are lots more cuisines to explore in the West End too so you won't be lacking in choice.
If the weather is nice you might want to walk off that meal by taking a stroll around the Glasgow Botanical Gardens
situated opposite the top of Byre's Road for a view of the more sedate side of the West End. From here you can also take a wander down to the Kelvin Walkway, which is a secluded pathway along the banks of the River Kelvin, later joining up with the large and popular Kelvingrove Park. If you're lucky you'll be able to spot Herons, Foxes or Squirrels along the way as well as the more common birdlife in this oasis in the heart of the city.
If you like film, you can pay a visit to the independent Grosvenor Cinema in Ashton Lane
, just behind Byres Road, which shows the latest Hollywood blockbusters but also caters for the arthouse cinema crowd as well, with the option of having a dinner in the Grosvenor Cafe and then taking your after-dinner drink into the auditorium to view your movie.
Those who prefer the night life can go to club nights at Oran Mor
at the corner of Byres Road and Great Western Road or visit clubs such as Viper
, Record Factory
or The Sanctuary
Also, if your lucky enough to be visiting us in June you can enjoy all that the West End Festiva
l has to offer.
Whatever you're looking for there is a very strong chance that you will it in Glasgow's West End. The information above is really only scratching the surface of what this vibrant, buzzing part of Scotland's liveliest city has to offer as there really is something for just about everyone here in the West End of Glasgow.