The West End is Glasgow's most vibrant district of cafes, leafy parks, laneways full of boutiques and important museums. Once an elegant Victorian residential neighbourhood, much of the West End is packed with historic architecture and makes for a great urban stroll or a night out on the town. Here are the best things to do in Glasgow's West End.
Explore Kelvingrove Park
Kelvingrove Park is home to both Kelvingrove Museum and Art Galleries, so exploring them both in one day is the obvious option. The museum has a huge collection of historical objects and decorative arts (don't miss the Salvador Dalí masterpiece, Christ of St John of the Cross) all inside a celebrated a beautiful Victorian redbrick building that is worth a look in its own right. There's even a restored Spitfire fighter plane commemorating the 1940 Battle of Britain hanging from the ceiling in the west wing. Pathways perfect for a stroll along the River Kelvin wind through the park surrounding the museum.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - By © MSeses / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48101433
Have Brunch on Byres Road
Byres Road is a major street that pretty much bisects the West End. Busy, especially at the weekends, the road has cafes, restaurants and cute shops on almost every corner. The best way to enjoy Byres Road is to have brunch, or dinner, or both and watch the world go by.
Saunter Around the Art Studios on Hidden Lane
Hidden Lane is quite literally a hidden lane full of artists' and musicians' studios and boutique shops. Naturally, it's a little hard to find, being tucked away off Argyle St. There are a few entrances, though, so keep your eyes peeled. The main one is at 1103 Argyle St, between the Flowers at Sandyford florist and G.G. Brothers off licence. Be sure to save time for tea at the laneway's tearoom.
Visit the Mackintosh House
To get a look inside a real Victorian house, head to the Mackintosh House. Margaret Mackintosh was an artist and her husband, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, was an architect who designed many of the most beautiful buildings in the West End, including the Kelvingrove Museum Inside. At Mackintosh House, you can explore the carefully reconstructed rooms of the Mackintoshes home, which preserves the many unique, design-driven renovations they made to their Victorian home.
Sup a Dram in a Distillery
It wouldn't be a trip to Scotland without supping a wee dram or two. Whisky is Scotland's traditional tipple and a good place to try it is Clydeside Whisky Distillery, in an interesting old pumphouse along Glasgow's lifeblood, the River Clyde. The distillery tour includes information about how whisky is made, as well as a chance to taste it. If whisky's not your thing, you can check out Innis & Gunn Brewery Taproom just off Byres Road for a Glaswegian beer instead.
Book it: Glasgow's West End Whisky Tour
Glenmorangie Distillery - By Braveheart - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51141505
Have a Night Out on Ashton Lane
Speaking of tipples, nightlife is one of the things Glasgow does best, and the West End is the city's busiest evening district. A lot of the action happens around Ashton Lane, just off of Byres Road. You're not in for a rowdy night out here, though. This is a quaint, cobbled alleyway decorated with strings of fairy lights, where cute bars and hip hideaways bump elbows with fine restaurants. Grab dinner at Ubiquitous Chip, one of Glasgow's most celebrated restaurants, to start the evening.
Hear Live Music in a Converted Church
Òran Mór is a converted parish church and serves as one of the West End's most thriving arts centres and gig venues. Most of the gigs take place in the lower former crypt, which feels cosy and intimate. Head upstairs, though, and you'll see murals painted by Scottish artist Alasdair Gray covering the space.
Since the venue opened in 2004, it has hosted big names, including Amy Winehouse. But it also celebrates local theatre in its onsite restaurants and bars, hosting lunchtime plays with the ticket including a pie and a pint.
Transport Yourself Through the Riverside Museum
Dedicated to the history of transport, the Riverside Museum is worth a visit as much for the interesting vehicles inside as for its amazing architecture by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. Inside are exhibits on transportation of all kinds, from skateboards to trains to a Star Wars Stormtrooper. The museum gets its name from the fact that it's at the confluence of Glasgow's two main rivers, the Clyde and the Kelvin. Just outside, you can explore the restored Victorian sailing ship the Glenlee, one of only five ships of her kind still afloat in the world.
Find somewhere to stay by checking out our hotels in Glasgow's West End.
The Riverside Museum Glasgow during the European Championships 2018 - By Cutkiller2018 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72446860#### Photo Credits
Cover Pic: View across Kelvingrove Park - By Paul Trafford Under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) - https://www.flickr.com/photos/paultraf/27459189957